Internet Outrage Part 2: MILLENNIAL Money

Published August 3, 2018.

Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend. Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere. Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow. Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. Aminatou: On our last episode about Internet outrage . . . [Laughs] Ann: I mean isn't every episode about Internet outrage in some -- yeah. Aminatou: We talked about plane bae and poor Internet etiquette. This week we discuss a different type of social media lightning rod: millennials and money. [Theme Song] (2:05) Ann: Elsewhere in Internet outrage that is relevant to our interests, a thing that was like widely shared and at least out the gate widely reviled this Refinery 29 money diary which . . . Aminatou: You know how I love a money diary. Ann: Yeah. Refinery 29 has been doing this feature for . . . Aminatou: For years. Ann: Years, which is a pretty standard I would say almost old-fashioned magazine trope of like . . . Aminatou: I mean it's the sex diaries from New York. Ann: It's a sex diary, it's a food diary. Yeah. Aminatou: So they are self-reported accounts, in the case of the money diaries, of how one spends one's money during the week. Ann: Right. Originally the piece was titled something to the effect of "A Week in New York City on 25 Dollars an Hour." Aminatou: And to be clear the money diarist does not write the headline. The money diarist just sends in their like "Here's how I spend my money." Ann: Yes. It was an article about a 21-year-old marketing intern in the HR industry who it was revealed during the course of this money diary also has parents who pay her rent and an $800 a month allowance and $300 from her grandpa. Aminatou: And to be clear the money diarist disclosed all this. This was not some sort of deep, dark, hidden secret. Ann: Yes. It was not in the headline and so I think that that is one reason it came in for a lot of criticism but it became this lightning rod that had to do with class and privilege and the fact that it came on the heels of Kylie Jenner being on the cover of Forbes and the list of America's richest self-made women was I think part of it. (3:50) Aminatou: I mean we're living in a deep time of class rage. Ann: Right. Aminatou: People want to eat the rich. It's Marie Antoinette times all over again. [Laughs] Ann: Yeah. And even though, you know, as you have pointed out many times Refinery 29 has been publishing these money diaries for a long time, many of which have to do with people who are in some ways supported by their parents or working at jobs they got through a family connection, I don't know. Maybe people are just getting woke to class rage right now. In the case of Kylie on the cover of Forbes, Forbes has been having an index of where it rates who was a self-made person and to what degree they are a self-made person. For context one is like I inherited every penny I own like Paris Hilton. Ten is like I was born in pretty extreme poverty without any family connections and worked my way up to the very upper, upper . . . Aminatou: Pat McGrath. Ann: Oprah Winfrey is a ten, is a pure ten. They even use that phrase. So Kylie was rated by the magazine as a seven meaning she had some advantages but was pretty close to the middle of the line. For context Mark Zuckerberg who went to a private academy and went to Harvard and whose parents both have advanced degrees was an eight, ranked slightly more privileged than Kylie. So it's all subjective nonsense about what level of privilege someone has had. But clearly what is going on is oh, this person is not just living on 25 dollars an hour; she's living on family connections and privilege. Kylie is not self-made in the sense of she came from very little money and zero family connections to build what she's got. The debate and the conversation is very much anger at a lack of transparency about baked-in class advantage essentially. Aminatou: That's fair. This whole thing reminded me of living in San Francisco where the class rage in San Francisco very much feels like millionaires angry at billionaires. [Laughter] Like that's what counts as class rage. It's like ugh, I only have one million dollars. You have ten million dollars. Then they're all angry at Jeff Bezos. And I felt that way when I was reading a lot of the response around this money diary, and it was interesting talking to a lot of my non-white friends about this where we were all rolling our eyes. A lot of the people I saw yelling the most about this piece, I was like "Let's talk about how your parents pay your rent. Let's talk about the dirty secret of New York media is in order to make it you do come from money." You know what I mean? (6:20) Ann: Or let's talk about the fact that you don't actually have student loans or something like that. Yeah. Aminatou: Right, exactly. It's like it's interesting that it takes this kind of argument to make class relative, you know? Wow, when you're in a heterogeneous pool that wants to kill each other I'm like what's going on here? You guys are all the same. Ann: Right. Aminatou: And I feel that the outrage was also really misplaced. Like I get it, yes, like we're definitely going to eat rich people alive and there is this like socialism is back. I personally do not believe that rich people are bad. I believe that money is bad and capitalism is bad. But I think that for many reasons I'm totally down with at least certain kinds of people pursuing being rich. It's still weirdly counter-cultural that you have women who have a lot of money. I was like 40 years ago you couldn't even get a credit card without your husband's signature. