An interview hosted by Bailey and Kevin with "financial hype woman" Berna Anat. Berna leads Hella Helpful, a free workshop that sparked a community of BIPOC and first-gen children of immigrants who talk finance. We talked with Berna about leading with transparency and role modeling how you want community members to show up.
“When you learn in community, your brain grows so much faster than it would on its own.” - Berna Anat
Berna brings hype to an otherwise “hella male, hella stale, and hella pale” financial space. She creates videos, writing, and hosts talks that encourage, support and celebrate those of us who struggle with personal finances.
This work is personal for Berna. Growing up a first-gen child of Filipino immigrants, money felt like a taboo topic. Berna set out to change that. Today she’s a writer, producer, speaker and “Fin-fluencer.”
Berna's devotion to creating content over the last two years bred fertile ground for a community. On the podcast she shares how she tested and launched a brand-new monthly membership program that connects community members to one another for financial learning and friendship.
Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:
[3:43] Berna’s origin story--growing up the daughter of Filipino immigrants, talking about money was a taboo.
[9:40] Sending a signal--Berna’s first share behind the curtain of her personal finances.
[14:47] Role modeling the funky energetic vibes and vulnerability that her community has adopted.
[19:25] "Why"--Learning, and the power of doing so in community.
[24:30] Shared activities--Berna uses Instagram and Hella Helpful workshops to reach women-identifying millennials of color and all people left out of financial conversation.
[30:40] "Translating” financial language so it's fun and Berna's community will actually want to listen.
[35:50] Membership--Why Berna is starting a new "Hella Helpful" membership.
[37:50] Rituals--"budget date night" and hype texts for members.
[40:50] Building a thriving Slack channel *with* members.
[46:00] Pinpointing founding members and inviting into the group so they feel safe.
[48:00] Role modeling vs. community management.
[53:45] Berna is given the magic wand and makes her wish ✨
👋🏻Say hi to Berna on Instagram and learn more about Hella Helpful here.
📄See the full transcript
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Note: This transcript is automatically generated, and there may be some errors.
Welcome to Get Together. It's our show about ordinary people, building extraordinary communities on your hosts, Bailey Richardson. I'm a partner at people and company and a co author of get together how to build a community with your people.
Speaker 2: I'm Kevin Wynn, Bailey's business partner at people and company, where we advise organizations on how to cultivate meaningful communities.
Speaker 1: In each episode of our podcast, we interview everyday people who have built extraordinary communities about just how they did it. How did they get the first people to show up? How did they grow to hundreds, maybe thousands, more members today we're talking to burnout and that's our favorite to financial hype woman. Yes. She made that term up. Let me tell you what you meet. Berta is a financial educator who brings hype to the experience of finance. She is encouraging, supporting, and celebrating those of us who struggle or have shame with personal finances. This work is personal for Burna growing up a first gen child of Filipino immigrants. She came to feel that money was a taboo hush, hush topic years into her young career. She decided to take a deep look into her own finances, all through Google. And to quickly she realized that the only information she could find was, and I quote hella mail, hella pale and hella stale. Burna set out to change the look and feel of financial information today. She's a writer, a producer, a speaker, and a thin influencer as she writes, is that saying dedicated to making financial literacy, more funny, more accessible, and more Brown for young people everywhere. Kevin what's one thing you learned from our conversation with Burna,
Speaker 2: You know, one of my ahas from chatting with Burna is that role modeling how you want community members to show up and participate is powerful. I'd say that Bernie has been gathering an audience for some time, you know, through the content she's producing and is now more intentionally building a community, at least one that's like very well defined as a membership community. And she's leading with transparency about her finances. She's leading with vulnerability about what she does or didn't know, and also, you know, communicating with an overall like funky, energetic vibe and continues to bring it. And I think that type of role modeling just with herself is helping through how she acts as herself is helping her spark a meaningful membership community. It's influencing how these early members that we'll hear a little bit about in the episode, how they're supporting each other and how they're already communicating with each other.
Speaker 1: One final thing before we jump in Burna has been telling stories, educating people for two years now. And she just started testing out a private little membership where folks who
Speaker 3: Jive with her approach and with her teachings can help each other. And if you want to check it out, you can go over to hella helpful.com. We'll also talk a bit more about it in the podcast. You ready? Kev? Yeah. I'm so ready. Let's go for it. Welcome to the podcast. We are so stoked to have you on the get together podcast. I've heard so many good things about you behind your back. So it's a total pleasure to have you on with us. Woo. Take us back to where all of this started, like tell me about yourself, where you're from, what parts of your past life motivated you to develop an expertise and an interest into the financial hype world that you're in now? Of course, thank you so much. Bailey and Kevin for having me on this podcast. It's one that I listened to. It's a little woke up this morning being like, okay, one of those cool days where I get to feel like a Lamar at it, then maybe I get my phone. And I was like, I'm going to be on a podcast. I listened to her to be in my, in my pajamas.
Speaker 3: I am in a basketball Jersey right now. Yeah. I'm in the right place. I feel really surrounded by makeup off moment. Yes. I'd love to tell you more about kind of how this all started as a financial hype woman. I love when I start off with, you know, I'm burnt out, I'm a financial hype woman. I love to see people's facial reactions. When I say that, especially in a crowd, because they're always like, okay, she just started talking. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt. But like, what is that? That's a made up thing. I am a financial educator and I call myself a financial hype woman because the reason I think that I'm in this space is to put things there that didn't exist before. And one of those main things is definitely hype. So for those of you who are not familiar with what a hype woman is, they're basically the person behind any artist or performer that's like backing up kind of, I wish you could see me.
Speaker 3: This is a podcasts. You physically can't see what I'm doing, but like I'm doing this very nerdy kind of raising the roof, like men rolling behind the person who was doing something, basically anyone who is really deeply encouraging and giving love and light and energy to someone who's doing something hard, which I think the financial world needed a lot of. And my financial hypomania journey began. I would say about four years ago, I have no financial background. You don't know. One of my family was into finance. We didn't talk about money. I'm a no first gen child of Filipino immigrants. Mabou hi, what's up. Our other business partner is Filipino and I lived there for three months. So that's about all I have. But anyway, and also Kevin gets confused for being, you know, all the time, but you're not the moms always think I am, Oh man, kind of thing.
