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Hi Childfree Wealth listeners, today a little something different. We're going to dive into financial therapy. Is this a scary topic or not? I don't know. We'll get into the debate about coaching versus therapy and anxiety and yeah, we just did a podcast on guilt. We're going to go to a whole bunch of topics and we have an expert here to do that.
We have Lindsey Bryan-Podvin, who is a financial therapist. So I. Lindsay, tell me about you and kind of what you do.
Hi, Jay. I am, as you mentioned, a financial therapist. So my background is in clinical social work and I have a master's degree and have been practicing for over a decade. And then I have additional training in financial psychology, therapy and trauma of money. So my work is really centered around the emotional side of money, so much less how to make a budget and much more, what's making it hard for you to adhere to it, or why is it difficult to bring it up to your partner? Prior to specializing in financial therapy, I specialized in anxiety and in depression, so I have a lot of overlap for folks who struggle with anxiety and financial anxiety. In my day to day work, I see clients 2 to 3 days a week and then the other two days a week, I'm doing things like this or doing podcasts, YouTube videos. Sometimes doing speaking engagements at places like credit unions or universities to help people understand the emotional side of money.
And did I see your childfree also or a DINK?
Am, I am. I'm a DINKWAD because dual income no kids with a dog as you heard because she needed my attention right before we hit record.
That works. It's always interesting. It's always great to get childfree folks into this. Childfree and finances is one of those weird things, like they don't cross over well in the literature. So we got to make our own world. I want to start with something this just because I was dealing with this recently with a couple people and it was the thought about, hey, if I just make more money or have more money, it's make me more secure with my money and I'm not a real believer of that because like magically doubling the numbers doesn't lessen the anxiety or the fears around money or make you feel safe.
Or at least in my opinion. I mean, have you seen that or what do you think?
Yeah, I think it's a nuanced answer. So, yes, if you are struggling to make ends meet and you're not earning enough money to cover the basics. So if we think of the things that are necessary for your survival, food, shelter, clothing nowadays, things like Internet and your phone, I would count there if you're not earning enough money to pay for those things, then yeah, I think it makes sense that you'd be anxious and stressed out.
Now once we hit a level of earning enough money to have our basic needs met and then, you know, a little bit more, then the data kind of falls off a cliff. When it comes to the more I earn, the happier I will be. So I'd say if you are truly living in a paycheck to paycheck scenario because you are under earning, not because you're earning so much and you're spending it all, but because you're under earning, then yeah, of course you're going to be financially anxious.
But yes, a lot of people have this feeling, especially in the U.S., we love to sell this message that once you earn six figures or fill in the blank, whatever the magic number is that day, then you'll be fill in the blank, you'll be happy, you'll have time freedom, you'll be relaxed. And so a lot of people think once they earn more money, then I will be happy, free and relaxed, not actually thinking about what does freedom look like, what does happiness look like? What does relaxation look like to me? And what dollar amount actually ties into having those specific needs met?
It's what they call the hedonic treadmill, where you keep pushing that goal post out because you keep thinking that, Oh, I thought I needed six figures, but really I need six and a half figures, or I thought I needed a $10,000 bonus, but really I needed a $20,000 bonus without ever coming back to what is the number I'm trying to achieve and what does that specific number do for me in my life? It's making meaning of a goal versus just throwing a random number out there and hoping it's going to help you feel better.
So what is the magic number? I mean, is there one? I mean, know I mean, if you're going to throw numbers like that, I mean.
Yeah, no, there is not. So there is and there isn't. Let me back up. So about ten years ago, there was a study that has now been basically debunked that said once you earn about 75K, we're talking, you know, ten years ago. So adjusted for inflation, we're talking closer to 90-95K. Any dollar you earn up to that amount will make you happier.
Once you hit that dollar amount, then your happiness plateaus. Now the data has come out to say, actually that number is much more like, I think $400,000. And now that particular study is getting pushback. So that's why I say yes and no. The studies are always coming out and then people are coming back and rebutting my hypothesis from what I've seen in the work that I do, is that if we have enough money to cover our basic needs plus a financial safety cushion, that is what we need in order to feel happy.
And we have to define what happiness is, right? Happiness for my neighbor might be a brand new Porsche. Happiness for me might be spoiling my dog rotten. Each of us is going to have different financial needs. That's why I say there are numbers. But also at the end of the day, depends on what you actually need for you.
