Raw and real family money revelations and coping skills with InvestED's Danielle Town (Encore)

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Invested author and podcast host Danielle Town talks candidly about her sometimes painful family money history and how she and her dad healed their relationship, and eventually teamed up to educate others about money and investing. 

In Danielle's money story you will learn:

Danielle Town:
Yeah, when I was about 11 my parents split up. My dad is an investor, he's very well known. My mom was a stay at home homemaker. Mom, they split up, and often when people do that the money is a huge issue. The money was a huge issue for us. They went into a major divorce war. My dad left and he took the money with him. You know, as an adult now I can kind of see what happened there, but at the time I had no clue. I just knew that my dad was gone, and that we had to leave our house, and my mom had to go get a job. Everything changed. We had no money except for necessities.

I think we avoid so much money pain. I mean, money is different than anything else. Money is so much emotionally about our worth.

Danielle Town:
It really affected me and I didn't really understand how much until I started doing ... My dad, just to close that loop. My dad came back, they ended up working things out without lawyers actually, and have now a very good relationship.

Bobbi Rebell:
How long was that period though when things were in disarray?

Danielle Town:
It was a couple years. It was pretty bad for a while.

Bobbi Rebell:
And what did your mom do just to fill in the blank there? She was a homemaker, what did she end up doing for those few years?

Danielle Town:
Well, she was a trained teacher so she went back to teaching fifth grade in the school that we were at actually. You know, she had a skill and she was able to go and do that, but it was just a huge change for us, and she's now a school psychologist, and went back to school, and is doing incredibly well, so she's fantastic. And my dad and I obviously repaired our relationship, but we never talked about money stuff ever. It wasn't until I was in my early thirties, I was a corporate lawyer, and I was starting to make a little bit of money, and I thought, oh, my gosh, what do I do? And I did not want to talk to my dad at all, but I finally ... He was the only person I knew to ask, so I finally turned to him, I said, "What do I do?" And he said, "You have to learn how to invest," which was exactly what I knew he was going to say, and I wanted to avoid it so much, but through various pressures. I was ill, I was exhausted, and I needed to find a way to not be dependent on my salary, and he was the only person I could talk to about that, so we started our podcast together. I started learning about investing, and you can literally hear my entire journey from beginning to now.

Bobbi Rebell:
Oh, yeah. You're very candid on the podcast, which I love also. You mentioned that during the time that this was happening you didn't understand that much, but looking back you do see more of what was going on. Can you share a little bit about that from a financial and emotional perspective?

Danielle Town:
Exactly. I think we avoid so much money pain. I mean, money is different then anything else. Money is so much emotionally about our worth. It's about our worth to our family members, what we can actually bring home to help them financially. It's about our worth at work, what we're actually paid in salary. It's about our worth to our communities, how much can we devote to charity? How much can we support the people around us? I mean, money is intimately intertwined with how we feel and our emotions, and I think we need much more emotional vulnerability around money. I'm actually doing a Ted Talk about this in about a month, at the beginning of July, and it's such an important thing that we need to get going with because if we can change this avoidance that I felt, and that so many of us feel, we are going to be so much more powerful with an instrument that we are not using at all right now.

Bobbi Rebell:
Do you feel that you, or have you talked to your mom about what was in her mind going on at the time that she had been a homemaker, and suddenly she had to pay attention to money in a different way?

Danielle Town:
Oh, that's a good question, Bobbi. It's tough with. I mean, I don't want to bring my mom into it too much because she didn't ask to be put into this story publicly, but she does very well for herself now, and we have never really talked about that money stuff. It's painful and when we touch on it the pain is very much still there. No, we don't talk about it too much.


In Danielle’s money lesson you will learn:

Danielle Town:
Yeah, exactly. I think the takeaway is we all grew up in some way with a relationship with money, and we were taught a certain relationship with money. We tend not to think about it too much because without a real perspective on what happened it's just how it is. I mean, there's not much thought about it. I grew up X way, and I kind of assume everybody else did too. I mean, I've had people say to me, like the second I start talking about this with people they know what their money story is. And I've had people say to me stuff like, "Oh, yeah, I was never given anything by my parents except for the bare necessities, so I started working when I was 13 years old, and now I have had a job, I have my own business, and I don't know who I am without working." A woman said that to me recently.

Money is intimately intertwined with how we feel and our emotions, and I think we need much more emotional vulnerability around money.

Bobbi Rebell:
Huh?

