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Empowering your money

A college student gets serious with the help of a financial therapist: Let's Talk Money with Cashay and BUILT BY GIRLS

Erika Rasure, a financial therapist, is back to host the second episode of Let's Talk Money with Cashay and BUILT BY GIRLS, a podcast that helps prepare young women and non-binary students to step boldly into careers powered by technology.

In this episode, Rasure, who is also an assistant professor of business and financial services at Maryville University, speaks with Jasdy, a rising college senior who is interested in improving her money habits and understanding her feelings around her finances.

The following is a transcript of the conversation

This is Let's Talk Money, a podcast about the intimate details of money and the connections we have to it. In this episode, Erica Rasure speaks to Jasdy about her finances. Jasdy is finishing up her college years and is entering a new, remote internship. In this discussion, you'll hear them create a plan for her money and how to become financially independent in the near future.

Jasdy: I'm doing a remote internship, which of course, was not initially remote. But very grateful to still have the opportunity. So I start next week, so that will be exciting.

Erika Rasure: That's fantastic, how long is the internship?

Jasdy: It's actually quite long. I'm starting next week and then I don't finish until early to mid-September. So it's pretty much my entire summer.

Erika Rasure: Okay, so you're in school right now, what year are you finishing?

Jasdy: I have one more quarter at my university, so technically, I actually just had my graduation because I graduated with the class of 2020, but I still have to finish that one more quarter. So technically an incoming senior, but I've kind of graduated.

Erika Rasure: Technically graduated, exactly.

Jasdy: Yeah.

Erika Rasure: And I'm also a professor at Maryville University in St. Louis and one of the most heartbreaking things, was not being there to have the formal graduation ceremony and see all of the students I've come across along the way get that final ring of freedom, if you will, into adulthood and share in their joy and celebration of that. And I think for students in general, especially you and the position you're in, close to being graduated, technically, we've got one more quarter to finish up, but starting an internship, especially in a very uncertain economic time, nationally and globally, it can be very frightening. Are you feeling frightened or concerned about your future, going forward?

"Let's Talk Money" is a new podcast from Cashay and sister site, BUILT BY GIRLS.
"Let's Talk Money" is a new podcast from Cashay and sister site, BUILT BY GIRLS.

Jasdy: Definitely, something people always say is that election years, there's usually like some so oncoming downturn in the economy. And so I had already been kind of anticipating things being... Looking for employment post-grad is always a journey I feel, from what I've heard. But I was already expecting some sort of obstacles, but with the whole COVID-19 pandemic, it's something that's definitely been on my mind.

And I definitely feel among my peers, I think postponing employment in favor of going into some sort of post-grad education, has definitely been on a lot of people's minds lately. But for me personally, I'm quite adamant against that because even if I do want to go to grad school, I don't know what for and so I would prefer to get experience first. Suffice to say, I'm definitely concerned about what this will look like for me, in terms of finding a job, finding a career, and getting myself set up.

Erika Rasure: Absolutely, I do feel the class of 2020 has easily had more challenges than the average graduate. I mean, not only do we have COVID-19, but you're also correct, we do have an election year, which is always crazy. And I mean, election year has obviously influenced the stock market, but in terms of our just general, with the social unrest. We have so many things going on right now that have taken precedence and they're all very important things. And we are experiencing as a nation, as members of the global human race, we're experiencing just so much change.

And one of the things I think is most important in situations like this is embracing change because embracing change ultimately, if you do it well and if you do it thoughtfully and you do it authentically, it can and will bring you closer to whatever goals you have despite whatever perceived challenges might be in your way. It's a little bit deeper than me just telling you to go with the flow. I could tell you that all day long and you'll roll your eyes at me because I would imagine there are people who have told you that.

But it's truly about embracing change and understanding what that means for you. And it means shifting your expectations. So what I want to do now is I want to talk a little bit about your background and learn more about your upbringing and some of those concerns you have in terms of your personal financial situation.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

Obviously your employment as a new graduate is an extremely piece towards that building block of I don't know, just making a living and paying your bills. But so much of that embracing piece to bring you closer to your financial goals is truly about understanding where you've come from and how we translate that into where you would like to go. And establishing truly, your expectations going forward. So tell me a little bit about you, about some of the financial mentors you have in your life and some of those financial lessons you've learned growing up. Not in any particular order.

