How Do We Talk About Money And Debt Without Feeling Embarrassed? With Britni Ross

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My friend Britni Ross joins me to talk about money, debt, and the stories we tell ourselves about our worth. We discuss the shame and embarrassment that so often comes with mentioning debt and how talking about money can drastically change friendships for the better.


Britni Ross is a Business & Financial Educator who uses behavioral finance to help others master their money, build wealth, & fall back in love with their lives. From budgeting to wealth building, Britni teaches you how to set up and manage all the money stuff in your life. To date, she has paid off over $170,000 in personal debt, which gives her the confidence and the freedom to run her business from the comfort of home. 

Britni is a wife, mother, and creative who lives in rural Ohio where she continues toward her goal of becoming totally debt-free. When she’s not writing you’ll find her painting, gardening, experimenting in her kitchen, or traveling with her family.

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Alyssa Patmos 0:49
Hello, hello, I am so excited to have you here, Brittany. And I want to give you a chance just right off the bat to introduce yourself like, who are you? And what do you love? And all that fun stuff?

Britni Ross 1:05
Such a big question. It’s always such a big question. Hi, I’m so excited to have this conversation with you. My name is Britni Ross, I am a mother of two, a wife and entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, I’ve started and quit so many different business ideas. I run an ecommerce business and my passion right now is using behavioral finance to help people uncover kind of like their hang ups around money and to heal their relationship with money. So they can get back to living lives that they love, instead of always being obsessed with Do I have enough money? Can I pay my bills? What am I doing? So that’s kind of me in a nutshell.

Alyssa Patmos 1:53
I love it. I love it. And I love it. I wasn’t sure which thing you are going to start with, you know, Britni is a good friend of mine. And she’s the person who you know, we send voice memos back about money and unconscious behaviors, and you know, the news all the time. So I wasn’t sure what you were gonna lead with. But I am, I am. I’m excited like to hear that you started with mom. Like, that’s not always what we what we talk about all the time. And I like hearing that. Which brings us to some of what we’re talking about today, which is around our identity, and money and the stories that we carry with money and all of the things that come up. And it’s such a it’s such a taboo topic in so many ways. You know, you don’t go over to a friend’s house and you know, typically bring up money. And yet it’s one of the things that people are thinking about in the back of their minds. So So So, so often. So let’s jump in here, then you you have kind of an interesting story with money, because because it started with transforming debt. And I think we should just jump into the most triggering thing for many people, which is debt and the shame that comes from it. So can you give a little bit of background just so that we can have some context there for the rest of the discussion?

Britni Ross 3:19
Absolutely. So my story is, it’s not unique, because I’ve heard it from so many people. But like you said, nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to talk about the debt they have or the debt they’re paying off or how it feels that they’re losing sleep. So my story started back around, it was around the Oh, eight crash. So from Oh, 5208 is when the economy really started showing its cracks. And I was driving to work every day. My commute was 40 minutes at the time, we’ve just had my daughter, and I’m driving to work and my husband is staying home running his business. And spending a lot of time with her that I wasn’t and I could feel the resentment building. And the reason I was having to go to work is because we had all these bills to pay. We had car payments with two car payments, we had student loans, I was a queen of blowing up a credit card of feeling really lousy and then just going shopping to make myself feel better. Just a lot of unconscious Mindless Behavior around money. And so where some people have a rock bottom, I had I’m like, is this all there is kind of moment. Like is this all there is I spent all I spent 12 years K through 12 Going to school. You all told me to go to college because that was where success was gonna come from. And I was going to graduate and get the job of my dreams. And it was what we were going to sail off into the sunset. No, I was managing a bank. I didn’t go to school to manage a bank. I would just To be an art teacher, we had so much debt, that I just always felt kind of handcuffed to making more money. So I was taking positions that didn’t feed my soul that didn’t even align with who I am as a person. And I read the book, Your money or your life, by I believe it’s, um, oh, I’m losing the author’s name. I’ll think of it later. It’s Robin something. And I think Joe Dominguez, Vicki, Robin, the way your money or your life, and it transformed, how I think about money, how I use money in my life. And I just realized that we had been mindlessly consuming without really paying attention. And so I went home to my husband, and I was like, This is what we have to do, we have to get out of debt. And PS when the economy crashes, and you have a brand new baby, and you realize that you’re underwater on your mortgage by 25 to $30,000. Yeah, it’s one of those kind of like, is this all there is moments is this what I’m doing sweet buckled down for two years, got really intentional about our spending, paid off $80,000 in consumer debt. And that is what freed up a lot of space mentally, for me to join my husband and his business, transform it into the boat, the business that we run now. That was I left the corporate world in 2012. And I haven’t looked back, but I don’t feel like I would have felt secure or safe enough to do that. With that $80,000 in debt. So my story, led the back direction, other people’s stories lead them to maybe finding work that they love through a different corporation or being able to stay home with their kids or whatever, whatever it is.

Alyssa Patmos 7:02
The thing that I love that you just mentioned, well, there, there are a bunch of things, like I want to make sure we come back and talk about mindless consumption, because I feel like that’s something that happens across the board, like even going to the fridge to mindlessly and consuming food. You know, we end up doing things as coping mechanisms, spending money on clothes, like getting that that hit of trying to feel better. So I want to make sure we talked about that. But But first, the thing that I think is really important, and you know this intimately, because you’ve kind of been with me on a journey when I’ve been designing a show. And you know, I hate just the shows where it’s like, Tell me your success story. And so I think the pieces in here that are super interesting is is the the willingness to talk about the story like and the nuance of it and the detail of it in the first place. Because one of the things that happens is when we keep stuff secret, which so many times our debt number is secret, in some cases, our income number is his secret, our money goals can often be kept secret. And when we keep those things secret, when we can’t talk about them, we tend to think that were the only ones with that story. We tend to think that like, Okay, I am the only person in the world who is in debt right now. And my life is freakin falling apart. And what the hell do I do? And that is not true. Like one of the things you told me at one point is our stories are not unique, like these excuses in the stories that we have, or the or the reasons like we stay small. Those aren’t the parts that are unique at all. So I love that you’re willing to share it because I think it’s freeing just in some capacity to hear, okay, no, I was in this position. And it doesn’t have to be like this. But when you were in the thick of it, like what what came up like what emotions were present?

