Community and Financial Literacy with Kiersten & Julien Saunders

May 2, 2023

Community and Financial Literacy with Kiersten & Julien Saunders

May 2, 2023

About This Episode

In this episode of the "Brilliant Thoughts" podcast, Tristan Ahumada interviews Julian and Kiersten Saunders, the hosts of the "Rich and REGULAR" podcast.

"Rich and REGULAR" is a personal finance platform created by the husband-and-wife team, Julian and Kiersten Saunders. The platform includes a blog, courses, and a podcast that focus on helping people achieve financial freedom and build wealth. The "Rich and REGULAR" podcast features discussions on personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle design, with guests ranging from financial experts to successful entrepreneurs. The aim of the platform and the podcast is to provide practical advice and inspiration for individuals to take control of their finances and create a better future for themselves.

The Biggest Issue in Personal Finance Now.

With the recent issue of inflation affecting banks, Tristan asked Julian about the changes he's seen in the past year and the biggest concern he tackles on a weekly basis. Julian discussed how the financial landscape has changed drastically over the years with the advent of technology, introducing new functions, quality in investing, and new apps, platforms, aggregators, and currencies. With all these changes, the biggest issue he sees now is tech illiteracy, where financial literacy is intertwined with tech, radio, and media literacy. Most people don't have the skills to navigate technology to solve their problems quickly.

Financial Enthusiasts

Right off the bat after the introduction, Julian and Kiersten eagerly threw financial-related discussions into the mix, showcasing their deep interest and knowledge in the topic of personal finance. Julian's extensive 20 years of study in the field of money management are a testament to his expertise and commitment to the subject. Meanwhile, Kiersten's self-described status as a personal financial enthusiast indicates a similar level of passion and interest in the topic.

Their shared interest in finance is likely to make for engaging and insightful conversations throughout the podcast episode as they discuss various money-related topics such as budgeting, saving, investing, and more. Readers and listeners alike can expect to gain valuable insights and advice from these experienced individuals who have dedicated significant time to understanding the intricacies of personal finance. Whether you are a beginner looking to improve your financial literacy or an experienced investor seeking to refine your skills, Julian and Kiersten's insights are set to provide valuable information and guidance.

Personal Financial Matters: Is It Just a Family Affair?

Julian's emphasis on the importance of community in achieving financial success is a valuable insight. He gives importance to the fact that having a support system can be essential in navigating the often complicated and overwhelming world of personal finance. While family may seem like an obvious choice for this type of support, it's not always the best option. This is particularly true when it comes to financial matters, which can be sensitive and personal.

Kiersten explains that community plays a crucial role in normalizing struggles, not just celebrating successes. Often, solutions sold to us through media or advertising may not be applicable to our daily lives. Kiersten uses the example of the beauty industry's "anti-aging" products that cannot stop the natural aging process. Similarly, in the financial realm, small business owners, families, and individuals may face struggles in a hyper-inflationary environment, and community support can help normalize these challenges and provide creative solutions through sharing resources or learning about new tools or products.

When Tristan asked where exactly in the community people can get financial support, Julian and Kiersten discussed how making friends as adults around a like-minded value, such as frugality or financial freedom, can be awkward, but options are available. These include finding friendships digitally through social media and attending meetups to make friends with local people. 

They also suggest a combination of the two approaches. The process requires vulnerability and putting oneself out there, but the benefits of human connection are worth it. They emphasize that the difference is clear between staying in one's bubble versus joining a community, where it unlocks learning and makes one a practitioner of their interest. They mentioned the same recommendation in their book, Cashing Out.

Win the Wealth Game by Walking Away

Tristan asked the couple about the phrase "win the wealth game by walking away," which is the subtitle of their book, Cashing Out. Julian explained that the book is about the intersection of money and work from the perspective of black professionals. He highlighted some of the challenges that disproportionately affect these communities, such as the racial wealth gap and the sandwich generation. He also mentioned that the book provides rules and rituals (as they call them) that people can follow to help them win the game.

Tristan then asked Julian about how to address the issue of racial disparity in the US. Julian said that it is a long process, and it starts with asking a different set of questions. He believes that people need to recognize that they don't need to learn anything else, but they actually need to begin the process of unlearning. He suggested asking questions that people haven't really thought about to help them get out of their own way.