Speaker 3: We're like, I know you don't want to go against your own culture. But like if you milk that, like a lot of good things can happen for you. Filipino moms, very generous, very loving. But I mean, the thing is with a lot of Filipino families and I've found in a lot of other families, money is extremely taboo to talk about. It comes with a lot of hush, a lot of shame. If you're a Filipino family, it's a lot of that kind of noise. I'm just like, we don't talk about money. No. And so growing up, you know, I was into communication and writing and like video producing and always was bad at money. And it was one of those things that I just resigned myself to being like, I'm just, I'm just always going to second money. You know, my family is lower middle class, both working parents kind of always living paycheck to paycheck.
Speaker 3: And it wasn't until I want to say 2013 that I actually went from freelance writing in New York city read extremely broke. And I got a full time job in tech, in San Francisco to move back home. And I was like, Oh my God, you guys, I'm going to get a paycheck every other Friday. Like, this is how the other side lives is crazy. And I took that as an opportunity to go like, all right, if I'm getting this sort of like IV drip of money every other Friday, like fancy people do. I think it's time now for me to confront my $12,000 in credit card debt and $38,000 in student loans, then I started to basically just Google. Like I just, I started this whole thing by just literally like, you know, the sort of meme of a cat, like with its paws on the keyboard, just like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, FYI.
Speaker 3: That's my quarantine life, a nice the cat. That was me like cat Paul's on a keyboard. Just like how budget, what is money? Where does credit card in that journey? And sort of learning in that very specific millennial way of just like, I'm just going to kind of Lego pieces education together via Google. I learned one that a lot of these sort of what is known as basic budgeting and saving and getting out of debt facts are known to some people, but not known to a lot of other people. Tell me what you mean by that? What's what are those? Some people, yes. I mean, it is on my Instagram bio, the whole thing about being me as a financial hype woman, it kind of revolves around my anger around the fact that the finance world is hella male, hella pale, hella stale. Right? That is what I found in doing all this financial research is just like, and in starting to be a little bit tiny bit vocal with coworkers and family and friends about my financial journey.
Speaker 3: Like, Hey guys, I'm sorry we had a budget. Like, what do y'all know about budgeting? What is, what do you do with your paycheck every two weeks? How do you learn? And people are like, Oh my God, you should listen to this person, this book and this blog, you should follow this person. White dude, white dude, white dude, white dude, white dude, white dude, the way
Speaker 3: That was like, okay. So, you know, when your parents like transfer their trust, I'm like, what trends are out? Or like, Oh, when you're trying to move forward, your first house definitely get in touch with their family and they can help you with a down payment of like, blah. I'm like what? With what money? My parents don't have a savings. Like what is this? It was just completely, I would say completely disconnected, very tone deaf with my own experience. And so that's kind of how it all started. The more I started to share about my experience, the more other people were like, hold up a Brown person, a Brown woman talking about money. This is crazy. And also we're talking about money out loud and we can do that. This is crazy. That's how kind of it all it all started. I was like, Oh, Oh, no one has held the mic in this way.
Speaker 3: Let's do this. Let's go. Yeah. I want to talk about that moment because I can imagine if you've grown up with something being taboo or being dismissed or being shameful, I mean, you seem like a pretty like courageous human being, but was it scary for you? I know that I saw somewhere in interview or talk, you gave that one of the first things you did to kind of grab the microphone was to post, put up a post of you scrolling through your budget and actually sharing the numbers, which I know is a part of something that you do. Like, can you take us back to that first time you shared, was it scary for you at all? Or was it not like, how did you feel doing that? It was one of those things where I was like, why the hell not like, kind of looking around and thinking, no one, like I've never really seen before that I've never seen the inside of anybody.
Speaker 3: Else's bank account. I've never seen this alleged budget that people keep talking and talking and talking about on the internet. You never actually make sure you have a budget. And when you to your budget, I'm like, why are we talking about this thing? Like, it's an imaginary unicorn. Like why can't I see it? We're worried about it. And my version of the budget at the time, and actually still to this day was, you know, the spreadsheets weren't really working for me in the apps weren't working for me. And one thing that I've always done throughout my entire life is a journal and just write out feeling clearly. I have lots to think about and lots to say. And so I started something that I called a Felicia's wallet at the time, because by Felicia was very much a thing and people were like, Oh, I want to see Felicia's passport.
Speaker 3: I was like, I don't want to see Felicia as a wallet, like boarding all that where she'd going and how she boarding this. So what I shared at the time without post was the Google doc that I had started many months before where I just journaled every single time I got a paycheck every Friday, I was just like, well, here's my paycheck. It's this much. I think this is what I spent it on. Wait, let me check yet is what I smoke. That's crazy that I spent this, this, that, well, paycheck is the same. So I guess this next shift I'm going to, I'm hopefully gonna spend it on this, this, that, here's how I feel. That kind of thing. I looked at it and I was like, huh, a lot of good learnings here. What if I shared this? And then of course the first instinct was like, Oh no, you know, many years decades at that point of being told that we don't talk about money.
Speaker 3: That instinct came right to the front of the room. And it was like, no, we don't talk about money. We don't share about money. And then I was like, but why though, like who's going to get hurt if I show a very fast boomerang squirrel through of what this Google doc is that barely has numbers on it. It's really just feelings. And I put it on Instagram and just sort of share what's going on just to see if anyone else is doing this at all. I mean, that's like the reason we share anything on the internet is just to be like, anybody know, hello, anyone there, chemical the internet, the internet is so loud and big that like, if people were like crickets or like no burn and be like, okay, cool, cool. Never going to share again. No big deal. Not like a Marine drink, gone back into the Homer bushes.