Britni Ross 9:03
Oh my goodness, all of them, every emotion, everything that you can feel comes up when you specifically when you start reflecting on why you’re in the position you’re in. So looking back, if I put myself in that in that space, again, like looking at my student loan, I had a $50,000 student loan and I know there are listeners right now who are like, I would kill for that right now. I know College is a lot more expensive now. But I had 50,000 in student loans and some of the things that were coming up were Why did you max out a credit card and then use your student loan to pay off your credit card, like that’s colossally stupid that these are the voices. These are the words that I’m telling myself like my brain, just like your brain, just like everyone else’s brain. It’s a deck. It says some of the meanest most awful heinous things and so my brain was going through Why did you do this? How could you have done this? How could you be so irresponsible. But what’s done is done right? You already, you’ve already made the mistakes, you can reflect on them, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it certainly doesn’t make you a dumb person, it makes you a person who lived a life, and you made mistakes. So that came up, there was a lot of resentment. Social media was just starting to kind of crop up Facebook was fairly new. And then you start to see all your friends taking trips, and your friends are buying new cars and your friends buying a boat. And you’re like, Well, why do they get to buy all these things? Where did they get their money? So that’s like, a fun game that millennials and Gen Xers like to play is? How are my friends so rich? And I’m not how are they doing all these things? And I’m not.

Alyssa Patmos 10:56
That’s talk about that for a second. Because I feel like, so many people right now are trying to live someone else’s life. Like we see the pictures, and we look at the pictures so often, that I don’t even think people are taking the time to construct what success means to them. And I know I fall into this trap sometimes, you know, both of us being in the coaching industry. It’s like there is a version of what success looks like. And it’s baked into through, you know, 500 social media accounts. And it’s, it’s, it becomes a challenge to then step back and say, Wait, what about this do I actually want? And and it’s almost like, it’s almost like this, this lazy shortcut of, if I see something and it looks great. Well, maybe that’s what I want versus having to actually like, think about No, like, what would make me happy? Like, what, what actually would feel joyous to me? And that I think can be so hard, because so often it’s like, oh, they have the car I want like or they’re on this vacation? And it seems like yeah, that’s the answer. But rarely, you I mean, you and I both know that it’s like intimately. Rarely is is that the answer.

Britni Ross 12:17
It’s rarely the answer. I mean, I used to think I wanted to flit about the planet and just be a nomad and go place to place. I have two children, a dog, two cats, a tank of fish and 13 acres. I obviously don’t want to flit around the world. Because my life makes me really, really happy. And what wouldn’t make me happy is not having any roots. For you, or for anyone else, you might want to flit about the planet, you might not want to put down roots. But social media convinces us that the life we’re living isn’t good enough. Because the life they’re living is the one. It’s the one right life. That’s how I should. That’s how I should be, that’s what I should want. And then it leads us into mindless consumption, because we’re not content. So we’re just trying to find things to fill us up. And I think the two years it took us to get out of debt. And on average, I mean, it takes a person about two to three years to pay off all of their consumer debt, student loans, credit cards, vehicles, with the other big one, not medical bills, those can I mean, those hurt a lot of people. But furniture, like if you’re buying appliances, and furniture and things like that, it takes a while. And during that process, you’re going to do a lot of reflection, you’re going to analyze your spending, you’re going to ride this like up and down roller coaster, where you don’t want to do it anymore, because nobody else around you is doing it. So it feels kind of like, it feels like you’re sacrificing and it feels like it can feel a little bit like scarcity. But you’ve got to have like that picture on the other side of when I’m keeping all my money. What will I What will it look like that? When my money is going towards not the things I wanted five years ago, but the future I want tomorrow? How will that feel? And so that’s kind of what got us through is building that momentum. And you might have to turn off social media, you might have to. Honestly, if you’ve got trusted friends, one of the best things you can do is sit down with your friends at dinner and say, Hey, can I talk to you guys about what I’m doing? Or if your friends invite you to dinner and you’re really really like, not you’re I’m going to use every last cent to pay off my debt. This is what I’m doing right now. Invite your friends over and say, Hey, let me tell you what I’m doing and why I don’t want to go out to dinner, but I really want to see you guys. And when you start having these conversations, you open the door for all of your friends to go. Oh, thank god me too. Right, I didn’t know, I didn’t know you were struggling to, you look like you have it all together. Because we’re all struggling with some aspect of money, whether it’s debt, whether it’s saving, whether it’s income, whether it’s just managing and organizing it all, that can be very daunting, like, we all have some sort of struggle that we’re trying to figure out when it comes to money. And it’s such a huge part of our lives. Such a huge part.

Alyssa Patmos 15:29
Well, and money is so tied around our worth, and and, you know, so the way society operates right now is, is largely okay, what what’s your net worth, and then I’m going to determine your worth as a person because of that, yeah, and one, that’s bullshit, but to the it is a reality, it is the reality that we face. And so as a result that, you know, the thing is, is that every single human is struggling with something like the human condition has a lot of suffering involved. And many times we do it to ourselves, but not always, and so and so money, though, seems to be like one of the harder ones, one of the harder ones to admit, because so much of like, our worth can get wrapped up in that and, and I’ve personally experienced this, like money was so important to my family growing up where it was like, okay, like, you have to work hard spend within your means. You never want to have any debt whatsoever. So you can imagine, then, when I had debt, what stories that started to bring up, and what feelings started to come up there. And then, and then it’s, it’s around like, Okay, well, well, it makes you a good partner, it makes you able to contribute, like it increases your worth in all these other areas. And so for me, that’s the story that like, has caused me the most pain around money is, okay, I have to be, I have to be this perfect partner. So I’m going to like be able to cook, I need to be able to contribute financially. And also that needs to be like equally financially, even though I end up dating people who are like 10 to 20. So older than me, and but this is how deep the money stories run. And this is how it can get, we can get so wrapped up in in thinking about it in one way. And then and then the stress is there. Because it’s like, okay, I fit, you know, it feels to me, like I have to put this false self out there, like I’m totally together, and like really, hey, I have this load of stress that’s coming underneath the surface right now. And so everyone’s struggles with something, though, you know, some person might be trying to lose weight, another person might be trying to, you know, scale their business more another person might be trying to have a better relationship with their kids. And so this what this piece of of being able to share, hey, like I’m really working on, on spending more consciously and be enthusiastically working to pay off debt. I think there’s so much liberation that can happen in a conversation like that.