Well, I think the way I look at it is there's a rent and ramen phase where you barely make enough money for food. And yeah, it's just it's rough. And then people start making money and I swear they like, almost like expand the rent and ramen. So they are constantly living on this scarcity mindset of like, oh, well, I buy a bigger house so I have to have a higher.
And this the hedonic treadmill you talked about, but other things. But it's like I always have to live in this phase of, you know, barely making ends meat or else. And the question is what? But like it's kind of like this. You almost set up a system where I never have enough and that I just don't know if that's an American thing or if it's just I don't know, our society, our social media culture, I don't know what.
But it's like this like it's more than just a treadmill. It's like we're setting ourselves up to be unhappy because we keep increasing our expenses and increasing everything else. I mean, what do you think about that?
As you and your listeners know, that term is known as lifestyle inflation or lifestyle creep? The more you earn, the more you spend. And I think there are so many competing factors about why so many of us fall into it. One is we're a consumer economy. We have been told from the time we are little that different things will make us happy.
A bigger house will make us happy, a vacation will make us happy. Having a fancy dog leash will make us happy. We've been told that things outside of us will make us happy. And if we don't ever pause and this is where the emotional side of money comes in. If we don't ever pause to get really curious about how we define happiness, we will perpetually be on that treadmill.
So that's why it's imperative that when you are in a place where you are working toward having a healthy relationship with money, you define what your life looks like and you unsubscribed quite literally to the folks who are peddling this notion that you need to have even more money, that you need to earn even more, that you need to save even more when you may very well be okay.
I think you are sharing on I don't know if it was a podcast episode or in an email newsletter. You were saying like, look, as childfree folks especially, we really have to examine our numbers compared to the numbers that most people throw out there that are these benchmarks. And I think that this kind of ties into what we're talking about today is that we have to really examine what is the cost of my lifestyle that will bring me happiness, and then also making sure that we're not just chasing money for money sake.
There are so many other things that go into wellness besides how much we have in our net worth or what our credit score is. We have to make sure that we are nurturing our relationships. We're working on self-growth and development. We have a safe and healthy environment to live in. There are so many other things that are important, and to me, I think what gets people caught up is they are chasing just the numbers or the tangible things that numbers will provide without ever thinking about Is this money giving me the time, giving me the space, giving me the energy that I need to nurture the other areas of my life that also make me happy?
Yeah. And I call it, Marie Kondo-ing, your life, getting rid of the things that don't bring you joy and doing more of the things that do. But I see this thing… Bri & I did an episode on this recently on guilt around money and this you know what I've heard people call a middle class work ethic, middle class guilt or whatever it is.
And I see in my childfree folks in that you hit your numbers, you're doing well. I'm like, okay, you can cut back on work or you can change your life or do what you want to enjoy. You're like, Yeah, but I can't because other people are struggling and how do I get comfortable with me having stuff and other people not and me having it easy quote unquote, and then struggling and this guilt surge building in there.
And I'm like, well, we got to work on that. I mean, you've got to have seen that in your practice. So how do you approach that money guilt?
So that's a very specific type of money guilt. And I call it financial survivor guilt. We know what survivor guilt is if we think about a person who's been in a car accident and one person walks away without a scratch on them and somebody else is hurt, the person who walks away with just a scratch ends up feeling really badly that somehow they were spared or protected.
And because of that, the other person was hurt. We do the same thing with financial survivor guilt. If we are doing okay. In particular, if we come from a neighborhood that may have been a lower socioeconomic status or we have friends who have four or five kids and we don't, we start to do this comparison where we think money or finances is a finite pie.
And if I have a certain slice of pie, that means there's less left for everybody else. We know that that's just not true. Yes, there is a disproportionate amount of wealth concentrated in the top half percent, but outside of that, me having $80,000 income doesn't mean that somebody else will only get a $20,000 income. It does not work like that.
And so when it comes to financial survivor guilt, a tendency may be to work hard, earn more, give away more. And it's not that it's bad to work hard or give away money, but we also have to think about, again, what will bring you happiness, what will bring you joy, and what feels good financially to you. For me, in my business, every single quarter I make a conscientious decision to either donate money or a workshop to an organization that aligns with my values, that would either need funds or would not be able to afford my speaking fees.
So professionally, that's a way that I cope with that. Personally, my partner and I take a look at where we want to be giving financial contributions every single month. Having come from the nonprofit world, I know how important it is to make sure that you're giving monthly versus, you know, once a year in November and December. Like so many people do.