Kiersten added that at many of their events and talks, individuals approach them stating that financial independence is their ultimate goal, to which they respond with a reminder that their occupation does not define them as a person. While it may be what they do for a living and receive a paycheck for, it does not encompass their entire identity. Kiersten encourages individuals to take the time to discover who they truly are, which will allow them to align their lifestyle and financial goals with their personal values and aspirations. However, many people tend to overlook this crucial step and end up defining themselves solely by their job, even if it does not align with their identity as a whole person.

Stop teaching and start living by example.” How did they become financial enthusiasts?  

Tristan gave them an interesting challenge, which was to describe themselves as finance gurus in a relatable way that anyone could understand, even though they didn't hold a degree or any formal qualification in finance. The discussion took a fun turn as they talked about their “personal hacks” - their ways to improve one's mindset and behavior toward money. This includes observing one's thoughts and identifying any patterns of self-doubt or people-pleasing, as well as imagining oneself as a successful business owner operating on their own terms. They emphasized the importance of recognizing cultural and societal influences on financial decision-making and suggested the value of having a financial role model to emulate. In their discussion, they encouraged the idea of community and acting as a lighthouse to inspire others to take positive action in their financial lives.

Julian and Kiersten stressed the power of living by example and having a financial role model who can demonstrate what a rich life, freedom, and the ability to navigate difficult issues look like.

Regarding their recommended books, Julian suggested A Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins, which he described as a refreshingly straightforward guide to building sustainable wealth in a way that is easy to comprehend and implement. Rather than relying on complicated investment strategies, the book emphasizes simple, consistent investing. 

Kiersten added a book recommendation for personal development, Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab. Tawwab is a therapist who has identified patterns in how people set boundaries in their lives. Kiersten found the book helpful in redefining what boundaries mean and applying that knowledge to her personal finances, which opened up new possibilities for both earning and saving money.

The Psychology Behind Spending Money

All throughout the podcast, Tristan expressed a strong interest in gaining personal finance advice and also in understanding the psychology behind spending money. He wondered if the psychological aspect of money management was the biggest challenge people faced. 

Julian and Kiersten agreed and added that it is a complicated issue, particularly in the hyper-consumeristic culture that we are in now. Temptation is hard to resist when everything looks so appealing, and advertising is becoming more effective, making it easier to slip up. However, they also stressed that beating oneself up for budgeting mistakes is unnecessary as there are numerous external factors that can affect one's attitude toward spending, such as inflation and global events. 

Building awareness of the source of spending impulses and learning to filter or detox from marketing and advertising is a lot more crucial to avoiding overspending than people usually think. All three agreed and preferred this approach to more conventional financial advice provided by other established influencers in the financial world who they felt might be more focused on gaining followers than providing genuine advice.

A “rare” occurrence no more: Rich and REGULAR is a podcast that discusses financial matters that resonate with the audience.

Kiersten suggests that what resonates with their audience when discussing financial matters is their permission to speak out loud about the struggles that they are facing. Many people feel ashamed or stigmatized for talking about their financial problems, even if they are thinking about them. Kiersten believes that normalizing the conversation around financial literacy and speaking out loud about these issues can help people understand that they are not alone in their struggles.

She discussed the idea that financial literacy is essential to avoid the never-ending cycle of earning more money and spending it all without any savings or investments. They also normalize the idea that being a high earner does not necessarily mean being rich and that they can still struggle with finances. 

As a whole, what makes their podcast episodes engaging and fun to listen to is their approach: to make financial matters relatable and understandable for their audience.

Tristan was curious about whether it's advisable to emulate the financial habits of the community they belong to and if they recommend getting a bookkeeper or accountant to manage personal finances. Tristan also asked them to describe what staying on top of one's finances should entail and whether it should be a regular habit like checking email or watching Netflix.

Julian responded that they don't do a lot of business consulting, but they always advocate for simplicity. He believes that there is too much information available these days, causing confusion and constant learning and reevaluation of different solutions. Once people overcome the literacy hump, it's all about getting in there and learning what it feels like to gain or lose money. Entrepreneurs should focus on their core business model and avoid distractions that can cause them to take their eyes off the ball.

Julian added that while there's a lot to consider, it's also never been easier to make money and invest it. The challenge is choosing the right investment or financial strategy from the multitude of options available. He believes that community support is essential to helping people navigate the overwhelming amount of information and advertisements available.

A pressing issue in our financial world now is limiting yourself to only the salary you are paid.

