Ep 138: How to Be a “Smart Money Mama” with Financial Educator Chelsea Brennan

Listen and Subscribe On...

There’s so much to consider when you’re preparing to bring home your bundle of joy, it can be difficult to think about money. Money management in parenthood goes so far beyond just paying for diapers and car seats. The healthy money habits you model will positively affect the way your child thinks about money as they grow.

Today’s guest, Chelsea Brennan, is the founder of Smart Money Mamas, a community and platform where moms can learn how to make their money work for them and embrace their ambitions so they can live their fullest lives. An ex-hedge fund manager, Chelsea is now a financial educator who is dedicated to changing the way we talk about money. Her monthly membership community is a place where moms can come to learn to build a positive relationship with wealth.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • When should you start thinking about money
  • How austerity can be counterproductive to healthy money management
  • How wealth can be looked at in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • How to start thinking about money in new ways
  • How men and women often approach money differently
  • Why it is important to find out the details of your maternity leave in advance
  • How important it can be to plan for worst case scenarios with estate plans and life insurance
  • What are some ways to budget for and reduce medical bills

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Come Join Me On Instagram

I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

Share with Friends



Ep 138: How to Be a “Smart Money Mama” with Financial Educator Chelsea Brennan

Nicole: This is an important episode where we are talking about money. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 138. Thank you for being here with me today. Today's episode is about money and we have a great person on to talk about it, Chelsea Brennan. Chelsea is the founder of Smart Money Mamas and its monthly membership community, The Motivated Mama Society. She's an ex hedge fund manager, turned financial educator, and she is dedicated to changing the way we talk about money and to help moms connect with all aspects of their money in a way that lets them overcome emotional blocks, identify what they most want, and create the healthy money habits that help them achieve their biggest goals. She does this all while modeling positive money relationships for the future generations. Chelsea lives in Connecticut with her husband who is a rock star stay at home dad and her two young and energetic boys.

Nicole: We have a really informative conversation. You are definitely going to love this, and you're probably going to want to take some notes. We chat about some things like why women are really good at money actually, and even better at money than men. She gives some really concrete, specific things you can do to plan for maternity leave financially, including how to talk about maternity leave with your job. She gives some tips on financial planning for a new baby. Some of it is a little bit uncomfortable. We talk about things like estate planning, but it's so important and it's actually not as overwhelming as you think. She gives some great advice on how to manage unexpected medical expenses and much, much more. Again, you're really, really going to enjoy this episode. Lots of great, useful information and tips that are easy to implement to help you get in a great financial state.

Nicole: Now, before we get into the episode, let me tell you about a fun and informative new quiz I have called the labor quiz. It is a seven question quiz and going through this quiz is going to help you understand what you know and what you don't know about managing pain in labor and based on your results. I give you some resources to help you. It's super short, super fun, super informative. Do check out that quiz at drnicolerankins.com/quiz. All right, let's get into the episode with Chelsea Brennan from Smart Money Mamas. So thank you so much, Chelsea, for agreeing to talk on the podcast. I'm so excited to talk about this topic and I love the way that you approach it. So this is going to be a great episode.

Chelsea: Thanks so much for having me, Nicole. I'm excited for the conversation too.

Nicole: Yeah. So why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself, your work and your family, if you'd like.

Chelsea: Absolutely. So I'm the founder of Smart Money Mamas, which is a platform where we help moms build positive relationships with wealth and really build wealth in a way that aligns with their values and the lifestyle they want to live. Um, I'm married to an amazing stay-at-home dad. We have two little boys who are three and five and starting Smart Money Mamas was actually really got jump-started out of us having kids and me realizing right around when my oldest was one that the work I was doing in my professional career, I was a hedge fund manager, wasn't really what I wanted to do. And it wasn't aligned with my values and my work schedule. And so we started to explore how to take my love and interest of money and how money can really buy us freedom and work with it differently than what I was currently doing.

Nicole: Love that. Love that. So why don't we talk about, I like to always share with guests, like what type of education or background, you said you were a hedge fund manager experience do you have in money and finances?

Chelsea: Absolutely. So my interest in money and finances goes way, way back to when I was 12 and 13, I started reading books by economists, started reading books about investing. I was really interested in it and my dad's business partner was a huge resource to me of giving me books, talking to me about the different things. And so I started to get my interest in the money system then. In college -

Nicole: Wait. At at 12 and 13 Chelsea?

Chelsea: Ah yeah, you know, I was a kid

Nicole: I'm like, what was I doing when I was 12? I don't think it was, I know it wasn't reading money books, so that's pretty cool.

Chelsea: It was pretty cool. And I learned a lot. And I think that one of the things with money is that the earlier you start, the easier it is to kind of build wealth. Not that you can't start wherever you are. Anyone who's listening to this is starting now is better than starting a year from now or five years from now. But I had this interest from a young age. And so I went to college and I kind of knew I wanted to do something related to money, but I also had this real pull to teach, Nicole. So I was a double major in economics and math with a minor in philosophy. And I had to make a big decision of whether I was going to go teach or whether I was going to go to Wall Street. And so the decision I made was that money could give me the freedom.

Chelsea: If I took the job that paid a little bit more early on that later in my career, I could do a second act more easily. And, and so I never thought that I was going to go into investing. It was a stepping stone. And so I, but I did that. So I was working on Wall Street as an equity research analyst. So for those of you who don't know, that basically means I give stock recommendations to folio managers around the world. So we did that for several years and then I moved to the hedge fund and I covered distressed debt. So that is debt in companies that are about to go bankrupt or look like they're going to go bankrupt. And so that was a really interesting job. And I learned a ton about money, about how investing works. And then when I started Smart Money Mamas, I also went and became a national certified education instructor, because some of how we deal with money on a personal level is very different from how we do it in the investing world. Um, and so that's where my kind of formal education ends there. And then we've worked with tens of thousands of moms on their money journeys and money mindset since then as well.