So it's not about giving away all your money so you can be good, but it is about making decisions about what are the causes that really matter to me, that will make me feel good, and how can I honor those needs? And if you're feeling really terrible that you have a full Sunday where you can kick up your feet and catch up on your shows and you're feeling bad that, you know, your sister's running around driving kids from soccer fields to soccer field, then you can lovingly question yourself and say, you know, does it feel good for me to tell my sister, hey, I've got the late game tonight or hey, I've got dinner's on me tonight, right? We can think about what we can offer, what we can give that won't burn us out in the end. Because when we're burnt out, when we're stressed out, when we're financially strapped, we can't give back to our friends, our family, or our community.
That sounds almost transactional, like I'm going to get rid of guilt by giving something. But is that really, you know, treating the symptoms or the disease of it? You know, and can we just be happy that we're happy and know without saying, oh, I got to like sacrifice for somebody else? I mean, this is that one of those like, how do you get comfortable with it?
Especially I hear it a lot with people that, you know, grew up without money and struggled and were through it. And now it's like, okay, well, can I just enjoy my money in my life versus, hey, do I have to offset it, as you were saying, because you're really offsetting it?
Good question. So in that case, I think it's important to differentiate two things. We use the terms guilt and shame interchangeably, but they're different. Guilt is external. I made a mistake. Shame is internal. I am bad. And I think you're spot on that. When I was talking about the example of having a Sunday to myself, that was probably much more shame and much less guilt.
So when it comes to how we cope with shame, it is not about donating a percentage of our money, so we stop feeling that shame. Brené Brown, my fellow social worker and shame researcher, says that we need four things to help dial down the intensity of shame. One is just naming it. Therapists love that, name it to tame it.
What am I feeling? What's coming up? Why am I feeling bad about this thing? The next thing to do is have social support or understanding that you're not alone. Truly, this is where like talking to your other friends who are experiencing the same things, even if you don't change your behaviors, helps to normalize and validate that you're human and it makes sense that you feel those feelings.
Then we come into education or making meaning of the mistake. And this is where the financial industry really harps on us. If you hit those particular benchmarks and you're good, if you don't, then you're bad. So being childfree folks, we're kind of automatically labeled bad because we don't have the 2.5 kids. We don't have the 529 plans. Some of us do for other people.
So we have naming it. We have social support. We have making meaning of that mistake. And then the last one is empathy and compassion. And so this is the piece Jay that you're talking about. Can't we just enjoy it and the answer is, yes, we can. And if we just go from I feel guilty for having money to I don't feel guilty for having money, it's going to be really hard for our brain to get on board.
And that's where empathy and compassion comes in. So the way that empathy and compassion can come in here is to say to label what's going on. I feel bad that I've got more down time than other people talking to other people about it, and they say, I do or I don't or whatever they say. And then also extending some compassion to yourself, like, is this something that you chose?
Is this something that feels good for you? Is this something you want to change? And maybe you say, you know what, I really love having Sunday to myself. That is sacred time for me and I love my sister and I would love to help her out more. And the way for me to do that that feels good for me is to order her DoorDash.
It's not because I'm trying to offset my guilt, but it's because I see her. I want to honor her. That feels good and cozy. A cozy way for me to help out. And I'm still honoring what feels best for me.
Yeah, and that makes sense. And I think one of the challenges, though, as childfree folks, as social support thing is a challenge. It's all, yeah, I'm in. I'm the Deep South, I'm in Mississippi right now and there are no social support for childfree folks. Let's be real on that. There's more judgment to the point where I find my communities online.
But I think, you know, you go to social supports like we're living a completely different life plan and most people don’t support it seems to be. How do you find that social support when you are doing things differently than everybody else?
Yeah, I think there are two things. One, yes, having online community makes a huge difference. In particular, when you're a part of a group or a community that may be small or othered or otherwise marginalized. And then the other thing is to remember that research has kind of shown that there is a three year social cliff when a person has a newborn. So whether they adopt a kid or they have a kid for three years, they kind of fall off the face of the planet and I think as childfree folks, we tend to do that as well. We kind of keep an arm's length or like, I don't really want to be around that baby spit up or whatever else is going on. I love you, but I'll see you in three years.
And we're also a part of isolating ourselves from our community. We don't have to go to our friend's kids soccer games in order to be a part of a community. But there are other ways that we can maintain those friendships. Something that's been helpful for me in maintaining my friendships with people who do have children and maintaining that community with people who do have children is to be a little bit more flexible about the things that I want to do.
