Episode #117: “He earned $17k last month—but it's not enough” (Part 1)
Kara and Drake are 38 and 37 with two infant children. Kara used to earn as much as $20k in a month, but has pulled back on work since becoming a mother—leading to painful identity issues. Drake has picked up the slack, but gender roles loom large in their at-home dynamic.
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[00:00:00] Kara: I created momentum for the life that we live. And I had two kids, and I invested in you, and I clean the house, and I do the laundry. It carries so much of this invisible burden. The biggest thing is that I have asked for his participation in our family finances. It’s $14. It’s like, just spend it from the joint account. Just bring your card with us. So I’m spending, spending, spending. We lost everything in LA. I then get pregnant when everything settles down. We have nowhere to live. We have no cars. There’s so many good things that have manifested in these last two years, but I don’t know how to fit into it.
[00:00:49] Ramit: Drake, what do you think about that? Everything you just heard?
[00:00:53] Drake: I’ve been wanting to say that for the longest and didn’t want to upset her, so I kept my mouth closed.
[00:01:03] Ramit: Tell her now, now that the seal has been broken.
[00:01:06] Drake: It’s extremely hard to feel appreciated when I’m not being appreciated. It’s very emasculating when you–
[00:01:19] Ramit: Wait, wait, wait, where’s this coming from? Hold on. What did you hear her say just now?
[00:01:24] Ramit: I was actually blown away at that exchange. Kara was opening up, being very honest about how she’s feeling, and Drake went right into how he feels. Let me rewind. Kara and Drake are 38 and 37. They’ve been together for 13 years. They’ve been married for two. They have a one-year-old and a one-month-old baby. Now, in our conversation, there are so many layers that we’re going to cover. We’re going to talk about gender expectations. We’re going to talk about how they’re both entrepreneurs with spiky incomes, and we’re going to go into money and identity. Listen in as I speak to Kara and Drake.
[00:02:02] Kara: It was the middle of the week, and I was eight months pregnant, dealing with having a very recent pregnancy. So it was a challenging pregnancy for me physically, mentally, emotionally, um, and Drake and I had an argument. We had an epic argument that escalated very, very quickly. It was about budgeting. We were trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for our daughter’s school the next week, trying to plan out for the finances in the future.
[00:02:33] And I remember the argument, Drake, was specifically about his contribution to the monthly finances, and I lost my shit. I went from zero to a 100 in two seconds whenever his response to me was like, well, I’m doing my best, or I’m trying. I’m asking for specifics like, when is this client going to pay you? Or when are you going to get this, or have you talked about that? And I just lost my mind, and I got very angry and very upset. And then he got very triggered.
[00:03:05] And so it turned into a 10 out of 10 couples argument, and I took my big pregnant emotional self, got in the car, drove off, and I parked in a Chick-fil-A parking lot. I sat there, and I cried a lot. And I was trying to bring my emotions down, and so I opened up my phone, I was scrolling, and I believe it was an email from you, which I subscribed to after watching the Netflix show, even though I’d read your book previously.
[00:03:35] So I’m scrolling, I get an email from Ramit. I’m like, bam, I’m going to read this. And then at the bottom, I see like, hey, Dan and Stacy were fighting over so and so and so and so. I help couples with this thing. I was so emotional, so rageful, mad. I was just desperate. So I just went on and voice dictated my little heart out into that application. I tried to be as honest as I could because I felt completely desperate. How’s our marriage going to work? How are we going to have a second kid? And so I just applied with all of my intense emotion, hoping that someone would hear and someone would help. I hate to be dramatic, but potentially save our marriage.
[00:04:21] Ramit: So Drake, what do you remember about that disagreement you had when Kara went to the Chick-fil-A.
[00:04:29] Drake: I remember that we went to the grocery store, and I left our joint account card in the car. I had my personal card with me. It was every intention of mine to make the purchase with my personal card and transfer the money. It was a 14-dollar purchase. I made that purchase, and Kara got mad. And, uh, like she said, lost it. And I was confused because to me, I’m thinking, no harm, no foul. We’re good. No money lost. Nothing.
[00:05:13] Ramit: Okay. And Kara, what was your perspective?
[00:05:17] Kara: I put a lot of pressure on the budget for the last three months because I knew the baby was coming. I’d put so much pressure on the budget that he likes for me to manage. I’ve been nickeling and diming, and I’ve been asking for months, hey, please spend from the joint account because I need to get an accurate idea of what our spending is. That way, I can feel at least prepared for the hit that I’m going to take when the baby comes.
[00:05:53] I wanted the data, and I had asked so many times, just spend from the joint account. That way, I don’t have to then take the transfer and allocate the transfer. I have to play all of these charades just to collect the fucking data. The biggest thing is that I have asked for his participation in our family finances.
