It’s time to change the way we teach and talk about money
The way we teach and talk about money needs to change. Our founder Dana Miranda is leading the charge, and explains her approach on an episode of the Humanitarian Entrepreneur podcast.
About the author: Carson Kohler has been writing for the web since 2016. Based in Nashville, she is currently a writer at a national news organization.
Financial education demands a makeover.
We’ve seen a push in recent years to introduce personal finance into classrooms — a great start — but the way we teach and talk about money needs to change, too.
“We're missing a lot because we're ignoring the nuances of how money is different in everybody's life, and we are ignoring the emotional pieces and the identity pieces that drive what money means to you,” Healthy Rich founder Dana Miranda shares on a recent episode of the Humanitarian Entrepreneur podcast.
She joined host Tiffany Zehara to discuss the intersection of money and culture and how to build wealth in nontraditional ways.
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Not your traditional money conversations
When (or if) we are taught about money, it’s often with a blanket approach: spend “wisely,” save your money, avoid debt at all costs. But this advice doesn’t account for the simple fact that money isn’t universal. It affects everyone differently.
“It’s the life experiences we have, the traumas we experience, the joys we experience — all of that affects how we perceive money in our life and how we go about earning it and managing it and spending it,” Dana says, noting this can start at an early age.
The current conversation around money also ignores the greater implications of our larger economic and social systems. If we’re all working toward individual goals, someone will always lose, and we miss out on what we could achieve as a collective.
Challenging your mindset around money
There’s a lot of guilt and shame wrapped up in money. Tiffany notes this is especially true in activist and changemaker culture. So how can we break through these constructs and look at money differently?
Dana says the first step is to listen to other peoples’ stories and experiences. That’s why she started Healthy Rich — to share stories from people who are often left out of the conversation around money, including women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, rural, working class and people with disabilities.
“Hearing someone else’s experience, especially when it’s not what you expected, just instantly breaks down assumptions and barriers that you had,” she says.
Almost 100% of the time, these stories don’t fit into the way things are “supposed to be” or these general, blanketed rules society has cast upon us. Once you start hearing other people’s stories, you’ll begin to understand that the rules and expectations you’ve been attempting to fit into don’t always make sense.
Dana, who is on this journey herself, says as she listened to these stories, she began asking questions. Why do we put money in the stock market? Why is homeownership always the goal?
This can feel scary, but it’s important to find these answers yourself and forge your own path.
An example: a nontraditional path to employment
Graduate college, get a job. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? That’s the story we’ve all been told. But this isn’t a realistic option for everyone — nor should you feel like you have to go down this road.
Dana is a proponent of freelancing and entrepreneurship.
“You don’t need to ask for permission to do your job,” she explains. “It’s something you can start on your own.”
For many service-based businesses, the start-up costs are low. She encourages people to hone their skills and reach out to someone and offer their services. Realistically, you aren’t going to make a boatload of money overnight — it takes time to get started — but you don’t have to wait around for permission (i.e., to get hired).
The biggest challenge Dana says she sees when coaching people on freelancing is that they don’t know how to get started. They see professionals with shiny websites and built-out online presences, and it looks like a huge task.
But really, Dana encourages beginners to take small steps to get started. For example, for writers, you can buy a $15 domain and set up a simple website and start writing. Create samples and send them to potential clients.
The same goes for other industries — take it step by step. You don’t need to go pro overnight.
“There’s a perception of a gap between where you are and what it would mean to be self-employed,” Dana said. “It’s actually a lot smaller than you think.”
This article is based on an episode of the Humanitarian Entrepreneur podcast. Catch the full episode here.