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: So clearly there is nuance to this conversation. And also I'm like people of color pursuing money and capitalism? I am so down for this. The truth to me that is exposed in the outrage about all of this is we should all be more honest about where our money comes from. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: Because the reason I have historically liked reading the money diaries is I was like oh, this is how somebody who says they make 25 dollars an hour affords a 4,000 dollar apartment in the West Village. The grandparents give them 300 dollars. The mom pays 800 dollars. Ann: Yep. Aminatou: You have this weirdo allowance from somewhere else. It's literally how I learned what trust funds were with all these kinds of things. And there is transparency about it. Clearly Refinery did not frame it adequately but the money diarist was very transparent. And I was like the money diarist is more transparent than most people who are outraged about this money diary about where their money comes from. (8:00) Ann: Yeah. Well and also being honest about that sort of thing which I think is the intent of this feature, being honest about that is an important way to not feel shame about the fact that you don't have a $4,000 apartment in the East Village. Aminatou: Right. Ann: Or sorry, the West Village. Wherever. Whatever village. Whatever expensive village. Aminatou: If you have a $4,000 apartment in the East Village call me. We're going to get you to live somewhere cheaper. [Laughter] Ann: But you know, the idea that the rest of us were watching that happen and are like oh my god, why can't I get it together to make a minimum investment in my 401(k)? Aminatou: Right. Ann: The answer is wealth and privilege you have no control over frankly. Aminatou: Exactly. Right. So all of this to say too that when there is mass outrage, even though the outrage is correct, a healthy dose of skepticism is good at all times. Ann: Right. I want to see people talk about the role money has made in the career decisions they've made and things like that. Like especially if they are being lauded for their shrewd choices. I'm going to tell you right now that most of my early career choices were based on necessity, like this is where I could get a job and afford to live. This is where I had one friend connection from college and so that's where I ended up. Aminatou: 100%. Ann: Like, you know, because my parents couldn't pick up the phone and call anyone in media. And that's not a sob story. It's just a thing that I think it's important to be transparent about once you're 15, 20, 30 years deep in a career and someone is trying to make a go of it and are like why is it so hard for me to be strategic? It's so hard for you to be strategic because . . . Aminatou: Oof. Ann: You don't have that many choices and connections and not that much money yet. You can't be strategic with very little. Aminatou: It's all how many doubloons you're born into. [Laughter] Ann: The doubloon economy. Aminatou: I know! I was born into a zero doubloon house. You know what? I figured it out. So it's just like this stuff is just really fascinating because I feel outrage like this which is like I understand where some of it comes, but some of it is like especially if you're a person of color so eyeroll-worthy. Ann: Yep. (10:05) Aminatou: I get it, but what I do want is more transparency about money and not less transparency, you know? So the exercise of the money diaries, however you feel about Refinery 29's editorial mission around it, it's how I feel about these New York Magazine sex diaries. I'm like all these people are making this up. This is self-reported nonsense. People need to start having sex in the sex diaries again, aside. Ann: This is a [0:10:26] problem of no one is having sex but go on. Aminatou: Like millennials, we're not having sex because we're buying so much avocado. [Laughter] That's a thing. But the truth is I want more people to talk about money in real numbers, and that was actually the appeal of the money diaries is people tell you their salary. You see the kinds of decisions that they make. You're out here buying Siggi's yogurt and you pay $4,000 rent, it's not a great decision but I see why you do this. And especially women talking about money there's so much shame that is tied into that. And I was like well, one way that you lift the shame is actually creating avenues where we can talk about this more honestly. Ann: Well, and I think we tried to do that. Like our episode about the business of CYG which is not a balance sheet completely but is kind of our way of being like okay, this is what percentage of our income comes from this thing. Like I would love if everything I consumed did that or had some level of transparency around that. Like I think about that all the time whenever -- when I see a restaurant health score. I'm like yeah, your health score is an A but how are you paying your employees? I would love an employee pay