[00:06:12] If you can just spend from the joint account, then I can get the data. It’s $14. It’s like, just spend it from the joint account. Just bring your card with us. Do you know what I mean? It’s not that big of a deal. It’s one decision in your head to say, I will take this card in and pay with it, or I will use this Apple Pay. Does that make sense?
[00:06:32] Ramit: Yeah.
[00:06:32] Kara: Very annoyed.
[00:06:36] Ramit: Drake, what do you think?
[00:06:38] Drake: I see her perspective, and I also am blessed to have ADD, and I don’t focus on the minute details. I just don’t. The way my mind works, let’s relate it to music. Whenever I create a song, I hear the complete song in my head before I even start. And that’s the way I approach life. So I see the complete idea, and in this situation, the complete idea was we’re going grocery shopping, not let me make sure I have this card. It’s a blessing creatively to have ADD. It is. However, when trying to be a father, and a husband, and a business owner, it is not. It is extremely hard, as I’ve said.
[00:07:34] Ramit: So how’d you resolve that? So he spent 14 bucks out of his personal, and then what happened?
[00:07:44] Kara: I cried. I lost it.
[00:07:47] Ramit: Were you crying at the grocery store?
[00:07:49] Kara: In the parking lot. Yes.
[00:07:51] Ramit: Okay.
[00:07:52] Kara: And I was like, you don’t love me. You don’t care about me. And I’m being very transparent with you. I don’t think you have any children yet, so I don’t– okay. Pregnancy hormones are a thing. And on top of that, I’m already a sensitive, emotional, reactive person, and so my mind goes straight to the worst-case scenario.
[00:08:16] So I’m crying. I’m losing it. We take distance after the fight. I mope. He mopes. One of us comes back and says, hey, sorry about this thing that happened. I’ll try to do better. And yeah, it’s not that big of a deal. You can transfer the $14, and I can reallocate it. So we always come back to a place of clarity.
[00:08:39] Ramit: How often do you fight about money?
[00:08:43] Drake: I would say all the time.
[00:08:45] Ramit: How many times a week?
[00:08:46] Drake: Four times a week on average. Not huge blowout fights, but definite tiffs. Like, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh.
[00:08:56] Kara: I think we fight at least once a day
[00:08:58] Ramit: Why are you even talking about money once a day? Literally, what is there to talk about?
[00:09:02] Kara: This is why. Because I’ve just had a baby four weeks ago, and we’re at the countdown phase. When I applied, when this fight happened, I just turned eight months pregnant.
[00:09:11] Ramit: Kara mentions that when she filled out the application, she was extremely upset. Now, I don’t mind people being upset about money. Money is inherently emotional, but I never want to talk to people just because of one fight. I would never want to bring somebody on this podcast because of how they feel at one particular moment in time. That’s why the process to get on this podcast takes months. And we intentionally give people lots of off ramps, and to make sure that both partners want to be here. I want to hear how they feel about money, but I want to go beyond one fight.
[00:09:50] Like with Kara and Drake, I want us to be able to analyze the dynamics of what’s going on here. They both mentioned that they fight about money multiple times a week. That’s concerning. In fact, I think it’s even concerning to be talking about money every single day. To me, it’s a clue that they don’t have a shared philosophy and a shared infrastructure. When you don’t have that, you have to literally confront every money decision as if it’s brand new. That’s frustrating. Now, there are a lot of other clues, but I want us to keep moving.
[00:10:24] Kara: We, uh, reconnected in 2019 before we started really seriously dating. Led to this marriage. And at that time, my business had– it was the most exciting time in my life because I had left my 9-5 job, and I had built a business, and I was loving it, and it was great, and I was making so much money, um, and I was also actively dating.
[00:10:44] I’d hired a matchmaker, so I’d gone through the process of discussing what I wanted in a partner, what I expected in a relationship. But when we got together, I had the expectation of knowing that he probably wasn’t a high-income earner. But that didn’t matter to me because I was doing really well, and I didn’t foresee the shit show that would be my life over the next three years that would completely change my ability to produce. Having children is a part of it, but in 2020, we left LA.
[00:11:19] We lived in LA, had a beautiful apartment, with a beautiful view of Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign. I mean, it was totally clarified. It was gorgeous. Packed it up, sold it in a week. We literally took everything in our life and left it because we had an opportunity to travel the world for 16 months and go to one country every month.
[00:11:42] The pandemic starts roaring up again, so a lot of the dates start getting canceled. My dad gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, dies three, four months later, so we spend a lot of money flying back to Kansas to be with him. So I’m spending, spending, spending. We lost everything in LA. I then get pregnant when everything settles down. We have nowhere to live. We have no cars. The plan to travel the world, had to cancel because I’m not going to go to Bali when I’m three months pregnant, and we have to figure it out.
[00:12:17] Ramit: Along this path, Drake, were you earning money at this time?
[00:12:21] Drake: Four to five grand a month.