Danielle Town:
And she had clearly had never put that together, but as soon as I brought it up, as soon as I shared my story she knew hers immediately. It was right there. It's something about that where we need that little tiny push, but as soon as it's there those emotions come right up, and for me it was starting to work with investing, starting to work with financial markets, trying to learn this stuff, which was really difficult for me, and just not quite being able to get there. And it wasn't until I understood just by searching within myself that it was because I didn't fully trust my dad around money, and my dad was the guy teaching me now about money, and about investing that I even confronted that part of me.

Danielle Town:
I mean, if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have said, "Oh, I have no problems with money at all. I'm all super comfortable. It's all fine. Like [inaudible 00:10:15]." And it turns out none of that was true. I actually had a lot to deal with and it was incredibly painful. It's not until we're pushed that we're gonna get into that stuff. I mean, you just asked me if I speak to my mom about this stuff. There's no push to get into that with her, and for many of there is no push. And so until we start realizing that those things are holding us back, and we push ourselves we're not going to take that power back.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well said. That was very intense. No, but very thoughtful and a lot for all of us to think about. Our emotions and money, and being honest about our money story, and coming to terms with it.


In Danielle's everyday money tip you will learn:

Danielle Town:
I have two. First of all this is what changed everything for me with my investing, I started to look around and look at what I was buying with my consumer dollars, and I discovered that I interact with products and services all the time every day in my house, in my work, in my daily life that are owned by public companies. And as soon as I discovered that, I realized that the same way I feel about consumer dollars, I can feel about money that I put into investing that I put into public companies, and that that money actually has a much great power than I give to it in my investing bank account.

Just read the financial news in the morning, read the business news, and you don’t have to read the boring stuff. I skip the boring stuff. I read the stuff that just looks interesting.

Danielle Town:
What that means is like I have my Apple iPhone next to me. Okay, so I know nothing about investing. I know about the financial markets. I can go research Apple just by Googling it, just by looking online, and discover some stuff about Apple as a company, rather than as just a consumer product that I use, and that's how I started to get really interested in investing, and start to see it kind of makes the vision look a little more 3D. You start to see companies all over the place. Carpet companies, and book companies, and phone companies, and computer companies. It's crazy.

Bobbi Rebell:
Right. Everything comes from somewhere.

Danielle Town:
Exactly.

Bobbi Rebell:
And that goes to your whole philosophy with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, it's all about investing in things that you know.

Danielle Town:
Invest in things you know, and let's put our values where our money is going. Let's put our money into companies that are doing great things in the world that we support. Just like we do, or we try to do with our consumer dollars right now.

Danielle Town:
My second tip 'cause you said I have two, the second one is very simple, just read the financial news in the morning, read the business news, and you don't have to read the boring stuff. I skip the boring stuff. I read the stuff that just looks interesting. I give myself a good baseline, a good perspective on what's going on, on stuff that's cool, and fun, and interesting to find out about, and that's it. It doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to be filled with pressure. It's just simple. Just learn, just read, just understand going forward. And it starts to build on itself, and that 3D vision starts to happen. It's pretty cool when it happens and it happens really naturally.

In My Take you will learn:

Financial GrownUp Tip number one:

Whenever you get FOMO, aka fear of missing out, or you feel a little envy about somebody whose life looks perfect, think about Danielle. She is successful, happily married, living what from all accounts looks like a great life, but the truth is her life has been far from perfect. She has had struggles. We all do, but think about what she came back from, and what she built, and the amazing life that she has now. It reminds me a lot of what Tony Robbins talks about, that you just have to just decide, decide to take control of your life, don't be a victim. On the surface she is the child of Phil Town, uber successful investor, but yet you heard the story, things were not always perfect growing up.

Financial GrownUp Tip number two:

If you want to be a better investor, follow Danielle's advice and educate yourself. As Danielle said it can be as simple as keeping up with the financial news. If you want to learn the basics of investing, Danielle's book with her father, and their podcast are great resources. They make it super easy. Also, there are countless websites that can teach you the basics, and also keep you up to speed on the latest news. Some of my favorites are Investopedia, which also has a whole Investopedia Academy. The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and of course my former employers, CNBC. CNN, which has CNN Money now, and Reuters. There's also news aggregators that can make your life easy by pulling together the top headlines like Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, and SeekingAlpha.

Episode Links

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Listen to Danielle’s Ted Talk!!! 

Danielle’s website: www.DanielleTown.com

Listen to her podcast with her dad Phil Town:  Invested and on iTunes here 

Get Phil and Danielle Town’s book Invested! 

Some ideas to get started learning more about investing:

Follow Danielle!

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