Jasdy: Okay, my background, I am the youngest of three siblings. My father first emigrated I believe, in the early '90s, and then it took a while for my mother and my brother and my sister to then be reunited here in The States. They emigrated from the Philippines and my parents come from a very, I wouldn't say like incredibly humble, I definitely think my parents both had the opportunity to get a college degree in the Philippines, bachelor's. But they grew up in a more rural part of the country, so my dad grew up on a farm and the towns there are incredibly small, everyone knows each other.

And so my mom had moved to Manilla for a while, which is the capital. But then moving here to California, to San Francisco, and to the Bay Area, being so young, I don't remember a lot of this. But I know that there was, of course, some financial hardship to adjust to life here in America, life here in The States. So I wasn't conscious of a lot of the things that had gone prior to me entering this world.

But my mom works as an accountant, so she's very, very literate when it comes to personal finance and financial matters. I think this might be, and I realized growing up that this is probably not very typical, especially for a kid of immigrant parents because I find that a lot of my friends are the ones helping their parents translate forms for FAFSA or helping them figure out who to contact to do their taxes.

Where in my case, my mom actually does the family's taxes on her own and doesn't go to some third-party. So growing up, it was always instilled in me to save. Actually, when I had my very first job, it was an internship my junior year of high school, my parents said that and this is I guess kind of a superstition, but the very first paycheck I had, they said to save that and never touch that amount of money because then no matter what happens, you always have that first paycheck, that first amount of money that you had earned in your bank account.

So as I've grown older, it's only been a couple of years of course, since high school, I'm not too old. But every time I've had a job, I've always made sure to save money and yeah. I guess, so for financial mentors, I guess it's really my mom because she's the one, if I have to deposit something in the bank, she'll usually do it for me or I'll go with her to do it.

She's the one who I go to the bank to get a checkbook or to set up my first credit card, my first debit card. It's definitely her in the family who I look to in terms of financial matters or issues of money. But it hasn't really translated to my own literacy in personal finance. It's so funny when I was growing up there was this CD-ROM game that was based on a book I believe, called Rich Dad Poor Dad. I don't know if you've heard of it. But it was this very-

Erika Rasure: That was actually the very first book I've ever read in my field, that was the one that just, it changed my life. I mean, it's very interesting. In terms of, if we're talking mentorship I mean, you can't get more clear cut [inaudible 00:10:08] in terms of mentorship than Rich Dad Poor Dad by Kiyosaki.

Jasdy: Yeah, so that book, I have not read the book, but there was a CD-ROM game that my parents had purchased, and it's meant for kids, right? And my siblings and I all play it, but it was this game about personal finance. Like there was you as a player and you were trying to buy a house and then you were also trying to invest. At the time, I was the youngest of all three siblings, so I had no idea what was going on. But just playing the game I think made me more exposed to I guess the importance of having your own money in life and knowing what to do with it and knowing what it means and when to use it, how to use it. I think just that kind of exposure is probably something a lot of kids, especially at that age, were not exposed to or aware of, so yes.

Erika Rasure: Yeah, absolutely. You had mentioned that you were notoriously known in your family for not exactly being the most financially literate.

Jasdy: Yes.

Erika Rasure: Would you expand on that for me? I'm curious.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

Jasdy: I guess this is goes to my lack of attention to detail. I'm very much someone who forgets things or overlooks things, which is why I always joke to my mom that I can't be an accountant. My mom would also agree because being very detail-oriented with numbers and especially when it comes to money, for some reason I just can't bring myself to be very focused and take the time to really pay attention to the minute details. I know in high school education, or at least in mine, I had our version of home economics, which was life management. But also, in our health education I believe, we had exposure to budgeting, what is a credit card? What is a debit card? What is savings? What is checking?

And although I obviously passed those classes and I guess I've retained a bit of it, a lot of I guess went through one ear and out the other and I would say, I guess, I wouldn't say that anyone in particular that I know, of my own age would really understand things in a tax form unless it's one of my friends who's in accounting. But I guess that's something I always strive to have because of my mom and the work that she does and even my sister, who also has a degree in economics. I always felt that it was important, but it was never something, I guess I prioritize.

Erika Rasure: And why do you think it's something you haven't prioritized? Before I have you answer that question, one of the things I find very common and it's not just common among college students or people of your age, it's kind of across all ages, it's that when we label ourselves. Things like I'm not really attentive to details, things go in one ear and out the other, I don't prioritize things, well we often do that because at that particular juncture in our lives, they aren't necessarily priorities, right?

