Episode 1 – Welcome!

Episode transcript:

[musical intro]


Welcome to Fund Your Future with DRS. This podcast is produced by the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems. We’re going to explore some of the basics of financial planning and share some ideas for sparking your own money conversations. Email your questions to drs.podcasts@drs.wa.gov.

I’m Jenny and I work as a Communications Consultant for the Department of Retirement Systems.


And I’m Seth. I am the Retirement Readiness Director at DRS.


Well, Seth, I’m really excited for us to kind of get this podcast started. A lot of our retirees I know ask a lot of questions about retirement, and we wanted to create this podcast for our viewers and our listeners to be able to kind of go the little the one step before retirement, which is everybody who’s in a mid-career and talk a little bit about financial fitness and kind of a little bit about our experience.


Yeah, I’m super excited. I think we don’t talk about money a lot as a society, and I know sometimes it can be a little bit weird and awkward. And I know I’ve enjoyed talking to you already about money in the past, and so I’m really excited to have the opportunity to maybe make conversations easier. I appreciate your…What was the term you used? Financial fitness?

I haven’t heard that one. “Financial wellness” and “financial wholeness” I just heard recently. But I think it’s good to remember that it’s not just retirement. Like everything’s interrelated when you’re talking about money, whether you’re talking about student loans or debt or budgeting. It’s all connected.


And just that it’s so personal too. You can read a million different blogs and books out there. And it’s it really depends on, you know, your financial situation to start with, but also then where you want to end up, too, with your goals.


Were you the one that told me that you’re looking at financial TikTok?


Yeah, I follow a couple of folks …there’s a lot of cross posting, so I mostly follow them on Instagram, but then they’ll post a lot of their TikTok videos on Instagram, so I get to see them there. And it’s interesting talking about Roth IRAs and high yield savings accounts. And there’s a lot of these accounts that are trying to really hit that younger demographic that are, you know, concerned about their financial future, really. Like a lot of young people now…

I mean, I’m well out of college in my mid-thirties, but people in their twenties, early thirties that are really concerned and…a lot of them that don’t… they’ve learned from the older generation about going into debt, in college, and they’re so afraid about going into debt that they don’t even want to take out student loans.

And they’re looking at other options besides going to college, which, you know, I think is great that it’s becoming more of a conversation. But I think it’s the younger generation is becoming more aware. They know that they have to save more. They’re terrified of going into debt. But then they’re also reaching out to these places like TikTok and see what’s out there about… “how can I improve my resume?”

How can I start a side hustle? How can I afford to buy a house in this kind of economy? And so people are looking for tips and advice.


It’s hard to learn about this stuff until you experience it. And I think that’s one of the things that… I’m a little bit older than you, and like an old millennial or a “geriatric millennial”, I think was the term I heard recently, which made me feel very awkward. But I remember right out of college reading a lot of blogs, a lot of financial blogs, and realizing that there was like this whole other world out there.

I remember people talking about saving money by making their own laundry detergent and growing their own garden. And people talk about a lot… that we don’t teach financial literacy in school, but part of that is like what 18-year-old is going to want to learn about a mortgage? You know? It just doesn’t make sense to even think about that when you’re 15 or 18.

But those sorts of topics become relevant the older you get. I remember you mentioned Roth IRAs. I remember talking to people about Roth IRAs when I was 22 or 23, and they just looked at me blankly like, “What are you talking about?” And I’ve always had a desire to retire early and stop working. So what other options do you have?

Um, so I think I think I’m looking forward to these discussions a lot because I think hopefully it helps people have other discussions about where they’re at and find other people to talk to, whether that’s in their family or outside of their family, about savings, about their goals, about their plans going forward.


And I think it, like you said, is it’s so important to have those conversations. And money in the past has been such a taboo subject. It’s like you don’t talk about your salary and you don’t talk about budgeting or if you have loans or not, you know, and now it’s become much more, you know, it’s like everybody has a lot of people have loans and debt.

And it’s a topic that a lot of people are struggling to deal with. And so it’s better to be open about it and talk to someone, especially if you maybe didn’t get quite the financial sense from your parents or from a caring adult when you were growing up. I think that’s a lot of it.

My parents were really good about teaching me to budget and save. You know, if I went to a store and saw something I wanted to get, my mom would be like, “Oh, well, you have an allowance. You can get that if you want.” And that got me thinking from a really young age about, “okay, do I really want to buy this thing?”

Or “do I want to save my money up for something else?” So yeah, I think it’s just it’s so important to have those conversations.


That’s a really good point about how much sometimes baggage we bring to money conversations like, what sort of experience you have. I was thinking about this the other day that, I remember my parents talking to me about saving for college and that they were out recycling cardboard. And the money that they were recycling was going into my college fund and was I just like, Oh…

“There are different ways to earn money.” I would have never even thought about that. But all of that builds throughout your entire life. And there’s people who are, like you mentioned, super afraid of debt or that they’re very comfortable with debt and maybe assume that everyone’s on the same path. And understanding that there are lots of different paths we can take in different ways to either get on a path or get off a path I think is really fun and exciting to talk to people about.

[musical outro]


The Department of Retirement Systems provides this podcast as a public service, but it is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of DRS policy. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by DRS employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the views of DRS or any of its officials.

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