[00:12:24] Ramit: That’s a good amount of money. 60k a year. Okay. And Kara, how much were you making at the time?
[00:12:30] Kara: I was averaging about 17 to 20k.
[00:12:33] Ramit: 20,000 a month? That’s a lot of money. That’s close to $300,000 a year. How old were you at the time?
[00:12:43] Kara: 36.
[00:12:44] Ramit: Okay, that’s a lot of money. You had two kids. You had to step back from your business for a little while, your income dropped, and that brings us to here and the fights. Is that accurate?
[00:12:56] Kara: Yeah.
[00:12:57] Drake: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:58] Ramit: Okay. Has that been clear to both of you before now?
[00:13:03] Drake: I would say yes to me.
[00:13:05] Ramit: Okay. And Kara, you’re saying no?
[00:13:07] Kara: No, I don’t think so.
[00:13:09] Ramit: What is it on a day-to-day basis? Are you fighting about diapers? Are you fighting about, uh, apples? What are we talking about?
[00:13:15] Kara: We are fighting about diapers, but that’s because I do cloth diapers, and he hates it. For me, what the fight ends up being about is I just want to know what’s coming in. What is the plan? Hey, did this client pay you? Are they on auto payment, or are they invoiced? I need to know when the cash is coming.
[00:13:34] Ramit: And you do this basically multiple times a week.
[00:13:37] Drake: Yes.
[00:13:38] Kara: Yeah.
[00:13:38] Ramit: Seems like it would get old pretty fast.
[00:13:40] Kara: Yeah.
[00:13:41] Drake: Yeah.
[00:13:41] Ramit: Do you like it?
[00:13:43] Kara: I feel like it’s the option available to me.
[00:13:46] Ramit: Oh. Is it the only option, or is it the option?
[00:13:49] Kara: No, no. It’s the option. And I’m choosing this because the alternative creates more chaos in my head. It creates more chaos in my world.
[00:14:01] Ramit: What is the alternative? What are we talking about?
[00:14:04] Kara: Not ask. This is important. Sometimes, I help him problem-solve. So we actually get the cash the month that we need it and not the month after because it’s like, oh, I didn’t know there was going to be a delay with Stripe.
[00:14:20] Ramit: Do you like to problem solve?
[00:14:22] Kara: I do like to problem solve.
[00:14:25] Ramit: Do you like to problem solve at work for your business?
[00:14:29] Kara: Yes.
[00:14:30] Ramit: Do you like to problem solve in your intimate relationship?
[00:14:34] Kara: No. I think the word like is what’s throwing me? Do I like it? I would like to not do it because those problems are resolved, but until they’re resolved, it’s like– I mean, it’s what you’re getting at. This is a function of my personality that maybe I’m overly identified with.
[00:14:53] Ramit: Got you. Okay. That does help me understand. Thank you very much. And Drake, what do you get out of these conversations where Kara initiates them about money?
[00:15:03] Drake: A headache and stress.
[00:15:05] Ramit: Yeah. But that’s not it because if it were only negative, you would stop.
[00:15:11] Drake: Uh, well, how do I stop? I’m trying to stop these arguments.
[00:15:15] Ramit: I never actually get an answer, so it’s, um, we’re having it that often because I’m getting a, I’ll let you know. When I find out, I’ll tell you. The questions are really the same. I hate it too
[00:15:28] Drake: I hate having to give that answer. I would much rather be very short and say, hey, the money is going to be here, however, I can’t account for someone else. There’s someone who has to run their card, and it has to go through. So until that money comes into the account, I’m not going to count it.
[00:15:51] Ramit: My biggest problem is that we need more money. We need to earn more. Just flat out, we need to earn more. And at the same time, my wife, her love language is quality time. And so she’s telling me that she wants more of my time and acts of service, but, uh, quality time is very important to her. And she wants more money. She wants more time. I am a new husband, a new father, and a new business owner. I have no idea how to do all three at the same time, Ramit. I would love to learn how to juggle that.
[00:16:38] Well, why are you talking to me about this? I mean, why not talk to a couples counselor?
[00:16:42] Drake: We did. Uh, it didn’t go over well.
[00:16:45] Kara: We’ve paid lots of money. Thousands of dollars.
[00:16:48] Ramit: Well, what didn’t work?
[00:16:50] Drake: Well, in those conversations, it always got turned back around to, well, Drake, you’re not doing something right. And I’m just like, okay. And in all of the therapy sessions, they have been fix Drake, fix Drake, fix Drake, instead of listen to Drake.
[00:17:12] Ramit: I want to listen. That’s why I’m asking you a lot of questions. And I think that it takes two to tango, and we’re going to where we’re going to get today. But I have to ask, what if the truth is that Drake does need to change? Would Drake be open to that?
[00:17:28] Drake: Yes.
[00:17:29] Ramit: Okay.