Speaker 3: And the reaction though was incredible. And the, especially the reaction specifically from other women of color who were like, Whoa, I didn't know. We can do that here. Like, I didn't know that those were the rules or I've never seen the inside of anybody's money, anything, or I've never heard anybody talking about the way they spend their money on a regular basis. This is crazy. And then people, other people were like, Oh my God, I thought I was the only one who did money journal. Like this is my system, dah, dah, dah. And it was just, the reaction was so like, I didn't know we could do this, that I was like, Oh, okay. All right. Clearly we're all working up against some invisible wall that is actually fake. And so if I bust it and keep talking about these conversations, who knows what might happen,
Speaker 4: That's really cool that we did an interview with Cortland who started indie hackers. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's a community of independent entrepreneurs are trying to start mostly online businesses, you know, can I start something out and make a couple thousand dollars a month or more? And there's that thread in there around something that makes that community special is the transparency around numbers, transparency around revenue. And I think that's like a broader theme that like, you know, many communities, the purpose of them, why they rally together is around guidance, guidance, conversational guidance to go through, to navigate a complex topic. And oftentimes the blocks, one of the blocks there is thrill transparency into either, you know, how you feel or what the numbers are and context. Right. And I can see how you kind of busting this wall around like the bank account. And what's really going on here can be powerful to people. It's simple. And it's something that like, we, you know, we think about in our heads all the time, it's like, Oh, what does, you know, what does Dave's bank account look like compared to mine? How after they do their thing, but to do it is, you know, it's something special.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, I, I thought about it for a second. You know, I was like, if I share people, insides of my budgeting brain, what's the worst that could happen. Someone was like, you're a broke B. Okay, thank you. I knew that. Or like, Hey, you're bad at this. You should be doing the other thing. Okay. I learned like, I'm not bill Gates. No, one's going to hack me for my like small emergency savings. Like I just have very little to lose here besides my pride. And like, I dunno, prides not paying my bills. Like I really don't need to pay attention to her right now. It's like, what if I just share? Just what, what if I just, and what you said Kevin, about like transparency, especially with the numbers. I mean, that's why I started to, once I started being asked to do workshops and public speaking, I was like, what if I show people screenshots of my bank account, like big on the screen when I talk, I wonder what kind of reaction that would get out of people.
Speaker 3: Because I realized that people just seeing a fast boomerang squirrel through of my Google doc and seeing that I budgeted all people were like, when the remind already being blown, just for, just for exposing the topic. And I was like, wait til you see like a screenshot of somebody else's bank account. Because I thought about the fact that I've never seen it and inside everyone else, anyone else's bank account. And so when I started to show that I like the morning of a talk that I would give, I think it's actually my very first talk that I gave in like January of 2019, I'm at USC. I was like, what if I just take a screenshot of my bank account right now? And my savings account right now and my credit card debt right now. And stick that on this slide and use that to open up the talk because, you know, if I could do that with an Instagram post, like how sick would it be to do in front of the psych 100 students?
Speaker 3: And so I did that and I was like, hi, I'm Brenda, blah, blah, blah, song and dance. And I was like, before we start here is everything in my bank account right now. And like the dis the palpable discomfort in the room for about 2.5 seconds, people were like, Ugh, I was kid, you know, it was like the phone, the, if someone would like a phone one down yet, everyone were like, Oh, like, wait, what? And like the squinting. And I was, Oh, let me zoom in for you. If you can't see. I was like, of course I liked I've walked out the actual account numbers, but I was just like, here's, what's in there. If I show you what's inside my bank account, I don't lose money. You know what I mean? Like, it doesn't float away if I expose it. But the good side of it is we break that imaginary wall of just like, we're not supposed to show people this, like we break it for the first time and then people start to go, Oh, like my bank account does or does not look like that.
Speaker 3: I wonder why. Huh? Burna why do you have eight bank accounts on this side? And like, why is your emergency savings? It seems to be in a different bank. And so the questions come in and the discussion happens and the curiosity happens. And so the payoff from that from just going, like, you know, F it, I'm just going to, I'm just going to show these screenshots. Like, it costs me nothing. It costs me like, I don't know, two pesos in my pride, but then it paid off in this amazing conversation. People felt comfortable, you know, like, and I would tell them, I'm showing you my bank inside of my bank account. So that I'm the most financially transparent person in the room. And I always describe it as like I used to work at camps. I was a teen camp program. So yes, you did down noxious energized.
Speaker 3: I mean, one thing that you learn at camp, especially when you're like, you know, you're a leader of any sorts of your counselor is that when you're leading young people and you want them to do something potentially embarrassing, you have to do it first. You have to be the one who gets on the stage and does the stupid dance. If you want them to get on the stage and do the stupid dance, or like, if you want them to do the like obnoxious traditional camp cheer, you better be ready to do it, the loudest and the biggest first to unlock their discomfort. And so I would always tell people, the reason I'm showing you, my screenshot to my bank account is so that I'm the most financially embarrassed person in this room. What I, your there's your like kind of role modeling vulnerability and giving people permission to talk about something that if they do not talk about, they will not be able to solve or improve on.
Speaker 3: And I guess when I hear the, like, I know you talk about shame and silence and their relationship to money, that many people have being shame and silence. And as I was reading that, I was like, Oh, that sounds like an opportunity for a community. Or like, yeah, it's just, I'm sorry. No, I love the bird call. I don't know why I'm doing that. But like, those words are like, there's an elephant in the room. And when you can unlock a conversation about an elephant in the room, it's often the type of conversation that people just lean into so hard. And so I wanted to ask you about, you know, this podcast all about community, but like where does the word community show up in how you think about this work, how you think about the finance space, how you think about the people who are raising their hand to talk to you or get closer to these issues, how do you use that word?
Speaker 3: Or how do you think about it? Sure. Oh, I love that question. So I think with the last few months, of course, after George Florez murder and the racial uprising, something that I'm doing a lot of, and a lot of people in the Filipino community are doing a lot of, is kind of discovering what colonization and discovering what kind of being under, like are our own ancestors in the Philippines being under oppressors from, you know, white colonialists. What that all means for us men's is so many times, many hundreds of years of colonization and how that shows up for us as first and second gen Filipino Americans. And a lot of us are just, just discovering the fact that it does show up for us as first and second generation Filipino Americans, you know, we're, we think we're we're removed, but there are a lot of mentalities that have been passed down.