Nicole: Awesome. Awesome. And I will say I was a math major in college too, so you never know, never know where math will take you, you don't. Uh, I, right. So you said, was it really just being a mom? Like had you not even thought about focusing on moms before you became a mom or did you always sorta think I wanted to focus on women or that kind of thing? Or like what made you like really really hone in and focus on helping mothers?

Chelsea: Absolutely. So place it started was that where Smart Money Mamas was actually born was that I was in this Facebook group. And so many people listening, I'm sure can relate to this. I was in this Facebook group of other women who had their first baby in the same month I had my first baby. And so there's a little over 200 of us across the country. We'd gotten matched up, I think from the, what to expect when you're expecting website and had been together early pregnancy. And over the time between when we all kind of joined that group, and then when our kids were turning one, I had become the go-to person for these money questions. And so while I kind of had this sense of maybe I wanted to do something else, maybe I wanted to be a financial advisor. What I got to see over that period of time is how much stress and anxiety money causes for families and specifically how much it can cause for moms.

Chelsea: Because when you think about maternity leave and how there's very little coverage for women in the U S when it comes to maternity leave, when we think about the expense of childcare and we think about flexible work schedules, all of that impacts moms very, very strongly. And so part of the focus from moms came from I'd been answering kind of the same questions over and over again. And I decided, you know, let's write it down. And so I started the blog and I went to that moms group and I said, okay, guys, what are your questions? And within a day, they had sent us over 60 questions. And so for the first 30 to 45 days, I can't remember the exact number of days that I had the blog, I posted every day, answered somebody's question every day. And then it really built from there in, I am somebody who believes strongly that money does impact everything that we do, that money does not have to be inherently evil.

Chelsea: It doesn't have to cause any kind of anxiety, but what it can really do is offer freedom and it can let us become the best versions of ourselves. If we are using money in a way that aligns with our values and who we want to be. And I wanted to change that narrative and at a community level, at a society level. And when I think about the best way to do that, I kept coming back to moms, not only because we are not women in general in the U S are not given good messages about money from an early age, but also because if we could get moms to feel so confident with money, to be confident in their superpowers and their abilities to earn money in a way that felt good to them to build wealth in a way that felt good to them, not only would that impact today's nuclear family, what it would do is then they could pass those lessons on to their kids and their kids would see good money relationships and good money language modeled from an early age and go out into adulthood with far more confidence and knowledge than we had when we, when we became adults.

Chelsea: And so that's how I really just got tied to moms. Really excited about all the work we could do with moms.

Nicole: I love that. I loved your, your approach to thinking about money, because a lot of times you hear and moms get beat with the, you got to scrimp and you got to like deny yourself, so to speak. Um, and that doesn't sound like what you are saying, is that correct?

Chelsea: Absolutely not. So scarcity frugality, it doesn't have a real strong place in our money philosophy in our community. And obviously depending on your income level, we were talking about a lot of privilege here. Part of my issue with frugality is that there's a lot of people out there who talk about it like a game and how to cut expenses and how to make ends meet. But when you have enough money that it is a game, that's just, that's not helpful, right? There, there are people with, at a lower income level that that is just life, right? That's not trying to figure it out. That's just what you have to do to survive. Absolutely. Yeah. When we get past that level of real survival. And so Nicole, we talk about the money hierarchy of needs. I assume you're familiar with Maslow's hierarchy. I am. Okay. So what we took is took Maslow's and showed how each level of that is really a different level of financial security.

Chelsea: And so you really talk at the bottom physiological needs. Do you have enough money to keep a roof over your head and food consistently in your mouth, right? Do you keep yourself safe, that second level of security? And so that's where do you have a stable job? Do you know you can cover your bills? Do you have an emergency fund? Are you not stressed out in debt? And so these bottom two levels are survival, right? And in those places, there is an argument for some frugality, some saving, right? Because I never want to have you guys spending more than you make, that's a difficult situation. But in those places we're building our foundation where people get stuck is that they follow a lot of traditional money managers who stay in that scarcity place, who talk, who demonize going out to get a cup of coffee or going to a yoga class instead of using a free, you know, YouTube tutorial or something.

Chelsea: And what happens is we start to see our money as an end in itself and not a means to an end. And we really want to build this relationship that our money is a tool to create the life that we want. And so I'm not saying go spend frivolously on everything you ever think you want. What I'm saying is, take the time to identify what your values are. What is most important to you? What makes you the person you want to be and the mom you want to be and spend money in those places and cut the rest of it. Like there's all these things that we find when we have women go through their budgets, things they're spending money on that they think they're supposed to spend money on. That their mom or their grandparents or their friends tell them they're supposed to spend money on that they don't really care about, but it's just become habit, cut those things. But don't try to just completely go barebone scarcity mode on everything, because that's not a life any of us want to live.

Nicole: Uh, the, I love that like this, if I hope everyone really, really hears that, like don't spend money on the things that aren't important to you and it's okay to have money and it's okay to use money to help you build the life that you want. I think a lot of times, and I don't know, maybe I'm generalizing. I feel like there was a lot for, for men and money. It's like, get as much as you want and you know, it's conquer and this, that, and the other, but that I don't think is, is, is helpful or like that race to, to the, you know, to be Jeff Bezos and send a giant rocket ship in the, in the air, if that's what you want to do fine, but you don't have to have that sort of go, go, go. You can really look at money, um, as, as having enough of it. And a lot of it actually, if you want and using it for the things that are important to you without being like a jerk.