score or something like that. Yeah. Aminatou: Yeah, like I want more talk about money, not less, because it is educational for everybody around. And also for a lot of population it lifts the shame around not having money and the way that you spend your money. It's why I love listening to the Bad With Money podcast. Ann: With Gaby Dunn? (11:55) Aminatou: With Gaby Dunn. And the thing about it that has been really fascinating is realizing that oh, everybody processes their money shame differently. Some people are really upfront and honest about it. And I was like oh, actually this is one area that I do not like to share all of my bad spending habits. And listening to other people talk about it has been one very healing, but also it has changed my habits. So all of this to say less shame around money. More transparency about money. All white people have secret money whether they tell you they don't or not. It's called generational money. Ann: Well it's called inherited wealth. Aminatou: Right. It's like inherited wealth versus enslaved people. It's like welcome to how -- like yes, it's literally how you have something to show for, like to the next generation of your family line, that a lot of people don't. Ann: It's called your people had to live within red lining or your people got to live outside red lining. Aminatou: Exactly. But it's like let's talk about it. Ann: Mm-hmm. How much money do you make? Just kidding. [Laughs] Aminatou: I'm going to tell you. Ann: How do you make your money? Aminatou: How do I make my money? I make my money through scamming predominantly. Ann: Oh my god, shut up. Aminatou: Well, you know, this year actually has been interesting to me because I was sick so the way that I make money has shifted drastically. I make money from this podcast which used to be my smallest income and now that is no longer the case. I still don't think it's the most money I make. I make money from . . . Ann: Is that because the rest of your picture has changed or because we're rolling in it? I know the answer to this but I have to ask it. Aminatou: It's because of the -- I mean I think that it's both. It's actually like if I actually . . . if I did nothing else this podcast would still pay for a very large chunk of my life and I would probably have to maybe write three or four things a year and be like I can still pay my rent and be okay, you know? But I cannot afford the amount of product that I need so that's true. So maybe the way to say it is this podcast pays for my rent. That's taken care of. And then I don't do a lot of the consulting that I used to do so that is what's taken a toll, but also I had a healthy amount of savings I was living off of so that was my rainy day fund. And I was like you know, this year for me financially is going to be a crapshoot but I feel fine about it. How do you make your money Ann Friedman? How much money do you make? Ann: I make like six figures. Aminatou: Same. (14:10) Ann: Half of which -- like less than half of which is . . . well actually I haven't done the numbers for the last year because as you know I'm only now filing my 2017 taxes which is when I do . . . Aminatou: IRS don't look into us please. [Laughs] Ann: Which is when I do my pie chart of what is the breakdown of all these different ways. Like it's really different than someone who makes money on a 9-to-5 or a staff job, right? Aminatou: Yes. Ann: So the percentages have shifted. It used to be that all my money came from writing short articles for the Internet so I was in a volume game. Aminatou: I remember this. Ann: Yeah, then around 2015/2016 which is when we started selling ads on this podcast, which is when I started doing ads in the email newsletter that I send every Friday, that started to shift. So I think as of the most recent time I looked at it the podcast was like 40% of my income and the newsletter was like 10 or 15% and then everything else is . . . Aminatou: Scamming. Ann: Scamming. Aminatou: [Laughs] Ann: Writing, some speaking or consulting-type things like with other media places. Aminatou: Yeah. Ann: And I have my mother's father who passed away when I was in seventh grade owned a small town bank in Lumberyard and I get like a thousand dollars a year in dividends because everyone who's in the family is a member of that. Aminatou: I love this. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: We own a bank? [Laughs] Ann: Listen, I think that is a slight exaggeration. Aminatou: That's how I'm interpreting this. We own a bank in Lumberyard? Ann: That's my free white people money which comes in once a year and goes right back out again to reparations charity. [Laughter] But it is something that hasn't . . . when the economy was bad it was like zero dollars. You know what I mean? Aminatou: Yeah. (16:00) Ann: When I could've used it most when my career was weakest I am sad to report I didn't have it. And now that I live a comfortable life after 15 years of being in the business that I'm in I'm like all right, this is money that goes back into the world. But yeah, that's my hidden white people money. Aminatou: Gina, tell us how you make your money. Gina: Yeah, so like Ann said, CYG makes up about half of my income which has been really exciting from where we started, so that has also helped me launch my career further into podcasting. Before that I was working