Britni Ross 18:25
Oh, it’s amazing what happens because everyone has something to bring to the table in that conversation. Either you have a friend who’s already done it. Or you have a friend who goes, you know, I’ve been thinking about that. I read this book, I listened to this podcast. And before you know it, you’re all sharing tips and tricks. You’re all sharing inspirational stories, and you leave feeling like you fit in, like, like your normal. Like, you’re just like this, you’re not alone, I guess is what I’m trying to say like you feel less alone. And it doesn’t mean that you have to go into all the numbers and have some big budgeting party or anything like that, but just letting your friends know. Hey, guys, I really don’t want to go blow $100 This weekend, but could we all come to my place? Can everyone just bring an appetizer? Can we do that? And –

Alyssa Patmos 19:21
The alternative of that is, is going out to a restaurant and then putting all that stress on yourself have like, okay, maybe your friends chose a restaurant that’s a little bit more expensive than what you would normally go to and they’re all getting drinks and so you kind of feel the pressure to have a drink but then like you’re really freaking hungry and you’d rather have that than alcohol so like what do you do? Are you gonna get like just an appetizer or you’re gonna add a drinker you’re going to get one and that is all happening inside. You need a totally a valid, a valid feeling and it’s an experience that going on. And and it’s forcing you to, to deny, like pieces of your authentic self, you’re not sharing the full experience of you in that moment. And that is a lot of pressure to put to put on ourselves to, to not be able to just share or to, or to make the choice of like, Hmm, this is this is where I’m at right now, there’s so much freedom and being able to verbalize that,

Britni Ross 20:29
Right. And if you don’t verbalize it, you’re just, you’re just kind of sowing seeds, where resentment can really grow. And that’s how friendships can start to fracture. Because we’re not communicating with the people in our lives about what we’re doing. We’re compartmentalizing it. And maybe you have a friend who really needs that inspiration, maybe you’re the person who’s going to be you brave enough to say, Hey, I’m really struggling with money right now. And I’d rather not do this. Because maybe your other friend doesn’t feel comfortable. But you open that door. Or maybe all your friends are just, they’re living their best life, and they’re making tons of money, and they don’t get your struggle. But they’re your friends. So they should see you. But only if you communicate that with them.

Alyssa Patmos 21:23
It’s interesting, because you know, part one, one of the lines that I say with this show is like in a world that encourages us to be robots, I bought my microphone. And I really do believe that a lot of times this world does encourage us to be a robot. And what I mean by that is, don’t share as much of yourself don’t share your feelings, like, shut it down, put on this face of everything is okay. All the time. And so and so I think the question that like we’re dabbling around here is, do we have the courage to show our humanity? Do we have the courage to fully own our humanity and and recognize that, like, we’re not robots, where we’re not going to be able to do everything perfectly and have it all in order and be totally non emotional about it? That’s not, that’s not what it means to be human? No, it’s messing. Exactly. It is messy, and that’s okay. It’s okay. Especially if you’re choosing to transform it instead of like wallowing in it forever. And, and so I think that’s one of the things I love about our money conversations is because you make it easy to like, choose that next step around, okay, how do we, how do we get out of this just a tiny bit, or how does this feel slightly more freeing. So it’s not the way and this mental energy all the time.

Britni Ross 22:47
And because we’re not robots, there’s no one size fits all approach to money, even though all the money gurus who make the big bucks, want to sell you a nicely packaged plan. There isn’t one, there are some steps inside everyone’s plan that will work. But because you’re a messy human, we can only kind of focus on like what the next right step is. And it might not be the same for you as it is for me. So we have there’s just so much nuance to money, and we live in such a black and white, like you said, a robotic world. We’re just supposed to be like cogs in the machine. We’re supposed to fit nicely, and just go through the motions. And I’m looking around the world today, and I’m just seeing that it’s not working. And the approach we’re taking is not working. fractured.

Alyssa Patmos 23:42
I tend to agree with you. Okay, so one, one thing that comes up, because we’re taught, we’ve been talking about talking about this with your friends. But another thing that can be really difficult is talking about it with partners.

Britni Ross 24:00
Yeah. Yes.

Alyssa Patmos 24:04
And I have this, like, you know, there’s, there’s this piece of me that, because I’m not married, it feels like okay, that like this money is something that I manage by myself over here. And it can be weird, because so much of the rest of our life is is connected and intertwined. Or we make certain decisions together. And yet, like, here’s this piece over here, that is solely, solely me. And that can be challenging for me many times. On the flip side, there is you know, the people who are who are married, they are partnered up they do share finances, and then it’s like everything has to go through them and it has to be joint and so there’s some different ways of like organizing finances with with a partner, but I’m curious like, what were some of the conversations that you were having with your husband, during the time when you’re paying it off, how have those conversations shifted?

