RU 19 | Personal Relationship With Money

 

At a time that is considered as one of the most challenging chapters of modern human history, isn’t it fascinating to think that CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has become the first human being to cross the $200 billion mark in his personal net worth? Extracting this very uncomfortable conversation, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen guide us into a discussion around money. They take us from a macro to a micro perspective about money, getting into the global conversation about capitalism and the rich getting richer while the poor continue to struggle and then diving deep into our personal relationships with money. What’s more, Jason and Wrobel then touch on the ways we can fight the systems that make people suffer, highlighting the importance of our power to vote.

Listen to the podcast here:


 

Macro And Micro Perspectives About Money: From Global Capitalism To Our Personal Relationships With It

Whitney and I have covered a hell of a lot of diverse topics in 125 episodes. If it’s your first time, dear reader, welcome. If it’s your 125th episode or whatever number it is, welcome back. We’ve covered some interesting things. We had an episode with Natalie Rivera about sex, sex work, differently-abled people and their sex lives. We’ve talked a lot about mental health and depression. We had an episode on suicide. We’ve covered topics and areas, conspiracy theories, spirituality, things that traditionally at the “dinner table,” people might shy away from discussing.

We here on the show do not shy away from the uncomfortable, the nose wrinkling, the challenging subjects that certainly for us as individuals and as a team might bring up some shit to be dealt with. When Whitney was like, “What do you want to talk about?” the immediate thing that came up for me was wanting to dive into one of the most uncomfortable subjects for many people around the world, which is the subject of money. The reason that I want to bring this up, Whitney, and for you dear reader, there were many articles but the article I saw was Jeff Bezos, the CEO and Founder of Amazon is the first human being verified to cross the $200 billion mark in his net worth.

Along with Jeff Bezos, we’ve seen the top 5 or 6 billionaires increase their net worth by tens of billions of dollars or in some cases, hundreds of billions during the time COVID. Interestingly enough, there’s been a lot of posts, articles and backlash of people talking about how many people are unemployed, homeless and trying to get government and state assistance. There are these groups of six individuals who have increased their net worth by hundreds of billions of dollars. To clarify, when we talk about net worth, it doesn’t necessarily mean the liquidity, the numbers in their bank account, and for many of these cases, the richest people in the world.

It’s divested usually through stock options, securities, real estate, things that are not directly liquid. They’re assets that are not actual cash money, but nonetheless, it’s fascinating to think that during this time of one of the most challenging chapters of modern human history, we have the first human who’s crossed the $200 billion mark. I don’t think it’s any accident. There is such a dramatic contrast, Whitney, happening on the planet. We hear about the have’s, have not’s, and how the people that are invested with real estate, appreciable assets, stock options, securities, gold, stocks and bonds, the whole thing that their wealth keeps going and going, and you have people who are struggling for finding their next meal.

There are two things I want to dive into. I want to dive into not only how we feel that this is pointing to where our collective global society is heading but also digging into something that I know for me and you, has been uncomfortable to talk about over the years which is our personal relationships to money, as entrepreneurs and people who’ve been in business here with Wellevatr and the show but also our individual brands. We’ve been in business ourselves for years now. There’s been a hell of a lot of highs and lows financially. For me, you’ve seen me struggle greatly with the highs and the lows of making a lot of money in certain months and making absolute zero.

Some months seeing a comfortable amount in my bank account and many months on this entrepreneurial journey of having negative money, having less than zero. I want to kick it off by, first of all, going to the macro and then going to the micro starting with this global conversation about capitalism, the rich getting richer, people struggling with money and then going to some of our individual feelings about this. How did you feel when you heard about not just Jeff Bezos but the concentration of wealth flowing to people like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk who we’ve talked a lot about on this show, about them making hundreds of billions more dollar during this pandemic? How does that hit you when you hear that?

I haven’t been keeping up with it as you have and I pay attention to the stock market a bit mainly because I have shares of Apple, Tesla, and Beyond Meat. All three companies are doing well, definitely Tesla. Tesla and Apple are in the top three stocks plus Zoom might be the third. I’ve had Apple shares for a long time because I used to work for the company and it’s always done well. I remember when the pandemic started, stocks went down and people were selling them off. I was sitting there thinking like, “Should I sell?” I didn’t feel like I should, especially because I don’t plan to sell my Apple shares.

It would take a lot for me to do that in terms of entirely getting rid of them. A lot of people were selling everything that they had. With Tesla, I didn’t have very much stock so I thought I’ll keep it and see what happens. What’s happened with Tesla stock is mind-blowing. I’ve been meaning to ask you about that, Jason, how you feel about that. In terms of Amazon, we have talked about on the show that we’ve been trying to move away from recommending products on Amazon and buying them ourselves. For the reader, we often will use affiliate links when we talk about products. If you go to our website, you’ll see a little disclaimer at the top of every show notes letting you know that if you purchase something based on our recommendation that we may make some money from that.