Chelsea: So there's two sides of this. I just want to touch on for a second. And the first is that statistically in a, in a heterosexual household, uh, in over two thirds of the household, the women is the woman is the one who manages the budget. And a lot of people hold this up as this like really powerful thing and women having control of the wallets. And we do, we have a ton of spending control and spending power, but this ties back to women's role being the one to manage the home. And so when we talk about managing the household budget, what we're not seeing is women and wives managing the entire financial picture for their house, but only the day-to-day budget, which is where a lot of the couponing language, the scarcity language making ends meet language comes from because that was the role. How do you take the money that you're given often?

Chelsea: You know, you want to look back 20, 30 years often the money you were given from your husband, how do you make it meet, ends meet to, to get to the next week's groceries. The next week's thing we haven't in some ways evolved past that. We still see a ton of financial advice for women that's tied around coupons and things like that. Whereas, a lot of the invest, a lot of the money advice for men is exactly what you're talking about. It's thinking about retirement and investing in wealth building and what generational wealth means and leaving a legacy means that conversation we need to bring into women's lives because I don't want any moms that are listening to this, just trying to survive today or enjoy today, but really making sure that you're financially secure, you're getting what you want throughout your entire life, that you're leaving the legacy that you want for your kids.

Chelsea: And you mentioned Jeff Bezos here. Um, this is actually another really interesting stat that when you ask men on average, what they want money for, it is very often something for themselves, right? It ends up with their social clout, um, some like expensive things that they want, whether it's boats or travel or whatever it is, right. When you ask women the same question, they see money as a way to impact their families. And so we have to talk about how we're using money differently. And it's another reason, you know, I said earlier, changing these societal narratives about money. It's why we pull back to moms because moms are the one who aren't just going to make themselves wealthier. They're going to make their family structure wealthier and, and really improve that financial ecosystem. So, yeah, I agree. I think we need more conversation around values-based intentional wealth building for women, and that's what we try to provide it to our Money Mamas.

Nicole: Love it, love it, love it. And women, I will even add, I don't think women just help make their, you know, families wealthier. They help make their communities actually welfare wealthier, not just their immediate family, those around them as well.

Chelsea: Absolutely. And we see that, um, uh, Goldman Sachs, which is actually where I used to work, has an organization called 10,000 Women. And what they're doing is they're funding female owned businesses in third world countries, 10,000 female owned businesses. And the reason they chose to focus on females is when they originally started to do the work, hen they gave similar grants to male owned businesses, it made that man wealthier and his immediate children wealthier. What they saw when they supported female business owners, specifically moms, not only did they use that money to send their kids to school, but their neighbor's kids to school. And they ha and they hired their other neighbor. And they really, like you said, made their community healthier. And even in, in first world countries, what used to happen to where, when women get wealth, not only do they, um, donate to charity in higher levels than, than men do, but they're more likely to support local businesses. They're more likely to support other women owned and minority owned businesses. And so there is this real beautiful power. When we put money in the hands of women in power, in the hands of women.

Nicole: Love it, love it, love it. So let's get into some practical advice for our folks. Most of them, I missed listeners that are pregnant and having a new baby. Let's start off with talking about two or three tips to prepare financially for maternity leave.

Chelsea: Yes. Okay. So the first thing we want to think about on maternity leave is really understanding what your benefits are and what the guardrails are around that. So how much time do you have, how much it is paid versus unpaid. If you have to go on leave early, early, what happens with your leave? Right? And the reason we want to understand this before we even go into the conversation is because I want you to get a sense of how much do you need to save and how much time do you want to take off and be often, unfortunately in the U S uh, people find that there's not paid time. It's a very, very common thing across the U S is that while we have family medical leave act, that gives you up to 12 weeks of job protection. What it does not do is give you pay, and it excludes any businesses with less than 50 employees.

Chelsea: And that is a huge amount of the workforce in the U S. And so I want you to understand what you have and start to build up an idea of how long do you want to take off in an ideal world, and then in a good world, and in a, I really just need to do the bare minimum. I want you to have kind of that staged vision, right? And I want you to take some time to take a look at your budget and say how much what's the bare minimum I can spend. And I'm not saying that's going to be your budget, but I want you to understand what you need just to cover your bills, because that's going to let you build a number of a goal for that kind of good, better, best scenario we were talking about and start to let you see how much you need to start saving up and what that goal looks like.

Nicole: Yeah. Th this is one I really see so many people don't realize is that they may not get a full salary or any salary during maternity leave. And it starts like the clock starts when you take the leave. So if you start to take it before you have the baby, that's going to take away from like the time afterwards. So I, I cannot agree with this, this tip enough, you have to learn the details of the leave policy.

Chelsea: You have to learn the details. And this is a place too, that I know a lot of women get nervous about telling their employers, telling their HR departments about their pregnancy. Um, and I understand that that as much as there are protections for pregnant women in the U S there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that, that does not always get followed. Right? And so my recommendation is always to see if there's another female coworker who's recently had a baby in the last couple of years that you could just invite to coffee or take a walk with in the office, right. And ask them what their experience was. And if they have any advice, are there managers that are more receptive? Is there a way to approach HR? And then what did they get for leave, right? Was it a couple of weeks? Was it paid half paid that can let you get kind of get a little bit of information before you're ready to announce to everybody you're pregnant. You can even have that conversation in a realm of, Hey, we're thinking about having a baby. If you don't want to out yourself, right. That you're currently pregnant. I think it's a good, a good method to go through. Oftentimes we think that HR has our backs and,

Nicole: Sorry.

