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How To Let Go Of Financial Stress, Shame, And Guilt

Chelsey Zhu  |  April 12, 2023

Feeling overwhelmed by your finances? Learn how to make saving and spending your money a joyful — not stressful — experience.

When is the last time you found yourself wishing you could let go of financial stress? Personal finance is about so much more than just the numbers. It’s often about feelings — a desire for safety and security, a drive to fulfill the dreams we have for ourselves and our families … and oftentimes, stress about how we’ll pay to make all those things happen! Some 69% of adults say the economy is a significant source of financial stress, according to data from the American Psychological Association. That anxiety also falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women, younger adults, and people of color. 

It might seem like getting rid of that stress just means hitting a “magic number” for your savings or retirement, but it really starts with understanding your wants and fears. How do negative feelings drive your decisions with money, and how can you gain greater confidence and control? Our guest Scarlett Cochran joins us to discuss how we can forge our own unique financial paths with clarity and without emotional baggage. Scarlett is a Marine Corps veteran, lawyer, and entrepreneur who spent years working as a banking and finance attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. She and her husband are also the creators of One Big Happy Life, a YouTube channel that has helped millions of viewers learn how to manage their money without stress, shame, or guilt. Most recently, she’s the author of a new book: “It’s Not About the Money: A Proven Path to Building Wealth and Living the Rich Life You Deserve.”


Scarlett tells us about her own personal finance journey, and how she was able to buy a house as a single teen mom and active-duty Marine making $24,000 a year. She shares how her desire to provide for her daughter’s future motivated her to start saving and investing in real estate, and how making calculated sacrifices enabled her to hit her financial goals. 

We also talk about her years as a banking and finance attorney, and what she thinks everyone should know about how our financial systems work. Her biggest piece of advice? Understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you sign onto a loan or mortgage — because a bank doesn’t necessarily know what’s in your best financial interest. Listen in to hear why it’s important to be proactive with your research and financial decisions, rather than relying on what a bank says you qualify for. 


Then we dive deep into all of the myths and messy feelings around money that can hold us back from finding fulfillment. Scarlett tells us what achieving a “rich life” really means, and why there’s not a one-size-fits-all plan to getting there. We also talk about why it’s important to balance spending your money to enjoy yourself today with saving for tomorrow — and what can go wrong if you lean too hard one way or the other. 

Once you’ve unpacked your beliefs and fears about money, Scarlett has some practical steps you can take to increase your financial confidence and sense of agency. Tune in to hear how you can reframe tough money decisions as conscious trade-offs so you can be more satisfied with your choices and avoid guilt. And learn how to prepare for these decisions well in advance by building a one-year spending plan

In Mailbag, a listener going through divorce asks if she should keep or sell the house. In Thrive, how to travel for cheap.

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This podcast is proudly supported by Edelman Financial Engines. Let our modern wealth management advice raise your financial potential. Get the full story at Sponsored by Edelman Financial Engines – Modern wealth planning. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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The HerMoney podcast is supported by      Edelman
All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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