Britni Ross 25:09
We. So I don’t always practice what I preach, because my husband makes that challenging. One of the things I always preach is that the two people in the relationship need to both be aware of the entire financial picture. So whether you’re separate and you keep your account separate, you still want to be having conversations about like the totality of the finances. The reason that’s a challenge in my house is that my husband has ADHD. And when we sit down to look at the money, he starts fidgeting and looking out the window, falls apart really quickly. So I have learned to just accommodate that, keep it brief, show him what he needs to see. And then I keep everything, I have everything on a spreadsheet. So if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, at least he’d know how to keep the electric on and where our accounts like he knows the basics. But when it comes to partnerships, whether you’re married or not, it’s always about being in this open communication. And I one, one really big tip that I offer couples all the time, is you have to have a certain amount of your finances that are just yours, it’s your money, because you’re going to spend money in ways they think is stupid, and they’re going to spend money on ways you think is stupid. So there has to be money that you’re just allowed to do that. It’s just agreed upon ahead of time because those emotions come up, spur the moment. And maybe you need to keep the finances separate so that you’re not constantly seeing the things that are triggering, maybe an angry response. I think it’s really important to sit down and talk about what what are the goals? Like, what’s the big goal? Are you looking to buy a home together? Are you looking at getting married? Do we need to budget money for that? I’m talking about how you were raised around money. What are the what are the things that you what are the conversations you overheard not just what was explicitly told to you? What did you overhear? Did you overhear stressful conversations? Did you have family members who were yelling all the time, because money was a stress? You know, I had friends who I didn’t realize until we started having more and more open vulnerable money conversations, I have friends in my adult life that didn’t have food in their homes. So their money story is very different from that of their partners who grew up with, you know, middle class affluence, which middle class in America means you pretty much got what you wanted. You didn’t get everything you wanted. But middle class in America does pretty well, especially, you know, when I was growing up, you didn’t go without of basic necessities. So understanding where your money foundation comes from understanding where your partner’s money foundation comes from, that can really help alleviate some of those arguments that would come up because suddenly you’re seeing Oh, well, the 12 year old inside of them is still feeling this. So you it gives some space to to really relate to the whole picture.

Alyssa Patmos 28:37
Yeah, because because one of the things that I’m glad we’re circling back to this, because I wanted to bring it up earlier. And one of the one of the things that I think comes up is we, we tend to think of a money as just as, like, practical problem that’s in our heads like, okay, I can solve this, I either stop spending as much or I get more income. And then how do I send this out? And it’s very much Teddy activity in many regards. Except the most important things about money in many cases are how we feel about it, and how like our bodies respond to it. And so ignoring the nervous system in money conversations, can can block productive conversations. Yeah, because if you have one person who it was never safe to, to talk about money, or were, they don’t have, they didn’t have the safety of money being prevalent, that feels much different in that person’s nervous system and how they store those memories in their body than the person who it was free flowing. And you know, they didn’t really have to have to think about it. And so in conversations now, one being able to articulate that to yourself, because if you can’t articulate it to yourself, you’re not going to be able to articulate well to a partner, and then conflicts, we’re going to be arguing about this over here. But like, really the root issue is down over here. So so there’s awareness of like, okay, what is my money story? Like? How did I grow up around money? I love the point you made about what did you overhear about money? That it’s super important instantly made me think about my how in my family, like there were these like family meetings. And it was all the adults would like go into this closed room. And it would be like a family meeting with my grandparents about about finances. I don’t know what message that entirely sent to seven year old me, I need to think about it.

Britni Ross 30:38
It said that that was private and that you don’t talk about money openly. And it’s super secret. You need to keep it as a closed door meeting, which is such a generational difference, because I’m thinking about my family too. And like the baby boomers, and even their parents and how it You didn’t talk about money? You did not? That was taboo. Right? Right. I’m like, Hey, can we talk more about money because we all need to, because we’re all earning it, and we’re all spending it. And when you don’t have enough of it, your security is threatened. So you’re gonna feel that like, I feel that in my like, that’s my stomach, like I just touched my like, I can feel it my gut. And why aren’t we having these conversations about this thing that is flowing in and out of our lives and impacting every sector of it? But don’t talk about it? Close the door?

Alyssa Patmos 31:32
Exactly. And how to and how does that register? And I love that you pointed into your stomach? Because so often we do have these places where where we keep things. And so. So yeah, when it comes to partnership, I remember I think I must have, I might have called you after this, I can’t remember. But one of the first times I completely broke down and cried in front of Jeff was around money, because I felt like I was like having to keep this secret. And it was around debt at the time. And I felt like I was having to keep the secret. And I was like, well, we one of our relationship values is honesty. And like we tell each other most like, we tell each other everything. So so feeling like this had to be compartmentalized over here was destroying my soul, which sounds dramatic, but like it really was.

Britni Ross 32:27
It will. It’ll eat away at it.

Alyssa Patmos 32:29
Yes. And it was and so so I finally just like broke down one day and I had embarrassment, I had shame. I had regret, I had guilt. I was like I because the whole reason I had gotten myself into that situation was trying to fix myself previously, instead of accepting myself. And I spent tons and tons of money like trying to make a relationship, a past relationship work. And then here I am in this one, and it’s now influencing this. So the anger that came from that the sadness, there were all of these emotions and all of these stories. And thank God, one day they finally came pouring out of me. And then it was a journey. It was a journey of healing and repairing some of that and like continuing to air it afterwards. But But I want people to know that that this is normal. Any happiness? Yes. So many emotions!

Britni Ross 33:31
You should probably, you’re probably you’re gonna feel all of them, you’re gonna feel all of them, let’s just accept that, that you’re gonna have to process through all of these things. And so for me, it’s writing. But I’m also a verbal processor. So My poor husband, he gets all of it just at him all the time. But however you need to process through, you’ve got to process through like you have to, I don’t know how else to say it. Like if you keep repressing it and you keep blocking it and you think that tomorrow it’ll be different next week, it’ll get better. I’m just I just need a different job. Forget a different job that’ll fix everything like no, because you haven’t gone back through the habits, the behaviors, the feelings, the foundations that are all where you haven’t gone back through the roots, right to see what’s causing the problem.

Alyssa Patmos 34:27
Yes, and no bandaid is going to solve that. Sometimes you need surgery.

Britni Ross 34:32
Yeah. And I’m telling you when it comes to this money stuff, getting out of debt, it’s going to take a couple years realistically, and the lessons you’re going to learn from it are going to pay in they’re just kind of pay out in droves later. So all the work you do on money in the beginning is like planting little seeds and they grow later. You don’t get the fruit The day you plant the seed, you don’t get out of debt the day you have the idea and make your first payment.

