Interview with My Daughter

Are you ready to supercharge your financial journey? 🚀

Tune in to our latest podcast episode where my daughter and I dive deep into three game-changing strategies for financial success and stronger family bonds, including …

🌟Starting small but dreaming big: And how those little steps can lead to massive wins!

🌟Celebrating every milestone along your financial path because every victory counts!

🌟Learning how to create a supportive and judgment-free environment that fosters financial well-being and strengthens family ties. Don’t miss out on this valuable insight!

Tune in now and join us on the journey to a brighter financial future and happier family relationships!

Show Notes:

Welcome to Heart of Your Money, the retirement prep podcast for busy professionals seeking real financial advice. Hosted by Zena Amundsen, author, certified financial planner, and founder of Astra Financial. In every episode, you’ll gain exclusive access to valuable financial insights to help you prepare for retirement and feel confident about your financial decisions.

Hey there, welcome back to another episode. First off, I want to express my gratitude. Thank you for tuning in and supporting this podcast. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I receive positive feedback or topic suggestions from listeners, or even when a family member gives a thumbs up. It truly feels like a community, and I deeply appreciate it. To help us reach more people, I have a small request. Could you please rate us on Apple Podcasts and subscribe? Your support helps us expand our audience. Thank you.

Now, let’s dive into today’s topic. Today, I’ll be sharing some personal insights. I’m feeling a bit nervous, so if I start speaking rapidly or giggling, it’s because my daughter, Isabelle, is here with me in the room. I’ve invited her to join me for a conversation about money—her experiences, advice, and insights. Isabelle recently graduated from university, and at 24 years old, she can offer valuable perspectives to parents, grandparents, and fellow young adults.

Isabelle: Hello, Zena. Thank you for having me.

Zena: Yes, there’s the giggling—Isabelle and I tend to laugh a lot when we’re together. So, Isabelle, what’s something you wish you knew about money when you were younger?

Isabelle: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s about what I wish I knew personally, but rather what I believe would benefit others to know as well. It’s the realization that you don’t need a lot of money to start saving. For instance, when I was a broke student living off eggs and rice, making ends meet was a struggle. But even after graduating and landing a low-paying job…

Zena: I remember feeling a bit panicked when you mentioned your salary. It’s the mama bear instinct kicking in.

Isabelle: Absolutely. But despite the low pay, it was still the most money I had ever earned in my life, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. However, it marked an improvement in my quality of life. Even with a modest income, there’s still room to save.

Zena: It’s all relative. What seems like a small step up for you is significant progress. But as a parent, I couldn’t help worrying about your financial well-being.

Isabelle: There’s this misconception that once you graduate and get a degree, you’ll land a well-paying job immediately. But nowadays, that’s not the reality. Securing a degree doesn’t guarantee a high salary. You often start at entry-level positions.

Zena: Exactly. Many parents, myself included, envision our children landing secure, middle-class jobs right after graduation. But the truth is, it’s a gradual process. Nonetheless, you’ve managed to live within your means and save money, which is impressive.

Isabelle: It’s about adjusting to your circumstances. I no longer have to rely solely on eggs and rice, which is a relief.

Zena: I did make sure you had some food to eat.

Isabelle: That’s true. You were always checking if I had enough food in my fridge.

Zena: I can’t let you starve, can I?

Isabelle: Exactly. So, I’ve learned to appreciate the small luxuries, like grabbing a coffee at Tim’s occasionally.

Zena: You’ve always been good at saving. How do you manage that, especially with entry-level jobs and student debts?

Isabelle: I follow the principle of “out of sight, out of mind.” Once I cover my bills and essentials, any surplus money is immediately transferred to my tax-free savings account (TFSA). By keeping it out of my regular bank account, I’m less tempted to spend it.

Zena: You’ve developed good financial habits. Having grown up with a financial planner for a mom certainly gave you a head start. You’ve internalized the importance of saving from a young age, which is a significant advantage.

Isabelle: I’m grateful for the guidance you’ve provided throughout my life. Not everyone has that privilege, and I recognize how fortunate I am to have had someone to teach me these valuable lessons.