Jasdy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Erika Rasure: You've been going to school, you're young, your priorities have been what right now?

Jasdy: School.

Erika Rasure: School and correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me that you have a lot of really strong financial support in terms of mentorship and guidance and actual probably money behind you. So it's very likely that it hasn't been at the forefront of your brain because you haven't had to worry about that. Is that a correct assumption?

Jasdy: I would definitely agree, I definitely think coming from my background, it's been an incredible privilege to have both someone in the family, who is knowledgeable and then also having parents who can provide me with the financial stability, still that as a kid, even as a young adult who is in college I, myself don't have to worry about it and prioritize it as you said.

Erika Rasure: Yeah and so now you're reaching that stage in your life, where you're wrapping up your college education, where you've got a lot of external factors out there, that we know it, you cannot control. You, yourself, cannot control COVID, you can't control the election, you can't control a lot of these things. But what can you control?

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Jasdy: I can definitely control me.

Erika Rasure: You and so the most positive thing I see here, regardless of whether you think you are 'financially literate' or if your family thinks, anybody who has the desire and the motivation to make their financial future a priority, is automatically going to be in a much better position going forward. There would be an issue if you were like, "Okay well, at this point I'm just going to graduate. I'm going to see what happens, I'm just going to live with my parents for a while and see how that goes." And not take any actionable steps. That to me is the exact opposite of what you are doing.

You are seeking people to help, you are seeking resources, you're looking at the bigger picture of your financial future, as you embrace these changes going forward. You're not doing that ostrich move of putting your head in the sand and just pretending that nothing else is happening. You're taking charge of it, which is the most important thing. I think a lot of people really find themselves in this conundrum of financial literacy in and a very literal term. The fact of the matter is, is you could have all of the financial knowledge and be extremely financially literate, but does that necessarily mean you are going to be good with your money? No, because in any other example in life I can give you, we generally know what the right and wrong things are to do, right?

Jasdy: Right.

Erika Rasure: We know that we should be saving money, but do we? Not necessarily, not necessarily and so the idea of you not being financially literate is more of a circumstantial issue. It's more of, well I didn't have to do these things. I've gotten a lot of good information, I know what I should be doing going forward. But how do I take those next steps? And so when I'm talking about the external factors you can't control and bringing it back to what you can control, what are things you feel you can control in terms of your financial life? What are the things you can do?

Jasdy: In terms of actual habits, especially with my internship this summer, I definitely think saving is a priority for me. And it generally has been every time I've worked and of course, that speaks to the financial stability I have here at home. But like you said, me being able to control me out of all the things that are currently uncontrollable and not within my power to control. I do see that given the time and given my commitment, I think educating myself on personal finance and I guess what steps I can take to tangibly make my goals come to fruition, like becoming financially independent, eventually moving out of the house, those kinds of things. That's definitely something I should be willing and I hope to commit myself, my time, and energy into putting more thought into it, I think.

Erika Rasure: Absolutely and I do think that thought piece is super important. Have you taken the time to really sit down and think about what your financial goals are?

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

Jasdy: Honestly, no not really. I think generally, it's very broad, it's very abstract. It's like I want to move out of the house eventually and I hope to have my own home maybe, if that's possible at all, in the Bay Area, very broad goals I feel. But I guess, I will say this, I don't think and I don't think I've ever really thought of this in the sense that it's never been a priority or explicit priority, but I've never really prioritized how much money I would make in whether career I pursue.

I definitely would prefer to do more meaningful work that maybe doesn't pay as much as opposed to something else, something on the contrary. And so I guess in some ways that's also a financial goal, in the sense that I don't want my finance to define what I do in life and especially going into post-grad, what next steps I take into building whatever career I hope to build.

Erika Rasure: Absolutely and I think what you said there is so key to so many people or applicable to so many people who are listening, in the sense that there's a lot of research that shows that the money you make doesn't necessarily make you a happier person. It just generally means that you're more inclined to spend more. There are a particular difference and the pursuit of material wealth versus the pursuit of the wealth of being personally and spiritually fulfilled from that direction. And so what would you describe as meaningful work to you?

Jasdy: I definitely, and this is something I think about a lot, especially now that I'm inching closer and closer to really graduating and leaving college. Given how privileged I've been to have parents who've provided for me, to have been able to go to a prestigious four-year university in California, all of these things I'm incredibly lucky to have. And so I think it would be detrimental to be disloyal to my own beliefs and values and ideals, to go into a line of work that isn't essentially doing good for others.