[00:17:30] And I’ve changed drastically. Okay. But no couple’s counselor work? Not the first? Not the second? None?
[00:17:37] Drake: Not on this particular issue, no.
[00:17:41] Ramit: The issue of? Earning?
[00:17:42] Drake: Finance. Yes.
[00:17:44] Ramit: Okay. All right. Well, I got my work cut out for me.
[00:17:48] Um, great coaches exist. Great therapists exist, but you know what matters more than anything else? To be coachable.
[00:17:59] Ramit: Let’s talk about being coachable. It’s important because so many people come to me asking a question like this. Ramit, how do I know your book will work for me? In the past, I used to instantly accept their framing. And I would try to answer them in good faith. I would try to list out the things that my book does or that my program includes.
[00:18:20] But what I realized is that never worked. Their question would be like some poorly-traveled tourist walking up to a fancy restaurant in Greece and crossing their arms and saying, can you convince me why I should choose this restaurant? You know what matters more than choosing the perfect book, or program, or coach? It’s you being coachable.
[00:18:43] Are you actually ready to make a change? Are there actual stakes that are high enough? Are you financially comfortable enough to spend money on yourself? Have you done the basics like blocking off time on your calendar? These are all signs of a coachable student. I want to share a time where I was coachable and a time that I was not.
[00:19:04] When I first got a personal trainer, it took me years to finally get the confidence to hire one. And when I was finally ready, meaning I’d moved to New York, I wanted to improve the way I looked, I finally got the courage to walk into a gym and ask for a personal trainer. And the guy said, what are your goals?
[00:19:20] And I said, I want to put on 10 pounds of muscle. Where I even pulled that number out from, I have no idea, which is actually typical of beginners who don’t really know how to set realistic goals. Anyway, the trainer said, okay, that’s going to take at least two years. And I looked him right in the eye, and I said, I don’t care how long it takes. I’ll do whatever you say.
[00:19:42] I was ready. Now, let me share a time that I was not coachable. My wife and I were in Bangkok. It was hot. We’d been out all day, and I thought that we would have at least a couple of hours to rest before we went on a night food tour, but I was wrong. We didn’t have any time at all. We got back to the hotel. I changed my clothes, sighed, and we went out for this food tour.
[00:20:07] Now, the lady was great. I told her I like spicy food. She took us to a special place. She taught us some history. But I was mentally checked out, and I wasn’t physically present. I wasn’t ready to be my best. So when I look back at that trip, that was one of the least favorite things that I did. It had nothing to do with the tour guide. She was great. It was me not being coachable. I was not ready.
[00:20:34] Some of you really spend your entire lives looking outward and agonizing over finding the perfect trainer, or coach, or even a 10-dollar book. A coachable person can take a mediocre book and find one nugget of life changing advice. But a non-coachable person can work with the world’s best and not make a single change. So ask yourself if you are truly coachable because it will make a massive difference in your life.
[00:21:02] Ramit: The way that you two talk about money, is it working for you? Yes or no?
[00:21:08] Drake: No.
[00:21:09] Kara: No.
[00:21:10] Ramit: All right. So what have you been doing? If we had to write it down like an SOP– Kara, I know you like SOPs in your business. What would we say, do not do, at the very beginning of the SOP? Let’s go back and forth. Why don’t the two of you have a conversation about it? Bounce the ball back and forth. Drake, why don’t you start? Then toss the ball over to Kara.
[00:21:29] Drake: Oh, I’m not going to give you the run around, and instead I’ll just be very direct even if I feel it’s going to be something that you don’t want to hear.
[00:21:44] Ramit: Toss the ball to her.
[00:21:46] Kara: Oh.
[00:21:47] Ramit: There you go.
[00:21:50] Kara: I will not do what you call nagging you about the finances by asking repeatedly. I will not do that.
[00:22:01] Ramit: Nice. Toss the ball.
[00:22:10] Drake: I will not act like a budget doesn’t matter even if I’m spending outside of the budget.
[00:22:22] Kara: Okay. Um, I will not react with emotion when you behave in a way with our finances that I don’t agree with.
[00:22:43] Ramit: No emotion? No smile? No hug? How am I the most cuddly guy on this call right now? I love it. I’m a teddy bear. I’ve been telling everyone, Ramit Sethi actually is a teddy bear. There’s so much emotion beneath this cashmere. Nobody listens. But thank you for allowing me to display here. So no emotion? I don’t really think that’s what you’re going for.
[00:23:05] Kara: If I don’t agree with the decision that he’s making financially, I will not react with a negative or explosive emotion.
[00:23:14] Ramit: Fair enough. Love that. All right, let’s do one more round.
[00:23:17] Drake: I will not make any purchases without looking at the budget first.
[00:23:27] Ramit: Look at that face. Look at that. She’s literally holding her hand over her heart. What does it mean to you?