Chelsea: I know! It's so it's unfortunately so humorous. Um, but the unfortunate part is HR is there to protect the company a hundred percent,

Nicole: A hundred percent. That is it. That is it. Yes.

Chelsea: Um, so, you know, talk to your coworkers, do some research, kind of quietly, often those things are in your company handbook. And so if you have a company portal, you can look those things up, but yeah. Get a sense of what your leave policy is, um, and how much leave you want to take. And then you can spend some time with your budget and really seeing how much you need to save and what you can do in the meantime, um, to, to get to that point and talk to your partner. If you have one about, you know, what are you guys willing to do as a family to make sure you both get the leave that you want, and that ideally, ideally, that you want. Um, one of the things that comes up though, when we think about maternity leave, and the second thing I want you to think about is what do you want work to look like after you become a mom?

Chelsea: And do you want to go back full-time? Do you want go back part-time? Do you not wanna go back at all? Do you want to become an entrepreneur? Right? There's many different ways go post maternity leave. And the reason I want you to think about this now, and Nicole, you know this very well, uh, there are a lot of hormones and just a lot of change when you become a mom. And so what happens is that when we don't think about it beforehand, the end of maternity leave comes. And whether that's the end of four weeks or six weeks or 12 weeks, oftentimes we are not ready to go back. Right. And it's that like? And so what, what happens sometimes is that women quit in that moment, right? They they're afraid, and they're not ready to go back and they're loving on their baby.

Chelsea: And so they quit. And then a month, two months, six months down the line, they're disappointed. They make, they made that decision, right? They missed their job. They missed their interaction with other adults. And, and not to say that some people don't love that decision. What I want you to do is think about it today, where you are right now, make a decision and don't make any major changes to your plan until your baby's at least six months old. There's so much change happening. There's so much that if you take your 12 weeks maternity leave, if you're lucky and you get 12 weeks and you go back to work for two or three months, and you're still just really not fitting, and you want to go try to start your own venture or become a stay-at-home mom, do it. Then if you decide you want to be a stay-at-home mom, and on month three, you're exhausted and you're sleep deprived.

Chelsea: You don't remember the last time you took a shower and you just want to go away. You want to go back to work. You're like, please send me anywhere. But this house with this child, wait until the end of six months, right? Because when we make major life decisions in those first couple months, we can make really huge lasting impacts on our career. And we see women who decide that I'm going to take a year off. I'm going to take two years off. I'm gonna go back to work. But research has shows that it's much harder for us to go back. Um, then if, if we even just kept flexible work, anytime when you take your foot off the gas, it has an impact. And that's not once again, not to say the stay at home parents aren't an amazing thing. I just want you to do the research now, before you're facing all that change of, are you willing to take the, the impact of what being a stay at home parent means?

Chelsea: My husband is a stay-at-home dad, which I mentioned earlier, and it was a, it was a little bit of a battle for us, Nicole at the time. Um, my mom had been a stay at home mom. She hadn't worked for 20 years when my parents got divorced and she was put in a really difficult position. And we started talking about kids right around that point, my husband and I, and he brought up, I, at that point, I made a lot more money than him. And he brought up the idea of being stay at home dad. Right. And I was worried for him. Right. I didn't want him to feel stuck. I didn't want something to happen to me and him not to be able to go back to work. Right. And so we had a lot of conversations about what setting up safety nets for him meant.

Chelsea: And mamas, I know this is far more common for moms to be leaving. And I want you to think about these things too. We thought about what his skill sets were, where he would be employable, even if he had years off, right. He's a, he's a boat captain and he has a project management degree. And so some of those things are always in high demand. I want you to think about that. What, what would happen if you suddenly had to go back to work? What would your options be? Right. Um, because sometimes we get a little short-sighted, um, and we think about, you know, the cost of childcare and Hey, we're barely, you know, we're barely covering the cost of childcare. It makes sense for me to just stay home. But what we forget is that compound growth and that we've taken that year where we're not getting an annual raise, where we're not having consistent employment. And when we come back, it's either really hard to come back or we get paid a lot less. And so I want you to think about what do you want work to look like post maternity leave? Like I said, make some kind of decision that feels good to you and wait six months, just be patient with maternity leave. And then the last one you you asked for three things and I've just rambled on.

Nicole: Oh, this is all great, great information. So let's, let's, let's keep going.

Chelsea: The last thing is, think about the kind of support that you're going to have in maternity leave. And is, does that mean a family member or a friend that can come over every once in a while? Does that mean that you guys build into your budget right now extra money for takeout or for a cleaning person, uh, every other week or something? What are ways you can give yourself a little breathing room? Uh, because this time it is hard. And especially if you face postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, which is something I went through, just having a little bit of help, can make a huge difference. And so start to think about that now start to build, you know, we talk about in our New Mama Money Plan building kind of a baby emergency fund, which is, you know, you have your standard life emergency fund, hopefully, but just putting aside, even if it's just a couple hundred dollars that you, if you need some help, you can get some help.