I know that for my friends who have young kids, it's going to be hard to go on a Friday night to find a sitter to do all that. I know it's going to be a challenge and I would rather see them. So oftentimes what I'll do is I'll go over there around the time they're putting the kids to bed or after they're putting their kids to bed, and then we'll hang out in the kitchen and have a cocktail and have some dessert.
Other things to think about, how can we incorporate community outside of just that parent child dynamic? The other thing that I often do is I'll text people in my neighborhood, hey, I'm taking my dog for a walk, want to join me? And I think we also have to remember that just because we are childfree doesn't mean that we're automatically ostracized from the community.
Just like it's hard for us to maybe engage with people who are having a kids first birthday. People may also not know do Jay and Lindsay want to be included in this event if they don't have kids? And the answer may be, yeah, I don't want to go to a bounce house, but what I will do is hang out with you afterwards when your kids are taking a nap.
Yeah, I think it's the hard part is finding your group of people and online communities a lot of childfree women, by the way. Childfree men, communities, very few. Let's just call that out. You know, if you look at my Instagram, I think it's like 87% women. So I mean huge, huge skews. And I think part of the challenge is, you know, there's such a discussion the other day about the American dream, you know, two and a half kids, the white picket fence, the house, the dog that we're kind of going, yeah, that's all optional and we're not going to follow it.
So then it becomes, okay, where do we fit? Where's our life? And especially with money, we just pick different paths, you know, whether it's not retiring, doing different things or traveling the world, I don't know. It's just becomes a challenge of saying, okay, how am I comfortable? My own skin, my own finances, my own life, and by the way, part of a society and community, it feels like we almost have to unprogram the way we were brought up.
I talked about his unlearning the standard life plan and it seems to draw people back. And I have this discussion a lot with clients of, well, you've chosen to be childfree, you've gone a different life like them. And they're like, yeah, but then I got to buy a house. Well, that's part of their life plan. How do you think about this going against the stay or life plan or the way you were raised and still being comfortable with your finances and your life?
Hmm, that's such a good question. And it goes back to something that I was saying, is that in the personal finance industry, as you're well aware, there is a prescribed set of eight or ten things you need to do in your life to be, quote unquote good with money. And my kind of response to that when I'm working with clients is, are those your 8 to 10 rules or are those somebody else's 8 to 10 rules and you are spot on that it is hard to push back against societal norms.
From the time we were kids, it has been imprinted on us. You need to go to college, you need to get a good job, you need to save up. You need to get the house and the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids. And we also have a place in time where we have so many more opportunities to live outside of that prescriptive pen.
And we also have the opportunity to be around other people who also live outside of that prescription. So if you are finding yourself, feel like I want to do XYZ with my life, I want to really live in my truth that being childfree feels good for me and that is the lifestyle that I'm going to choose. I want to live in my truth that I want an 800 square foot house and that I want to retire at 55 and a half, great.
And the other thing to do is all you're doing is kind of hanging out in the places where people who have bought into the other types of lifestyle are hanging out, now, of course, you're going to feel out of place. And so connecting with whether it's online or finding, you know, even within your own community, asking people for the things that they're doing a little bit outside of the box, it can help.
It can help to have conversations with folks to hear about how they opted out of things that were, quote unquote, supposed to do. So whether a person works for themselves, they will live in a tiny house. They've decided to retire early. Those are all choices that are outside of the box. And if we can hear from them how they did it and what challenges arose and what they love about it, it can also be helpful to us and then also to to get comfortable trying on these different things.
And when I say trying on these different things, if you have an idea in your head that you want to retire to Portugal, one of the first things I'm going to say is like, when was last time you were in Portugal? Like, a lot of us have these ideas of what we want life to be like because we think when I'm in Portugal or when I'm in Colombia, that's when I'll finally be happy.
But we haven't actually paused to go, can I afford to take a vacation there? Can I see which cities I like? Can I envision myself there? So giving ourselves permission to try it out and then permission to talk to other people about how they're going against the grain, too. Because you're right, it's a condition everywhere we go that our lives will be a certain way.
Yeah, I was just at a financial conference lunch of financial planners, but by way talk about a boring conference. But that's a separate discussion, you know. But I talk about childfree and what we do and and a whole bunch of people, although I've got some childfree clients. And when the thing it was, it was all people that had alternative practices, whether it is tiny houses. So I mean all they do is tiny houses you know like they do tiny house living and they have a large childfree population. Someone was working with the LGBTQ+ community. I feel like it's it was all tied to what you would call alternative life. And then like, oh yeah, by the way, I have a whole bunch childfree people, which by the way, is probably the inverse.
