New York Times Feature: ‘What Matters Most’ about Money

So, it’s not every day (or even year) you can say you’ve been quoted in the New York Times – and I even got to say, “whitey-tighty”, “systems of oppression”, and “none-thousand dollars.” It was an honor to sit at the table with Gaby Dunn, Vicki Robin and Ron Lieber and talk, really talk, about money.

By Ron Lieber. Feb 15, 2019. Gaby Dunn, Chanel Reynolds and Vicki Robin were born decades apart. But their books about money have a common thread: Talk about it way, way more often.

SEATTLE — Personal finance professionals live too often in the realm of tools and tactics, optimization and automation. All too frequently, their advice — our advice — is utterly bloodless.

Gaby Dunn, Chanel Reynolds and Vicki Robin are not everyday personal finance practitioners. Ms. Dunn and Ms. Reynolds use vulgarities in the subtitles of their new money books, and Ms. Robin speaks openly of dropping acid, mental illness and the cancer scars on her stomach.

Ms. Dunn, 30, is the author of “Bad With Money.” The book is named after her podcast, which is about financial questions that previous generations might never have faced and has a power-punk theme song encouraging people to “hit your financial fears with a blast of sun.”

“I started my podcast from a place of frustration and desperation and sadness. I knew I regretted a lot of the choices I made in my 20s — doing an unpaid internship, student loans.” Gaby Dunn

Ms. Reynolds, 48, became an expert through the death of her husband, José, and the gut-wrenching period of logistical and financial madness that followed. She describes it all in “What Matters Most.”

“I was standing by the foot of my husband’s bed in the intensive care unit, and I turned to my friend when I still couldn’t get into my husband’s phone, and remembered that the will was drafted but not signed and I didn’t know if the life insurance had been on autopay and … I just said, “Oh, my God, I don’t have my shit together at all.” Chanel Reynolds

At 73, Ms. Robin has achieved advanced guru status now that Penguin has issued an updated edition of her 1992 classic call for a reckoning on overconsumption, our emotional relationship with money and our definition of enough, “Your Money or Your Life.”

“For me, community is the currency that is the missing piece in all of this. We’re all cast out on our own, so our shame comes from not talking and our anxiety comes from not sharing.” Vicki Robin

“We use our stories to talk to the people and not to their spreadsheets,” Ms. Reynolds told me this week.

It’s why I got them around the same table: so the rest of us could listen in.

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