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Podcast Season 2 Episode 1: "I'm financially stable, but my friends aren't. The guilt is crushing!"

Season 2, Episode 1: “I’m Financially Stable, but My Friends Aren’t. The Guilt Is Crushing!”

“We’re back” isn’t just a dinosaur’s story anymore. Or it is, but it includes these dinosaurs! (we said, gesturing at our own wrinkled selves).

That’s right, kids, the Bitches are back with season two of our podcast!

This week is all about friendly debate. What’s the line between the nearly extinct middle class and The Rich, Who Must Be Eaten? Who has the most responsibility for driving change? Most importantly, who does the better Ursula?

(We meant to settle this with our very loud and obnoxious Poor Unfortunate Souls-off, but I’m not sure a clear winner was established???)

This week’s question

An anonymous Tumblr follower asks…

Hi Bitches! You guys have been so helpful to me. I graduated last year with no student loans thanks to my parents, I got a job in that field with a pretty good salary for an entry level position, I’m contributing to my 401(k) and I’m close to paying off my credit cards. So that’s fantastic!

But as I’m looking at the near future of actually having a decent amount of money in the bank, emergency/retirement funds, living a bit more comfortably, I’ve started feeling really guilty.

Most of my friends come from a less fortunate background than me, whose parents aren’t able to be as generous, and also haven’t been as lucky with jobs. I feel like I have no business having money in the bank when people I care about are struggling. And then I feel ridiculous for complaining about a problem that boils down to “I have too much money.”

I’ve helped a couple of friends by covering a bill until they get their check, for example… but sometimes I overextend my budget by doing that, which obviously isn’t ideal. But I keep doing it because I feel awful that I have a safety net (with my parents) and they don’t!

I want to help my friends, but I also want to be financially stable myself. As money-savvy folks who are also very aware of the state of the economy, have you had any similar feelings? Do you have any advice?

Yes and yes, and plenty of ’em! Listen and let us know how this question made you feel.

A few suggestions for further reading…

Thanks as always to our generous patrons for their help creating another season of our podcast. Patreon donors get direct access to our nefarious and not-very-good-working minds. Donors can pitch us questions directly, and get private answers from us directly in their inbox. Join us over at our Patreon page!

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Aaaaand then I lost my job.

Sad trombone.

Kitty dropped the news during our coronavirus article blitz. And I’m honestly glad she did, because it saved me the struggle of deciding to pull the trigger on telling you all. For some reason I’ve been too… ashamed? Embarrassed? Afraid? Feeling hypocritical? Emotionally stunted???

There’s a reason it’s taken me a few months to write this article, even if I don’t yet understand what that reason is. Clearly I have a lot of thoughts and feelings to process about getting laid off. So let’s get with the processing.

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Hi, it’s me: your Good With Money Friend.

If an old acquaintance reaches out and asks if I’d like to grab drinks, I know it’s not because they miss my sparkling personality. It’s because they just cracked open their investment statements for the first time in five years and they need to talk to someone who actually understands whut dafuq it says. It’s okay! I don’t take it personally.

The Good With Money Friend is a very valuable part of any friend ecosystem. A squad without one is like a Pokemon team without a dragon type: our rarity and fussy movesets make us only situationally useful, but there’s no getting through the Elite Four without at least one of us.

Obviously Piggy shares my genus and species. We started this blog so that we could save time by sending people a link instead of tapping it all out with our thumbs in a text!

Now, we ain’t professionals. (CFPs are lawful good. We’re chaotic good; we tell you which parts of your taxes you can cheat on. Key distinction!) But if your budget for financial advice is “here, take this six pack,” then BABY, we’re here for you! Talking to a Good With Money Friend can give you the gut-check you need when you can’t afford professional advice, or need insights from someone who knows you better than a paid professional you just met.

This week I Zoomed with two of my closest friends. We talked through their goals and identified a strategy for getting there. With their permission, I’m going to open up that process so you can see how I arrived at my conclusions. 

One of our key missions at BGR is to create more Good With Money Friends, especially in historically underserved communities. So open your mind like a flower in the morning and absorb our baseless opinions! One day you, too, will be rich in grateful friends, a more stable immediate community, and/or six packs!

CHEERS M8
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Ope, pardon me, just gonna go ahead and slide this in…

Yeah. That.

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You know what I love?

The American Dream.

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James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “the American Dream” in his book The Epic of America. He describes it as…

“… That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

– James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America

Freedom, liberty, independence, opportunity: that hopey changey stuff. I believe all the star-spangled buzzwords so often used to describe the national character of America are attempts to capture the light reflected by the glittering facets of this idea: that America is a place where everyone can rise to become their best selves, and that those best selves have equal value despite their differing contributions.

Like I said, I love and treasure this idea. And it’s because of that love that I taste such bitter disappointment in its failure. Nothing stings like seeing something fail when you really, truly believe in its inherent goodness. In the famous words of Tyra Banks: “I have never in my life yelled at [an idea] like this. When my mother yells like this, it’s because she loves me. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. How dare you?!

… Yeah. That’s how I feel about the American Dream in practice.

It’d take a galling amount of ignorance to fail to see the major cultural, political, and socioeconomic realities that make the American Dream more attainable for some than others. In this context, you can talk about the struggles of any number of marginalized groups—women, people with disabilities, queer folks, immigrants, minorities, and “out groups” of all kinds. But today we’re talking about race.

There are many systemic, structural, institutional impediments to black excellence. Today we’re looking at an itty bitty pie slice of history that serves as an example of how white people have used terrorism to destroy black wealth. You know—a lighthearted topic, best served at lunch, with tea and cucumber sandwiches!

We’re going to talk about the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. For the sake of readers who may be sensitive to this topic, let me clarify that our focus today is specifically on the economic impacts of violence. That necessitates acknowledging the existence of slavery, segregation, lynching, false sexual assault allegations, and other upsetting topics. But I see absolutely no reason to repeat racist language or include detailed descriptions of physical violence to meet that goal. Gonna go ahead and miss y’all with that.

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(You may have heard in the news that Donald Trump selected Tulsa, Oklahoma as the site of his first campaign rally of 2020—on Juneteenth no less! If you aren’t familiar with why this pissed so many people off, get excited! This article is about to shellack you in fresh knowledge like rejuvenating dewdrops on the morning flower!)

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