[00:23:35] Kara: I literally could cry. Um, it means cooperation. It means we’re on the same page, that we really are on the same team with the same goal in mind.
[00:23:50] Ramit: All right. So can we agree that whatever you’ve been doing, we’re not going to do that anymore?
[00:23:55] Drake: Yes.
[00:23:56] Kara: Yeah.
[00:23:57] Ramit: This isn’t a couples counseling show, and I am not a therapist. I want Kara and Drake to find a way to connect so we can start talking about the numbers. Think of the metaphor of them sitting next to each other, reaching out, and just holding hands. That’s what I’ve been looking for because it makes the conversation that we’re about to have much easier if there’s a bond there.
[00:24:19] Let me give you their numbers. Kara’s gross income is $7,000. In recent years, she made as much as 20,000 a month. But after having children, she’s taken a step back in her career, and she expects that to continue for at least the foreseeable future. Drake’s gross monthly income is 12,000. His business actually made 17,000 last month, but he expects approximately 12,000 ongoing.
[00:24:45] Kara: The fighting really started when I stopped producing income because we had kids.
[00:24:57] Ramit: So can I ask the question? The amount of money that you both make right now, is it enough for you to cover your costs every month?
[00:25:10] Kara: No.
[00:25:13] Ramit: Drake, do you agree with that?
[00:25:16] Drake: I think it is enough, and the costs, as they are right now, no. Let me just say that. No.
[00:25:25] Ramit: We’ll look at the numbers because I got your CSP here, but I just want to point out something from the application that caught my eye. It said, the dynamics around finances, gender roles, and poor communication is the number one thing that threatens our future together. Kara, you wrote that. What do you mean by that? It’s okay. Take as long as you need. We’re in no rush.
[00:26:14] Kara: Part of the beauty of our relationship is that it’s kind of chaotic and doesn’t make sense, and yet it makes perfect sense. I wasn’t prepared for how much gender roles, or societal roles, or our family roles, whatever it may be, this unconscious idea of the role I should play as a woman and the role he should play as a man would affect our relationship. I was not prepared for that.
[00:26:47] Ramit: What do you mean?
[00:26:49] Kara: I’ve always been very comfortable leaning in with a masculine energy in everything I strive to achieve, and I’ve done that through a lot of masculine direct go get it type of energy. And being in a relationship with a man who also has that energy, those two things coming together create so much conflict. And what comes out of it now that I am a mother, and I’m a woman, and I love being a woman– sorry, but I have to say it. More than I’ve ever. It’s the most exciting thing in the world to be able to give birth to children, and I did it naturally at home. It’s amazing.
[00:27:42] And it comes with the expectation that I’m going to do all of the chores, and I’m going to take care of the children. I’m going to be the primary nurturer doing that. And being the primary income earner right now, because I understand it could always change, I would love for it to change. Being the primary financial earner. So having to drive this masculine energy, and being expected to carry this feminine energy, and being expected to support my husband as a man and not be in his shit like, when are you getting paid? And is it in this?
[00:28:16] That’s a very masculine energy. And consciously, I’m emasculating him, and he tells me that, and I see it, but then I don’t know how to get out of that because bills got to get paid. And that dynamic is the most toxic dynamic that we have. So long as I carry that masculine energy around finances and money, it suffocates him.
[00:28:47] Ramit: Okay. You’re the primary caregiver to the kids, and you’re expected to take care of the kids primarily, etc. Who expects that?
[00:29:00] Kara: Um, that’s a good question. I think I take on that role. Yesterday is a better example. Drake wants to go and have a good time for 4th of July, but our daughter who is going to a school right now, we prepare all of her food because I care a lot about what she eats, and I don’t want her eating a bunch of trash, and she has allergies. I’m holding a baby that’s colicky, and I’m preparing all of her food. I’m preparing everything while he’s drinking and having a good time.
[00:29:34] Ramit: When you say we prepare her food, who’s we?
[00:29:41] Kara: Me.
[00:29:43] Ramit: How come you said we?
[00:29:47] Kara: I don’t ever want my husband to feel like I don’t respect him, or don’t love him, or don’t see what he does. I’ve taken that language because I’m such a direct speaker. I think if I said the same thing that I just said to you and said, I have to prepare her food, or I am preparing her food, and I am doing this, I’m doing that, I think what my husband hears is, I don’t do anything. And so I changed my language to try and make sure that the messages– because even though I’m talking to you, I’m speaking to my husband. I know how he’s going to perceive what I’m saying. I don’t want him to feel blamed or unappreciated.
[00:30:33] Ramit: Do you think that this is a healthy way to go about communicating?
[00:30:38] Kara: I don’t know, Ramit. I don’t know. I want to keep him in my mind because the feedback I’ve gotten from my husband is like, you don’t know your tone. Kara, your tone is harsh.
