How emotions affect your money
May 19, 2023
Season 1 | Episode 5

How emotions affect your money

And how you can use that to your benefit.

Money can make us feel a lot of things: shame, fear, freedom, and more. No matter how money makes you feel, it’s important to be able to talk about it. This week, “Financially Inclined” host Yanely Espinal sits down with Reema Khrais, host of Marketplace’s “This is Uncomfortable,” to talk about how to reflect on — and find ways to work with — your personal relationship with money. Dive in with us by watching the video below.

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Financially Inclined S1 Ep5: How emotions affect your money Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.


(MUSIC: Fun, upbeat music plays)


Yanely: What’s up everybody. I’m Yanely Espinal. Welcome to Financially Inclined from Marketplace. We’re sharing money lessons for living life your own way.


(Title card saying “Financially Inclined” appears)


Yanely: This episode is all about our thoughts, feelings and beliefs around money. And some of you had a lot to say about this, when I asked on TikTok


TikTok Videos: The first thing I think of when I hear the word money is choice// Money will not buy you happiness, but it will definitely give you options.// I think of helping people who are in need // Maintaining a lifestyle that I enjoy. // To be able to do whatever I want and have responsibility.  // I think about a tool that can be used to amplify who you are as a person. // I think about dreams, being successful in life and being able to have a financial stability with yourself.


Yanely: I just love how positive GenZ  is about money. Now I used to be like that too back when I was in high school and even in college. Talking about money was pretty normal. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but talking about money is one of those things that makes most adults cringe. But the older you get, the more you have to deal with money. So it’s super important to be able to have these conversations with confidence. Which is why I’m so excited to talk with Reema Khrais. She’s the host of my favorite podcast called This Is Uncomfortable. It’s a show all about life, and how money messes with it. Reema started it a few years ago when she noticed a roommate and their friends were all at different stages of their careers, but none of them really felt comfortable talking with each other about money. Flash forward to today and Reema has now spent years interviewing tons of people about their relationship with money, and how it can complicate so many things. So here she is helping us break it all down.



Yanely: You had so many conversations with so many different people from all walks of life. After all of those conversations, when you reflect back on them, how have you noticed that money comes up for people as they’re talking to you about their lives?


Reema: The themes I’ve noticed are there’s so much shame and fear when it comes to money. There’s this fear that those numbers might become another way to feel categorized or judged or somehow it’ll become a reflection of our own worth in this world. I also think for a lot of people money can represent different things. Some might view it as security, other might view it as freedom or as power. And so it can be hard when you’re talking with friends and family who view money differently, and your values about money are not in alignment. I also think oftentimes when we’re talking about money, we’re not really talking about money, right? Like, you might think you’re anxious about money, and yeah, you are, but you might be also anxious about how you’re not reaching milestones as quickly as your friends are, or might feel stressed out about a parent who’s aging. So a lot of times it’s about really peeling back layers and figuring out the deeper emotions that we feel towards money.


Yanely: But when you’re 15, 16, 17 like you’re kind of just starting to figure out the world of money. So if you hear a conversation like this one, and you’re like, “Yeah, you know, I was listening to his podcast, and they’re saying that money is hard to talk about, but like, so what? I am okay with going through life, not talking about things that are kind of awkward, because I want to like avoid awkward conversations. And that’s cool with me.” What would you say to that mentality of like, well, no, it’s actually really important for you to be able to talk about money. And here’s why.


Reema: Okay, there’s so many reasons, right? Like, practically, it’s really important. By talking about it more than you’re able to talk more confidently about your boundaries and limitations with your friends, like, “Hey, I love you, I want to spend time with you but like, financially, I can’t do this.” And if you’re not talking about money, how are you going to learn about it? Right? Like, it’s like with anything else. If we’re not talking about money, you see someone on social media, they just, you know, bought a car and you don’t know that they’re, they just got inheritance from their grandfather, or that house that they just bought was paid from their parents with a down payment. You’re setting, you’re measuring yourself to unrealistic standards if if there aren’t open conversations about it. And then also, as you’re going into the workforce, you want to make more money, right? Like you can’t make more money if you’re not having open conversations about it with your friends and coworkers. That helps everyone right? Like when you’re talking about it openly, then you’re gonna get paid more because it raises the bar for everyone. Fewer people are getting or accepting pay lower than what they deserve.