It could be a few cents, honestly, especially when it comes to Amazon. Another incentive and another part of this conversation, Jason, it’s crazy how little money you make by recommending a product on Amazon and they cut down the percentage of it. For content creators like us, it was challenging because you used to be able to make a decent amount of money by recommending products on Amazon and then they slashed the commissions. It’s frustrating because Amazon is such a hub. Many people buy from them and no wonder Jeff Bezos is making so much money because his company is hugely successful and it’s convenient. I ordered some products from Amazon because I needed them quickly. That’s a huge element of this. It’s the convenience factor, the money-saving factor.

You can go on there and read reviews. There’s a lot of elements of the Amazon experience that I enjoy. From time-to-time, I will order from them but I do my best to avoid it. Some people I know order everything on Amazon and they will constantly be getting packages, which I don’t think is good for the environment. It’s like, “This is convenient and inexpensive, I can quickly find what I need.” I get the appeal but there’s a lot of downsides. For example, Amazon is not rewarding people like me and Jason and other content creators out there that help with the marketing. They don’t seem to value us very much. I haven’t read into why they decided to cut the cost but I’m assuming that it’s a money thing.

I’ve heard lots of crazy stories about Amazon workers. I’ve even seen videos on TikTok. Some workers have snuck in their phones, which they’re not supposed to have but during the pandemic, they were allowed to bring their phones into work in order to stay in touch with their family members or in case of emergency. They started documenting it and it was so odd because it’s a lot of twenty-year-olds working these jobs, packing products as quickly as they possibly can, and a lot of people writing in the comments about their experience. It doesn’t sound like a good experience, so I wonder a lot about how the workers are being affected. These are the things I think about when you talk about how much money he makes. Of course, with Elon Musk, I feel this way but with Jeff Bezos, he started this company and look what he’s made.

The human rights violations and the resistance to giving people basic rights and basic means to sustain themselves are really concerning. Click To Tweet

He created this whole empire. There’s something about that that I feel appealed by. It’s impressive. It’s seeing how much wealth he’s acquired and how he has created this whole world that the people depend on, use and they’re elements of Amazon that work so well. We’re fortunate to have that from a convenience standpoint, but there are environmental and worker issues. If those things are not being paid attention to and somebody profiting off of not treating workers well, not paying them enough, and not considering the environment as much as they should, that I take issue with. The fact that Amazon makes it so convenient gets in the way of people realizing how much money they’re spending on products.

People might be suffering financially as a result of some of these systems because you don’t have enough time to think about it. It’s convenient. You sign up for Amazon Prime and you can get something delivered the next day or even the same day. All of these conveniences of it makes it easy to justify these purchases and justify these expenses on a monthly basis and then lose sight of how they might be impacting you financially. That’s an issue but also, more importantly, the consumerism side of this is concerning because a lot of it is very cheaply made. For example, when I did my shopping on there, I’m someone that will spend hours researching something, reading reviews, comparing things if I need to. I ended up buying two things that were made in China.

It’s even hard for me to say that out loud. It’s not that I have an overarching issue with things that are made in China but they’re cheaply made. I got them because it was truly a convenience thing. I was feeling tense with time and money to your point, Jason. Sometimes we make those decisions out of a feeling of urgency, desperation, or mental resources are an issue too. Sometimes we don’t want to spend the time to look at the alternatives. I’m certainly part of the problem too and I’m working on that. I encourage other people to consider these things and know that it’s hard to step away from these systems too.

I see Elon Musk differently than Jeff Bezos. They might not be that different after all. To me, I look at Elon Musk similar to how I did with Steve Jobs. He is innovative and fascinating. It’s cool that he’s made as much money as he has. I have a Tesla. It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever owned, and I’m benefiting from owning the stock. There’s been a lot of direct benefits that I’ve had. That skews things too. It’s hard to step back and look at these people objectively when they’re benefiting your life in a lot of ways.

The thing that I am realizing that as we zoom out and take a more macro view is that there are pluses and minuses, pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, and many things we talk about here on the show. It’s a very nuanced conversation. This will loop the macro conversation to the micro as we go forward with our personal relationship to money because I want us to both get a little uncomfortable talking about that. The thing that’s concerning to me, Whitney, and I say concerning because I don’t know what the answer is per se. We’ve certainly talked a lot about toxic capitalism in previous episodes. We’ve talked a little bit about workers’ rights, environmental rights, animal rights. These things are something we’re very passionate about.