Chelsea: If you need to hire a lactation consultant, if your kid will not sleep in the bouncer that you bought that, and you need to get them another thing, like you have a way to kind of cover yourself. And so I think about ways to give yourself a little bit of breathing room and people you can ask ahead of time and say like, Hey, you know, I know that in general, I have a hard time accepting help. It's true for many, many women, right? And I know that if once this baby comes, I'm probably not going to text you come help me with something, could you check in on me like once a week or a couple of weeks, and your friends are going to be more than willing to do that. And sometimes having those conversations ahead of time really can make that maternity leave a little bit easier.

Nicole: Oh my God. That is such excellent advice. I would add throw in a postpartum doula. Maybe if you want to, if you want to budget for that as well. And I think you can even think about that when you think about asking for what you want in your baby shower gifts and not like asking for 12 packs of onesies, maybe you ask that want a card so I can, you know, get door dash for three weeks or for a month or whatever. So, um, that is also great, great advice. Love it. Love it, love it. All right. So let's talk about, what about preparing for a new baby? What are some couple, two or three things that you recommend there when you're financially preparing for this new little bundle of joy?

Chelsea: Yeah. So the first thing would be thinking about emergency and estate planning and in a period of time, when we're all welcoming new life and we're celebrating new life, it can be a little scary to think about end of life, and to think about incapacitation and the things that can go wrong. I understand that fully, but when we're becoming parents, we now have responsibility for new little people and we have responsibility for them, whether or not we can physically be present with them. And so something that we tend to overlook, uh, in this period of time is making sure that you get life insurance, that you set up an estate plan. And this is no matter what age you are, no matter how much money you have having an estate plan, that names who you would like to care for your children, if you are not available, you or your partner is not available is an incredibly important step.

Chelsea: And I think sometimes, and we've heard this from moms before that we say, Hey, did you get your will set up? And they'll say, well, no, but I told my mom that if something happens to me and my husband, I want her to have the kids. And the thing is that that's not legally binding. And so what happens is, and I just want to touch on this for a second, Nicole, because I don't think a lot of people understand the process. If the parents pass away or are no longer available, it has to go to family court. And when family court happens, anyone who wants custody of the child can petition to the court for custody of the child, they will look at the financial background. They will do home visits for the most prominent people. The ones who, the judge who thinks are the best fit, which is often family, but not often, not always the family that you want it to be.

Chelsea: Um, they will do house visits. They will check the financial background. And then the judge will decide who he or she thinks is the best fit. Right? And so there's a lot of different pieces that go into that one. This process can take months, which means, especially if your kid is 5, 6, 7 early teenagers, where they're aware, it's a lot of uncertainty for a kid in that period of time. The second part is judges. The fi the system is often looking for financial stability above almost all things. And so if you have a family, you know, you have a sister who maybe, you know, she's amazing and she shares your parenting values and you would, she has a good relationship with your kids. And you know that, you know, she lives nearby. You would want them to have, uh, your kids, but she doesn't have a lot of financial stability, but you have a brother who you don't get along with as well, who has a lot of money.

Chelsea: He might get the kids, right. Just because his household is more stable. And so what you can do with an estate plan is you can A) name, your sister and B) have a life insurance policy that gives her that financial stability that gives her the means to care for your kids. And so it's not something that actually takes a lot of time. It's not something that has to be very expensive, especially if you're estate is small. You don't have a lot of, you know, financial assets to pass down. You can actually get a free will from department.me. You can get a $67 will I think from trust and will I really love their program because they ask you questions, the very guiding questions, and then they fill out the forms for you. And so you kind of know you're doing it correctly, or you can hire an attorney, but that is more expensive. You can do this in a couple hours and then it's done, right? And then your family is protected. And so that's something I think we overlook. It's so many parents. They want to make a budget for all the things that their kids need. And they want to look at the list of what's must buy and not need to buy and the best car seat and all those things are important, but there's this really foundational family security thing that we have to cover. And so that's one that I think we really overlook.

Nicole: Yeah. I agree. I agree. We definitely waited too long to do that as well.

Chelsea: Yeah. And I think it's hard and sometimes there's, uh, also a miss. There's some misinformation out there about getting life insurance while you're pregnant, um, that you can't get life insurance while you're pregnant. It's something that I've, I've heard a lot. Uh, that's not actually true. Uh, especially if you have a healthy pregnancy, there's no reason you can't get life insurance. The one part that sometimes can make it a little bit more expensive as more talking about term life insurance is what, which is what is needed for 99% of families, but it's much less expensive. But when you you're talking about term, they can sometimes use your current weight as your weight. And so if you're eight months pregnant, you might get a slightly higher rate because they would consider you, you know, overweight more risk. What you can do is talk to your insurance company.

Chelsea: Um, when they, so what happens with insurance generally is you'll get a, an estimate of how much they think it's going to cost for you to get coverage. Then you will get a medical exam, um, or you'll have a phone call depends on the, on the system. You'll have that conversation. And then they'll give you a fixed rate when they give you that fixed rate. If it's higher than they thought it was going to be either because of weight or because of pregnancy complications, you can ask them many life insurance companies let you get one redo of your physical exam within the first year to reset your rates. And so you can get coverage, have coverage, maybe pay a little bit more than you want to until your baby is born, redo your rates. And that can save you some money too. And so you just have to ask that question. That can be a really good resource.

Nicole: Nice, nice, nice. Um, so what about, when anything else that you recommend that folks do when preparing for a new baby?

Chelsea: So the second thing is really paying attention to what your medical coverage is. Um, and asking a lot of questions. Um, our medical system is overly confusing.

Nicole: Oh my God, it's so confusing. Like, I've been on the phone myself, like dealing with insurance companies and I'm like, I'm like, I'm a f-ing doctor. Like I should be able to like, understand what you're saying and I don't. So it is very, very confusing.

