‘On The Money’ with Mark Hamrick: ‘Broke Millennial’ author Erin Lowry has advice for awkward money conversations

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Do you have difficulty having productive conversations about money? Whether speaking with family, friends or your boss or colleagues, would you like for these talks to go better in the future? If the answers are “yes,” then you have plenty of company. Fortunately, personal finance expert Erin Lowry, author of the “Broke Millennial” book series, is out with a new effort aimed at helping us identify opportunities to have better discussions. It is titled, “Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations.”

In this edition of the “On the Money” interview series, Lowry says she grew up in a household where discussions about money happened all of the time. She recalls after graduating from college, she was working in a variety of jobs in New York and felt “pretty broke” (1:30), which is how her concept and brand were formed.

Lowry says it is difficult for many people to “be direct” in having conversations about money, instead often using what she calls “coded language” (4:15) or dancing around the subject.

Having experienced the financial crisis and Great Recession over a decade ago, as well as the most recent pandemic-caused economic contraction, millennials (age 25-40) need to be focused on investing despite fears about market volatility, Lowry says (6:50). She adds that she’s concerned that younger investors may be too short-term focused by speculating on so-called “meme stocks,” as embodied by the ups and downs of Gamestop shares as well as the volatility of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (9:13). While glad that investors are interested and educating themselves about the market, Lowry suggests people invest only as much money as they can afford to lose.

At a loss for words on how to talk about money or how to start a conversation? One of the terrific things about the book is that it outlines specific examples of conversations about money as well as what to say. Lowry’s earlier pair of books are on investing and how to “Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together.” Based on the books’ popularity, Lowry has clearly dialed into some themes that resonate with many Americans.

Written by
Mark Hamrick
Washington Bureau Chief
Mark Hamrick is Washington Bureau Chief for Bankrate. He is a national award-winning business and financial news journalist.