Do I have a lot of childfree people who are living an alternative life? Yeah. You follow the Standard Life plan, you hit a thing that I call the childfree midlife crisis, which is when you hit your personal professional financial goals and then you're like, now what? This is the question that happens when you run out of plan. And one of the interesting things to me is parents often maybe shift their goals to their kids or next generation.
But what do you do when you actually hit your goals? Because we're goal driven people by nature, many of us. And then what?
Yeah. Oh, great question. So what do you do when you're hit your goals? One is to actually enjoy it because to your point, a lot of us hit our goal. We check it off of our to do list and then we go, okay, what can I add to my list to keep going? One would be to slow down and enjoy it and see how it feels to have that net worth, to see how it feels to have that particular income.
Whatever your financial goal is that you have hit in midlife and you're like, alright, I did the thing, sit there and enjoy it for a little bit, and then I would invite you to think about those other areas of your life, to think about what other goals and and a goal could be, I want to read 24 books this year.
A goal could be I want to explore all the state parks in my state right? Thinking through other life domains outside of a net worth an income a dollar amount in your bank account that you want to achieve and give yourself permission to do those things. So if you're feeling like, okay, I've hit that midlife crisis, try out that hobby, see what it's like, go to a conference.
If you've picked up, you know, knitting and see what it's like to go to a knitting conference. If you want to try out hiking, join a hiking group. Right. We don't have to just be oriented around the types of goals that, again, we're kind of fed in our society from the time we are in school. It is all about how can you get the best grade and then later on how can you climb up whatever version of the corporate ladder it is, even if you're in a nonprofit or you work for yourself.
So remembering that we are whole human beings, we have to think about the other things too.
That's fair and by the way, you I kind of stalked Lindsay a little bit. And, you know, I've stopped in one of the ones she she mentioned, the email she sent me was about setting boundaries. Yeah, I got to talk about boundaries first. Yeah, this is one that I've been deal with clients for whatever this the month we're dealing with this issue.
And here's the hard one, which is, hey, you don't have kids so you can take care of mom. It is the you are expected to take care of your elderly family members usually. I talk about this in two different sets, which is one is how do you set a boundary to protect yourself and then house bend your financial boundary?
But I just look at it in two parts. But it's tough, you know, how do you set a boundary with alright, this is an expectation. You're just going to do this or whatever. And we can have a separate discussion about who's going to take care of us. But, you know, how do you say no or set a right boundary for family members, especially when it comes to caring for others, when it's just an expectation that childfree folks, we're going to have to do it.
The expectation of if you don't have kids, you must have nothing going on. That's what they're saying. But they're not saying it right. And this happens in work settings, too. Oh, so-and-so has a soccer game. You don't have kids. So you can take on that client project or you can work later so you can travel. And I think it's important from the very beginning of any sort of relationship work, relationship, familial relationship, what have you, that you assert, what you will and won't do.
Which may sound weird, right? If you know, we're talking to our adult siblings and they're saying to us, hey, you have to go take care of our… the person who raised us because you're the only one without kids. We actually want to be having that conversation long before mom or dad or whoever help to care for us gets sick.
I often think about different kind of touchpoints throughout life. What I mean is when your parents turn 65 or 73, whatever number it is actually calling your adult siblings and saying, hey, look, mom, dad, auntie, Grandma, whoever it was is aging. I think we need to talk about what our plan is. I'm happy to maybe chat with them first and see what they have in place and then bring it back to you all because I want to make sure that we're on the same page. This sounds so wild, but what so many of us do is we wait until mom or dad has fallen down the stairs and has broken a hip, and then we're all in panic mode and we're not operating in the best version of any of ourselves. And then emotions get heated.
You don't have kids or you live in a different state, or you have this or you have that versus can we have these conversations before the accidents happen, which goes back to so many other conversations about talking to other people in your family, about your will and trust about what you want done in your end of life care or after you pass away.
So when it comes to that. So that's a long winded way of saying if you can have a conversation before it happens, do it. But if you're in the moment and you are, you know, sitting in the hospital and you're talking with your adult siblings about how are you going to care for a parent when they get discharged, it does not have to fall on you If you know your siblings look at you and say, well, Lindsay, you're the one without kids, you're in charge.