If you dig under the hood with people that are accumulating these massive amounts of wealth, you also find that not in all cases but many cases, there are some alarming ethically dubious things that they’ve done and continue to do. As an example with Amazon, Jeff Bezos resisting giving his workers a $15 minimum wage. When you live in a giant metropolitan area ala Seattle, Southern California, some of the other metro areas they’re in, living expenses are high. As an example, someone who his net worth is $200 billion who has one of the most valuable corporations on the planet, give your workers $15 an hour. Why is this even a question? “I will market capitalization and revenues,” but people need to live.

That’s where I draw the line. When does the desire for power, scaling, global conquests, and net worth outstrip basic ethical considerations of taking care of your employees and the people that are helping you, as a person and a corporation gain this amount of power and wealth? The other concerning thing to me too is again, looking under the hood of how some of these billionaires run their company, with Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk obviously different men. They’ve had different life paths and career paths, but their resistance to allowing their employees to organize labor unions. I’m not saying that labor unions are perfect. I grew up in Detroit and we certainly had a lot of fascinating political conversations, stories, and moments with the United Auto Workers.

The Auto Workers being in Michigan and having so much power. I do think that on a basic level, if you have a corporation that is worth billions or trillions of dollars and the person at the top is worth tens of billions or hundreds of billions, extending basic rights, the right to organize, and live with basic means in a giant expensive metropolitan area. These things don’t seem to be that much of a stretch. To me, where I get caught up is, I see the good things that they have done but the human rights violations and the resistance to giving people basic rights and basic means to sustain themselves, that’s concerning. The reason it’s concerning is I go to my personal beliefs around money and this whole idea that we grew up with this thing of money is the root of all evil and money corrupts people.

I don’t believe that but the more that I look at how the mechanisms of our capitalism work on this planet, I’m starting to question whether or not a company and an individual, an entrepreneur or CEO, can get to these levels of success, wealth, power and do it without making some ethically dubious. I don’t want to use the word bad or evil but they’re up to some shit that doesn’t sit well where it begs to the question, can you get to that level of power, influence, wealth, and do it fully ethically? Are there points where to a degree you have to stomp on people to get there?

It is an interesting question. It’s a matter of perspective, experience, and ignorance versus education. There are things about Elon Musk that could completely change my mind about him. I’m not saying that how I feel now is how I’ll always feel about him. There’s something about Jeff Bezos that’s a little skeptical of, but I also wonder that because I’ve heard a lot of other people talk about him skeptically. We’re very influenced by the media. We’re influenced by the media, our friends, and the conversations have with them. It’s hard to find the truth about these things. Even Steve Jobs was somebody that I respected. I read his biography and worked for Apple for so long. I would hear a lot of things about him through the company and yet no matter how much I would learn about him that didn’t sit right with me, I still overall felt good.

RU 19 | Personal Relationship With Money

Personal Relationship With Money: The fact that Amazon makes shopping so convenient gets in the way of people realizing how much money they’re spending on products.

 

That’s part of how I operate, in general. I’m not much of a cynic. I have a lot of hope and humanity in other people. All of us do things that don’t sit right with somebody. I recognize that about myself. Part of putting information out into the world means that you’re exposing yourself to all sorts of people and there’s always going to be someone that doesn’t agree with you. On our show, for example, the people that have given us bad ratings, reviews, or comments, even though you and I are trying to come from the heart and be authentic, there are people out there that might perceive us as bad or wrong and we don’t have control over that.

To your question about, can you do well financially and stay ethic along the way? I believe so, but it depends on your definitions of ethics and what your ethics are because they’re not black and white. Having run a small business, it’s me and you working together occasionally. I’ve only had one technical employee that paid taxes. Mostly, I’ve worked with volunteers and stuff. I haven’t had that much experience running a business but even in those small instances, it’s very challenging. Sometimes you have to make a decision that might not fully sit right with you. You’re not always showing up as your best self either. There are times that you say or do things that might’ve felt right in the moment or didn’t feel right in the moment but you did them anyways.

I imagine running these huge companies that are happening on a regular basis. Every company I’ve worked for, there have been people that I didn’t like that were part of management and there’s been a lot of challenges working for businesses no matter how great they are. Apple is a great example. I loved working for Apple for the most part but there were times that were hard. They’re one of the best big businesses out there, all things considered. I’m sure they have done things. I remember there are multiple issues over time about their environmental impact. People would look at that and think that’s not ethical if you have an iPhone.

