My favorite money people, organizations, and resources

Here are some of the people and organizations that have inspired me most in my Right Livelihood journey:

Vicki Robin‘s book, Your Money or Your Life, sparked the beginnings of my own Right Livelihood journey back in the early ’90s. (I wrote more about that here.) Unbeknownst to her, this book also launched the entire FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) movement! When Vicki finally discovered that gobs of millennials had created entire subreddit communities (etc) based on her work, she jumped back into that particular fray… only to leave a few years later due to a very clear values disconnect. I LOVE all of this about her, and am honored to consider her a friend as well as a mentor.

Hadassah Damien, AKA the “femme punk big sister of financial real talk,” is a multi-talented genius. I simply adore her values and her take on big picture economic stuff. If you want to be inspired by someone who started out working class and who is absolutely kicking ass in terms of educating herself (and everyone else!) about money — and who has increased her earnings by FIVE TIMES in as many years — I highly recommend her Ride Free Fearless Money website. And sign up for her e-newsletter so you don’t miss any of her new blog posts or videos.

Resource Generation is a “multiracial membership community of young people (18-35) with wealth and/or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power.” If you identify as such, don’t miss their next Making Money Make Change conference! If you’re in the US, there might be a local chapter near you? I highly recommend their other programs and resources as well, including their brand new transformative investment principles. I experienced many firsts through this organization: my first time learning about the diversity of gender pronouns; my first anti-racism workshops; my first taste of what is possible when there is EXCELLENT facilitation of cross-race and cross-class conversations.

Kate Poole is SO inspiring to me. I look forward to one day working with the business she co-founded with Tiffany Brown; Chordata Capital is “an anticapitalist wealth management firm that supports “clients in redistributing rather than continuing to accumulate wealth”. I love that people like Kate are taking the topic of reparations so seriously that they’re creating avenues for actually making it happen! Plus she oozes artistic talent, and is generally a very fun and generous soul.

PocketSmith is my favorite app for making sense of my financial situation. Yes it costs money, but consider the net cost to society of the free option; Mint is owned by a company that lobbies to keep the US tax code super complicated so that they can sell you tax filing services (I’m looking at you, TurboTax!). Calling it a “personal finance” app would be selling it short. I use it to categorize my spending transactions so I can see where my money is going. It can handle currencies from multiple countries. Their new dashboard is customizable and brilliant for putting whatever information you want to see front and center. I love that you can plan out different scenarios to see how different choices will affect your financial future. And the calendar view for budgeting is super handy. Want a free month of Pocketsmith Premium? Use this link and I’ll get a free month too 🙂

Why it’s so important to support each other through hard times (if we’re in a position to do so)

During a video call with my family earlier today, I learned that my parents had just received delivery of 10 pounds of duck. Turns out that after reading an article explaining that small farms and food processors are suffering because they’ve lost the bulk of their restaurant business thanks to the coronavirus situation, my dad immediately called his favorite duck purveyor and placed an order. For… an awful lot of duck for just him and Mom! I’m sad I’m too far away to help them eat the massive batch of Chinese marinade duck wings that will soon be bubbling on the stove 😦

My parents are also donating generously to a fund that’s providing support to their musician friends whose gigs and concerts — their livelihoods! — have been cancelled.

These are both excellent illustrations of interdependence, and how those of us who still have income and/or assets right now can pitch in to support those less fortunate.

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Here’s a great video from Hadassah Damien, the “punk big sister of financial real talk,” waxing poetic on the limitations of the belief that we can ever be truly financially independent, with some great suggestions for what we can do to acknowledge our interdependence, particularly when it comes to supporting small businesses and fellow humans during times of crisis:

Independence and freedom only matter if I have people to be independent with and be around and get weird and smart and BE with.

I’m fully with Hadassah that the FIRE movement often takes on a very self-centered flavor. It’s a fascinating dynamic to observe, and I’ll confess it takes a lot of work for me to remember to be generous — because I can be! — when the fight-or-flight system gets triggered.

I also believe that this more selfish, believe-in-the-myth-of-independence view is more a function of the way many people currently practice FIRE, rather than what the founders of the movement intended, or practice(d) it themselves.

As an example of what I’m talking about, the latest blog post from Vicki Robin (who wrote Your Money Or Your Life — the book that sparked the FIRE movement – along with the late Joe Dominguez) asks some very juicy questions, acknowledges the dark side of FIRE, and reveals her own values, which in my view are very much aligned with Hadassah’s.

Here’s hoping that more and more people can get onboard with the benefits of financial INTERDEPENDENCE, and thanks to Vicki and Hadassah for all you do to steward this important shift! ❤