I don't think that is a good use of the time I've spent in college, the money that my parents put in to send me to such a great school, such a great college. I feel that for me, the meaningful work I do, would be defined by is it providing good change, or am I helping improve other people's lives in some way or the world around me? I definitely think that is a priority for me, moving forward and I believe has always been, I think.

Erika Rasure: I think one of the biggest things I'm hearing right now from you, is that it's important for you to do work that aligns with your personal values.

Jasdy: Mh-hmm (affirmative), yes.

Erika Rasure: You are very aware of the privilege you've had. Your situation, you're right at the beginning, it's not typical. You've had a lot of really strong mentorship, you've had a lot of support and what I'm noticing is that it seems that, that is doing good for yourself is important. But there's also that additional piece of doing good for humankind.

Jasdy: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah, definitely.

Erika Rasure: And my follow up question to this because generally, I'll see something along the lines of your response, but also a response of, "Well, I feel really guilty that my parents gave me all of this." And now-

Jasdy: Interesting.

Erika Rasure: Yeah and so now because I've had all these advantages, I feel like I can't pursue what I want because I have to make up for it. Like there's some sort of deficit for that. Are you feeling that way at all? Is there any sort of guilt associated with that or is your value system so well aligned with the way you were raised and the way you feel like a human, that you can comfortably say, "No, this is my experience. I recognize that I had a lot of privilege. I value that, but it's also ingrained in me, so I want to pull that forward." Is that what I'm more hearing?

Jasdy: I definitely think I maybe at one probably, when I was younger I might have felt a little guilty about these kinds of things. But I think at this point I've matured enough to know that, as you said, this is another thing that I cannot change, I did not have control over, right? And so I think honestly, at the end of the day, it is a waste of time to just sit here and think, "Oh, I feel guilty that I had the life that I have led and the upbringing I've had." And I think a lot of it has to do with also the culture I was raised.

Financially speaking, and this really speaks to money especially, in my culture there are these sayings like [foreign language 00:25:33] or [foreign language 00:25:34] and it's these things speak to like a literal translation would be like a debt. It's kind of like a debt to the community. It's a very collectivistic mindset that my culture tends to have. And so for example, something that has been very common, and it's actually something that my parents used to joke about. The eldest in the family or the older siblings will oftentimes sacrifice so that they can start work early, start making money.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

So that they can send the younger to college in cases where there's not enough financial stability for the parents to provide on their own, without the support of the older kids. And so growing up, my parents used to always joke that my sister, when she was old enough, would provide for my tuition to college. Obviously she didn't and I'm glad that she didn't. But I think that's definitely the kind of mindset that I've been raised to have and of course, it's not perfect. And like you said, I guess I understand why maybe some people do feel this kind of tug and pull like, "I can't do what I want."

But for me, I guess it works out because what I want is what I want for the bigger picture. Maybe for the community I come from, for the family that has raised me because I guess I definitely see myself as not so much, I definitely see myself as an individual. I defied my parents and I did not take up the major that they probably wanted me to take on. But I still think about how I can give it back or give what I have been given back to the community or pay it forward in some way. And so I definitely think that has been a very big theme to how I approach not only money but what I believe I will do or what I hope to do when I have money I think, is also a big thing.

Erika Rasure: Yeah and I'm glad that you brought in the cultural aspect of that because we who we are based on how we were raised and the lessons we've learned. And I love that you've shared some of these things and I love the superstition around the paycheck. I think that is absolutely fantastic, I mean and when you think about that, that's a pretty powerful statement to a young person. And part of it, at least the way I'm interpreting it, is it's a sense of pride. It's showing that you did work and it can be done again.

Like if something were to go awry, there's evidence, there's actual physical evidence that you have made money and that it is there, which I think is such a powerful statement to the whole universe. If you want to talk about that, I mean I could go on a whole tangent about that. But what that's really instilling in a young person, is that there's value in work, there's value in making mistakes. There's value every step of the way, no matter what kind of bumps might show up.

And I think that is just a powerful piece to this and the way it shapes you is really bringing and driving home a very strong sense of who you are authentic as a person, being aligned with a greater sense of your soul's purpose, economically and as a functioning human being. And I think that is tremendously important when we look at everything going on around us right now, I think it's really hard right now to separate ourselves an individual in terms of what's going on collectively around the world.