You get to say no. You also get to say, let's create a plan where we're kind of shouldering the burden a little bit more equally. And remembering that equally is not 50/50 or 25, 25, 25, 25 equally may be different. And you get to decide, how can I help best in a way that again preserves my emotional and mental sanity and my financial sanity.
And the thing about boundaries that's also important to remember is they can change over time. In the heat of the moment. You may be feeling called to move in with mom and work remote and then you do that for three months or six months and you're like, oh, I'm kind of losing it and I'm going stir crazy. I need some backup full permission to call your siblings and say, Look, I've been here three months. I've been here six months. It felt really good at first. I have to be honest, I'm starting to get burnt out. We need to have another conversation about what caregiving is going to look like. Here's what I can do. Here's what I'm not going to do.
Keep in mind that having a conversation once doesn't mean it's all said and done. I think that's where people struggle with boundaries, is they feel like they have to nail it the very first time they have that conversation versus saying, hey, let's just get through this month and then we'll reconvene.
So what about the only children? You know, because these are the ones that really get that pressure of like, I don't have somebody else and I've had a lot of conversation with them about, yeah, we could build a team around mom and we can, you know, or whoever and we can build caregivers. But how do you set a boundary when you're the only child and taking care of your elder? That to me is hard.
It absolutely is hard. And for only children, that is a very real boundary to say I am only one person, I can only do so much. We can have care team calls every Monday night. If it's an emergency, text me, call me. But otherwise, please hold your questions in conversations with me until Monday. And what I'm saying, like when I'm imagining who I'm talking to in this situation, I'm imagining talking to whomever is coming in to do a nurse check or a social work check, or the neighbor who lives next door.
Right, when we talk about who is going to have that conversation and who is going to be a part of it, you determine, hey, I'm here Monday afternoon to have the download and to help problem solve and help put out fires. Otherwise, I am offline. Unless it is a true emergency, then call me, text me. But especially when you're an only child, you really only have your own capacity.
So what I would invite too for the only children who are listening and who are childfree is to also make sure you have a support team for yourself, not just for the aging person that you are helping to care for or the family member that you're caring for, but also for yourself. Do you have people in your community who can say, hey, you have been at the hospital or at your mom's house every other day, I can see you're burnt out.
Why don't we go to trivia night tomorrow or, you know, let's make sure that we go out and go see that state park that you'd mentioned wanting to see. Making sure you have a support team in place for yourself is just as crucial as making sure that you have some boundaries and communication in place with the support team who's helping out that other person in your life too.
That's where I think the hardest conversation actually is with your parents. Setting the boundaries.
Oh yeah, for sure. Yes. Nailed it. We have to feel like a broken record and it can feel so awful. So sometimes just having a little script can be really helpful. And it might sound like Mom, dad, papa, whatever the language is. I love you. I care about you. I only have the bandwidth to talk about X. I only have the bandwidth to talk about your Social Security income.
I only have the bandwidth to talk about your car insurance. Once we finish that conversation, I have to hang up. We can talk again tomorrow. We can talk again Friday. But again, reiterating to them what you are available for and what you aren't available for at the very beginning of the conversation. And they might get annoyed. Let me tell you, when you set a boundary with someone, especially someone who has never had a boundary set before it, they don't like it.
They like to be able to text you and call you and drop by your house at all hours of the day. It feels really uncomfortable if you've never had a boundary set for somebody to set a boundary. So it's okay again to experience the pushback. And that's where your own community care team comes into place. And you can text that friend even if they're across the country, be like, Oh, I need like all the funny jokes you can send me right now. I just had the most stressful conversations with my parents, right? We also need to ask for that too.
We can have a separate debate. It's GIF or Jif, but that's not to have that one. Okay, so I'm going to go with one non-financial question for you and then we'll get back to the financial question. I can't have a therapist on here without asking the question. The childfree people get it all the time. What if you regret it?
Oh, research shows…
What if you regret that life choice?
Yeah. Great question. So the research shows that people who do not have children and make that choice intentionally are much less likely to regret that choice then parents who have children. It is very hard to find a parent who will put their name and face and say, yes, I regret having children. But Jay, I'm sure you and I can probably bond over this.
I've had many a parent come to me and say, I envy you. I wish I could have done that. You made a great choice. And what I will say, you know, whatever. But the research shows that if you choose to not have children, you're less likely to regret that decision than if you choose to have a child. More people are likely to say they regret having a child than those who didn't.
