On this episode of She Makes Money Moves, host Samantha Barry speaks to women about the awkwardness that can arise when friends in different financial situations go on trips or out to dinner together. She talks with Ciera Slaughter, a 25-year-old who makes $18,000 a year, and whose friends don’t understand why she can’t go out with them more frequently, as well as 36-year-old Audra von Mindan, who owns her own construction company and has hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments, and whose friends will sometimes expect her to pick up the check more often than she’s comfortable with. Then Samantha sits down with Stephanie O’Connell, who was once broke but now has a good handle on her finances, about how best to manage their friends’ financial expectations, what financial buckets we should be putting our money into, and why women shouldn’t be intimidated by investing.
Ciera has wanted to move to New York City for awhile, but without the capital to finance the move, she’s stuck two hours outside the city, living with her parents and commuting to her two part-time jobs. She recently quit one of her jobs to focus on finding full-time work, and says her friends don’t seem to understand that without a job, she doesn’t have any money to spend. “They’re just like, ‘You have free time. So now spend that free time and money with me.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s not how it works. When you don’t have a job, you don’t have an income.’” Another hardship is weddings; whether you’re in them or just a guest, there are gifts, parties, and dresses to purchase that can be a real strain for her. “I’m super happy for you, so thankful that you asked me...It’s just like a cruel joke where it’s probably the poorest I’m going to be in my life.”
Audra’s father was a financial planner, so he started her early in life learning about the value of investing money, compounding interest, and making your money work for you. She started her Roth IRA when she was only 15 years old. She also founded her own construction company, which stands to make around $3 million in profits. “When I go out for dinner or drinks with friends who I know who are struggling…I try to be generous and pick up tabs...where it’s appropriate,” she says. But sometimes this causes friction with other friends. She also has trouble sharing her investment expertise with her friends. “Even when you’re trying to offer something helpful or you know that you can help someone, it’s hard to find the right words or learn how to communicate...where it can actually be received in a useful way.”
Stephanie has plenty of tips for both women; if you’re a Ciera, try being the planner, she suggests. “If you're the one who says, ‘Let's get together,’ you have more options to dictate what that looks like...something that's really within your budget and within everybody's budget.” Samantha and Stephanie discuss how best to budget for a big move, side hustles Ciera can get into, and how to have the awkward conversation with the bride when you can’t afford to be in her wedding. “We really back away from uncomfortable conversations and trust me, I understand,” Stephanie says, “but we should be more uncomfortable about putting ourselves into further debt or putting ourselves into a precarious financial situation than we are about having a hard conversation with someone who should be one of our best friends.”
For Audra, Stephanie says there are two rules for giving financial advice: “One, don't do it unsolicited. Two, don't do it judgmentally. So someone is coming to her and asking her advice...framing it through the lens of what's worked and not worked for her personally, rather than being prescriptive or judgmental about how that person is spending their money or saving their money or not.” Stephanie also loves how aggressively Audra saved and invested her money throughout her life and encourages women not to be intimidated by investment products: a 401K plan through an employer is a great way to start, she says. “You learn about investing by doing it,” she says.
Join Stephanie and Samantha as they discuss moving costs, the importance of emergency fallback funds, long-term financial planning, and plenty of tips for all the Cieras and Audras out there about how to talk to your friends about money, on this episode of She Makes Money Moves.
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