Chelsea: It's very confusing. But so I'm calling and making sure that you're really clear on your deductible, um, what is covered and what is not covered asking about when your child will get their own deductible. So typically the baby is on mom's or in the case of when we're talking about, you know, Obamacare plans, it's on the, let me think if I can get this right, the youngest parents insurance until 30 days have passed, and then the baby gets their own plan, right their own plan within your plan. So they'll get their own deductible. And so ask about that. If your baby has to go to the NICU, if their baby needs special services, at what point do they get their own deductible? And what does that look like? Right. Because typically with a family plan, you have, you will have individual deductibles, but then you have a family max out of pocket.

Chelsea: And so you want to figure out what could you, oh, like what could this look like? And then you want to talk to your OB, you to talk about to your hospital network and try to get some estimates of what, you know, a typical birth cost. This is going to be pulling some teeth. Let me tell you, because they don't want to give you an estimate because nothing is the same. Um, but you can say like, give me a range, right? And you can get a general idea of, Hey, a vaginal birth at our location typically costs 7,000 in the range of $7,000. And they'll give you a million caveats, but if you have complications, if you need these things, um, but this is kind of an idea because I want you to have a sense of what, what that's going to cost, because those bills can be really surprising.

Chelsea: Um, and what I want to touch on there is that these bills are huge. You, when you have insurance, um, we get so many moms that are like, what is the point of insurance? I feel like I'm still paying, um, all this money, but you don't have to pay that bill in full the day it arrives. And so if this is going to stress your family, call the hospital, set up a payment plan, call the hospital, ask for an itemized bill. This often unfortunately reduces how much you owe. As soon as you ask for an itemized bill, do those things instead of just strapping yourself to try to pay it in full in the moment, right? Many people have to go on payment plans and you are like, we've talked about, there's so much change happening. There's so much stress just in, in figuring out who you are as a parent, that we don't want to add financial stress to that.

Chelsea: So if you get that bill and it's too high instead of a payment plan, and you can actually ask about payment plan options before the baby's even born, right? Just so you can get a sense of like, Hey, well, I'm here in slightly sane and not sleep deprived. Who do I call when I get this bill? Who am I going to have to call to set up a plan? And they'll be able to tell you the number and the name and things like that. So think about medical expenses really understand this is a place to where if you have a partner, um, look at both plans, ask questions about both plans, um, and where it's going to be less expensive or better coverage to have your babies. It, should it be on your partner's plan or your plan if you guys have separate insurance options. And even if you don't, if you you've chosen that, you know, the whole family is on your plan or the whole family's your partners plan. This is a place to decide like, is that still the best place to be once we're on a family unit. Um, and so you want to do that work too. So those are, those are two things in estate planning and health are the really big ones that come up. And then the third one is don't pre-buy too much stuff. We talk about a baby planning,

Nicole: Oh God, it's like 40 things. And you probably end up using like four of them, you know?

Chelsea: You don't. And your kid, kid changes. They have their own preferences. Everyone, everyone told me I was going to need a swaddle, like those Velcro swaddles. And so we bought, I think we were gifted three of them in our registry. Neither of my children would be swaddled. Like if you tried to swaddle those children, they would scream. And so I think we like pulled them out like twice, and then we gifted them to somebody else. And so there's so many things like that, figure out what really are the bare necessities and then get things as you need them. You're going to find that you really don't need that much. And my other piece of advice on this is to wait at least 48 hours after you think you need something to see if you still need it. Right. Um, we used to, we did this with teethers, unfortunately repeatedly, once again, talk about sleep deprivation where one of the kids would like it. They'd be cutting a tooth and they're crying and they wouldn't want the teethers that we had. And so we'd go on Google, Dr. Google and search what the best teether is. And I ordered it. And by the time it arrived from Amazon, which was only two days, the teeth was out and he didn't care any more. Right. And,

Nicole: Right right right.

Chelsea: We ended up evolving over time to it, definitely with our second kid of, he got a cold carrot. Peel, a cold carrot, and he would gnaw on it. And that was all he needed. So, um, start with the real basics. Uh, your kids, babies, especially don't need a lot. I

Nicole: They really don't. They don't

Chelsea: Don't pre-buy diapers. I don't know your feeling about this. Nicole. There's a lot of like frugality money saver bloggers who are like take advantage of sales and coupons and stack up. They might not fit the type of diaper that you buy, or they just like pee out of them. Or it gives them a rash, like, don't do that. Maybe buy like a couple sample packs of different diapers. I like that method and see what fits best on them, what they seem to like best and then go with that. But yeah, pre-buying is something, I think that like we were nesting and we want to feel like we're planning and that we're ahead of the game. And then often we just end up kicking ourselves in the butt

Nicole: A hundred percent like, and our society pushes a lot of stuff around babies, but the honest to God truth is they need like a place to sleep and it doesn't have to be fancy. They need like onesies and they need you. So like, those are the main, big things. And you can fill in the gaps with the other things as, as you go, you know, you need diapers, but it really doesn't have to be. I'm thinking about like fancy warmers and swingers. And like all of those things, you know, you just you'll find that your children will hate some of those things. You're like, why do I have this freaking contraptions sitting in the corner so I can not agree with that enough.

Chelsea: So I really love, and, and depending on where you live in the U S the communities are bigger or smaller, but are you familiar with buy nothing groups?

Nicole: I haven't heard of that.