Yanely: Whether you are in tune with it, or whether you realize it or not, you have your own beliefs about money and you’re walking around every day, you go into school, you’re going to work, doing whatever, going to your friend’s house or whatever, you’re doing and those beliefs that you have about money you’re carrying them with you and all the things that you do. I mean, again, whether you realize it or not, but this is a fact, it’s what’s happening. And so talk a little bit about those beliefs that people carry with them everywhere they go. Where do those beliefs tend to come from?


Reema: You, I think a lot of them come from their families. Right? So like, what they heard from their parents growing up, how they talked about money, how money was handled in their household. It’s, it’s like anything else in life, right? You internalize those messages, and you carry them with you. And so you might think, like, “Oh, well I just handle money, because this is how I handle money.” And it’s like, no. Like, the way you handle money might be because your mom handled it this way. And the way your mom handled it, is because your grandma handled it that way. And also, I think a lot of it just comes from our society, right? Inherently, we are human beings who, you know, want to be liked. We compare ourselves to others, because fundamentally, we want to fit in. I was scrolling through Twitter the other day, and I saw this one quote, that really stuck with me. And it was, I think, is from the author who wrote the Psychology of Money. When you see someone with a fancy car, or you see someone wearing an expensive coat, you rarely think like, oh, wow, like, I want to be like that, right? You think, Wow, if I had that coat, then other people would think I’m cool. And so he’s making this point that there’s this paradox in that, like, people want wealth to signal to others that they should be admired. But really, you know, we’re not doing that. We’re using other people’s wealth as a benchmark for our own desire to be liked and admired.


Yanely: When you buy stuff you buy it because you think people are gonna think you’re cool, right? You think like, “oh, wait, until they see me in this watch, in these Jordans, in this bag, in his brand name, whatever. But when people see you in it, they don’t think about you.


Reema: No they’re not thinking about you. We’re all just thinking about ourselves!


Yanely: They’re like “oh if I had that, if I had that coat, if I had those shoes.”


Reema: Yeah, exactly.


Yanely: We’re all so egotistical.


Reema: We really are. I think it’s made worse by social media, right? Like you find yourself scrolling through TikTok, and Instagram, and you see these really beautiful, aesthetic homes that are decorated with these influencers who have the nicest gadgets. When we are in pursuit of those things, we’re actually really in pursuit of an idea, if that makes sense, right? Like what you’re saying, maybe if I had this art piece, or that watch or whatever, then that’ll bring me closer to embodying the kind of person I want to be. Maybe that’ll make me more worldly. Maybe that’ll make me more liked. But it’s a trap I think. Because you’re not really chasing the things that might fulfill you, right? You’re going after what you think society wants you to go after so.


Yanely: To your earlier point, like you were saying a lot of people’s beliefs and even problems that they have with money sometimes stems, or oftentimes stems, from the stuff that they went through growing up. A lot of times, you have to kind of deal with that money stuff. You have to understand your relationship to money first before you can confront what you’re doing with it, or the decisions that you’re making. So are there any specific tactics or activities or recommendations that you have for people who want to do this. They want to start understanding their own relationship to money, but they might not know how.


Reema: You know, I liken a lot of it to therapy, right? Like if you go to therapy, a lot of times you’re connecting the dots in your life. I think you can also sit with yourself and like think deeply about, okay, what messages did I get from my, my parents or my family about money? How did that make me feel? Like when I think about money today, how does that make me feel in my body? Like what comes up for me? There’s also this really practical tool that I love to quiz from the klontz money script inventory. And it basically says that there are these four big categories of money beliefs. They say that there are money avoiders, money worshippers, folks who identify as money status, and money vigilance. So money, avoiders tend to be people who feel like they don’t deserve money or that money leads to greed and corruption. And they might even like sabotage their financial success. Money worshippers think that money is the key to happiness. Money status seekers might link their self worth to how much they make, and they really value outward displays of wealth. Those who fall under money vigilant maybe, like very alert and concerned with their finances. And you know, you can be a little bit of everything, right? That’s such a great resource just to be like, how do I even think about money? Like what are my values when it comes to money? So I would definitely write them down.