Yet again, I would have to make that decision like, “Am I willing to buy something that doesn’t feel perfectly ethical?” Frankly, I did. It’s also the same with the Tesla. We’ve talked about when you buy a car, it’s not 100% vegan. Is any car truly 100% vegan? There are still some ingredients somewhere that is made from animals or there’s some process in which animals or creatures are involved of some sort. We make those decisions to the best of our abilities at the time. The same thing applies with being a business owner. They’re trade-offs. That’s part of how life goes. It’s just on a much bigger level.

Do you see that there’s this ever-increasing income gap between people who are making extraordinary amounts of money which we have never seen in the history of our financial system and then people that are in the greatest number since the Great Depression of 100 years ago unemployed and living in poverty? I’m by no means an economist, a financial expert. I go on record and say that neither of us are. I am passionate about human rights. I’m passionate about looking at, as a futurist and a humanist, what is sustainable for humanity going forward? It seems to me that if we keep going down the path that we’re going, there is not a guarantee but a propensity for a massive amount of wealth, power, influence, and political poll at the top where a middle class is going to be completely eradicated.

There’s a whole ton of people that are living month-to-month. They’re in poverty. That thing that I’m most concerned about is through globalization, rampant capitalism, massively unequal distribution of wealth that, what’s the end game here? From the articles I have read, if we don’t make some serious adjustments to the way our world economy works, and I’m not just talking about the US, that we will have an obliteration of the middle class where you’ll have handfuls of people with hundreds of billions of dollars and then people starving. That’s my concern about the future of life on the planet and humanity.

To be frank, these are not things that I’m very aware of. It is an important conversation because one of our big aims with this show is to raise awareness for ourselves and for the reader. This isn’t something that I’ve been paying close attention to. This is part of the challenge. There’s so much to pay attention to. There’s our daily survival of how do we get by. You started this conversation talking about money. Especially now, I have so much on my mind that I’ve barely read any articles. I’m generally somebody that will read the news and read some in-depth articles by journalists every single day.

I haven’t been able to do that for a week because of all the things that I have going on, the urgency behind each of them, and setting those priorities. It is tricky because listening to you, it does sound very concerning and it does feel urgent but so much in life starts to feel urgent. It’s easy for these things to be undetected and then suddenly we’re in a bad place. I wonder, is that how this pandemic happened? Were we given all these warning signs that nobody was prioritizing? Here we are, in this bad situation as a country, scrambling to figure things out and it’s literally about our survival. To your point, it’s a tough thing, Jason.

I admire that you’re concerned and educated on this. I would like to be but there are so many subject matters I want to be educated on. I want to be educated about sustainability and what’s going on with the environment. That’s such a deep rabbit hole that I’ve been going down for years and it’s endless. There’s endless information coming out all the time. I want to work on personal development, spirituality, and understanding all these different elements of life so that I can support people with their struggles. This is a huge topic that we cover on the show. Studying that almost every single day for me is time-consuming and energy-draining. Where do you put your attention? Where do you focus?

Are you going to read the news and complain about something or are you going to educate yourself and then figure out a game plan? I’m curious for you, Jason. Personally, on this subject matter, I want to know what to do. I want to know what can be done. I’m not interested in worrying about it because I have too much to worry about. I think a lot of people do. What have you discovered that can be done? Where is our power? What can we do on an individual basis and on a unified level of how do we get people together to make change versus talking about something and worrying about it?

As pedantic as it sounds, from a personal level, if we can redistribute whatever wealth we have, whether that’s a wealth of food, actual capital, or our time. On a personal level, giving and being extremely generous to those that have less than us, that’s as old as time. There have always been people of greater status, whether that was royalty and they were born into it. Right now, the royalty is people who run massive corporations. They’re the royalty of the world. On an individual level, one way to combat that is by buying less shit. That’s number one. We could all stand to be a lot less materialistic in this world. We don’t need as much stuff.

So much in life starts to feel urgent that it is so easy for important things to be undetected, and then suddenly, we're in a bad place. Click To Tweet

Hopefully, for a lot of people, I’ve come to realize that, especially over the quarantine. As a result, I’ve been able to save some money because I’m not spending as much. It’s like, “What do I need all this crap for?” Being less consumeristic, less materialistic is number one. Sharing what we have and sharing resources with each other is number two. Depending on which way one’s political beliefs lean, you vote, support, and donate to the candidates, the causes, and the organizations that reflect your beliefs. As an example, one thing that there’s been a massive amount of resistance to in this country, not so much in other European countries where they’re doing experiments with it, is passing laws for Universal Basic Income. They call it a UBI.

Universal Basic Income is something where all of the citizens of a nation get a flat monthly payment every single month that they’re alive. It’s a Universal Basic Income which aims to cover food, utilities, or some rent. I read an article. It was in a Norwegian country but they started an experiment or a pilot program in Finland that did UBI for two years. There’s a BBC article that says, “The trial left people much happier but jobless.” That’s interesting that they’re positioning it like jobless is a bad thing.