pretty much entirely in public radio as a producer so I got a lot of the skills that helped for podcasting. Nowadays I do not work from an office. I don't do the radio day job thing which has given me a lot of flexibility to take on a handful of different podcasting projects which has felt kind of creative and generative and has been an exciting transformation. And then it's kind of come back full-circle because now I produce a podcast for a public radio station here in L.A. so it's a little bit of what I was doing before with what I do now. In terms of my secret white people money I'm a multi-generation white Californian so growing up I knew I was super lucky. I went to a private school. I knew I was going to be able to go to the college of my choice without worrying so much about cost as a factor but it really went home later the extent to which having owned property in multiple generations of my family over time, especially in a market like California where the values went up and up and up and up, that just having a place even if it was a modest home at the time that you bought it would really generate so much more wealth. And so much of that was driven by systemic racism even in a place like California. So that's, you know, multi-generational, a lot of white people money. Not really a secret. [Laughs] And this isn't a secret either: to make money on this show you're going to hear ads now. [Ads] (21:18) Aminatou: Here's the question that I actually like to ask people is what is the minimum amount of money that it takes for you to live your lifestyle as it is currently? Ann: I don't know. Actually I don't know the answer to that. Aminatou: Really? Like if you had a salary that you were like -- if somebody was like "Ann, this freelance scam is over. You've got to take a staff position somewhere." What is the minimum amount of money that you would take? Ann: That's a different question than what money does it take for me to live my life comfortable? Aminatou: Well I mean the reason that I'm putting it in the context of a staff job is with freelance you're always like I can do one more thing, you know what I mean? Ann: Oh my god, it's turned me into a monster libertarian where I'm like "I want an extra pair of boots this winter? I can take another assignment." Yeah. Aminatou: Yes! Oh, I do that all the time. Ann: Yeah, me too. (21:55) Aminatou: Not to say that I don't enjoy doing all the things I enjoy doing but sometimes you're like -- you know, I'm like I would like to take an extra vacation. Here is the project that allows me to do that. Ann: Here's why I can't answer that question, because I have never made a household budget. I mean like my first two years of freelancing I had a number where I'm like okay, if you hadn't hit this number by the end of the week you're going to starve and not pay your rent. So there was one point in time where my finances were much more precarious that I had to be on top of it. Aminatou: Yeah. Ann: But one thing about becoming more financially comfortable is you don't need to know down to the last percentage point what you need. Aminatou: Yep. Ann: And the answer is I have more money than I need right now. That is the truth. It's not like I'm like oh my god, I'm Richie Riching it. But the reason I can't answer that question is the difference between this is what my baseline expenses cost versus this is what I would like to make if I took a staff job based on my experience or whatever else. Aminatou: Fair. Ann: Like what I'm giving up in independence, let's be real. You've got to pay a strong fee if you're going to . . . Aminatou: Yeah, no, the independence fee. I'm like that's where all the staff money comes into play for me. Fair. Ann: But anyway that's why I can't answer that question. It's a privilege to not know the answer to that question is what I'm trying to say. Aminatou: Fair, fair, fair. Ann: It's funny though. To bring it back to this Refinery 29 article I had this real moment where the original headline, I can't find it, but it did say something like the intern who makes 25 dollars an hour and loves Siggi's yogurt. Aminatou: Yes, that was a huge Siggi's yogurt play. Ann: And for me it was a really big moment in my life and career when I could buy whatever yogurt I wanted. When I didn't have to buy the store brand, I could buy fancy yogurt, is a thing that I really remember. I remember coveting it when I couldn't afford it and I remember when I kind of made the financial level upshift to be able to spend "too much money on yogurt." And so the fact that it was in a headline, I was like this is speaking directly to me. (23:45) Aminatou: This is so fascinating because we talk about this a lot on the Colorful Lives podcast that I host with Angela Yee and Tonya Rapley. Tonya Rapley runs this website called My Fab Finance. The thing that doing that show and talking to those ladies specifically about money has done for me is it's like the emotional part of money spending has really bubbled up to the surface for me. Like it's interesting to hear you say "When my finances were not stable, my choice in yogurt was a thing." I was like I've been eating my favorite yogurt even when I was at my poorest. Ann: Right, different things. Aminatou: Because I -- and part of I think my financial insecurity has always been that I have a way of . . . like