Speaker 3: And one of the mentalities that as a Filipino American, I'm always kind of struggling between is on the Filipino side. You know, traditionally our ancestors are very community oriented. You do everything as a community. You cook as a community, you raise kids as a community, you fund your lives as a community. You know, you, you get into community like financial pools that are very kind of traditional in the Philippines. And those things get lost in that sort of dash between Filipino and American on the American side, it's individualism it's independence. If you do it on your own, blah-blah-blah bootstraps, you know, with the very silent context of, okay, bootstraps means privileged. Let's not, it's not mince words. Like it's not just bootstrapped is privileged, but when you're selling people, the American dream, you don't talk about that side. And so to be American, or to try to be American, when you have a hyphen behind that is to kind of break away from the, like, from the community aspect of your culture and be like, I'm going to do this on my own all by myself.
Speaker 3: And it's all about independence. And so community has, as a word has really morphed for me in the past, definitely the past six months, because I'm realizing like, hold up this individualistic stuff, this I'm going to do it on my own. I'm going to learn on my own. Like, I don't need anybody's help. It's not serving us at all. And I'm realizing that a big part of my work has always been, even if I didn't realize it, a big part of my work has been creating a community where we get to learn together about financial literacy and, you know, my sharing, what I learned with other people, that's community building in a way that I feel like my ancestors would be pretty proud of. You know, I feel like the American individualistic way would be like, take all that information, keep it to yourself, get really rich all by yourself.
Speaker 3: And then like, Lord it over people's heads and make online course about how they could do it themselves too. Like that's, that's the American dream for a millennial now. And I'm like, hold up. I think my ancestors were onto something when, when they sort of taught us, like things need to be done in community. And I think that now more than ever people crave community learning so badly, and it's not even something that a lot of people can articulate. I think where it's like, you know, I interact with lots of folks, lots of people in my community who are just like, man, I just I'm just bad at money. I just am. You know, like I was born that way. And I'm finding that like all, all they needed was like one or two other people to share their learnings kind of compare and contrast what's going on in order for that learning to like 10 X.
Speaker 3: Like we, I think we got it wrong when we thought like, Oh, we need to all just like learn at our own cubbies and individualism or whatever. It's, it's exponentially powerful to learn in community. It's like, it's like the way that we teach investing of like, when you do this with your money, it grows by itself. When you learn in community, your brain grows so much faster than it would on its own. I always feel my like Filipino ancestors behind my back being like, we knew that God, we tried to tell you generation not to get it wrong before they got it right on my God, like, hurry up, just get to the right point. But they're just like, I'm deaf. Yes. You need community to learn because like you're just meant to be in isolation in this way. Yeah. I love that quote. I think that's a beautiful way of saying it.
Speaker 3: And I think going back to this whole idea of just the personalization or like the context around financial situations, sometimes I think you can't just like find information or some framework that works exactly for your situation, that you might be able to find someone else who's been through a similar process or similar stage, or has similar values, but you can't do that unless you have a social permission to have these kinds of conversations with other people. And I want to jump into asking you like some of the essentials of your community, like you've talked about this a little bit, but I want to ask you, who do you focus on with this work? Like you can't, you can't do everything for everyone. Like who are you focusing on specifically? And then like, what are some of the shared activities, the regular things that you do to serve your community or bring them together?
Speaker 3: Sure. So if I were to like really shave it down to a very specific demographic, it's definitely millennial women, millennial women and non binary folks. But I mean, if we're looking at the hard data of, you know, who's in my community, it's definitely women identifying people from ages. I would say 25 to 35 and women of color. For sure. I would say it's majority women of color. It's Latinex, it's Asian and Pacific Islander. It's black and indigenous, but it's all people that generally have been left out of the financial conversation. When you ask friends about like, who is the budgeting champ in the world? Like basically everyone who doesn't look like Dave Ramsey basically, or Tony Robbins or Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins. We said his name on our podcast.
Speaker 5: Okay. I'm walking over cold.
Speaker 3: Well, that's the thing is like, I grew up kind of inhaling these people's coaching too, of just like, ah, yes. The American way, like walk over coals for an hour work week. Like yes, we can hack our way to billionaires and, well, I don't know what we're hacking our way to, but I guess it feels good, but yeah, it's basically it's people who are sick of that. And I would say it's majority people of color, women of color. And what we do on Instagram mainly is kind of where I make the most noise. I would say that all those folks came to my channels and stayed because of the level of kind of lightness and humor that I bring to a personal finance. And so the shared activities, and I like, I think the things that people stick around for are my means it's a lot of money means lots of money means which a lot of people didn't even know were even a genre of meme, but they definitely are.
Speaker 3: I like to do a lot of like means and a means and a message. You know, it's like a one, two punch, like, okay, served up a meme. Oh, you feel seen and relevant scroll down to the caption. It's a novel about, you know, like why interest rates are a scam and like what you need to do next to like to negotiate your interest rate down in the time of a pandemic. So money means or a big thing. Every Friday I get on stories and I'm like, Hey, I'm your annoying friend. Who's gonna remind you to deposit to your savings every Friday. Something, anything, 10 cents, 10, 10% is good of whatever you earn this week. But 10 cents, 10 pesos, $10. I don't care. Flex the muscle every Friday. That's what I care about. That message has changed a little bit in the pandemic because of course not all of us are lucky enough to have weekly pay right now. And so it's kind of changed to if you got a deposit, that's what I always say, always in a body rolling. When I say it on my stories, I'm like,
Speaker 5: Got it. Deposit if you got it.
Speaker 3: But you know, reminding people, I'm like, I'm your annoying finance friend. I'm going to be in your timeline being like, did you deposit into your savings in this meat? Yeah, you have to. Now, especially since a pandemic, I started kind of this media umbrella movement called hella helpful. And it started off when the very early weeks of the pandemic, we, I gathered other BI POC, personal finance creators and was like, we need to make free classes, like a free money class summit for folks who are stuck in the pandemic, freaking out about their money and don't want to listen to Dave Ramsey about it. And so we did a whole week of all BI POC and first gen children of immigrants, teachers talking about how to save in a pandemic, how to renegotiate or readjust or make your budget for the first time in emergency mode. Should we be investing right now? How to like, do we continue paying off debt? How do I figure out a side hustle make money online? We did all that stuff in a week. And so it was so fun. It was so cool bursting inside right now.