Yeah, there's actually, say you said a couple of days ago, on parental regret. 14% of parents admitted parental regret, which actually I think is a lot of people don't admit it, but I've used a lot more of it didn't but 14% of parental regret. That's the whole that's pretty Yeah. Yeah right. I always say it's I'd rather regret not having kids than regret having kids, like.
100%. 100%. Absolutely.
But we get the question all the time, so I had to go there. All right. Yeah. Let me ask you a different question, Lindsay. I get people ask this question, say, okay, when do I know if I need a financial therapist versus a financial planner or coach? How do you determine who's the best person to help you?
I have an answer on this one. I'm going to give it to you. It's all yours.
That's fine. So what I will say is there is no one of those disciplines that is better than the other. It is what you need for yourself. So the way that I think about financial therapy and when a referral to a financial therapist makes sense is if your stress, anxiety and worry about money is getting in the way of your ability to function.
And the reason I define it that way is because I come from a mental health lens. So if you're so stressed about money that you can't sleep, you can't eat, you can't go to work, you can't maintain relationships with your friends, with your partners, then that is a signal that a therapist could be helpful. Now, if you are feeling like, okay, I kind of get it, but I just need help really wrapping my head around some of these concepts.
Or if I thought about a budget, but I just need some accountability, then I would say a financial coach makes sense. Where a financial planner makes sense to me is when you're in this space of, okay, I have a goal, I have a rough idea of how I'm going to get there, but I really need a professional to give me that nice, solid outline with data that shows me if I put away $530 here in this way, then I will be able to achieve my goal.
I also want somebody who actually has the credentials to be able to tell me what makes sense and what doesn't make sense from a financial perspective. So to me, if it's the emotional stuff, then a therapist is a good choice. If it's accountability, only a coach could be a good choice and if you're really needing somebody to help you holistically with a financial plan, then that's when I would say, get yourself a financial planner.
I'm good with that. In general, I think my framework on this comes from I used to do a lot of coaching in all different ways and I worked with a social worker and we were combining forces for medical residents who are struggling. Yes. And I asked her, I said, how do we pick who needs what? You know, who goes to me, who goes to her, and how do we how we team up? Her take on it and, you know, this isn’t an exact but go with it. Yeah. Is she's looking back I'm looking forward and the coach looking at the board and and the therapy that the social workers in back and I went that's kind of an interesting it's a simplification but just go with me for saying sir I've kind of taken that and said, okay, there's actually three people within our life, which is we someone to look back some of look up, which is more the spiritual, the bigger picture of life and someone to look forward.
And you can find people that are crosses between all those, but you need to know where your problem lies to an extent. And I argue whichever one of those you like feel like looking back, you probably somebody pushing forward, if you like, lean forward, you probably know some stuff you have to you know, the way you came with a bigger picture missing.
There's always these pieces and I don't think it's left right or you have to like pick one. It's more of what do you need today? And that might change tomorrow. And you know, there are some people that need they have long seeded issues that I'm not going to be able to help with as a planner at all. And it's going to be barriers and I just can't do it.
There are other things that legally you can't do, but you get all this.
It's not right or wrong but I think people know in their gut what they really need help with. But I also think the one you enjoy may not be the one you need. What do you think about that?
I will answer that in a second. I will also say that many of my clients have a financial planner as they should, because to your point that is not my job. And we work in tandem, right? They see their financial planner quarterly and then they may use me and my services to help them prepare emotionally before and after that meeting.
Right. So we can work in tandem. And the same thing with a financial coach. So I think there is space for yes, you can pick and choose if you need one specific person. And I think we can really collaborate in a meaningful way to help our clients look back and forward and up all at the same time. And the question was, remind me now I lost it.
The question was, there are people that enjoy one or the other.
Yes. Love therapy or look at it and I'm whichever one you loving, you probably need a kick in the butt the other direction.
Got I got. I got. Okay. Thank you. So my response to that is I like to ask people to do the work that is around their growth edge. And for people who are like growth edge, what is that? Don't worry, I will define it. So in therapy and probably in financial planning and coaching, there is a space that we call a growth edge, which is a place that is probably a little bit uncomfortable and is probably the place you have to look out for to kind of use a metaphor like stretching.
If you are in a stretch and it's a little bit sticky, a little bit uncomfortable, that's probably a good cue. You need to hang out there and take a couple more deep breaths so your muscles can relax and you can get deeper into that stretch. You could just say, I'm not going to stretch and back away from it, but you're not going to make progress.