I think individually now, we feel more connected to everybody else around us because of the world that is now 2020. And the altruistic part of me really believes that this is a paradigm shift, a shift in energy that is really going to change the way people view their lives. Giving us a really great time of self-reflection, am I doing what I should be doing? Do I actually like my work? Is it meaningful? Is money the be all to end all? We need money to pay bills, to live, to pursue our personal goals of happiness. And I'm certainly not one to ever say that any financial goal, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody and it's not illegal is a bad goal to have.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

I talk to plenty of people who are like, "When I'm 50, I want to retire on a 40-foot yacht." That is fantastic, I want you to go get that for you. One of the greatest things about being a human is that we are generally limitless. We do get to write our own story, our own money story, our own love stories. We are the authors of that and when we can take time to reflect on how our experiences growing up, the things we want now, the things we think we might want five minutes from now, five years from now.

All of those things really start to shape how we believe individually and then giving that extra consideration to how it fits into the greater collective, is incredibly important. And I think a shift in the way we view money is going to align with exactly what's going on. I think so much of what's going on right now is a complete mirror into the way people are feeling about themselves. And really trying to find some sense of happiness and how that translates into... And I had a conversation yesterday with another therapist and I used the word happiness.

And he kind of called me out on it, he says "Really, Erika?" He says, "Happiness?" And I'm like, "Yeah, everybody should be happy. Everybody should have the freedom to choose their own adventure." He says, "I think the better word right now is resilience." And I'm like, "You know what?" It really struck a chord with me. Developing a sense of happiness versus a sense of resilience especially as we talk about navigating changes, especially in a time in your life where there's lots of external changes.

But changes that are going on with you as an individual. Graduating, all of those things, searching for a job, starting an internship, and trying to forge your financial path. I think resilience is a better word to use in place of happiness right now because I think the more resilient you learn to become the more centered, the more focused you become on who you are, who you want to be and who you're going to be.

And happiness in turn will follow because you'll have established a better sense of who you are and a more meaningful purpose to your life, instead of just pursuing happiness as a goal, whether it be financial or otherwise. Pursuing resilience is a much stronger statement. And so now, as you're transitioning, finding financial resilience and what that looks like for you, could be a very interesting way to start formulating and kind of honing your broader financial goals into more actionable steps that align with who you want to be and what that means for you in your life.

So let's talk for a minute about taking your broader financial goals, one of those you mentioned was being financially independent. Well financially independent just like everything else, could have a million different meanings depending on who you're talking to. So what does financial independence mean to you personally? Consider this more of like a brainstorming session. No answer is no wrong answer. Again, financial independence to you might be, I want a 40-foot yacht and retire at 50. For you, it might mean being in a position to take care of your sibling. So let's talk about what looks like for you?

Jasdy: Financial independence I definitely think really for me, just being able to hold my own. I do want to, in the future, when I'm hopefully employed and actually getting a steady source of income and such. I do worry about excess and where that would go because I feel like for me, when I think about the future and attaining some sense of financial stability and independence, naturally, I think of, well there's probably going to money that can be going to places other than just back to myself, other than me spending to buy personal things. And like you mentioned, I definitely think my idea of financial independence would speak to being able to provide for my family.

And I think a lot of kids of immigrants would also say the same. I would definitely want to be able to take care of my parents once they've retired. And take care of my sibling, who has a disability. I think these things are things that I would hope to be able to accomplish with my 'financial independence' but at the same time, one of my goals in life is to be a well-traveled person. And obviously that takes money and it's definitely not something that is a priority, but I recognize that I can single-handedly solve the world's problems and all that.

And that there is no reason, there's no substantial enough reason for me to feel guilty about wanting to go on a trip with my sister, with my family to a country that I've never explored or visited before. I do think that's completely valid and I do think that's completely healthy. And so I guess having the freedom to do all of these things, to be able to support my family and also just if there is any excess at all, to be able to use that to have time for myself to explore the world and explore even the different states of America, that kind of thing. I think that is kind of the thing that I think about when I think about financial independence.

And also I guess, probably owning a home, though it's something I think I probably worry the most about because I live in the Bay Area. Though I do definitely, my mom actually brought this up just recently, with COVID-19 and the pandemic and everything going on, there's all these high rise apartments being built in San Francisco and although construction has resumed largely, this new wave of work from home and remote work. People are in entirely different states sometimes. Like I know of someone who's working all the way in Glendale, which is down in SoCal, but their job is technically here in San Francisco.