Alyssa Patmos 35:06
And then as a society that’s so freakin disappointing sometimes because we want everything like instant gratification like

Britni Ross 35:13
Yeah, why can’t Amazon deliver my debt free package tomorrow? I don’t understand.

Alyssa Patmos 35:18
And you and I are both nature lovers. You like to watch birds. I don’t know anything about birds. But I do like to watch my plants. And and I have learned so much from my orchid because she takes her sweet ass time. Yes, she does blue even to grow in new leaf like she takes so long. And then the flower will be there for like the most of the ones that are on here now have been here for months, which I’m very proud of myself.

Britni Ross 35:51
Like kids are not easy.

Alyssa Patmos 35:53
But but that but that flower, like this beautiful thing takes so long to bloom. And I don’t think everything has to take so long. But I just think there’s something powerful in like the metaphor of nature. Like she’s not it just is and it’s it’s how I What’s the word when you like, give give names to things that aren’t humans like animal horrify. Yeah, or some. anthropomorphize all of my plants have names and I refer to them as with pronouns because yes, because I have fun with that. And I love talking to my plants. Um, but

Britni Ross 36:34
I’m glad I’m not weird.

Alyssa Patmos 36:35

Alyssa Patmos 36:37
But what I have learned from from her. because her name is Olivia is is, is just like bits appreciation for seasons like there’s a season to bloom, there’s a season to be growing, there’s this season season to harvest. And I think so many times when we get stuck in these concrete or stucco or wood buildings, we we detach from the seasons, and and then it becomes harder to give ourselves grace.

Britni Ross 37:04
Mm hmm. No, there’s an ebb and flow to nature. And I think like you said, we detach, we forget, we’re part of nature. Like, we’re not above it, we’re not separate. We’re firmly in it. And we have seasons and your money, because money isn’t really, I just think of money is like an energetic as a store of energetic value, it flows in and flows out. I love my cash flow report that I use that I created, because it shows me how the money flows. Don’t like have a nervous breakdown when all the bills come out in one week. And I think that we’re broke, and that no money will ever come into this account again. That’s it, it’s over because I can catastrophize with the best of them. But we do I mean, we do have seasons. And even when you feel like you really reached a healthy relationship with your money, there’s going to be something new, there’s gonna be something new. Something’s gonna come in from the side and kind of throw you off. And you’re gonna feel like a beginner again. And that’s okay. It’s supposed to be like that. I don’t I think we just get caught up, like you said in the stucco, wood buildings. Like there’s a done, there’s a there’s a finish line to everything. And there isn’t.

Alyssa Patmos 38:24
No, because when we’re done growing, we’re dead.

Britni Ross 38:27

Alyssa Patmos 38:30
From my plants, if they stop growing, if they’re you stop getting the nutrients and nourished at they, that’s when you die. So there isn’t an end point. Like I’m not going I’m not going for death and going for trying to live here. And living beings, there are seasons.

Britni Ross 38:48
And thank God there are because how boring would life be? And when I’m in the low season, I won’t be saying Oh, thank God, I’m in the low season. This is so lovely. No. But when you live in a seasonal pattern, and you’re in that low point, you can remember. Oh, yeah, I’ve been here before. I felt this before coming. Yeah. Yeah. So then you can usually that tells me it’s time to go to bed, and to not make any decisions and just sleep. And usually I feel better the next morning because we have seasonal shifts in the day to you know, our energy levels dip. And so yeah, your money is going to be the same way and the way you feel about your money is going to be that way. So even when you’re in a period of affluence, you can feel like maybe it’s not enough because you’re telling yourself a story. Maybe you’re back into that comparison mode. Maybe you’ve been scrolling too much and you’re seeing that coach who’s you know, living it up doing all that you know, showing you all the pretty pictures but behind the scenes, she is a hot mess too. So? Yeah, season?

Alyssa Patmos 40:04
Yeah, it takes conscious effort to constantly be challenging the programming that’s coming in to be challenging the pictures that we’re seeing and what we’re making the mean. And the stories that we hear. And I do you use tapping, like EFT?

Britni Ross 40:21
I have not, I haven’t tapped, but I have heard wonderful things about it.

Alyssa Patmos 40:26
So there’s this book called Tapping into Wealth, it’s by Margaret M. Lynch, I’m looking down because it’s sitting right next to me right now. And, and I I’m very, as an NLP trainer, like NLP can be very appearance, it can be a very heavy exercise. And there are definitely ways to bring into the body. But I’m always looking for more ways. And so. So tapping is is one of them. And it helps reset your nervous system in the moment. And so in this book, she gives tons of scripts and stories for rewiring your money stories, and then like cementing that in your nervous system, tapping through the different points. And it’s been really powerful. One of the first things they read it I something unlocked, and I just like cried for, for, like 30 minutes. And then since then I haven’t I haven’t done that, which is, which is the point. I mean, you’re you’re rewiring the stories, but I it’s, I highly recommend that book, because it’s really interesting how we can how we can bring the body into this into this process, because it controls so so so much

Britni Ross 41:41
Yes, no, I mean, you feel money, because money is tied to security. And anyone who tells you it’s not either has more money than they need for their life. It’s one or the other, because money ties into your security, because unless you are living off the land, growing all your own food money provides all of those basic necessities. So of course, you’re going to feel your way through money, your nervous system is tied to all of that. And as human beings, I mean, just the way we’ve evolved. We’re always waiting for winter to calm, like, we are that scarcity minded species, we’re a bit of a hive species, we’re more like the Ant and the Grasshopper, if you’ve ever heard that fable, you know, you’ve got to prepare for the downtimes. But we can often get caught in a cycle, where we always think the downtimes are coming where we always think the other shoe is going to drop and that that doesn’t feel so good. So when I work with clients, I am trying to bring them through that scarcity and make sure that we’re actually using factual information to write our Money Story, not just whatever information we’re feeling at the moment.

Alyssa Patmos 43:01
Yeah, yeah, we’ve evolved so much. And yet, we haven’t evolved into our brains being our best friends. No, modern age,

Britni Ross 43:10
No, our brains are still looking for tigers, in the shadows.

