If I had Kate Northrup’s book, Money: A Love Story when I was starting out, I would have had more cash in the bank and fewer pairs of cheap shoes . . . and significantly less self judgment about it all. Here, Kate and I cozied up and had a money talk for you…
Photo credit: Catherine Just
Danielle: Let’s do a rapid-fire about money. Here goes: Money and . . . shame. Talk to me.
Kate: It’s huge. And what I’ve learned is that the best way to work through shame is to talk about it. As soon as we let our shame out into the light, it becomes lighter.
D: So you should you talk openly about what’s going on in your financial life?
K: Not with everybody, just with safe people who love you, or in an organization where that’s part of the deal, like a twelve-step program. If you don’t have somebody in your life to talk to about it with, find somebody who’s safe. But really, it’s more important to talk to yourself about it, and to tell yourself the truth about who you owe, how much, by when—all that stuff. Get it out in the open by writing it all down.
D: You know, women everywhere should be doing Money Love groups.
K: Actually, there is a guide on moneyalovestory.com to download for just that. Because what’s powerful is getting together in a group of women who are all going to support each other on becoming prosperous, on becoming clear with our money. Because the two things that everybody wants more of are money and sex, and they’re the two things we’re not allowed to talk about. So you’ve got to set up those structures.
D: Well, we can talk about money and sex all day long! But back to money. Money and . . . debt.
K: Well I’m going to quote you, if that’s OK.
D: Ya, baby, OK by me!
K: Debt is neither good nor bad; it’s just how you feel about it. Actually when I first heard you [Danielle] say that, it was just like a HUGE awakening for me, because I got into twenty thousand dollars’ worth of credit card debt. I felt like shit about myself; I spent a long time in shame, not telling anyone, not thinking about it myself, and just suppressing, suppressing, suppressing. In the personal finance community you mostly hear, “Don’t run a balance on your credit cards!” Debt is considered to be bad. But it’s just not a black or white issue—it’s how you feel about it.
D: I just always felt comfortable with debt. I just always knew I was going to make it somehow, someday, and if I didn’t then, well, having to pay off a credit card was like, a surmountable thing. I just wanted to have fun and grow my business, and I really thought that credit cards were invented for starting your business.
K: And for so many people who have that kind of risk tolerance, credit cards are a great way to finance a business, for sure. But again, it’s about how you feel. If debt is making you feel heavy every day, if it’s preventing you from moving forward because it feels like a weight, then you gotta do what it takes to get out of debt.
D: Do you and your hunky fiancé man set financial goals?
K: We do. We set goals together for the business based on the life we want to live. So, basically how that works is this: we know that our first priority is being able to be at home with our kids. Which, we don’t have yet, but . . .
D: They’re coming. I just had a very strong intuition; babies . . . are . . . in your future!
K: My God you’re so psychic! So when it comes to your life goals, it can’t all be about the money—because nobody wants money for money’s sake, actually. Money in and of itself doesn’t do anything. We want money because of what it will allow us to do in our lives.
I’ve always been super clear that being home with my future kids will be a top priority, so we organize our financial life around what will allow us to do that down the road. We were driving the other day and Mike said, “What do you want out of this book [Money: A Love Story] launch? Like, a year from now, how will you know if it’s a success? Is it more speaking gigs? Is it a set financial goal? “And then I projected several years in the future, and I said, “I just want to be at home making pillow forts with our kids. And if I’m able to do that, then the book will have been a success.”
D: Mmmhmm. Money: A Love Story. Yeah. This book could have been called, “Compassion With Money.”
K: I actually wanted the subtitle to be “A Kinder Approach to Financial Freedom.”
D: Ok, last one. Money and . . . courage.
K: In our bodies, money is associated with the second chakra. It’s the chakra that has to do with money, sex, and power; it’s where your reproductive organs are, and your lower-back region. To me, power is very much intermingled with courage. When we feel powerful, we have the courage to do things, to take action. And, so, getting it together financially is not about having power “over” something or someone. It’s about having the power to create; it’s exercising the power to speak up even when you don’t feel like you have a voice. See, that makes me cry.
So, money and courage—money is important! All the people who say, “Oh, money is not that important,” aren’t quite right. It IS! It is the material on which our lives are built, and you can’t do things in real life without money, so you have to deal with it.
And so I’m trying to inspire people to deal with money in a loving, kind, softer way. There’s no finger wagging, there’s no blaming. I’m not here to make you feel bad about yourself. It’s really about love.
3 READS ABOUT MONEY
“Nothing stands between man and his highest ideals and every desire of his heart, but doubt and fear. When man can ‘wish without worrying,’ every desire will be instantly fulfilled.”
The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn, Florence Scovel Shinn
“Whenever you feel ‘short’ or in ‘need’ of something, give what you want first and it will come back in buckets. That is true for money, a smile, love, friendship. I know it is often the last thing a person may want to do, but it has always worked for me. I just trust that the principle of reciprocity is true, and I give what I want.”
Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
Money: A Love Story – Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want is a uniquely kind and rollicking guide to getting your finances on track. It’s chock full of inspiring stories (including my own of getting into and out of $20,000 of credit card debt) and 29 eye and heart-opening exercises.