[00:30:57] Ramit: Maybe. Maybe there are times. I get it. But me calling this wall behind me blue doesn’t make it blue.
[00:31:04] Kara: That’s absolutely true.
[00:31:06] Ramit: I’m just trying to understand. I always say, if you want to have a rich life, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and honest with the people around you. If we’re not even honest about I versus we on something as small as making lunch, if we’re not honest with ourselves about, do we have enough money to get through the month, how are we going to talk about what’s really going on here? So what do you say we actually get real?
[00:31:32] Kara: Do it. I love it.
[00:31:35] Ramit: Drake, I want to hear from you.
[00:31:36] I feel like my dear wife doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a man and have the very specific drive that not all men but most men have and the reason behind that drive. And instead, it’s looked at as an excuse and bullshit, and so there’s no conversation to be had because when I try to express myself, it’s bullshit. What does being a man mean to you?
[00:32:14] Drake: Being like my dad. My dad is a very respectful person, and he’s very generous. He’s very strong. He is very intelligent. He cares a lot about the people around him. And he understands that he is a role model, no matter if he wants to be or not.
[00:32:41] Ramit: Are you all of those things?
[00:32:43] Drake: I am.
[00:32:44] Ramit: Okay, great. Check.
[00:32:46] Drake: So with the money, well, this is a bit different because my parents aren’t high-income earners. For some people, they would be, but they have four kids, and a preacher’s salary and a teacher’s salary just doesn’t really cut it.
[00:33:06] Ramit: Who made
[00:33:06] Drake: And, Um, I think my dad. Now, my dad definitely does. He’s in politics and a whole bunch of other stuff.
[00:33:22] Ramit: What’d you learn about money growing up as a kid? What do you remember the phrases that your family threw around the dinner table and things like that?
[00:33:33] Drake: Well, I’ll do you one better. There’s this moment that shaped my identity around money. I was in the car with my mom. It was summer. It was hot. We rolled down the windows. I rolled down the windows, and a bunch of papers just started flying around everywhere. My mom pulls over really fast, and she’s panicking.
[00:33:59] And I’m like, what is going on? And she was like, our money for the month is in those papers, and they’re all on the highway now. So we get out, and she’s like, we need to find my check. She puts so much emotion into that that– I was the one who found the check, and I saw it. It was $2,500. It was a 2,500-dollar check.
[00:34:26] And right then, in that moment, I unconsciously made an agreement with myself that $2,500 is enough to live. And that became my cap, and it’s shown throughout my life. I was making a lot of money when I was younger being a producer, and I would blow it all and barely have enough to pay rent at the end of the month, and all the way up until about a year and a half, two years ago. I unconsciously still had that belief.
[00:35:02] Ramit: How’d you make the realization?
[00:35:04] Drake: Through, uh, NLP and MER, mental emotional release in the area of finance.
[00:35:11] Ramit: And what changed after that realization? Anything?
[00:35:14] Drake: Yeah. A lot changed. It was a slow change. I realized where that came from and why after I hit the 2,500-dollar mark the drive to earn significantly decreases. Once I saw that, I was like, are you kidding me? This is what I’m basing my life on? This one moment?
[00:35:40] Ramit: It’s powerful.
[00:35:41] Drake: That’s not it.
[00:35:42] Ramit: I’m seeing a lot of nodding from Kara as well. Kara, sounds like you agree. A lot changed after that.
[00:35:48] Kara: Yes. It was beautiful for him to have that realization.
[00:35:53] Ramit: I want to come back to the very important gender role clues, but I want to acknowledge Drake’s childhood experience of seeing his mom’s 2,500-dollar check floating out the car window. Even the fact that he knows about this memory and can connect it to his own behavior is extremely advanced. That gives me clues that he has self-awareness and humility. And that glimmer that he might be ready to change is very important for me.
[00:36:20] Ramit: I want to go back to the gender issues because the way you told me, it all sounds great. You’re like your dad. He’s strong, etc. Respectful. You are too. Great. So what’s the problem? Why do I see gender roles can threaten our future together?
[00:36:38] Drake: So I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions just this innate drive that I have to provide. Especially–
[00:36:50] Ramit: I was waiting for the P word to come out.
[00:36:52] Drake: What’s that?
[00:36:53] Ramit: The P word. Every man–
[00:36:56] Drake: Oh, provide. Yeah.
[00:36:57] Ramit: Yeah. When asked, what is a man, within 30 seconds, says, provide. Every man.
[00:37:04] Drake: Last month, I made more money than I’ve ever made in my life. I brought home $17,000, and the way it was received wasn’t the way that I would have liked it to have been received. Uh, she did say good job. I’m proud of you, all of that. Um, I did not get a kiss. I agree that not keeping tally is a great thing, but I also think that our efforts should be applauded, and they should be rewarded.