there's things I refuse to compromise on. Ann: [Laughs] The Aminatou Story. Aminatou: Yeah, The Aminatou Story. And I'm like I'm going to buy that Liberte yogurt, like whatever it means. Ann: And I'll be like it's my birthday, I'm buying the Liberte yogurt. [Laughs] Aminatou: Totally. It's like $1.25, let's be real. But there was a time in my life where that actually made a difference. Ann: Totally. Aminatou: And the thing I realize that has clouded a lot of my money shame is that I am very good at living within my means. I will pay rent. That's the first thing that money goes to. It's why I'm known to pay my rent, and now that I have enough money to do this, I pay it chunks where I'm like okay, four months then I don't have to think about it. That's my number one fear is being homeless even though yesterday you promised me that if I was ever homeless I could come live with you. Ann: And you rolled your eyes as if I were not telling the truth. Aminatou: Who says that and means that? I mean I guess we're about to find out when I'm homeless from . . . Ann: What I said is "If I find out you did not have a home and you did not call me first I will be very upset." That's what I said. Aminatou: [Laughs] You know, homelessness is a huge fear that I have because it's like rent is a ginormous chunk of money. Ann: Yes, of course. Aminatou: And after that, like for me the thing that would always take its toll was I was like well here are the comfortable things that it takes for me to feel like my life is not falling apart, and sometimes that meant a fancy yogurt. Other times it has meant a fancy cream. Now that I look at it I'm like oh, that's actually money that I could've been saving. Thinking about . . . Ann: Wait, is this a tacit endorsement of the you buy too much avocado toast and lattes and that's why you're . . . (26:00) Aminatou: No, it's not a tacit, and I don't actually believe in that. Ann: I know. Aminatou: I was like no, there are huge historical forces for why people are broke. But I do think that when it comes to building money habits there are things you need to . . . that's where actually financial responsibility comes into play. It's like you can live in the best socialist state and still be broke if you don't know how to manage your money. The whole point of personal finance is not necessarily to make you rich; it's to teach you how to live within your means and then to teach you how to generate more money if that's what you need. So anyway that's that. This is what Tonya calls your money journey. I have historically been bad at saving because I always will pay premium for things that I shouldn't have, and also because a lot of times that stuff meant more to me in the moment. I was like wow, my situation is so precarious that all it takes is this one nice thing to make me feel like my life is not falling apart, you know? Ann: And also the financial benefit of a savings account, like let's be real. It's important to have savings, especially if you're self-employed, but the incentive's there where you're like I get to see a 12 cent balance increase due to this savings account, it does not feel . . . Aminatou: We need to get you a high-yield savings account. I'm worried about you. [Laughs] I'm just kidding. Ann: But for real I'm talking about when you're trying to make that decision between should I save a tiny bit or should I buy this tiny luxury is the benefit of oh, wow, my 200 dollar savings cushion, that's a really big . . . you know what I mean? Aminatou: Yeah, no. Ann: It's easy to downplay the meaning of that . . . Aminatou: Totally, totally, totally. And it's just the kind of thing where you . . . like for me the thing that put all of this into perspective honestly was having cancer this year where I was like wow, yeah I have cancer but also I'm #blessed. I was able to truly take seven months off of work. How many people can say that? Ann: This is America. No one can say that, yeah. (27:52) Aminatou: Yeah. All of the stats on that are the majority of Americans do not have enough money for a $500 emergency, you know what I mean? And I was like that was me not even two years ago. Ann: Right. Aminatou: So the fact that I was able to -- you know, I was like I don't have unemployment insurance but my unemployment insurance was this savings account that I had and the way I have structured how I make my money. And I think about that a lot and now that I'm better I feel a lot of guilt about it. And also the way that you grew up informs how you spend money. Ann: Totally. Aminatou: Which is a thing that I -- it's like the older I get the more I'm like hmm, I replicate a lot of my parents' -- like the good things that they did and the mistakes that they made. And this thing about always having a nice thing when you can't afford it, that's literally the house I grew up in where it was like there would be champagne in the fridge until there was no money. Ann: Wow. Aminatou: And then we weren't . . . like you always knew what day my dad got paid because it was like nice chocolate, and it was always premium articles of things. And I was like oh, I have internalized that and I do that again and that is a point of comfort for me but I need to learn how to break that if I'm going to financially break free from my demons. [Laughter] It's a whole thing. And also planning for -- I