It’s an interesting article that goes into UBI and this experiment in Finland. I don’t have the answers. I’m not an economist or financial expert but I am a humanist. I do care about basic human necessities. I believe that we have a broken system. When you have someone who has hundreds of billions of dollars and here in Los Angeles especially, Whitney, going out to feed the homeless, bring them supplies, body care, food, beverages. I’m going to go and do another delivery. You see people that they are wondering when their next meal and their next shower. How they’re going to brush their teeth? How they’re going to take care of themselves as a daily concern?

You have someone who has hundreds of billions of dollars. These are markers of a culture and a system that is destined to be destroyed. At some point, if we don’t fix the humanistic aspect of this, I believe that if we find a way collectively to honor the environment, animals, people’s individual rights to shelter, food, water, and basic necessities, humanity can continue in a much more sustainable and humanistic way. I am not a doomsdayer but I have to feel that if we keep going down the track we’re going, this is horrifically unsustainable for human life.

I can understand the concern. I don’t know what else to say about it, to be honest, because when I hear things like this, all I want to know is what can be done. Beyond what you’ve discovered thus far, I’m at a standstill and other people can relate to that. What do you think is the best way to learn more and figure out how to proceed and contribute to this? Beyond things like voting, your vote can play a big role in shifting the way things are run in this country. Even when we feel powerless, we’re not. It’s so important to vote. We need to do more work to encourage others to vote and make sure that you’re letting your voice be heard.

You can call representatives on issues you’re concerned about. You can get involved in all sorts of organizations. You can volunteer in many ways. There are those things but not everybody takes the initiative to go do them. The next thing to ask yourself is, what are you passionate about and why? What else is happening in the world that you should be more educated and passionate about? How can you get involved with it? There’s going to be a lot of people that can relate to my experience, Jason because there’s so much going on for us. This is where my cynicism is if there’s any within me. I see many people having excuses for basic things in life and feeling overwhelmed that adding this to the list is far from their minds.

This is exactly why these things persist. It’s because the average person is trying to get by each day whether they have children that they’re trying to take care of. That alone, the amount of women that I have seen in my personal life like friends of mine that have kids, they can barely do anything beyond caring for their kids. How could they possibly get involved with something like this? I’m not saying it’s not possible. It’s an exaggeration. Of course, anything is possible if you care enough. There are people that are working hours and hours every single day to pay their rent and they’re exhausted at the end of the day. That is where the big challenge becomes because the people that will be affected by this are also the people that don’t feel they have the energy to put towards making a change.

That’s why we end up in these situations because in a way that makes them feel powerless. You have to be somebody with an amazing amount of determination in order to start making these types of changes. I don’t know how many of those people there are. I’m not saying they don’t exist or change can happen but if you’re getting fired up reading this then you might be one of those people. You need to do something about this and spread the word but do it in a way that’s not based in complaining. I don’t want to hear people talking about these things. I want them to be taking action, encouraging me, telling me how I can take action, and encouraging other people like myself who haven’t sat down and spent the time on this because we have so much going on in our lives. That’s why we’re not taking the initiative.

Another element of this is, how do you help people that feel overwhelmed already? The moms, entrepreneurs, small business owners, single parents, and college students. All these people who are so overwhelmed with the basic day-to-day stuff, those people need help. They need encouragement, education, and accountability partners in order to get going. Another example is why is it so challenging for people to go vote? What I’m saying here is people are so overwhelmed. They don’t even know who to vote for because they haven’t spent the time to research it beyond trying to decide who to vote for president, which could also feel incredibly overwhelming and confusing. If you came and go vote, how do you expect people to go and take all these big actions to make a change? This takes a whole movement in order to get people to shift what they’re paying attention to and how they’re going to make an impact on it.

RU 19 | Personal Relationship With Money

Personal Relationship With Money: This pandemic happened when we were given all these warning signs that nobody was prioritizing. Now, here we are in this really bad situation as a country scrambling to figure things out.

 

One way that we can all vote every single day is with our dollars. We’ve talked about this in terms of the industries, corporations, or movements we support. To your point, one of the advantages that a corporation like Amazon has is convenience. People are willing to pay for convenience even if it comes at the risk of damaging the environment or supporting a company that doesn’t necessarily support the workers’ rights that it has but it’ll get there in eight hours. We’ve all collectively become slaves to convenience to one degree or another. It goes back to a book we’ve often referenced here which is The Pleasure Trap by Dr. Doug Lisle and Alan Goldhamer which is we’re biologically wired to have the highest amount of reward for the least amount of effort whether that’s a caloric yield, a yield of power, I want my favorite candy bars, and I want them in four hours at my doorstep.