Chelsea: So buy nothing is a national kind of movement of reducing waste and increasing kind of sharing and bartering within, within micro communities. And so if you go to the buy nothing website, which I think is buynothing.org, you can search your zip code to let you know, if there's a buy nothing group for your area. And they, they they're run on Facebook and you can join. And it's buy nothing, the money is never exchanged there. And so what you'll see in the community is people lending things out, uh, people giving things away, Hey, my kid grew out of this swing. Hey, my kid grew out this stuff and, and baby stuff is very, very popular on there. Um, but what we have found, especially, you know, we have an active group in our area is being able to post and say like, Hey, um, I'm seeing a lot of recommendations for this type of baby swing.

Chelsea: I'm not sure if it's going to be work for us. Like, can I borrow one for a weekend? And almost certainly somebody who already has one that their kid doesn't like, or it's sitting in the basement and you borrow it for a couple days and then decide if you want to buy it. Right. Um, but you, you leaning on other people leaning on moms groups and something that I think, you know, you mentioned that there's a lot of, of marketing to women and in advocating for a lot of stuff. I think that's true. I also think that we play on new moms anxiety and that you're a bad mom, or that you're, you know, putting your kid at risk, if you don't have all these things. And so we all don't want to be the bad mom. Right. We already have anxiety about that. So we buy the things. And I think that learning to listen to our own instincts, go back to kind of the basics, uh, lean on other moms and other friends, uh, is just a really beneficial thing. Not only for your finances, but just for your mental health.

Nicole: Yes. Yes. And I love that you're mentioning like community has evolved over time and we're now like the extended community of online communities and things like that can be really, really helpful to sort of fill in the gaps of not having like people immediately around.

Chelsea: Yeah. I think it's so interesting too. How much harder it is as an adult to make friends.

Nicole: Yeah. For sure.

Chelsea: So, especially when you're just starting to have kids, if your friends haven't started to have kids yet, I had kids younger than almost all of my friends. And it was, it's a difficult process and like a no, you're not alone in that, that like the feeling awkward. Um, we're all there with you walking around the playground. Like, should I ask for her number or is that weird? Am I being weird? Um, and I will tell you and everyone, listen, this is just a funny story. One of my closest mom, friends, uh, she, her son and my son are very close in age. Um, I was nine months pregnant on the train to work in Boston. And she came on with her stroller. She was one-stop after me. Uh, it, she was coming back to visit her office during her maternity leave to show it to me, let them meet the baby and whatever. And so she sat down, we started talking like, it turns out we lived a couple minutes from each other, the whole thing. And at the end of the train ride, we're both walking off. She turned off and she's like, hi here, if you want to talk to me. And she like threw her business card at me.

Chelsea: And so she tells the story that she got to the office and she was like, oh, I was just totally crazy. And just threw my business card at somebody. Like, she probably thinks I'm nuts. I'm never going to hear from her where I'm at the office going, how long do I have to wait to email her? Just a little reminder that we're all out here. Like we do need that community online communities have an amazing place. We've seen that through. COVID our ability to connect without having to be in person is beautiful, but don't discount in-person relationships and know that a lot of moms, a lot of parents are lonely. And so if you, if you're vibing with somebody, whether it's on a playground or a grocery store or whatever, don't feel weird about throwing your business card at them or asking if they want to meet up a safe place. A thing to do too, is to say like, do you want to meet up at a playground? Like, Hey, there's the playground by the library? Would you want to come one day? Um, can be a good way to kind of find that connection too. Especially through maternity leave when we feel like we're stuck inside a lot, especially in, and just getting some human interactions.

Nicole: Yes. Love it. Love it, love it. So well, as we wrap up and I asked most of my guests, these questions, what's the most frustrating part of your work.

Chelsea: It's the most frustrating part of my work is that so many people and this isn't just moms, people in general want a quick fix when it comes to their finances and they come to us and they say, well, what's the best budgeting app, or how do I get out of debt? Or, um, how do I stop impulse spending? And they just want a system or an answer, and we can guide you through some of that. But a lot of money is emotional and mental and healing, our money stories. It's work. Nicole, it's thinking about what, you know, what lessons did we learn in childhood? What's holding us back. What, what relationships. And so that can be hard because I see, we get to see some people who are struggling, who aren't ready to do that work yet. Um, and knowing that they need help and that I can't yet help them.

Chelsea: That can be a really frustrating thing. But, um, over time when they get ready and they figure it out, um, and they're, they're ready to kind of talk about some of that stuff. The transformations that happen is, is one of the most beautiful things to see people who had come to us in the past and said, I've tried 15 different budgeting apps. I've bought all these courses. I tried to learn and I couldn't figure it out. And then we can help them kind of flip a switch with really setting their own money values, their own money relationship. Uh, and then any budgeting system will work because they're out of their own way.

Nicole: Love it, love it, love it. Yeah. That's really important. So much about money is mindset, for sure. Yeah. So on the flip side, then what's the most rewarding part of your work?

Chelsea: Oh, so so many things, but I'm going to go with seeing kids of the women in our, um, we have a membership community called the Motivated Mama Society start to re regurgitate the lessons that their moms are learning, um, is a real, I mean, that was the whole goal, right? We talked about at the beginning of changing these narratives and we see kids talking about savings or moms posting in our group saying we were in the store today and my kid picked up a Lego. And I told him that, you know, what, what did he want to buy it or whatever? And he said like, well, I want it, but I don't think I need it. So I'm going to put it back. And just like seeing those things evolve in little kids, seeing teenagers, starting to think about investing as soon as they get their first job. Right. Really watching kind of the ripple effect that we're going to see happen as moms become more comfortable with their money. It is one of my favorite things.