Alyssa Patmos 43:16
And so and so, and many, and when you don’t feel safe, you can bring up so many of those perceived tigers, and that is very, very real. And the other thing that I wanted to talk about is, is some of the Guru’s, which I know you have so many opinions, but I feel like so many of them there, there’s two approaches. It’s either like, Okay, we have the people who are focusing on like, here’s how you create more income and like, all the willpower all the force around just like getting more money into your life. Hustle, hustle, hustle. Yes. And then on the flip side of that there’s the people where it’s like, you can’t buy a frickin latte. And they almost perpetuate more shame around like, why are you spending money and, and then it puts us in this mode of like, I feel like I can put people into a mode of paralysis at times around. Okay, I’m supposed to enjoy money to let it be free flowing. But then also they’re yelling at me and telling me I can’t buy a freaking latte and then I have to have a budget and like where am I envelopes and what is going on? And I feel like that adds so so so so much pressure and I always feel like you have some good tips around what how to ease some of that pressure and how do like how do you think about money differently?

Britni Ross 44:48
So the first thing I like to do because there is so much shame and there are these so I hate dogma like dogma if you’re a dogmatic person. We’re not We’re going to be sorry, I can’t do it. I can’t do rigid, I can’t do dogma. I love nuance. I love the gray areas. So the first thing I like to do is walk people through, what the hell do you want? What do you value? What means something. So without thinking about any of the money without thinking about whether or not you can afford it, just let your brain go? What do you want all of it, list it, no matter how wild or crazy, it seems just come up with a nice long list, write 100 different things, spend an hour, I don’t care how like, just let it go. And then we can take that list. And we can begin to look at how you’ve been spending money. Because if you love your coffee, if you love going to the coffee shop, and sitting down and having the nice latte, and maybe you read a book, if that’s a thing that really, really lights you up. Why would we want to remove that from your budget, I don’t care if the coffee is $5, there’s got to be room for little things that bring you joy. Now, if you tell me that you love your morning coffee, you really don’t like going out, but you find yourself going out because you’re in a hurry. And it’s not a pleasurable experience, then that $5 Maybe isn’t going towards something you value. And so we have to get really clear on what it is we want, versus what we think we’re supposed to want, versus what we’ve been mindlessly doing. Because I have a lot of people who tell me they want to travel. But then when we dig through their spending, we see a lot of clothes, and no travel. And then they tell me Oh, I have enough clothes, I could I could wear a different outfit every day for three years. Okay, so why are we doing this? Why is why are we going shopping as a habit, versus funneling our money towards what we want. Sometimes this activity, taking what we value than looking at what we spend. Sometimes the disconnect can be I don’t make enough money, I don’t make enough money to get the things. I’m paying for my bare necessities. Now that’s going to lead us down a totally different path. Because guess what, there is no one size fits all approach. We have to figure out, how are you using money in your life to get the things you need? And to get the things you want? And what’s working and what’s not. And we start digging into habits, and then ultimately feelings come up. So it’s you know, it’s a whole process. But that’s one of the things I like to do is just walk people through starting with the values. And where’s the disconnect currently happening? Because you can’t fix it all overnight.

Alyssa Patmos 47:54
Right? Absolutely. Like and I think it’s it’s really creating like conscious money habits. And you know, I’m talking about consciousness all day long every single day, like Conscious Communication, conscious relationships, conscious everything, because because if not just running by the default, we’re just running by the default of okay, well, what’s been good for someone else? What’s worked for someone else? What is someone else like? Like, that’s kind of easy. And we don’t realize that sometimes the denial of our wants, is actually a coping mechanism, because we didn’t think it was safe to have one. So readapted to think that to think that, okay, like, if I’m invisible over here, then nothing can hurt me, this chaos can’t get to me. And these are deep rooted things that we can shine light on that allow us to have these better habits in in all areas of our lives and money being one of them. And, and values, I think are one of the most important things for people to dive into. Because when we know what’s important to us, then we can choose to take different actions. But otherwise, we’re just operating blind.

Britni Ross 49:06
Right? We’re just operating on what you maybe did 10 years ago, and you’ve just been doing it? Because you’ve never thought about it.

Alyssa Patmos 49:16
Right? And we’re not the same person that we were 10 years ago. Not at all. Yeah, so probably the last thing I want to talk about is this concept of being invisible because we talked a little bit about and I love your philosophies for like still taking time to you’re allowed to spend money on the things that bring you elements of joy because otherwise the life is going to drain from you in a lot of ways and so like occasionally having those moments again, knowing that it’s okay and and releasing some of that judgment that we hear in the mainstream of society

Britni Ross 49:49
Pay attention to whose voice it is that you hear when you’re judging yourself.

Alyssa Patmos 49:55
Yes, who does that voice look sound or feel like?

Britni Ross 49:57
Yes, because it’s someone usually.

Alyssa Patmos 50:01
Yeah, it might be you, it might be a parent, might be someone that you admire on TV.

Britni Ross 50:05
Might be a money radio personality, that’s telling you all kinds of nasty things.

Alyssa Patmos 50:10
Mm hmm. I totally agree. I love that. So on the flip side of it, though, is like, okay, then there’s the version of getting more money. And this is the one that has impacted me more. So I think because I grew up fortunate, my mom was involved in the family’s finances. And so that I think that’s a model we don’t see all the time, you know, where the woman is equally invested and involved in the finances. And I think it’s important. And so fortunately, when I was in high school, my mom handed me a wallet. And it was like one of the wallets that had like a spot for nine different credit cards. And we wrote on each of them, it was kind of like a modified envelope system, and we wrote a category on each of them. And then I ended up getting an allowance or any money that I brought it in from babysitting, I had to allocate it into each of those containers. And so they taught me how to budget and manage money fairly early on. But they just mean that I still have not designed my own struggles around money at times. And so part of it though, came down to feeling like I could take up space and, and, and choosing at one point, that being more invisible, felt safer. So like not talking about the awesome things I do in the business or not talking about, like the value that I could provide as boldly as I would like, in this issue of taking up space, and wanting to show up and be available. And to to share more of myself. Like that kept me small, and that still something I battle at times. And, and and in tapping into wealth, that book, she talks a lot about this vow to be invisible. And I think that a lot of times what can stop people from from earning more. And so what have you seen around this? Like, Have you struggled with invisibility at all? Like? Yeah, what comes up? What do you see around it? Being and more?