[00:37:46] And my gosh, you tell me I’m doing a great job and kiss me on my neck, I’m going to go and do it 10 times again. That’s my motivation. I need that. So to not do that is actually hurting us because I will not– well, I’ll still show up. I just won’t show up in the way that I know I will if I feel that appreciation and that love.
[00:38:23] Ramit: Okay. Kara?
[00:38:35] Kara: I was doing it again, which I realized, now that he’s saying that, what you just told me not to do, which was trying to figure out what will make him happy. Because the reality is, I busted my ass for the last three years of our relationship. I’ve had this business for four years. Put my blood, sweat, and tears into creating a lifestyle where he can be downstairs in his studio, and I can be upstairs, and our baby can be asleep in the other room, and our, uh, doula can be downstairs holding our newborn.
[00:39:08] And I feel like I created that momentum for the life that we live. And I had two kids, and I invested in you, and I clean the house, and I do the laundry. It carries so much of this invisible burden, and when I ask for support or appreciation, I’m told that I’m nagging, and that I’m not allowing you to be a man, and that I’m overly masculine. I don’t get any of the appreciation or support.
[00:39:43] In a perfect world, we can just be the team that we can be playing the game together. And it’s like, we scored that goal. And it was my support that allowed you to have your victory. And from this point forward, when I am able to get more time to focus on my business and I do get to making more money, it could be our victory and not like, how I feel right now, which I can’t even listen to what he’s saying, Ramit.
[00:40:22] In terms of NLP, I’m completely deleting what he says because all I hear in my head is like, aim, effort. I did all this for this long, and you ain’t never give me no recognition. That’s what I hear when he’s like, kiss me on my neck because I made $17,000. And I’m like, well make 1$7,000 next month, and then we can talk.
[00:40:44] Ramit: Can I ask a question? If he made 17, 000 next month, would you actually kiss him on his neck?
[00:40:50] Kara: I would kiss him on his neck without the $17,000. Yes.
[00:40:56] Ramit: Don’t dismiss that question. It’s a really important question. You just said, you made $17,000, essentially a big deal. Make it next month, and then we’ll talk. So I’m asking you. If he made it two months in a row, would you then kiss his neck? I’m being metaphorical with it, but that’s what he said he wants.
[00:41:16] Kara: No, I don’t think I would give him what he wants.
[00:41:18] Ramit: Okay. Is it three months?
[00:41:22] Kara: No. It’s not time. He could do it in infinite.
[00:41:25] Ramit: Exactly. Now, I want to point something out. I completely understand why you would be frustrated. You’ve invested in him. You have had a very high income. You built this business. You had the kids. You’re the primary caregiver. I get it. And I think that if you genuinely want to not keep tallies from here on out, if he says, I had a fantastic month, more money than I ever made, and I would like you to kiss me on the neck, I think you could say, I would love to kiss you on the neck. And I’m going to do that after we get off this call, and I’m going to do that every time, regardless of how much you make because I love you. How do you think that would go over?
[00:42:20] Kara: I think he would receive that extremely well.
[00:42:24] Ramit: Do you know why it is so difficult for you to say that? Again, I’m not blaming you. In fact, I totally acknowledge. But do you know why it’s so hard?
[00:42:34] Kara: I would love to hear your perspective.
[00:42:35] Ramit: I want to know from you first. You’re very smart. He point blank said, this is what I would like. Why was it so hard to say yes?
[00:42:59] Kara: I’m going to be very, very scarily honest on this very public platform. I think I’m afraid of what it means to a certain degree if I’m not doing all those things. I think I’m afraid of who I will become if I’m not doing all of those things, if I am not all of those things. And by kissing him on the neck, metaphorically, somehow represents a loss to me. A loss of control, a loss of identity. And I black out in the sense of, what now? How should I behave now? Who am I?
[00:43:56] Ramit: Because all the time you’ve been together, who would you say has been the leader in the relationship?
[00:44:04] Kara: In five out of seven categories, I think it’s been me.
[00:44:10] Ramit: Yeah. How about the money category?
[00:44:12] Kara: It’s been me.
[00:44:13] Ramit: Okay. And, um, you don’t really like that all the time, do you?
[00:44:19] Kara: No.
[00:44:20] Ramit: Okay. And yet when your partner here has a fantastic month– 17k in a month is amazing. Do you celebrate it?
[00:44:39] Kara: No.
[00:44:42] Ramit: It’s scary to think about not being the captain of a team, especially when that’s all you’ve done and you’re actually really good at it. But at the same time, you’re asking for a teammate, not someone who you drag behind you. So coming to terms with that and saying, maybe my role shifts, probably pretty important in anything you do going forward. What do you think?
[00:45:15] Kara: Yeah.
[00:45:20] Ramit: What’s going through your head? Say it out loud for me.
