At 13, Aisha Salaudeen became an entrepreneur.
Her parents shipped her off to an all-girls boarding school in Lagos, Nigeria, where fitting in was tough. Her classmates came from wealthier families than hers and they were always talking about their vacations, or designer clothes, or huge houses. Their monthly allowances were many times larger than hers, too.
Salaudeen wanted to close the cash gap between her and her classmates, so she started charging to braid hair and complete chores. She would meet people at odd hours to conduct her business, out of sight of the school supervisors. Before long, she was stashing away more money than she needed — after all, she didn’t have rent to pay and her meals were covered. Still, it became an obsession.
“I was constantly always thinking of new ways to get money, it just really made me more anxious about money,” Salaudeen said. “So whenever I didn’t have that stash, I would start to panic.”
She moved to the U.K. for college, got married, and built her career at CNN in Nigeria. Yet Salaudeen’s obsession with her stash didn’t go away. Her old habits and thinking about money died hard.
Maybe you can relate? For most of us, our relationship with money isn’t really about money at all. It’s about how it makes us feel or what it represents. We worry about it when we don’t have it — but what if the worry doesn’t go away when we do?
“I’m always thinking about money. Like when I say this, people think I’m joking,” Salaudeen said. “I feel like money is haunting me.”
On today’s show, we’ll look at how Salaudeen got to where she is and why she can’t seem to kick her financial anxiety. Later, she lets us sit in on a conversation between her and financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, where they unpack it all.
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