Britni Ross 52:21
Okay. Um, yes, I, I, you and I have had this conversation, I have been told to, like, literally have been told to make myself smaller to hold myself in because it made other people uncomfortable. It made them feel less than I have been kind of mocked for being passionate about things like oh, there’s Britney on her soapbox again.

Alyssa Patmos 52:51
Why don’t you tell me what you really think?

Britni Ross 52:53
Yeah, yes.

Alyssa Patmos 52:55
Yeah, I’m telling you what I really think.

Britni Ross 52:57
Yeah, I actually am. I don’t know why you’re making fun of me.

Alyssa Patmos 53:00
Right? Yes, yes.

Britni Ross 53:02
So yeah, I have many, many, many times made myself. Small, invisible, not wanting, not wanting to share struggles, because I felt like other people were struggling more. So why would I want to pile on with anything or make someone I, you know, I don’t want to do that. But then when I would have a win, I didn’t want to share that either. Because that might hurt someone’s feelings. And they they didn’t have a win. And I’m like, but So wait, I can’t share the bad or the good. What’s in the mute? Yeah, you just share the mediocre? How’s the weather? Shallow, small talk that I can’t do. I can’t do it. So I would just stay quiet. Um, but yeah. Where I stopped being invisible. And this is what I encourage other people to do. Once you begin to recognize your worth, proclaim it, own it. Lead, like sit with it. I left my last corporate job. Because I went in and asked for a raise. I knew that my metrics were amazing. I’m a fantastic employee. I didn’t know it until I left the corporate world. And I’m like, damn, a really good employee. Like I’m the person you want on your team. I am. I will get the job done, especially if you give me clear direction. So I knew my metrics were good. They were posted for everyone to see you saw everybody’s metrics. I came with management experience. I came with a long list of like sales experience communication experience. I left a management position to go into this one. And I asked for a raise. And I said, here’s the amount I want. And it was 1000s More than I was making and I said here’s why I want it. I am I am outperforming some of your veteran employees. And they said said no, they thought about it. And then they came back and said, No, we give raises on a schedule. So you’ll get a raise on a schedule with everyone else. And that’s when I knew it was time to go. So I encourage, like, if you know that, what you’re worth, and you know why you’re worth it, asked for it. I was told no. I mean, this is not a, I mean, it is a happy ending for me, not so much for them, I quit. But I went in and asked for it. And, and I remember vividly doing it, I remember my armpits sweating, I remember my palms being like, cold and clammy, this part of my neck, like from my chin down all the way down, my chest turns red. So I remember all of that. But I remember feeling really, really proud of myself for actually going in and saying, Hey, I think I think I deserve more money for the job I’m doing. And here’s why. And now I can look back on that and go, Yeah, that was really brave. That’s not something especially as a woman, that is not something that we were ever taught to do. There is part of that income inequality gaps that I think really comes from some of that old rooted foundational behavior. Like it can’t explain all of it away. But some of it is that we don’t ask, we don’t know what we’re worth,

Alyssa Patmos 56:25
Right? Where it comes down to so many things. And that’s like what we were talking about earlier, where I knew I learned that the hard way that I had wrapped a lot of my self worth up in, in money. And I think it’s something that people do commonly. And so similarly, I had to untangle that. And so you did it by asking for a raise. And the way I did it was, I had to start recognizing one where is an area where I don’t question my worth, like, where’s an area where I felt awesome. And like, I didn’t feel this need to improve, because in so many areas of my life, I consistently just continually feel the need to improve. And I never want to stall in growth. But there’s like this other obsessive version of like, I’m not good enough yet. I need to improve. And when that part’s –

Britni Ross 57:15
Growth for growth’s sake, just keep growing. You’re like, Wait, when am I enough?

Alyssa Patmos 57:21
Exactly! And so when that part takes over, it’s not helpful at all. And so I started recognizing, I was like, Okay, where is an area where I do feel good enough, and where I can trust that. And I realized it was in the kitchen, and it was in cooking, because I love cooking. And I don’t use recipes. I don’t measure things out. I’m like, Okay, what am I making, here’s some cumin, here’s some chili powder, here’s some salt and pepper like and I just like can dump it in. And then and I think we forget that we can study ourselves and map map those same habits over to other places. And so I had to start to recognize I was like, what’s different about that picture? Then Then this other one, like in the business or in other areas of knowing my worth, like what, what’s different there and what and what’s the same? And then I and then I also started to recognize because my story was all around like, okay, like I have to be to be a good partner, I have to contribute equally. And, and there there there were so many other nuanced layers to that. But to unravel that story, I started to have to look at like, okay, what are the ways that I contribute outside of just solely financially because there is a lot of weight in that, like, my sole purpose as a partner is not to just like fork over cash every month. Now we have shared dreams, we have shared visions, I absolutely want to contribute to those. But what is the what are some of the ways that I’m not recognizing the value that I bring in my worth in this outside of money, because it’s very rare that someone is dating you for your money? Like I know there are relationships that are like that and more power to them. But but that’s that’s rare and and I’ve seen this in clients too. I had a client one time who, who felt like she owed her husband that she felt like she had to be a great return on investment for her husband. And so you can even see how money language that society has woven into all areas of our of our lives and and so when we can shine more light on it, like I loved you said this offline, and I think it’s so great. It was something to the extent of like when we shine a light on our money issues, especially if we’re shining more than one light, then shame can exist and I think shame is one of the things that keeps so many of us playing smaller.