Zena: Oh, thank you. So, I think what I’m hearing is you have emergency savings as well, outside of your tax-free account. I know this, so I’m going to guide you in that direction. Is that a savings account you have in addition to your tax-free one?

Isabelle: Yes, exactly. I have a certain amount in my bank account designated for bills and feeling financially secure. Living within my means is crucial, but I also prioritize my personal needs. Everyone’s priorities differ based on their values. Some may prefer splurging on dining out or a shopping spree to update their wardrobe. For me, it’s travel. I’ve set up a separate savings account specifically for travel expenses, which I consider an enhancement to my quality of life. Therefore, the money I allocate is solely for that purpose.

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Zena: You’re giving me credit for helping you, but you’ve navigated this process on your own. You’ve always informed me about your additional savings and the need to keep them out of sight and mind, which was prompted by you, not me nudging you. So, credit to you for being a savvy saver. However, I understand that not all parent-child relationships are as harmonious, especially when it comes to discussing money. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we had triggers and couldn’t have productive financial discussions. We’re quite fortunate.

Isabelle: Absolutely. It greatly depends on the home environment and how money is addressed. While I commend you, Mom, for being a financial planner, for many households, money is a significant stressor. Children overhear discussions about bills and financial stresses projected by their parents. The expenses associated with raising a child are often viewed as burdensome and discussed as such, leading to stressful or taboo conversations that are either confrontational or avoided altogether.

Zena: Your social work training is shining through, Isabelle. You graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work, and the depth of your understanding at age 24 is astounding. It makes my head spin. You’re absolutely correct. The reality is that not all families have healthy conversations about money.

Isabelle: Indeed, but I’ve been fortunate to have these discussions thanks to you. Let’s face it—bills are stressful, and they’re a constant presence. Raising children incurs significant expenses, which can induce stress. However, instead of focusing solely on the financial strain, our conversations revolved around managing money wisely and making informed decisions.

Zena: It’s interesting you bring that up. I recall our first family money meeting vividly. I was enrolled in a cash flow boot camp, and it emphasized holding family meetings to prioritize our values and financial goals. I remember calling the first meeting, and Mikayla, your sister, leaned in and asked if we were broke. Despite our efforts to have a healthy discussion, it triggered a fear of financial instability in her momentarily.

Isabelle: Absolutely, but it’s crucial how you navigate these conversations and move forward. You can achieve a lot with minimal resources. It’s about perspective and approach, understanding that financial stressors may exist but choosing to focus on proactive solutions rather than dwelling on the negativity.


Zena: Yeah, but as your financial planner, I’m aware of your financial situation. You’ve achieved a lot with limited resources. Admittedly, it’s concerning to see how little you have, but your net worth is still impressive.

Isabelle: Exactly. Even when I talk about my savings account, I’m not pretending to be wealthy. It’s about consistently setting aside even small amounts, like an extra 10, 50, or a hundred bucks. Every little bit counts and accumulates over time.

Zena: So, let’s delve into that. Your savings account has been accumulating for how long? Three years?

Isabelle Oh, it’s been longer than that.

Zena: Really? Around four years then?

Isabelle: Yes, even longer. Throughout university, although the savings were much smaller.

Zena: Right, slow and steady progress. The takeaway here is that you don’t need a large sum to start saving, and it’s about appreciating the small victories along the way.

Isabelle: Exactly. In university, being able to afford a Starbucks drink felt like a significant achievement. It’s about recognizing and celebrating those milestones, even if you’re only earning a modest income.

Zena: I admit, I may have dampened your spirits when I reacted to your income. That wasn’t the most encouraging response, but it came from a place of concern as your mother.

Isabelle: It’s essential to pause and appreciate the progress you’ve made and what you can now afford with your increased income.

Zena: Absolutely, that’s invaluable advice. Thank you for sharing your insights today, Isabelle. This conversation has been quite personal, and I appreciate your openness.

Isabelle: Thanks for having me.

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