Or you could be like, I'm going to definitely touch my toes and then snap a hamstring or snap an Achilles, right? We don't want to do that. So we don't want to push past discomfort just because we think we should and we don't want to avoid it just because it's uncomfortable. We want that spot that's a little sticky, a little bit challenging, and we want the support and guidance to be able to work through it.
Well, I think with money there's a lot of avoidance behaviors.
A lot putting the head in the sand, if I make one money, will fix it. It's not, by the way. It's just like the hard part there is just asking for help. And I'll be honest, I really don't care who you start with, whether, you know, whichever fight as a professional is the right one to start for.
You just have to ask for help. They’ll go hey, I want to work on this. It is huge yet I actually find with my clients I'll do an intro meeting with them and Billy side a client in about a week or I'll hear from them about a year and I've tracked it. And what it is, is it's a motivational question.
Are they willing to dive into the stuff that's been identified? Yeah, and I don't pick which one because there's nothing I can do to motivate and, you know, get them to do it. But there really is. You got to take that first step, reach out, talk to somebody, and I get these people. Well, I don't want to hide somebody cause they're going to judge me or my latte is a problem.
Look, I don't care about your latte, really. I don't. You know, it's more what's your big picture? Where we go and how we reach good with finance. It's just it's hard to make that first step. I mean, have you seen that?
Absolutely. So there are some data that shows that between the time a person first thinks, oh, gee, I need therapy and the time they call a therapist or email one, rather, today is nine months, I would imagine that number is probably pretty similar for financial planning professionals because a lot of us know we need a little bit of help, but to actually take the action to raise your hand or pick up the phone or send that email and really put it out into the universe and say out loud, I need some help is terrifying.
So yes, I agree that it is so amazing when people are able to say, I'm stuck, I'm struggling, I need some backup. I think that is one of the most powerful things any of us can do.
Yeah, I can actually give you a stat from a financial world that might let you get that. So in financial planning, we've tracked it from a marketing standpoint that people need 8 to 10 touches before they reach out. Oh, sure.
Oh, sure. Sure. Sure.
Now, that might be over months or, you know, weeks, eight years about what is. But I mean, they have to like, get to know you as a leader. The podcast, we do all weird things, so different ways to reach people and they really have get to know, all right, what's your approach where you go, What are you doing?
I will reach out there. Okay. You know, it's interesting. I've been tracking this about one third of my intro calls and it was like tears or dear. Close to it.
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Part of that is because they feel heard. They feel like, you know, they've said their piece, they like, hey, good work on it. There's a future, there's a whole bunch of stuff to it.
But you can see it's all built up. And then they're like, Oh, we can actually make a future. And then you see that shift and we see that with yours.
Oh yeah, I think a big piece of it is that money in general is just something that we don't talk about, right? Like in my therapy training, I got training on all the hard stuff, right? Sex, abuse, trauma, neglect, you name it. I had training on it. You know what I didn't have any training on Jay? Money.
Even in a program that is meant to help people through the psychology and sociology of our lives, we don't talk about money. And by the time a person gets to you or I, they have gone 20, 30, 40, 50 years. Probably having a handful of conversations about money now in my entire financial therapy career, I've had one, maybe two people who grew up in a household where money was a regular part of the conversation, one or two people.
And I think that's probably par for the course. I think most of us don't have exposure to talking about money, and we're probably not talking about it with our friends, with our coworkers, with our neighbors. So to have somebody like you say, hey, what are your financial goals? What do you want to do with life? Okay, actually, I think I think we have a way to get there probably is such a catharsis for them.
It is and I think I kind of spit one further and go money plus childfree are the two taboo topics together.
Oh and yeah Oh there sure.
When I was researching for my book, and I was actually asking people questions, I found that people would rather talk about their sex life than their money. Like, I mean, yeah, maybe they'll probably talk. Yep. I'm like, But it's okay, Lindsay. If people want to reach you, where do they find you? You know, if they want to get to know you, maybe they want to talk to a financial therapist.
Great question. So my brand is called Mind Money Balance. You can find me on YouTube, on Instagram, my podcast, my website, all the same name. My book is called The Financial Anxiety Solution. It's a workbook where you can work through those thoughts and feelings that come up when you engage with your money. It's probably good in tandem when you're working with a financial planner and you can get that wherever books are sold.
And if you don't have a good bookstore in your community that you like or you're kind of struggling financially, ask your library to grab a copy. I think that's a great choice and that's where you can find me. Mind Money Balance.
Awesome. Thanks for coming.
Thanks so much for having me. Jay. This was so fun.