We are wired to want that. We want what we want and the least amount of effort to get it. The mentality that we need to take, all of us, myself included, is to be even more mindful of how our everyday purchasing decisions, how those count as a vote? As an example, over this quarantine period, Dean Foods, who was the largest dairy manufacturer in the US filed for bankruptcy. That was unthinkable years ago. I saw this because Good Karma Flaxmilk sold the huge share to Dean. Once Dean filed for bankruptcy, they bought their share back for the Flaxmilk company. Why would a corporation as massive and humongous as the US biggest dairy producer, how the hell could they go bankrupt?

How is that possible? Consumer preference. People started buying hemp milk, oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, flax milk, and correspondingly dairy sales started to plummet. They still are plummeting. What we realize is that whether it’s Amazon, Dean Foods, Apple, Tesla, Microsoft, Chase, or name any giant multinational corporation that has its tentacles throughout the planet, they exist because either there was a rich founder who injected them with capital and/or they had VC funding. Ultimately, they exist to sell a product, a service, or a suite of products and services. If we, as consumers, don’t want to support them, we don’t have to support them. They only exist because we allow them to exist. I’m saying this because sometimes we forget the power that we have. It’s hard when you are scraping by each month.

I realized that some of our readers too may be scraping and get by. They don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent, pay for childcare, or find food. One of our readers is homeless, I know for certain because they’ve sent me messages. I’m not trying to say that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. Where we put not only our political vote but how we vote with our dollar every single time we make a purchase, that is allowing that company, individual, entrepreneur, VC fund, or that entity to continue doing what they do. If we don’t want them to continue doing what they are doing, don’t give them money. That’s ground zero to me.

It also begs the question too, Whitney, this relationship around money because I don’t believe that money is bad, wealth is bad, or these individuals are bad. My separation is that there was an amazing documentary that came out in 2003 or 2004 called The Corporation. It talked about how we got here, how toxic capitalism got to the point that it has and why there are legal structures and protections that regard corporate entities as individuals, as beings. There’s a lot of nuances to this conversation and how we got to this point but it is interesting to look at the belief systems underneath money. You talk about struggle. One of the big things that I have struggled with over the course of my life is growing up with my mom and dad. Even though my dad wasn’t around that long, my dad’s approach to making money was hustling.

In some cases, my father would set a business deals with people, he would take their money, and not provide what he had promised them. He did this on more than one occasion. As I learned more about my dad and his business dealings, that to me is very unethical. On the one side, it was this money message growing up of, if you want to make money and do well, you need to hustle, con people, and screw them over to make money. On the other side, because my dad wasn’t around, my mom and dad separated very young and being raised by a single mom, my mom was sometimes working 3 and 4 jobs at a time to make ends meet.

I didn’t get to see my mom that much. On that side, money is hard to make. It’s hard to stay afloat. You’ve got to work your ass off that my mom did to make ends meet and put food on the table and have the mortgage paid. I personally have had to look at these deep-seated beliefs around how to earn money, which on one side subconsciously was you have to screw people over and fuck them, get yours from my dad. You need to work yourself to the bone and grind yourself into the ground to make ends meet and they’re scarcity.

Here, she who works the hardest wins. As you know, you’ve seen over the years knowing each other how challenging my money relationship has been and I’m still working through self-worth, work ethic, trying to be as ethical as possible, and do what I say I’m going to do. It still is a big challenge for me. I’m curious to flip it back on you, how your upbringing? How you saw the relationship of money in your family? How you’ve been as an entrepreneur and as an adult dealing with your own money?

For sake of time, this episode is interesting, Jason, because I see how passionate you are about this. It’s almost like I feel unprepared to talk about it because I haven’t given as much thought to it as you have, to be honest. At least in the sense that you’re digging into. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s tough for me. These types of things take me some time to process and reflect on. I don’t want to give a superficial quick answer. I want to get into it on a deeper level. This makes more sense to do a part two for this. I’d be happy to share a little bit if you have some specific questions that you’re interested in and then you have some things that can be food for thought for my road trip. I’ll be spending so much time with my family, a lot of the things that I try to uncover come up when I’m spending time with my family and I get to tune back into my life before I was on my own. How my parents influenced me and things I noticed about them that hit me differently now as an adult.

It’s interesting to take notice of what Ram Dass’s quote that he said years ago. He said, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” You’re going to be spending a lot more than a week, aren’t you? Aren’t you planning to be at least a month back home?