Speaker 5: Let's dive into the kiddie pool that is next to
Speaker 3: Well he's face down, but he's struggling.
Speaker 5: Yay.
Speaker 3: There's I mean, there was so much to discover and the fact that we delivered it all like specifically, we're like, this is for us like capital U S. This is for black indigenous people of color. First gen children, immigrants and everything. We do everything we served in. Those workshops were with the lens of, of that, of being BI POC or first gen children of immigrants. And so we were talking about, you know, emergency savings, but what about like, how do you help your family build one, if you don't even have one yourself, you know, how do you, how do you parent up and figure out your parents' retirement plan when you haven't figured out your own retirement plan? What if you are your parents' retirement plan? How do you plan for that? Things like that. And we had the person who taught our debt, slay workshop was breastfeeding the entire time.
Speaker 3: That was amazing. I was like, yes, yes, breaking barriers. Let's go. And so, anyway, all that to say is that now monthly, we serve up a hella helpful workshop every month. And it's always a BI POC and or first gen immigrant teacher always teaching through that lens. Some, a free workshop that helps you get us financially free. So my community gets me being obnoxious on stories. They get memes with a message. They get a free financial workshop. Our next workshop coming up is, is called like women of color, raise your prices. Like the fact that we just have to get paid more at, especially in a pandemic. Like we need to talk about what that means for women of color, specifically how to ask, when you feel shy about asking when there's a lot of emotional baggage about asking for more, we do things like that.
Speaker 3: And then of course I have also my hella helpful monthly paid membership, which I could talk about more. But no, I do want to ask about this paid membership. I also wanted to just dig in a little bit more on two things that have brought up. One is a, I want to ask you about humor. And I also want to ask you about rituals, like why those things are important in this space. So I'm going to start with humor. Like, why do you think, you know, you said people are in large part coming to you for humor. Why is that so powerful in this space in particular? Yeah. Why humor? Why are you bringing all the humor to it? Sure. I mean, there was none when I was looking around the very first time everything was so dry and stale, it was like reading the ELA.
Speaker 3: It was like the reading, the equivalent of elevator music all the time. And I was like, how is anyone going to learn anything? I found myself like when, you know, I would read a blog explaining, you know, how to create a budgeting spreadsheet. I found myself translating to myself a funner way to explain that, or a funner way more interesting way or metaphor to explain, you know, how portfolios work when you're investing. You're a translator, right? Because you have to go hang out in those spaces to create this content. Like, so you're actually going through the slog, learning that stuff and then translating. And that's exactly what I am like financial translator, more than anything, I'm financial educator, but I'm just going like, okay, I chewed on it. I processed it. I've now made the poop pile into something slightly resembling anything you care about.
Speaker 3: And I found like, you know, like my own translations in my head, I was like, it was kind of funny or like the metaphors are interesting. Whenever I shared that with other people, the value really came in them going, Oh, that's what you mean. Why didn't they just say that? And I'm like, girl, I don't know. I don't know why they don't just, they don't just say that we have to speak this language for ourselves. But humor unlocks a hallway of understanding that is so much wider and bigger and inclusive than the sort of gatekeeper language of when people in finance use use financial language to, to honestly describe things that could be described so much easier. It's a trick. It's a point there's like an insidious part of that insidious part of that, I believe
Speaker 4: Too, with like, there are a number of if we don't, if we, if we get into it, it's like financial institutions, banks, financial advisors, what's unfortunate is a lot of money is made off of people trying to save money, trying to do, but it is not made with them. And the barrier that's often put up is the one of language is one, a translation is one of, Oh, this is so complicated that you need to, you need to have enough money to hire someone to understand how to best plan your investments versus saying like, no, actually this is kind of how it works. And it's just understanding that over time, things can multiply if you'd like, keep putting it there. But that, that language is used. As you said, as a gate, as a way to protect, honestly like folks in power to continue having it.
Speaker 4: We can keep going into this. But I think that's, what's especially powerful about it also using humor because it's even further on the other end of the spectrum of not just, Hey, I'm going to explain this to you, but also bring it to you in a way that you're going to want to you'll want to listen. And that's already so hard when it comes to money because, you know, especially if you're in a financial situation, you don't want to be in. The last thing you want to do is go look at your bank account and think about what are you going to do with the negative numbers? You know,
Speaker 3: Absolutely. It's a weapon. Humor is definitely a weapon in this and that you get to get to the point of the message. You know, you open the door so much easier with people that, like you said, they actually want to listen and not only are they going to take in the lesson better, but then they can go turn around and spread it to somebody else in a way that they understand, you know, like we bust open those Gates and those doors were frankly, like you just said, like those Gates and those doors were very much there for a reason to protect the wealth of those in power. I mean, just the fact that like, I feel like this is an old stat, I think in 2018, the amount of money made off of overdraft fees alone was something like $23 million of like folks in the U S just for overdraft fees.
Speaker 3: And that kind of thing makes you think like, Oh, maybe there is something to keeping people stupid about banking, you know, and keeping people stupid about money. People are, are people profiting off of our ignorance? Yes, very intensely. I remember when I first started to ask questions about investing. When I first started getting to investing, I made the mistake of going onto Facebook and posting, Hey, yo, who got suggestions amount? The amount of people that I went to middle school with that are like, actually I advise for this fund and I work for this multilevel marketing scheme and blah, blah, blah. And I should, I can tell you how to, and I was like, I'm gonna pass. I'm gonna pass on that, gone back right back into it. That's learned my lesson. We shouldn't have done that. But all the people that were like, let me help you. I am an, I can help you with this. I was like, dude, I don't have that much to invest. Like, I'm just trying to see if I can get on the ground floor. And it was like, no, y'all you need me though. You need me to like, you have to pay me to the thing. And I was like, you know, I have an inkling that I don't, I'll get back to you if I'm wrong and spoiler alert, I've never gotten back to them.
Speaker 4: Tell us more about the, the membership you mentioned before about like launching recently. I think it's in beta, but to me that's an example of a more sort of like kind of clearly defined your community member, you know, a capital cm community member. What's the purpose of it? What are you experimenting with right now?
