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‘I’ll have to work to have my voice included in the right spaces’
An excerpt from my Q&A with Penny Calling Penny that reminds us why we do this work.
As you build anything — a business, a project, a book — it’s important to stay in touch with the need that sparked the thing. It’s easy to forget the roots of an idea as it grows and evolves over time.
I’m always grateful for a reminder of why I started Healthy Rich. My direction and goals for this thing as a business have morphed wildly since I launched in mid-2021, but my reason for doing this work has not.
Have the conversation is the phrase I put on a sticky note in front of me when I first published the site. Any decision I made about the business had to support that goal. I’m here to have a new kind of conversation about money, with people who are too often left out of the conversations that dominate this space.
I got a lovely reminder of those roots when an old contact reached out to ask me to share a Q&A I’d done for their personal finance site, Penny Calling Penny, last year.
With their encouragement, I pulled out some of the questions to share below. I grabbed the ones that took me back to my roots as a reminder for myself and for you of why we’re here and why this conversation remains so important. You can catch the full Q&A at Penny Calling Penny.
Healthy Rich makes space for diverse voices we don’t hear enough in personal finance media. Become a free or paid subscriber to support our work.
Penny Calling Penny: Being a woman entrepreneur, have you encountered any difficulties when creating the blog Healthy Rich?
Dana: Not yet! My experience as queer and a woman is vital to the work I do with Healthy Rich, because my experiences help me connect to the people I want to serve. I know I’m in a minority of financial educators, and I’ll have to work to have my voice included in the right spaces as I build the business, but I know I also bring and make space for important perspectives we don’t hear enough in personal finance media.
What fueled you to put more emphasis on the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities in your blog Healthy Rich?
We don’t hear enough from these and other marginalized communities in personal finance media. The industry is dominated by middle class, cis, straight, white men, and their experiences with money don’t align with everyone’s experiences. Their advice can be irrelevant and alienating, especially when it’s presented as the “right” way to manage money. Things like poverty, homelessness, unfair pay and workplace discrimination are overrepresented among people with marginalized identities, and financial education needs to account for those experiences.
I intentionally invited women, BIPOC, LGBTQ, formerly incarcerated people and people with disabilities to share their stories through Healthy Rich, because we needed to start by seeing the diversity of our relationships with money that’s been largely ignored so far in the personal finance industry.
Why is financial self-advocacy more difficult for people who live in underprivileged communities?
Our systems are built to make it difficult. Our institutions are designed by people who hold power, wealth and privilege, so they work to help those people maintain power, wealth and privilege. At best, our institutions are oblivious to the experiences of people with less privilege, and at worst they’re intentionally built to exploit their vulnerabilities and keep them from gaining privilege.
Financial education generally assumes all kinds of privilege — the ability to get and hold a job, negotiate fair pay, access affordable housing, open a bank account, have choice in where to shop, read and comprehend the terms of financial agreements, obtain a credit card, have stable internet access and devices, care for your mental and physical health… the list goes on. Our institutions don’t guarantee these basic rights for everyone, so financial education that uses them as a foundation leaves huge communities out of the conversation. When people don’t get financial education that speaks to their circumstances, they’re left in the dark about how to approach work and money in ways that are useful to them.
🤠 Looking for a better kind of financial education?
My Budget-Free Fundamentals series gives you everything you need to gain a fresh perspective on your relationship with money. In a few short lessons, you’ll gain tools to use money the way you want without relying on restriction, succumbing to shame or following advice rooted in greed. Paid subscribers have full access to this and all Healthy Rich classes.
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