And so thinking about that kind of thing moving forward, that likely is the new way we see work and how we operate everywhere, in every industry, public and private. That also opens a lot of doors and I think inherently then, also opens up a lot of doors financially speaking because I guess if that is to be the case, if that is to be future, then like you mentioned before, that kind of issue of not being able to do the work that I want to do, I think might not be as much of an issue as before.

Not in terms of looking for employment because that will definitely be an issue I think. But I could potentially have a job that is actually based in New York or maybe even a different country but still live here with the family or near the family, which is what I hope. And so those are just some things I think I associate or think about when I think of financial independence, especially during this time.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

Erika Rasure: So one of the things that stands out about you in particular, is that you have a very healthy sense of who you are and what your values are and that it is okay to do with your money what you want to do. I talk to so many people who are just so guilty. They have decent salaries, their bills are paid, they put money into whatever savings or retirement and then they have this excess you mentioned, right?

Jasdy: Right.

Erika Rasure:

And they're like, "What do I do with that? I feel like I should save it." My first question is, "Why aren't you having any fun with it?" What is fun? Like we're not supposed to have fun with money. Yes, we are. We are supposed to-

Jasdy: Yeah, it's why we work.

Erika Rasure: It is why we work and there is such a convoluted idea out there I mean, there's nothing that is grosser to me, than the idea of working, working, working to retirement and then enjoying it when you retire. There is so much room in this lifetime to enjoy things along the way. And it takes some deliberate decisions and planning to make that happen, but it can be done. There is no need for self-induced deprivation.

Jasdy: I totally agree.

Erika Rasure: And finding your way to that is key.

Jasdy: Something I actually took a class back in, maybe like a year or so ago and it was about, the course was called Agitational Communication and it was about civil disobedience, protesting. And something my professor had posed to us is, do you wish that everyone in the world was an activist? Do you wish that everyone in the world was so devoted to those kinds of things? And I think I definitely wish that social justice and these issues of inequity and inequality were on everyone's mind, but what kind of world would it be if everyone was I guess the same.

Jasdy: And that's why I think I guess, tangentially related, but I definitely think that's why I don't necessarily have these sentiments of guiltiness or shame if I were to spend my savings to go for example, on a vacation with family or friends. I definitely think that's something that like you said, is something that we've lost sight of, that for these 40 hour work weeks. People working overtime, many people have to even have multiple jobs, just to make ends meet. What is all this productivity in the end, for to make this money if it's not going to be spent to essentially live the life that we want to live? And of course, it's more complicated than that, in the world.

Erika Rasure: It is, it is for sure.

Jasdy: It's a lot more convoluted than we would like, but at the end of the day, like you said, what is the point of working, working, working? I definitely agree with that kind of perspective, definitely.

Erika Rasure: Because when you are talking about this class you're taking and that question that your professor posed to all of you. There is so much contrast in this world, right? And I think the protests and social activism are absolutely a perfect example of that contrast that exists and it exists everywhere, but this is a perfect and timely example of that. If were didn't have contrast, how would we know what we need to do better? How would we know that change needs to happen? In these particularly dark times, that contrast serves as shining this giant flashlight on things that could get better. And I think that is something that is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time, beautiful and heartbreaking, those two words themselves, are a contrast.

Jasdy: I think it's also very important because I think seeing yourself as an individual I think is important and especially during these times because both in terms of financially, like what money you have because ultimately you are just one person. And there are systems and institutions of power and wealth and there are extremes that we have come to, that need to be addressed.

And I think that kind of thing needs to be addressed, but like you said, it's very contrasted and financially speaking, when you think about the money that one person may have versus others or organizations or groups of people. I think that's why it's important to not harbor those feelings of guilt because you do what you can and then try to do more, but I think it's at all in any way productive to not want to enjoy the life that you have because yeah, you do only live once.

Erika Rasure: You do and taking that contrast and saying, okay, I've got this going on over here and I've got this going on over here. You're standing in the middle of that contrast and saying, where am I at an individual level? Where are my values? What is meaningful to me? And stuff that is meaningful to you, is not going to be meaningful to others. We see that every day, especially right now. But you can take what is meaningful to you and you can help yourself and others with the decisions you make, financial or otherwise and that is important to you.