[00:45:31] Kara: I’m trying not to cry. There’s been so much loss of identity since we left LA. I’m also an actor, and I previously had an acting career. Um, and that was a huge part of my identity. I give the example to say, there’s so many things that have died in my life. I felt, after I had my daughter, okay, this is for me to surrender to have this beautiful, natural home birth, and then I’m going to regain control of my life again. And I had this magical birth. I mean, Ramit, the most beautiful experience of my entire life. Completely changed me.
[00:46:20] And I never regained that control. I never regained that identity and any of those things that I previously was. And here I am, a wife, and now a mother of two, and still an entrepreneur and a leader with people that I love and care for, and they do well. There’s so many good things. That’s what I’m trying to say.
[00:46:41] There’s so many good things that have manifested in these last two years, but I don’t know how to fit into it. I don’t feel like I did before, where I felt confident, and I was on beat, and I knew what to do, and I knew where to go, and how to be. Now, it’s just like I’m doing a mediocre job at everything. So maybe I’m fighting to regain some control or my old identity, and then we’re here.
[00:47:19] Ramit: How old is your youngest?
[00:47:22] Kara: Um, four weeks in a day.
[00:47:27] Ramit: I’m not surprised. It’s difficult. I don’t think anybody would expect it to be easy. You have two very young children. That alone, incredibly difficult. You have a partner with whom you have not been able to create a healthy dynamic about money, and suddenly, he’s earning 17k in a month. And then your business. There’s all these different things. All that. To me, it’s no surprise that you feel out of sorts, a little mediocre at certain things, especially difficult when you used to be good at everything. Is there a path out of feeling mediocre at everything?
[00:48:05] Kara: Yes, there’s a path out.
[00:48:07] Ramit: Now we’re getting real. For Kara, we’ve moved beyond an argument at the grocery store to a loss of identity. Her identity as a woman, an entrepreneur, a wife. All of these are suddenly in question. And I think now we can start to understand why Kara is so upset and why this conversation goes way beyond a disagreement about money. I’m curious how Drake responds to Kara’s raw honesty. Listen to this.
[00:48:38] Ramit: Drake, what do you think about that? Everything you just heard?
[00:48:42] Drake: I think that it’s spot on.
[00:48:45] Ramit: Did you know that she felt this way?
[00:48:48] Drake: I’ve been wanting to say that for the longest and didn’t want to upset her, so I kept my mouth closed.
[00:48:58] Ramit: Tell her now, now that the seal has been broken. She’s brought it up herself. Go ahead. Tell her whatever you want to tell her.
[00:49:05] Drake: Okay. It’s extremely hard to feel appreciated when I’m not being appreciated. And when I came into this relationship, you were making a lot of money, and I wasn’t. Relatively, I wasn’t. And I knew that I had my work cut out for me. I knew that I had to–
[00:49:37] Ramit: Can I pause you right here?
[00:49:38] Drake: Yes.
[00:49:39] Ramit: I sense you gearing up for a long statement, but I want to make sure you’re reacting to what she just said. It was extremely interesting and profound. Are we on the same page?
[00:49:52] Drake: Yes.
[00:49:52] Ramit: Okay, go ahead.
[00:49:54] Drake: Yeah, we are. It’s very emasculating when you–
[00:50:04] Ramit: Wait, wait, wait, where’s this coming from? Hold on. What did you hear her say just now?
[00:50:09] Drake: I heard her say that she has a loss of identity, and it’s very hard to come to grips with it, and she feels like she’s lost control over everything.
[00:50:29] Ramit: Okay, I agree. She said all those things. Totally agree. Okay, so you heard her correctly. Okay. Please carry on.
[00:50:37] Drake: I did. Uh, where this is coming from is feeling like I was being controlled and like, uh, in the midst of you holding on to whatever you can control, I’m the closest thing that you can grab. And, uh, I tell you– what’s that face Ramit?
[00:51:05] Ramit: I don’t know. Is this just one grievance session after another? I’m so confused.
[00:51:11] Drake: Uh
[00:51:11] Ramit: She just opened up in a really deep way, and you’re talking about being emasculated? This seems absolutely crazy to me.
[00:51:19] Drake: Really?
[00:51:20] Ramit: I can’t believe what I just heard. I’m actually shocked. Kara and Drake came on the show arguing about money at a grocery store. They tell me that they fight about money every day. After we spoke for a long time, Kara finally admits that she feels multiple parts of her identity are shaky, threatened. It feels terrifying. And when I asked Drake to respond, he starts by saying, it’s emasculating when you– I’m like, what are you doing, man? Your wife is trying to be honest. She’s trying to connect with you.
[00:51:54] On next week’s episode, we will continue this conversation, and we will dive deeper into the extremely surprising numbers. Quick reminder. I write a podcast newsletter every single week on money psychology. I want you to sign up at iwt.com/podcastnewsletter. You cannot get this material anywhere else except by signing up at iwt.com/podcastnewsletter. And once I write it, it does not get released again.