Tristan asked Julian about the financial atmosphere and what we should be concerned about regarding money for 2023 and beyond, particularly in relation to inflation and the government's intervention to save failing banks. Julian responded that the biggest issue for most people is not making enough money, which makes it difficult to invest, pay bills, and feel financially secure. 

Julian explains that although it may sound optimistic or easier said than done, the reality for most people is that they simply do not make enough money. It's not that they lack the knowledge of how to earn more, but they have restricted themselves to a single source of income or a particular way of doing things. Julian advises people to recognize that their salary is not their limit but rather the budgeted amount of money they agreed to earn for a particular job. He suggests that individuals should look at the full range of opportunities available to them to increase their earning potential. By focusing on income, people can solve a lot of their financial problems in personal finance, investment, and business revenue. 

He advised people to focus on developing skills to earn more money and not limit themselves to one source of income. Increasing income potential can solve many financial problems, whether in personal finance, entrepreneurship, or business revenue. Julian also advised avoiding getting sidetracked by the media's sensationalized coverage of financial crises, which is frequently done to garner attention and increase profit.

Kiersten, on the other hand, expressed that it's essential to develop the skill of handling unexpected income loss in the coming 18–24 months, whether it's due to a job loss, financial institution issues, illness, or disability, even if you're not focused on long-term income goals. Having a contingency plan, emergency fund, or safety net that you create for yourself instead of relying on external entities is crucial to weathering such situations and being able to sustain yourself for an extended period.

How People Should Improve Their Skills to Make Sound Financial Decisions.

Tristan asks Kiersten how to improve her skills and where to go to improve them, considering that everyone has different talents. Kiersten suggests that YouTube is an excellent resource, as it is a search engine that allows one to find specific content and watch it being executed step by step. She recommends creating a curriculum of YouTube videos and saving them to a playlist for future reference. Kiersten also advises that people can utilize books in the same manner they use textbooks to get a clear understanding of a subject because they are still among the best tools out there. She encourages people to become creators and stop consuming information, even if it's just making a video about the first day of trying to sell a printable on Etsy or showing up to an open house as a listing agent. She believes that this approach will attract good advice and help people learn from others.

Kiersten added that improving mindset skills can be a more challenging task because many people do not consider their brain a muscle that needs training. Kiersten emphasized the importance of being aware of what is holding us back and pruning the negative thoughts that drag us down. Sometimes, despite having the knowledge and belief, we may still feel doubtful due to external factors like rejection or criticism. In such cases, it is essential to recalibrate our social connections and share our dreams only with people who support us in achieving them.

How it all started.

Tristan asked how they got to where they are as a couple on an online platform discussing money and the psychology of spending it. Kiersten explained that they have been working at it for almost a decade, continuously pushing forward despite obstacles and seeking inspiration from books and historical figures. They also rely on their community for support and ideas.

Julian then shared how he and his partner met at work, worked in the hotel industry, and initially thought their job was the one that would change their lives. However, as they grew older and became more aware of the demands placed on them by corporate America, they began to feel overwhelmed. They hit it off and went on a vacation, but a financial argument almost ended their relationship. They later realized that their financial incompatibility was a silly reason to break up and started having more transparent conversations with people about money, which led to uncovering issues that prevented many from achieving their financial goals. They started double-teaming their debt payoff and learning about money, and they decided to share everything they'd learned to help others.

The couple shared their humble beginnings and how they transitioned from wanting to help others into successful podcast hosts. Kiersten explained that they started with a blog in 2017, before Instagram was used as a learning tool, and they used it to tell their stories and show people that there is a middle ground in budgeting and wealth-building. From there, they decided to reach more people by creating video content, which they made to look like something they would want to watch, and incorporating financial lessons into dinner conversations, which they called "Money on the Table." This turned into a video series with two seasons, and they also connected with Success magazine to create a podcast and became published authors with Penguin Random House. They now address financial education from multiple angles, including speaking engagements. Julian noted that they enjoy talking about uncomfortable topics like money and making it more accessible and relatable for people.

Rich and REGULAR is most active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, all under the handle @richandregular. You can view their website at

You can also subscribe to their newsletter where they tell stories, point readers to their content, and share interesting financial articles and other trending topics.

DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed are well-trained experts and highly skilled in their areas of practice. They take many safety precautions prior to attempting the activities described. The activities or research discussed in these podcasts should not be attempted without qualified supervision and training with professionals.

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