Yanely: And also how you change over time because like, I bet you if I take that personality, money personality quiz like 10 years ago, I know that I would have been a money worshipper. I know that about myself because I was a mess, right? But now I’m like, more money vigilant because I’ve made so many mistakes, and I don’t want to keep falling back into those traps. But I think that over time, your money personality probably changes and also will definitely change if you do some work. If you work on it to make it better.


Reema: 100%. 100%.


Yanely: If you’re in high school, a lot of times your parents are usually the ones that kind of do the money for you. So if you feel like you don’t really have control or power over money, I’m sure that probably makes it even harder. So if there’s a teenager out there listening to this, who’s like, “yeah, that’s me, my mom tells me everything that I can and cannot buy, and I hate it.” What would you what would you say to them about navigating through that and dealing with that?


Reema: I know, it’s, it’s not fun. I know, it’s not great. But it’s accepting the situation. And also understanding that it’s temporary. Even if you don’t have that much control of your finances, you can still take it as an opportunity to think you know, about your future. What are your short term goals? What are your long term goals? It’s never too early to think about how you’re going to prioritize your money. You know, I think when I was in my early 20s, and I had financial freedom for the first time, I was reckless. I was just spending left and right. And I really wish I had sat down and thought, like, “Okay, where am I going to be in 10 years? Where do I want to be in 10 years?” But I was afraid to even ask myself those questions. Had I just sat down, even literally for like, 15 minutes. Like, just like, a week at first, you know, just like, just a little time a week just to be like, where do I want to be in X amount of time? And how am I gonna get there? You can start doing that even when you don’t have control up your money. You can, you can start thinking ahead.


Yanely: We had another episode with Berna from “Hey Berna” and she, she’s awesome. And one of the things that she mentioned that this brings up is like, you don’t necessarily have to be in control of the money to have money feelings or feelings about money. So you could still journal about like, “Well, my mom told me, I could only get $50. How does that make me feel?”


Reema: I mean, I would just encourage everyone to put their feelings on paper. You will be surprised by like, what’s going on in your head and how you actually feel about things.


Yanely: One of the things I’ve done is like, go back and look at some of the old things that I wrote when I was like, younger, and I’m like, “Oh, how I have changed. I can’t believe I wrote that.” Like, I would never write that now.


Reema: Who is she? Yeah and It’s nice to see your evolution, you know.


Yanely: And when it comes to money, your your financial evolution, which I think is empowering in a lot of ways for you to know that you’ve grown. That you’re growing.


Reema: Yeah! To know you went from here to there. Like you want that feeling of success. You want to feel like yeah, there has been growth so that that can give you more momentum to move forward.



Yanely: Okay, so talking about money is not something that’s going to magically get easier for you overnight. You have to be really intentional about it. And like Reema said, being able to talk about money without shame is going to help you in so many areas of life. From setting healthy boundaries with your friends and family, to maybe even helping you negotiate for higher pay in the future. So to get you started, I want you to take at least 10 minutes this week to jot down some of your thoughts and feelings about money. Also, bonus points if you take that money personality quiz and let us know in the comments what your results were. We want to know a lot more about, you our financially savvy listeners. We’ve got a really quick and anonymous survey for you to take. You can click the survey link below to complete it. You’d be doing us a huge favor. So thank you very much, and see you next time.



Host – Yanely Espinal

Senior Producer – Hayley Hershman

Video Editors – Mallory Brangan

Sound Engineer – Gary O’Keefe

Director of Podcasts – Bridget Bodnar

Executive Director – Francesca Levy

General Manager – Neal Scarbrough

Special thanks – Sy Syms Foundation, all the classrooms and students who sent videos

Theme Music by Wonderly

“Financially Inclined” is Marketplace’s first video podcast and our first show for teens! Each week we talk with some really smart people, like influencers, high school students and financial experts, to help make learning about money fun and simple. Consider us your one-stop-shop for financial confidence.

The team

Hayley Hershman Senior Producer
Mallory Brangan Video Editor

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