Britni Ross 59:56
Yes, I picture shame is like these little Gremlins They hide They lurk in the shadow. And they come out and they wreak havoc, because no one can really see him. But as soon as you put a light on it, it’s Curry’s like, I have a visual of what shame looks like in my head. And so, like a lot of my money, shame has gone away. Because I sit down with my money once a week, I sit down with it for about an hour. And I tell it where it’s going. And I look at where it’s gone. And, and I do the thing for about an hour. And then I get on with my life. And I live, and I don’t have to obsess, because I think a lot of people think, Oh, she talks about money all the time. She’s obsessed. Like, I’m not like, I’m obsessed with living this life. And constantly trying to figure out like, what feels good, what’s not feeling right, what’s sticking. But money is not usually consuming my thoughts. And yeah, you have to sit down with it. You have to, if there is no other way, there’s no hack, or trick or tip. You have to sit down with it. And you have to do it on one repeat. Because you’re right, when you’re dead, you can stop. Right? Or when you’re I mean, I was about to say when you’re a billionaire, but you know what? billionaires are looking at their money. So yeah, and they’re not always happy. And they are not always happy. They’re generally not the happiest.

Alyssa Patmos 1:01:30
Exactly. So yeah, so sitting down with it. I love that. I love that advice. Because it’s so easy to want to resist it, especially when it’s something that we’re stressed about, or it brings up feelings of uncertainty. And so I think the only other thing I would add to that would be I learned this question recently, I think you’re gonna love it. It’s what will this teach my brain? Because if we’re doing the same habits over and over again, we start to become more aware, we can start to catch ourselves, and then it’s, and then it’s like, Okay, we have a choice point. Am I going to sit down? Am I going to look at my money? Am I going to hear Britney’s voice in my head? Instead of all these little shame bunnies? I’m going to sit down and look at my money. What will this teach my brain? If I if I follow the shame bunnies? What will it teach my brain? I when you said that I imagined like dust bunnies and like rats at the same time. But both great. But somehow it’s turned into bikes as running. But it’s it’s it’s a matter of okay, if I follow this path, like what’s that going to teach my brain? And it’s going to continue to rewire the same old things. Otherwise, if I sit down and I look at it, what’s it going to teach my brain it’s going to teach my brain that I’m doing something new, and that I’m capable and that like I do have the courage to face this as

Britni Ross 1:02:51
you do. Because not facing it. It doesn’t go away. It this won’t fix itself. If you have habits and behaviors and feelings about money that aren’t healthy and or aren’t serving you. They won’t change unless you change something. It doesn’t magically get better. Like your immune system doesn’t take care of this one. It’s not a cut. This one’s going to need some attention.

Alyssa Patmos 1:03:26
Yeah, we I pay attention to ourselves.

Britni Ross 1:03:29
Yeah, yeah. Yes. But it is really hard to sit down. Where do you start? What do I do? These are the questions that come up for everyone. Where do I start? What do I do? Do I tackle debt? First? Do I tackle investing? Oh, wait, I need to set up my 401k Oh, wait, I need to save for this project. Oh, but I want a house. And there’s so many moving pieces. And I think it all starts with sitting down and getting really comfortable with what is it that you want? Where’s your money been going? And where’s that disconnect? If you can do those three things, which PS you could do them this weekend? Like you could set some time aside and do them. But if you could do those three things, you would get a lot of clarity. And anxiety doesn’t fester? Where clarity exists.

Alyssa Patmos 1:04:23
Oh, that’s so good. It really does it. Like where we feel like we have clarity now. Where people get confused though, is like mistaking clarity for certainty.

Britni Ross 1:04:33
Oh, there’s no certainty. Yeah, we’re gonna feel certain

Alyssa Patmos 1:04:38
Certainty is an illusion. So we’re not going to have certainty like, this is why I like to say like, wait for the next dose of clarity. Like you don’t even Yeah, maximum clarity, no freaking dose of it. Which

Britni Ross 1:04:49
You just need to know what’s happening right now. Exactly this tiny little moment.

Alyssa Patmos 1:04:54
Exactly. Which can come from the simple act of like sitting down and like looking at those three things. You don’t have to Just everything, because that’s, that’s where our defense mechanisms are gonna want to go. They want to go want to go to everything.

Britni Ross 1:05:06
Yeah. And if I can’t fix everything right now then why even fix anything? Yeah, I know your defense mechanisms because they’re mine too.

Alyssa Patmos 1:05:14
Yeah. Precisely. Yes. So this is the type of work that you do pay attention to behaviors, you pay attention to money, and you give, like practical advice that is like for for those of us who are who want to be human, and are starting to, to have the courage to to show our humanity to ourselves and to those around us. So if people want to connect with you, where is the best place for them to do so?

Britni Ross 1:05:41
The best place is Instagram. That’s the best place. It’s the only social media platform that I still thoroughly enjoy. Britni Ross, right? @BritniRoss just kept it simple. Yes. And then I have my website, which is I do still have website shame. I don’t know any website owner who doesn’t. So the blog is a little bit stale right now. Summer has passed, I’ll get back to writing. But is the blog. And then if you want to do the work, if you want to actually go through this process, I have a five day email series that’s free. And it’s at Like you’re going to rewrite your money story. And you’ll get five lessons that kind of walk you through this. And then of course, I take one on one client. So if you go through that five day series, and you’re like, oh, I need the next like, I really just want someone to sit down one on one. Go through the gray go through the nuance my specifics. You can book a call with me on Instagram.

Alyssa Patmos 1:06:47
Wonderful. And I have been through Britni’s five day email series. I think we edited that right? You were –

Britni Ross 1:06:53
I think we did.

Alyssa Patmos 1:06:54
Yes. It’s so it’s so good. So I highly recommend it. And she said Follow on Instagram. You also get to see cute puppy pictures from time to time as well.

Britni Ross 1:07:04
You get puppies and coffee and lots of nature breaks. Lists of birds that I’ve seen. It’s random.

Alyssa Patmos 1:07:12
Britni, thank you so much for being on and for chatting all things money, shining a light on these places that I know that we often don’t get to talk about. I loved chatting with you, as always!

Alyssa Patmos 1:07:27
You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

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