Speaker 3: Sure. So when we did that hella helpful summit in March the, the week long classes that I was describing, probably the thing that was the most entertaining, the most kind of like my cup is full. Like, so invigorating was the zoom chat. Like we, of course we did everything on zoom, but the chat was pretty like, it was just exploding with every workshop. People were just like, ah, like encouraging people, sharing really intense information. And then following up with resources and, and every single workshop people were like, Oh my God, I just want to live inside of the zoom chat. Like, can you save the zoom chat? This is so entertaining. This is so fun. I feel so held in this community. Like the folks who attended the hella health workshops were the ones who even named the community at all. They were like, this community feels so good.
Speaker 3: Like I come to these workshops every day, so I can see everybody in the zoom chats. And like, you started to see recurring people and being like, Oh, I miss you. However, and after the summer was over, people were like, I miss the zoom chats. I miss everybody in the zoom chats. And I was like, Oh my God, that is community with a capital C. And that is, you know, we can do workshops, we could spread information. We can translate like facts, but you can't like, that's something you have to capture. That's unique. And can't really be replicated outside of kind of the way that it is. Like I was like, Oh my God, that's a Firefly capture it, put it in a jar. And so my hell a helpful community, hella helpful membership, monthly membership is my attempt to recreate the magic that we had in the zoom chats. And the way that we do that is one. We have a sort of membership platform where every workshop that we do, the transcripts and the slides, we put that into a big kind of library, archive for members to access. Anytime that they want. We have a, I call it a live budgeting party where we get together. I'm like alcohol is encouraged, but not required.
Speaker 4: I have a budget. I have a budget date night with my family.
Speaker 3: Oh my God. I love, we have to talk about budget, date nights too, which is a totally separate thing. But like budget and moments, like recurring budget moments in your life. I throw these private budget parties for my membership to be like, let's all get together. Let's all talk about our financial wins. Let's cheers to each other. Let's encourage each other. And then so fun. Then I ask one member to kind of offer up their budget and we'll do sort of like a live budget. One-on-one kind of like budget make-over in front of everybody so that they can see, we know whatever the members comfortable with, but save, see their numbers and then hear directly from me what I would say and what financial plan I give them. And then that whole thing, and the financial plan also gets put into the resource libraries that can access that at any time. But the two things that I have a lot of fun with, I'm having a lot of fun with playing with now in the beta is a membership like hype texts. So if you're a member, you get two texts from me every week. One. Yeah. Sorry. Keep going. I love that idea. It's super fun. I'm just like, I don't see anybody doing this in the financial space, so let's try it. So you get one on a random evening. I don't tell you when
Speaker 4: I don't think you want them to do it. That's it that's one thing. I don't know if I want my hype text from insert name here. Larry's gross book was like, you know, very informative, but I don't need that hype texts.
Speaker 3: No, no. That would be more like anxiety texts for sure. So I try to keep these light and you get one text. If you sign up for the specific texts, you get a one text in the middle of an evening, somewhere in the middle of the week where I'm like, Hey, I don't know who needs to hear this, but empty your cart. Don't don't don't click purchase. You don't need it. Where did that work? Or that money go? Could it go to your savings? I've started to kind of morph that text also into like, Hey, budgeting updates. And I send them a screenshot of my good budget app, which is where I keep my actual, like, I were actually track my budget. I'm like, here's how I'm doing. Let me know how you're doing. Just so you get to see someone budgeting kind of in real time throughout the week and kind of gives you that reminder. And then every Friday you get a hype text from me. So it's some like extremely overblown, like, Oh my God, it's Friday. Here's a gift. You are unicorn. You're a magical, beautiful, powerful muskox you made it to the end of the week. You should tip yourself in your savings.
Speaker 3: Creatives. God, I'm still amazed that you listening. Keep going, please. I'm sorry. Oh please. That was a hundred percent Leslie. Nope. She taught me that, but she, she taught me the magic of like kind of overly hyping someone to the point where they're like, are you kidding? Where I'm just like, you are so powerful and so cool. Like you made it to the end of this week. You deserve a tip. Like we tip waiters. We tip bartenders for the service that they did for us. Who tips you, you should tip you pay yourself before you pay somebody else. You know, like very intensely like Friday hype tax. So they get those two texts. And then the sleeper surprise kind of star has been our Slack chat. Holy cow. At first I was like, we got a Slack chat so we can talk about this stuff.
Speaker 3: That's happening in the resource library. And you know, after the workshops and we can just sort of like vent and stuff, it has morphed into its own monster. This is what I mean by a mint before of just like, Oh, I brought an agenda to this membership and now I got to change it because the members have run with it. I mean, it was out the gate long, beautiful, like nearly essays about how they feel about their money, unpacking their money baggage, things that they've encountered during the week. Like things on Instagram or in the news that make them angry and they need to vent about it that have to do with money, you know? Oh, can you help talk me through this negotiation that I'm doing with my roommate over a fridge? I know it sounds stupid, but I just need some encouragement. Whoa.
Speaker 3: They jump in like, yes, girl, do this, do that. You know, keeping each other accountable. Somebody was, we made an accountability channel where like, I think eventually we're going to have to teach them how to use the accountability channel. No, they just jumped in and somebody was like, Hey, I want to go to Michael's at the end of today, can y'all just text me no later, like in four hours. And they were like, yep. Or like, Hey, I said that I was supposed to make this deposit on Friday. Can somebody just message me at the end of Friday and be like, did you do it Friday comes four. People are like, Hey Alison, did you do it? Wow. Dave run with it completely. And so that's my favorite part of the helicopter membership. Like it's funny. Cause me and my community manager were like, all right, you know, very camp council. We're like where we need to plan activities. There need to be prompts. It's going to get quiet in there. So we need to kind of like are things and the whole, our first month, we're just like, Oh, all those prompts we planned, we didn't touch a single one because they were just going off all by themselves. I was like, we did it. It's the zoom chat. It's
Speaker 4: That's so cool. I feel like there's a, another metaphor here is that community building in some ways is like it's farming. It's like you, you try to create the best environment possible for something to sprout, you know? But at the end of the day, like the plants are going to do what they want to. Things are good at like the bees will cross pollinate as need be. And what you need to do is you need to notice and nurture what's working and what's not. And also prune probably what's not as well that isn't like growing in the way that is perhaps like realizing the key purpose of this group. And it's, I love how you're almost like absorbing and adapting it and welcome me. I know that sometimes it's challenging for things not to go like as planned. I love like putting together the contingency plan, the protocols and that sort of stuff.