And going forward for you, recognize that the environment we live in right now, post-COVID, for both private and public corporate entities, it's changing the way the world works. You have a very healthy approach in what you said, and I'm paraphrasing is, maybe I don't have to worry about buying a house in the Bay Area. I might not even be in the Bay Area. I have a very good friend of mine, who is in IT and she decided to move to Thailand because she loves Thailand and wants to be there for [inaudible] years.

And her company is based in Europe. There are options that are going to exist now that didn't exist before because of the contrast that has happened, the change. And the absolute most important thing to remember going forward is recognizing where you are in that contrast, figuring out what brings the most meaning to your life, from a financial and personal perspective. And taking small actionable steps to get you where you want to go. It's not going to do you any good right now, worrying about whether you're going to be able to buy a house in the Bay Area five years from now, will it? Is that something you want to worry about right now?

Jasdy: No.

Erika Rasure: No, it's not, it's not. But what you can control, again, this comes back to that idea of what you can control is looking for a way to take the experience you've learned in your internship, parlay that into an employment opportunity, whether it's with the company that's offering you the internship or parlaying that experience into a really amazing cover letter for another position that you're interested in. And being able to articulate that and put yourself on the path to meeting some of these broader goals you have as you defined financial independence and what that means to you, as it aligns with your values, your upbringing.

And what is important to you now and what you think will be important in the future. And I say what you think will be important in the future, I say that with some of a grain of salt because I know at my age now, what was important to me at your age, is no longer important. Those things change and it's okay. You should have evolving financial goals and your micro-goals along the way should evolve. And if you can trust yourself enough to know that, you know what? It's okay, it is okay to change your mind. At any point, it is okay to change your mind. What's most important is sticking to who you are and what you value and keeping your focus on who you are as a person.

And the things that you are doing every day that make you want to do better. And become what I'm talking about in those terms of financial resilience. And what I'm doing right now, is that going to make me happy in the future? Maybe, maybe not, I don't know, it seems like it will now. But will it make me financially resilient? Will I have enough leeway to pivot?

If I don't like this particular internship and I don't want to stay at this company, well, I can translate that experience to another opportunity that more aligns with your heart and truly what maybe ultimately make you financially independent in your definition. Your definition is always going to be entirely different from somebody else's. And any time you find yourself dealing or grappling with feelings of guilt or worry, that's a time for you to take pause and reflect on why you're feeling that way. Again, don't keep your head in the sand. Keep your financial wits about you and try to remain... Go ahead.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

Jasdy: I definitely think one thing that I think I do worry about and it really came to mind when hearing you speak, I think maybe I have and maybe I will continue to because it's inevitable to I guess, kind of have maybe conflict about meeting people who do have different ideas of financial independence, stability, financial resilience as you like to call it. And I wonder what is the best way to really go about meeting people, especially having people who are close to you, who just don't have the same ideas for not only money but how they use their money, how they don't use their money, their ideas of money and their own personal finance. I'd like to know, I guess I'm curious to know what your thoughts on that are.

Erika Rasure: That's an important thing to think about and I'm really glad that you're considering that. I'm a big fan of Dale Carnegie, I don't know if you've ever read his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. But in the very first chapter, the first part of the book, he talks about the three Cs and he suggests never criticizing, condemning, or complaining. And I hold that somewhat true in my daily life because you are going to have opinions come at you all the time.

Erika Rasure: You're going to have questions, "Why are you doing this?" It could be from your friends, it could be from your parents, any of those things. In my opinion, the best way, the most healthy way to deal with that, is to kind of take an objective step back, especially because we know you get those intuitive feelings in the pit of your stomach. You got this gut feeling and hair on the back or your neck is sticking up. And that's your ego talking and saying, "Okay, something isn't sitting right," okay?

Jasdy: Right.

Erika Rasure: And so it's your job to control yourself. Again, we can't control, other people are external factors, right?

Jasdy: Right.

Erika Rasure: We can't control what other people do or say or desire. And so what you can do is help quiet your internal yellow, you know that flashing light? When things like that happen. If something rubs you the wrong way or again, it has you take some pause or you got, like you mentioned that tug and pull, it's really good to kind of sit back objectively, sit with your thoughts, do a little bit of reflection. And instead of criticizing other people's opinions or complaining to another friend about, "Oh gosh, can you believe that this is important to them? Or can you believe that they don't think it's important to me or they think it's stupid or they think it's silly or they think my goals are too big."