Nicole: That's awesome. That generational growth is really important. So then what is your favorite piece of advice that you'd like to give to expectant families?

Chelsea: Everything is a phase, um, is my, my favorite piece of advice. I got that piece of advice when, um, I was pregnant with our oldest and there's so much there's moments that there's just so much beauty and there's so much, that's hard and it just feels like it's not going to get easier and everything is a phase. It ends. It's different things come up different, beautiful things, different hard things. Um, but it's not forever. None of it's forever. Um, and so that was just a good, comforting, comforting piece for me.

Nicole: I think you're talking to me, who's dealing with an 11 year old tweenager right now. Oh man. So thank you for that. Hopefully it will not be forever. Cause man, oh man. She is testing us these days. 11 year old girl. Yes. All right, Chelsea. So where can people find you and learn more about all of the amazing resources that you have? You have free stuff, you have, um, programs working folks find you, you have the podcast. So tell, tell us all of it. All of it.

Chelsea: We're everywhere. So we are at smart money mommas, which is mamas, M a M a S. I know some people spell that differently. Um, basically everywhere you can come to our website, smartmoneymamas.com and that'll link you out to our podcast and our YouTube channel. Um, all of our free resources. We also have specifically for moms in your audience, a new mama money plan that really walks you through a lot of what we talked about today. How to plan your baby budget, how to think about your maternity leave, um, how to get your emergency plan in place. It really is a step-by-step guide for that. Cause I know that it can be a little overwhelming when you've never gone through it before, but yeah, come check us out. And if you want ongoing support, you want to start thinking about your money mindset, check out our society as well. We'd love to have you there. We have an in-depth course taking you through building your financial foundations and then a monthly masterclass in Q and A with me.

Nicole: Love it. Love it. Love it. Well, thank you so much, Chelsea, for agreeing to come onto the podcast. This is such super helpful information. I so appreciate it.

Chelsea: Thanks so much for having me, Nicole, this was lovely.

Nicole: All right. Wasn't that a really informative and helpful episode. I know you enjoyed it. I know I learned a lot too. Now, if you want a systematic way to approach some of the things that Chelsea talked about in the episode, then check out her new money mama plan. This is a great program that Chelsea created that has worksheets and guidance to help you create things like a budget, the estate planning, all of those things, baby budget, planner, financial security for your family, how to plan for those things like emergencies, all of that. Good, great stuff. You can check this out at drnicolerankins.com/smartmoneymama note, that is an affiliate link, meaning, meaning that I get a small commission when you buy through that link. I only promote things that I think are good for my audience. And I definitely want you to check this out.

Nicole: It is super affordable at the time of this recording. It's just $27 and it has lots of great information in it. So check it out at drnicolerankins.com/smartmoneymama. It will help you approach things in a nice systematic way. All right, now, after every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I talk about my top three or four takeaways from the episode here on my Nicole's Notes, from my conversation with Chelsea. Number one, money doesn't have to be something that is feared or that feels overwhelming, or that we can't talk about. This is something that we all can handle. There's a lot of things in our society, especially with women, like don't talk about money or women aren't good with money or things like that. And that's actually not true that those are just things that have been told to us, or even that we tell ourselves. Money doesn't have to be overwhelming.

Nicole: You can do it, you can manage it, you can handle it. So just get these resources, go through the things that Chelsea talked about. Maybe check out that Smart Money Mama plan, um, or I'm sorry, New Mama Money Plan at drnicolerankins.com/smartmoneymama. But again, this doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can do it. All right. Number two. I want to reiterate the importance of the points about understanding your maternity leave policy. I cannot tell you how many times I've had people misunderstand that and find out later in their pregnancy and then are sort of scrambling to figure out. So you definitely want to hop on that early so that you're not surprised when the time comes. And also I want to reiterate the points about asking for help. Please ask for help. I know it's hard sometimes to ask for help.

Nicole: And there's a lot in our society of like, oh, you can do it all super women, blah, blah, blah. I think we're getting away from that, but don't be afraid to ask for the help you need. And I love her recommendation of asking while you're still pregnant because sometimes afterwards it's like, you know, you're in that hormone fog, this, that, and the other. So don't be afraid to ask for help. And then the third thing I will mention is the importance of community, community is so important. And these days community is like a bit different. I call it like community 2.0, there are a lot of like online communities and ways to gather now with COVID and things like that. And sometimes, often online communities can lead to in-person connections as well. You never know who you might meet up with that's actually nearby you.

Nicole: So online communities are great. Community is one of the things that's important about the Birth Preparation Course. That's my online childbirth education class. I call it a curated community, meaning that we have people in the community who are very helpful, willing to jump in, answer questions, provide their experience. They've gone through the same thing that you've gone through or about to go through it. And it's definitely a no judgment and no mom shaming zone. This is a private Facebook group for the course community. It's also managed by an experienced doula. And of course I'm in the group as well. It's a great way to connect with me outside of the podcast. And of course through the course, you can check out the details of the course. I mean, that's just one of the benefits of the Course is the community, there's tons more in terms of the information, but you can check that out at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right. So there you have it. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, wherever you're listening to me right now, if you would like to leave a review, please do so on Apple Podcast. Those are super helpful. And I love to read the reviews. They just make my heart smile. When I hear the things that you say about the show, also, don't forget to check out that labor quiz, drnicolerankins.com/quiz to help you understand what, you know, what you don't know about labor. It's only seven questions. You can go through it really quickly, and it's super informative, very helpful. So do check that out. So that's it for this episode do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the, All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. Head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class, on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.