Speaker 4: But there's also something so magical when people like come with their, you know, they build this community with you. They come with their own ideas. They react in ways to support each other in ways that you may not have expected. And I think the, the role of a community leader organize or manager is to notice and to nurture, you know, to figure out what's working. You can codify that a little bit more. It's like, Whoa, if that's happening to the accountability channel, maybe we like, instead of me sending all the texts, maybe I can actually set up a program where like people are, they send texts to each other and then we linked them up a bit more efficiently. But it's only, it's only able to do that. If you create the environment and you notice
Speaker 3: Exactly, I knew. And I had communicated to that, that to the first few members, like I call them my founding members. I'm like, y'all, you know, we have a plan. We have things that we're going to do with you. But mostly we're going to grow this thing together. And you know, that's why it's sort of founding members pricing with like, as I was like, it says cheapest is going to get, because we're literally building this thing together. And of course, you know, for folks who come in at this pricing, I'm like, we're never going to raise it because you were not going to raise the price on you because you help build this thing from the ground up. But it's incredible. What happens if you just step back? Right. And that's what I've learned. Also a camp counselor and like teen programs, facilitator, like it's a lot of, like you said, kind of making sure the soil is right, making sure that the environment is healthy, but you also got to get out of the way for a good amount of it and make sure things are safe.
Speaker 3: Make sure things are facilitated. People feel seen and heard. I think safety, like the feeling of safety is the number one thing I wanted to build for this community because talking about money out loud for a lot of us horrifying, absolutely horrifying talking about money in spaces that were made by people who don't look like us in all white spaces, super horrifying, and those communities exist, but they're not necessarily built for us. And so I was like, how do we build a cave in which all the BIP and first gen people, millennials who want to talk about money, feel safe more than anything, you know, to, to admit things, to admit defeat and, and vent. We have a whole channel called this is bullshit. And it was another one of those channels where like we set that we sort of were like, this is a channel for venting.
Speaker 3: And they're like, I am. And that channel is popping like nearly every hour. Like, I can't believe, can you believe this? I read this thing. This happened to me. People are like, Oh my God, me too. You know, like that kind of venting wouldn't happen if they didn't feel safe to do it. And I feel like that's my number one role as a community kind of wizard here is to just make people feel safe more than anything. Ooh. Community wizard. I like that phrase. My little community wizard brain was just thinking, as you were talking about how thriving that Slack group was right off the bat, I was like, did she onboard these people? And how did you, how did you make them feel safe? Do you think? Like what, what made people so ready to like, just be completely honest or, or feel safe the way that they have?
Speaker 3: Sure. So one thing that went really well was for the very first month, that was, I was pretty quiet about it on my socials, but I was deeming the folks that I identified, I would say a list of like 50 or so folks that identified have kind of been there from the beginning and call them my OGs, like folks who are showing up in the comments all the time, who are in my DMS a lot who have given me a chance, basically over the last twoish years of really making this official. So what really worked was reaching out to them individually through DMS and being like, Hey, Bailey, like you have been around since we first started really officially started this thing in 2019. And I appreciate it so much. Like you give so much hype to me and then I could give it to the community you give to the community yourself.
Speaker 3: And I'd love if you contributed, like, bring that energy to this community that you've brought to everything that we've already done the community. And that, that was extremely effective in terms of like response rate people were like, yes, because I mean, I'm sure you all think about this and talk about this all the time. But like as humans, especially in this time, like we all just want to be seen. We just want to be acknowledged and you know, validated for what we give to the world. And so I knew that basically giving back to these people, one-on-one what they've given to me of just, you seen me for years now. I see you were building this thing. Like, here's the next thing I'm really excited about. I think you would just freaking kill it in here. What do you think people were like, hell yes, then. So that worked really well. And then I also made sure that kind of the origins of my work has always been video and me on camera and me talking to them directly to camera. And so the first thing that you see when you go into my membership is a giant welcome video where I, I literally yell kind of the way that you did Bailey in the very beginning of the podcast.
Speaker 1: It's really interesting because you know, in, so one of the things I think people miss a lot, especially when they represent like a company or something like a, an organization and they try to start a digital community is they don't do a good job of like role modeling. What in the F goes on. They're like, you know what you talk about? Like, what should you say? Like what behavior is meant for this place? And it's interesting to hear the way that you have given people permission and like a role model in your own personality, in your own sharing, like over the last two years. So that now when they finally connect to each other, they kind of bring your energy and your approach to the space. So it's like, these are like educated people on, like, this is the culture here. If you're into it, you know, if you're kind of like this to keep, keep bringing that into the space, but you are role modeling it yourself. But by spending the last two years, like putting out stories and content and teaching you you've shown people how to behave. Yes,
Speaker 3: Exactly. Like I've, I've made it very clear, like this is, this is a weird corner of the personal finance internet that you found in, like, this is the way it's going to go. It's weird. It's loud. And if you're not with it, then that's totally fine. And the wonderful thing is in the last two years is other personal finance, creators, other black indigenous people of color or other women of color have popped up in the personal finance space to create their own communities too. And I'm like, yes, there is so much runway here.