I don’t know. It’s to be determined. We’ll see. It could be anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks. It’s what I’m thinking of doing.

We’ll loop back around. If you don’t feel inspired to talk about it, I’m not going to force you.

It’s not that I’m inspired to talk about it. It’s just that heavy, deep subject matter that I want to reflect more on. I don’t want to give a quick off the cuff response to this and this being on the shorter end of some episodes due to our recording constraints, I don’t feel like I can summarize all of this and five minutes.

We’ll do a part B then. Let’s get to our brand shout outs and if you have an FAQ or two, Whitney. I briefly mentioned this in a couple of episodes prior to this that I had been dealing with a gout flare-up. I’ve been going to physical therapy after I had some foot problems in a foot injury after the gout. One thing that my doctor recommended to me was taking enzyme, specifically proteolytic enzymes. If you’ve been with us, dear reader for the past few episodes, you have heard us mention BiOptimizers. I have been taking a product of theirs called MassZymes, which are advanced enzymes that have key amino acids that help boost your absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

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They help with your digestion, mental clarity, and focus. They also help to repair damaged intestinal walls. Here’s the interesting thing as Whitney and I love to go down the research rabbit hole. If you’ve been with us here on the show, you know that we both like to go and do our own research and go deep down there. There’s a published article talking about our enzyme defects in gout that are associated with the overproduction of uric acid, which was super interesting. If there are enzyme deficiencies, it can cause more uric acid to build up and that leads to these dagger-shaped crystals that lead to gout. I’ve been taking these proteolytic enzymes from BiOptimizers and it’s been part of my gout recovery.

If you, dear reader, might struggle with uric acid, arthritis, gout, anything that, or any inflammatory issues, these MassZymes are phenomenal. Take three in the morning, three at night, and they’ve been a foundational element of my recovery in physical therapy and recovering from this gout flare-up that I had. If you want to check out their website, it’s BiOptimizers.com/wellevatr. When you go there, if you want to take 10% off your order, you enter the code WELLEVATR10. You can save 10% on the MassZymes.

If you’ve read our previous blogs, we’ve mentioned our love for the ConstiCleanse, the hydrochloric acid, and their amazing magnesium products as well. Go ahead and check out BiOptimizers. We love them as a sponsor. Whitney and I have both been taking their products. Again, for sleep, digestion, and in my particular and very specific case, recovering from gout. We have absolutely been in love with this brand. On that, do we have any FAQ we can pull from? Do you have any in the back pocket? What do you got?

I’m curious what do you think this person meant when they Googled this. The phrases “Let it grow but it’s awkward.”

I think about sexual things but that’s a peek into my dirty mind. It’s because I mentioned an erection in a previous episode, is that why? When we were talking about the magnesium episode and the side benefit of having morning would. That’s where my mind goes.

I looked it up and apparently refers to a song from the Lorax movie, the cartoon version called Let It Grow. There’s this whole trend of people making awkward versions of it.

I’ve never seen this movie, by the way. Have you?

I have it. It looks good. I opened up a click and I have no context for it but it makes me curious. The Lorax is a great environmental story. I didn’t feel that drawn to it but by seeing this, I’m thinking, “Maybe I should watch this movie.” People are editing it together. This one video on YouTube has ten million views. This person edits together awkward versions of things like that. I’ve never seen this. I feel out of the loop. When you see stuff on the internet that’s so popular and you’ve never heard of it, it goes to show how many people are doing things that we’re not even aware of.

Truth be told, you’re more on the cusp of what’s trending on social media by virtue of the amount of TikTok videos and links that you sent me. You and our friendship, you send me a hell of a lot more videos, memes, and TikTok than I send you. It’s interesting that you didn’t know about this going on. I’m shocked, Whitney.

I’m a little bit shocked as well, I have to say. It is from 2016. At least, it’s not current because if it was a meme from the past year, I would know about it because since I got on TikTok, I do feel very with it and hip in that sense. TikTok is such a hub for seeing what’s going on around the world. That’s where I learned about COVID for the first time. That’s where I saw a video of the Black Lives Matter protests happening for the first time. There was so much that I all see. Do you know what else? The big explosion in Beirut. I found out about through TikTok before it hit the mainstream news. It’s fascinating how information spreads, whether it’s the news or some silly meme and trend out there. I find TikTok to be a very educational experience for me. Now that we’ve learned a little bit ourselves, let me see what else we have in terms of interesting things people type on the internet. This one’s fascinating to me. The query was dating a girl with anxiety.