Erika Rasure: You'd be surprised how many people I know that have been told that their goals are too big. There is no such thing, your goals are your goals and your goals alone. And the third part of that is condemning other people for their beliefs. We are all entitled to have our own beliefs, we don't have to agree with them. But what we do is, look at another person in love and hopefully be able to pry our own egos enough to understand that, hey, we are on our own path, people are on their other paths. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with getting off a parallel path with somebody that you don't want to walk with.

Jasdy: That's true.

Erika Rasure: It's really important to maintain financially healthy relationships around you or healthy relationships that support your financial goals around you. And there's nothing wrong with that. I've got particular friends that, we still remain friends, but we've agreed that we don't talk about politics. There are boundaries and there are parameters and there are expectations that you can set in every relationship. And so knowing what your boundaries and your expectations are personally, what you will and will not tolerate in terms of people criticizing, condemning, or complaining about you and what you value. You can most certainly do that.

Jasdy: Yeah, that was really helpful.

Erika Rasure: Good, I'm glad, I'm really glad. I'm really, really happy. I see that our time is getting close to the end here. So is there anything, you want to say anything that remains on your mind?

Jasdy: I guess just to further go into that topic of... Because I guess something I do find is important is, not to only just challenge my own beliefs, but to help others challenge their own beliefs as well. And I guess that might, especially I think during this, given our circumstances right now globally and socially in this country, I think our ideas of spending, who we are giving our money to, like what brands are we supporting with our money? What brands are we thereby ignoring or failing to support, by giving our money to other places? I guess, what is a good way to approach not only just challenging my own beliefs of how I can spend money, but how others can spend their own money so that they might put it to 'better use' or pay it forward in some sense?

Erika Rasure: Sure, so I love this. I love the idea of challenging ourselves and maybe being a beacon of change to challenge somebody else. And I think that's key to anybody's true personal growth and development, financially or otherwise, is being open to challenging your own beliefs when you're faced with some of these things. What are the things I truly believe? And is there room? It's about giving yourself and others space to explore in a safe way. And I'd asked you earlier about the types of financial mentors you've had in your life.

It's truly so much of our growth as individuals, financially and otherwise, is about finding people who challenge you, who are willing to have tough conversations, who you feel safe with, and say, "You know what? I don't understand this aspect of things. Why do so many people care about this?" And I don't see anything wrong when it's done in a very appropriate and kind, compassionate way. If somebody says to you, "You know what? I just don't understand why it's important to spend money at this company, instead of this company."

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And that might be something you have a strong belief in. You could simply say to that other person, as a way to maybe help get them thinking in a different way, "Well you know what? A couple of years ago I thought X, Y, Z. Would you like to hear my thoughts on it?" And just offer a little bit of a crack of a door. And if they want to walk through it, help them walk through it. If they don't want to walk through it, that's okay. And there might be times where you don't feel like walking through a door. But when you do come across situations like that, where you find yourself hesitant to walk through a door.

And that might come from okay, I've got this excess of money and I'm not sure where to even start with investing or any of those things. You might find yourself kind of tightening up a little bit. Be like, I don't know, should I be doing this? Should I not? Should I be investing in companies that are owned by women? Or any of those things or are they sustainable? We see that all the time. And it's growing increasingly important to investors to invest their money in causes they support at a very individual level.

And so my advice is to, any time you kind of hit that roadblock, is to do as much research as you can, by yourself and find opportunities and create opportunities for yourself to learn more about whatever topic that has got you a little bit stuck if you will. And when I say stuck, it's a challenge, it's again, going back to this aspect of financial resilience. It's managing that, it's managing not just you, yourself, but it's also managing these external factors. And trying to figure out how they fit into your personal value system, including how you invest your money, what companies you want to spend your money with. And maybe, at some point, sharing your thoughts and feelings with other people.

Jasdy: Right.

Erika Rasure: Yeah because how do we learn best? We learn from our peers and we learn from the people who are around us. So it's important to be a safe person for other people because you never know when somebody's going to need you to be a mentor too, remember that.

Jasdy: Okay, that was very good.

Erika Rasure: All right, well thank you so much. It was so nice meeting you. This was so much fun.

Jasdy: I know, it was a lot of fun. I'm so glad I got this opportunity. I'm so happy to have met you and have this opportunity to speak with you about all these things. Money can be a very taboo topic and especially in some cultures. So I really appreciate this time that you took to speak with me about this.

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