Speaker 1: One of the things that I'm hearing in, in you explain the beginning of this Slack group is, you know, we have to spend a lot of time with people who don't really know how to set up digital spaces or might be setting one up for an organization or a brand talking about how important it is to role model behavior, both like what's not okay. And also what's okay in this space. And what I'm thinking about as I hear you talk is that just by you sharing stories in a certain way, sharing information in a certain way, bringing so much personality through to the space and bringing in language, bringing in certain ways of treating each other hyping each other, I feel like people already have like sort of a role model in you for how to show up in a Slack space. And it's interesting to see how like an individual over a few years can kind of build that understanding of how to treat people just by the way you've treated them. Hm.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Oh, thank you. That's makes that's makes me sound very cool and nice. Or just like I'm yelling who wants to yell in the same tone as me people kind of gather with the same volume, which was really awesome. It's it's funny because, you know, when we first launched this membership, we were like, we kind of wanted the Slack to be there for, like I was saying before, kind of one of the Slack to be there, to sort of catch people's thoughts as they're going through the resource library and things like that. But it's become this totally separate digital space where folks have, you know, kind of adopted the way that I talk about money and talk about finance. And the amazing thing I think about being a community manager is seeing people take your voice and do it their way and kind of spread love to each other in that way.
Speaker 3: I mean, you know, if you're a camp counselor or you're the community manager of anything, best thing to see is when the hype and the, the happiness or the resource helping or the, the dialogue is so lively yeah. That you, all you have to do is kind of step back and like let the party go, you know, and like let them talk at each other. And it is in the Slack chat to see using a lot of the same language and mechanisms that, you know, I've, I want to say that I feel funny saying that I've taught them to do it. It's more like I've given them permission to talk this way about money. You know, I'm definitely not the first person to ever be enthusiastic about something in their life or to be enthusiastic about anything. But I think the sort of magic that happens here is it's like, you could bring that energy to money.
Speaker 3: I do it all the time and now let's do it for each other inside of Slack because you know, money is, is one of the few parts of our lives. We're like almost universally. We've all agreed for some reason that it's sad as hell and like terrible. And in, even in touching it in a, in a personal way, when it's about to do something joyful where like money, like I got the positive, but we've sort of changed the tone for that in the community. And now they changed the tone for each other, which is so cool. And you know, we've created this corner. There's like very strange corner of the internet where I'm like, yo, this is my flag. Like, this is the way that we talk about money here. This is an on my Instagram and my, my captions in my newsletter. I talk a lot about like, in this household, in this household, we talk about money like this in this household, the rules go like this, you know, like when the racial uprising started, I was like, I just wanna make it very clear.
Speaker 3: This is very much a black lives matter household. And if you're not with it, then you can go my tone with what I say with what I, the way I act and the things I cover, like what are the household rules? And if you're cool with it, then like, heck yeah, get up in my house, get up in this lack shot, remove your shoes. Like let's do this. And it's been so cool just to see other folks in the last two years, pop up in the personal finance space where we've given each other all permission to be like, Oh, okay, I'm going to talk about personal finance for the Latinex community specifically for single moms. I'm going to talk about the personal finance in the lens of folks who have recently immigrated from Africa and are trying to get used to American culture, like very specific lenses and household rules and things.
Speaker 3: And it's just, it's incredible because you know, we all touch money. We all suffer with money. And so the more households available for all of us to bunker down into and feel safe just then the happier one, one final thing. I just want to ask you, we like to ask to close out the podcast is if you had a magic wand, if you could make a wish for your community and you could put it out there to our audience, to our listeners, if you could ask for one thing, what would it be? Ooh, I mean, I know I'm a financial hype woman and maybe the expected answer is like, I want everyone to feel good and the money, or like, I want it. You know, when you deposit, I wish there, I wish there was a way for me to pop about your phone or your computer and like
Speaker 3: But this magic wand is very powerful. And so I would definitely first thing that came to mind was equitable wages. For sure. I want everyone to be paid a freaking living wage because there's only so much a personal finance advisor, educator certified, even financial planner can say to you, if you don't make enough money to live your life, you don't make enough money to live your life. You know, no budgeting tips or cuteness is going to fix that. And so I really, I challenged myself a lot in my work to be like, bring the hype for sure, but never lose sight of the fact that there are systemic reasons that people have stayed broke and systemic reasons that like generational wealth has not been accessible to so many of us. And so it'd be equitable wage. Like I celebrate so hard, probably the hardest inside of our Slack community.
Speaker 3: When someone talks about getting a raise or getting a new job, because that is sustainable success, that's something that's longterm going to change their budget and then longterm going to change their savings, longterm gonna change their investing. So I want everyone to get paid a freaking living wage. That's what I do with that magic wand. Awesome. Burnett, thank you so much for your time. And thank you for the work that you're doing. You were just like the perfect person to be doing this. You're so talented and it was a total pleasure to just listen to you speak and make me laugh throughout this whole thing. Thank you so much. Yes. Thank you. Both Bailey and Kevin, this has been a fricking joy. Thank you.
Speaker 2: If you want to connect with Burna, you can reach her on Instagram at
Speaker 3: More about the work Kevin Kai and I do. As people in company, helping organizations get clear around who their most important communities are and how to build with those people. By heading to our website, people and.to company. Also, if you want to start your own community like Burna or
Speaker 1: Supercharge one, you're already a part of like hella helpful. Our handbook is here for you. Visit get together book.com to grab a copy. It's full of stories, learnings, and clear steps about community building. We've learned from conversations with community leaders like this one with Burna final thing. If you don't mind pretty, please feel free to review us and subscribe to this podcast can do that. Helps get these stories out to more people. Thank you. Appreciate y'all. Thank you.
Speaker 2: Are you still listening? Kevin here from people and company I'm recording this message for you at 11:00 AM on Thursday, August 20th, 2020. Today is the one year birthday for our book. Get together in the last year. Thousands of hardcover copies, eBooks and audio books have made their way around the world. And since publishing we've started to hear from leaders, community builders and organizers, like you listening to the podcast to celebrate, get togethers one year anniversary. We'd love to gather more of your stories. So we're opening the, get together hotline for one week. Leave us a voicemail or send us a text at the get together hotline. The number is +1 917-740-1092. Once again, that's +1 917-740-1092. That's a U S number. So if you're outside of the U S or don't feel like picking up the phone, you can also leave us a email@example.com slash hotline. We just want to hear what you did after reading the book, you know, anything big or small. Did you start a new community? Did you try something new? Please reach out. We're going to spotlight some of our favorite stories on an upcoming episode of the get together podcast. Once again, for the hotline you can call or text us at +1 917-740-1092, or just go to get together book.com/hotline. Whoo we're one years old. Thanks. Y'all talk to you later.