think about this a lot too. It's like retirement and all this stuff where I'm like well, what am I saving all this money for? Is it that I want to buy a house? Is it I want to retire well? What does it mean to be . . . Ann: What are your goals? Aminatou: Right. It's like what does it also mean to be a long-term single person and do all this stuff? Like life is so much more expensive when you're alone. Ann: Totally. Aminatou: You know? So for me that's the class rage I feel. I'm always like whenever I have friends that are couples that complain to me about money I'm like I understand this but I'm like you . . . I was like our struggles are not the same. And also I support my family, you know? Ann: Well but there's also people in couples who are supporting another person who, let's be real, how many women do I know . . . Aminatou: I know. (29:45) Ann: Who are currently or at various points have been in a relationship with a man who was just a financial black hole, you know? Aminatou: I know. But the idea of that is it's an investment, right? It's like I'm going to support you while you go to law school. I'm not saying it's a good investment; I'm just saying that it's an investment. Ann: I'm actually not sure. Personal people who I know, I'm not even sure they see it that way. Aminatou: Oof. Ann: I think it's almost like . . . it's like some kind of hetero love tax where they're like . . . Aminatou: [Laughs] Ann: I'm not even kidding. They're like "I love you and you're just not getting it together . . ." Aminatou: Totally. So if you don't talk about it you make hella assumptions about how all of your -- I'm not even talking about strangers; I'm talking about the people you love that are in your life. You make assumptions even about what money means to those people. Ann: Right. Aminatou: And it creates tension and not-tension, or something as dumb as remember all those vacations that you'd go on in your 20s then it's like wow, we do not have enough money for this vacation. Now everyone's sleeping on the floor. Ann: Wait, what vacations did we go on in our 20s? [Laughs] Aminatou: This was a recurring theme for me in my friend groups. Ann: We were going on vacations? Aminatou: Ann, wow. You know, this thing about how -- or I guess maybe the recurring tension in my 20s, and not that it was a big tension but now I recognize it as a tension point, is that you do group activities with people without ever discussing the level of financial commitment that everybody can have to something. And then you're like . . . like I remember this famous beach trip that would always happen where this one person in the group that was definitely older and had more money than everybody else, because all of the food was socialized, would always buy the most expensive of everything. And I was like you're literally a millionaire. This is the millionaire/billionaire class, buying croissants for all the kids who have no money. And I remember people feeling so upset about that and I was like wow, today I have the tools to know that all somebody needed to say was like "Hey, maybe buying A+ cheese is not the best use of our money on this trip." But it sounds really dumb but I'm like people don't communicate about money enough. (31:52) Ann: Well also this is -- I've long thought about the fact that I know there are things like Venmo for planning and sharing group trip expenses but what if there were seriously a checklist like okay, what is the responsibility of everyone in this group in terms of like who is activity planning? Who is booking stuff in advance versus who is getting shit together on the day of? Aminatou: Totally. Ann: Also what is everyone's budget for this trip? Aminatou: Right. A question that should be at the top of any group planning activity doc. Ann: And I have to say this much-reviled Refinery 29 diary contains a few instances of her being out with large groups of friends where she has sticker shock when her percentage of the check arrives, and granted that is clearly not the difference for her between making rent and not making rent, but that experience of like oh my god, we didn't actually talk about what all our expectations are in part because it's annoying to have to do math when you're picking a restaurant on top of everything -- all your other considerations. I know why it happens. Aminatou: Totally. Totally. Ann: But these are all more nuanced and more universal problems than the general class outcry which is also warranted but for different reasons. Aminatou: Totally, totally. Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: It's also I feel like it's a real sign of intimacy when you can be real with your friends about money. I know with us when we were becoming friends the hey, sorry, can't go out today, I'm broke . . . Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: Like that was a real -- I was like oh, you know my situation, you know? So we'd sit on our couch and you'd make orecchiette, you know? And we still had a fancy dinner but it was truly like two buck chuck and like . . . Ann: Bless you two buck chuck. Aminatou: All that stuff. I like knowing -- my friends knowing my money situation and me knowing their money situation as a barometer for how healthy is our friendship? (33:44) Ann: Well and also the idea of how do you thank people who were not inherited money style but low-key patrons of yours? I'm talking about people who have like kicked me work when they know I am really broke. Aminatou: Yeah. Ann: Or who have been like "Listen, I know you're super stressed. Here is an assignment that is going to be pretty easy for you that comes with a pretty high dollar amount." Aminatou: Totally. Ann: That kind of stuff that gets you through. And then also like you said the basic can I make you dinner level. And it shouldn't be awkward, right? Acknowledging that the world is not fair, capitalism is a scam, lots of very valuable work is valued at a lower dollar amount than other work. We don't set the rates out in the world. We don't predict . . . Aminatou: Right. Ann: We don't control what is inherited from your family, but what you can control is discussing your needs and expectations with friends. Aminatou: Totally. Ann: And you can kind of say "It makes me feel like shit when you offer to pay every time. I just want to go to a cheaper place." Aminatou: Yeah. Ann: Like that's a conversation I haven't been able to have with friends at times, that it's not that I'm broke, it's not that I can't eat out, I just can't eat out at the place you want to eat out at and I don't want you to pay for me every time. Aminatou: I'm not trying to keep up with your Joneses, you know what I mean? Ann: Yeah. Aminatou: And also it's true, and also I love that. And just having honest conversations about it, because we're also, you know, friends with a lot of people who -- you're right, who have kicked us work. People who have supported us going to things. I'm thinking about like Ruth Ann Harnisch. Ann: Oh my god. Who we have thanked publicly on the podcast. Aminatou: Just how -- yeah, you know what I mean? Who is so generous with how she spends her money and her time and, you know, that's how we've been able to do so much stuff on CYG. And thinking about it as, you know, like how do you foster community, right? Through the resources that you have. And you're also somebody that is incredibly generous with your money and everything. Because, you know, I think we talked about this on this podcast. Remember for a long time Ann you were, of my friends, or in the way that we lived, I was like wow, you are so rich. But I like -- I don't mean like swimming in doubloons; I literally mean the difference between I know a person with a savings account. [Laughter] You know? Even though that savings account had just enough to do one grocery run. (36:00) Ann: Speaking of family baggage, if I did not have a savings account I feel like I would have to give up my family name. This is a real Midwest . . . Aminatou: We own a bank. [Laughter] Ann: Midwest practicality shit. Yeah. Aminatou: Now I feel like I want to email your mom and be like "What are we going to do with this lumber yard? I'm trying to throw a party now." Ann: Oh my god, building materials. It's actually called Building Materials. That's the most Iowa thing ever, like we didn't even name our lumber yard. It's just the name is what it sells. Aminatou: Listen, that's like very hipster. [Laughter] Ann: Like the way that all hipster gentrification outposts are called like Blah-de-Blah Dry Goods or Such-and-such General Store. Aminatou: Yes, oh my god. Ann: Like who's out here on the gentrification frontier calling it the dry good store? I see you. Aminatou: Oh my god, Shoppy with two Ps. Ann: Shoppy. This is not the frontier. Aminatou: Two Ps. Oh my god, okay. Ann: Oh my god. Aminatou: All of this to say call your girlfriends and ask them about money. Ann: Yes. Aminatou: And also if you feel awkward about it they probably feel awkward about it so . . . Ann: Everyone feels awkward about it. I'm sweating profusely having just said that. Aminatou: I know. Maybe we should start, whenever we have guests on the show, we should start asking them how much money they make. Ann: What's your annual salary? Aminatou: What's your -- I'm like how much money did you make this year? I'll tell you how much money I made this year. I'll write it on a piece of paper for you. Ann: Slide it over. Aminatou: Yeah. I don't want to tell people on the podcast because I'm trying to make double that. [Laughter] It's enough to be swimming in Aesop products is all I'll say. Ann: Girl, I've got to say, staying at your house, my favorite hotel. It's the only place I can sleep on an air bed and feel like a queen. Aminatou: [Laughs] Because everything else is a mirage. Ann: Everything else is so quality, I'm like my body doesn't even compute the air mattress. Yeah. Aminatou: It's the best. Ann: All right, I'll see you and your bank account on the Internet. Aminatou: See you and my doubloons on the Internet. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website, you can download it anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on Apple Podcasts where we would love it if you left us a review. You can email us at We're on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @callyrgf. You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter The Bleed on the Call Your Girlfriend website. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. Our theme song is by Robyn, all original music is composed by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, our logos are by Kenesha Sneed, and this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.