You should take this one because you’ve been very forthright, Whitney, and open about the anxiety you’ve been feeling. We can examine that or in a separate episode, whatever. I know we’re getting toward the end but dating a girl with anxiety. I’m not the best person to answer that because I have mental health issues and I have clinical depression. I’ve got my own shit to deal with. It’s tough, I would imagine if you are in a relationship where you have two people with mental health issues.

Have you ever dated a girl that had a lot of anxiety?

Who the fuck doesn’t have anxiety? I don’t know anybody on this planet who doesn’t have anxiety. This is not to diminish it but I’ve dated people with anxiety. The best thing to do is have compassion, understanding, and extremely clear communication for what someone is going through. As an example, with Laura who I’m dating. If either one of us is having sadness, depression, anxiety, whatever it is, we’re clear about communicating that with each other. There are times where it’s like, “It would be best that I stay home, be by myself, and deal with this. As opposed to other times, it’s better if we get together.”

I feel like this is another episode, Whitney, of how to date, love, and hold space for someone who has depression, anxiety, panic attacks, things like that. This is a separate episode because I would love to share my perspective on having clinical depression, suicidal ideation, and things I struggle with and then also bringing in some of these other things that we said because we can’t wrap this up in a few minutes. I do think, dear reader, we will have and peg this as a very near future episode, for sure.

I like that idea. That’s great. I also liked the idea of doing a part two to this and diving deeper into the money side of things especially during spending time with my parents. I’ll be reflecting on this for sure. Even on my road trip, one of the reasons that I love traveling is it often becomes a meditation and noticing the things that come up for me and a subject matter like this, I tend to continue to reflect on well beyond the initial conversation. I’m going to feel very inspired. As for our last query, I like to feature some that made me laugh. I don’t know why this led somebody to our website but somebody searched for Ninja Turtle bathroom set. Our website came up as a recommended result.

Do you know what it was? It was because with our episode on How To Get Your Geek On with Chris DT Gordon. We talked about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because he’s a huge comic book fan. That’s why we talked at length about TMNT. In fact, even sung the ninja rap, the classic from Vanilla Ice. That’s where we got that query from. Shout out to Chris DT Gordon on that episode.

It’s interesting when you look up what a Ninja Turtle bathroom set is. First of all, it’s mainly about the shower curtain and there are a lot of Ninja Turtle shower curtains. Some much better than others. Some of them might be old photos. There’s a website called LetGo.com where you can sell used things. This person is selling a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bathroom set for $20 or it’s part of OfferUp. This is an old listing. I can’t even fully click on it because it’s redirecting but it made me laugh because they wrote in marker on top of the photo the price of $20. That coupled with this crazy Ninja Turtle bathmat that’s one of the turtle’s faces ginormous on your floor, trash bin, soap dispenser in the shape of one of their heads. It’s interesting what type of merchandise gets created. This, to me, is a little creepy but if you were into the Ninja Turtles which I did appreciate them when I was growing up.

RU 19 | Personal Relationship With Money

Personal Relationship With Money: One way to combat the royalty of the world is by buying less. We could all stand to probably be a lot less materialistic in this world.

 

If you were a huge fan or as a kid, this would be cool but it also can easily be perceived as creepy. Why would you want to decorate your bathroom that way? I hope whoever searched for that found what they were looking for and enjoyed it if they purchase it. Hopefully, they didn’t buy it from China through Amazon but let’s be honest, they probably did because the first hit that you get when you search for this is Amazon. The set that they’re selling does look cool. To bring it full circle, Jason, this is what happens. With Amazon, it’s easy, it’s less expensive, and there’s so much variety. I can see why people get caught in that loop of supporting a business like that.

I will say that buying used is usually cheaper. It’s definitely better for the environment and it’s a way to support somebody who needs to make some extra cash on the side. If you can, find it on OfferUp, Letgo, Craigslist, any of those types of sites. That might be a good place to start even Facebook Marketplace even though it can be frustrating as hell as a seller on there. The crazy stories that each of us could share about Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Letgo could be a whole another episode. One day, we might talk about that.

RU 19 | Personal Relationship With MoneyWe might but there’s nothing like picking up a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bathroom set that’s down on that depreciation curve. Getting it secondhand is the way to go. Dear reader, we are at the end of this episode. We always thank you for getting uncomfortable with us here and stay tuned for part two about our perspectives on finances, money, wealth, and abundance because it certainly cannot be covered by one episode along with the discussion on how to love and care for a significant other who has mental health issues in their lives. That is going to be a wonderful, empowering, and enlightening episode, Whitney. I’m looking forward to both of those. Until next time, thank you for being with us. If you would be so kind to rate us on Apple Podcasts, we have a litany, a deluge of wonderful ratings there. If you want to add to that positivity, we would be most grateful. With that dear reader, we bid you a good day and God speed.

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