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Conversations with a Fun and Energetic Money Coach



Note: transcription provided by Otter.AI, which is a technology company that develops speech-to text transcription and translation applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome, everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, we talk about four different types of freedom: time, financial, location, and emotional freedom. And what started as a cohort of physicians, as guests and listeners, has expanded to now, business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers. And so I've opened up the mic to a broader audience. So hopefully, we can benefit each other in mutual ways.

So today, we have a very interesting guest. Her name is Tiffany Grant. She's a fun and energetic money coach. So she's going to talk to us all about financial literacy, budgeting, the importance of financial education and the psychology of money. So, Tiffany, welcome.

Tiffany Grant: Well, thank you so much for having me. It's my pleasure being on today.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I know, we got connected through PodMatch, and I read through your bio, it's really interesting. And I really think in today's day, financial literacy should be a core competency and skill. And is something we're not taught in schools. So it's really about the psychology of money. So tell us more about yourself how you got started, and we'll go from there.

Tiffany Grant: So I started Money Talk With Tiff, back in 2017 as a blog, and it was just a chronicle of my journey to be debt free by 30. No, I did not make it, because I'm 31 now, but it was fun going through the process, bringing people along my journey with me. And you know, I always say goals are - you can change them. So now it's 35. But I started in 2017. And it was just a way for me to get my journey out there and also teach people what I knew about money, because at an early age, I learned how to not do money, to do money the wrong way.

So I wanted to immerse myself and learn as much as possible. So that way, I didn't follow the same path as everybody else in my family. And so, I realized as I was taking this information, I'm like, wow, people really don't know this. So when I started getting friends and family and stuff coming to me, then I realized, okay, Tiffany, let's just put it out on the world wide web and see what happens. So that's kind of how I got started. And then I started that podcast in 2019, to share other people's stories. But that's pretty much what I do and how I got there.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Excellent. Excellent. Before we begin, are you a member of FinCon? Because your whole presence appears to be from the FinCon community?

Tiffany Grant: Yes, I'm very FinCon. I’m actually a speaker this year, and I'm also on their advisory panel. So I'm very, very in depth with FinCon. I love the community. It's awesome. Will you be there this year?

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I'll be there this year. And I spoke last year in Austin, at a roundtable panel. So I love the community. This is great. We have something in common.

Tiffany Grant: Absolutely. Yeah. And I was in Austin. And we didn't get to meet but we'll meet this year.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. We probably crossed paths. So let's see. What was interesting is that you talked about how you did everything the wrong way. Describe some of the, I guess, the mindsets and actions around what you did that can help listeners benefit from your experiences?

Tiffany Grant: Absolutely. So let me backup a little bit. My family was doing things the wrong way. So I come from a family of spenders, which as a child is amazing, because you get whatever you want. But as an adult, as I got older, I realized that that type of behavior is really not good. Because I saw all of my immediate family go through foreclosures, bankruptcies, things of that nature. And I kid you not, my mom had a credit card stack like that big when I was little. And we would go to the stores, and she would be like - you know, they always entice you, yeah, if you apply for the car today, you get 20% off blah, blah, blah. And so she would always say yes, and she would whisper to me, like, I don't know, I'm not gonna get it, and then they’d be like, you're approved.

And so she would have all of these cards and max them out. And just seeing that pattern of behavior and as I said, started talking to her a bit more as I started getting into what I do now, talking to her a little bit more about her money story and what her behaviors came from. And she told me that she saw Aunt I have a whole bunch of credit cards, and she looked at that as the way of life. Like, this is what I want to do. This is the goal I want to accomplish, I want to be able to go to a store, break out my portfolio of credit cards and get whatever I want. And so she repeated that behavior when she became an adult.

And so when I saw that, I was like, Okay, I know that I don't want to be stressed about money. I don't want a ton of debt. I don't want to go through foreclosures, bankruptcies, all of that stuff, because I saw what it did to my family. And so when I decided to start taking money seriously, I was pretty young, probably about 16. I started reading Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Money Magazine, I wish they were still around, I would still subscribe. And you know, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, so on and so forth. And I was like, oh, like, this makes complete sense. And I was actually an extreme couponer at the age of 16. So I would go buy a whole bunch of stuff, carts full and pay like $20. And the cashiers are looking at me, like, what is wrong with this child.

But anyway, then I got pregnant at 17. So I was a teen mom and had my first son at 18. And I feel like it was that moment where it was like, okay, Tiffany, you gotta go hard, because now you have a little person that's gonna depend on you for pretty much the rest of their life. So you have to be a good example, you do not want to be the same example that you saw growing up. And so that's kind of what flipped the switch for me. Now, I'm not gonna say I always did everything right. Because I didn't. I started investing at 19.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Oh, wow, that's great.

Tiffany Grant: Yeah, it would be great, if the money were still in there. But I ended up cashing it all out at like 20, because I needed the money. But so that was one of the missteps that I'm like, Darn if I would have kept it, who knows what it would look like now. But then also, I never used to budget. So as much as I loved saving money, and you know, doing all the couponing and stuff like that, I never budgeted.

And then I also, here's a myth. A lot of people say that medical bills don't count on your credit report, but they do. And that was why I was actually denied my first credit card. I was asking for $200. I didn't want a lot of credit, I was terrified of credit because of my upbringing. Unfortunately, it was like, you have to get credit to get credit. So I was like, well guess I have to bite the bullet and do this. And all I asked for was $200, and I was denied because of the stuff on my credit report, which was all medical. And then she said I wasn't making enough. And for me, that was the eye opening moment. That's when I started budgeting. That's when I started getting everything in line making sure all my credit reports were good. And it kind of just snowballed from there.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Oh, wow. That's a really fun, fascinating story. And no kudos to you. Because now you have a podcast and you're sharing your stories and experiences with others. And you know, I really like budgeting and the importance of financial education. So, what's really interesting is that you're sharing this with the underserved community. And you're really an excellent liaison for financial literacy educators for the Black community. So, tell us what is the significance of financial literacy in the Black community?

Tiffany Grant: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in all communities, it's important, right? But you have to look at the history of the Black community. And then also, honestly, just speaking from my upbringing, and a lot of people that I know that look like me, money is not talked about hardly at all. And it comes from probably a few different things. You know, we can get into depth with generational trauma, whatever, whatever. But in my household, for instance, it was always well, children don't need to know about money, it's an adult thing. It's none of their business. You know, you just be a child, you do what you need to do whatever. And so there's never these conversations, like we're never having these conversations. And so we kind of grew up with that mentality. And so as adults, we don't have these conversations either and it’s the same thing with mental health in our community as well. So those are two things that the community struggles with.

Now, when it comes to financial literacy, you have to also realize, which you probably know, as well as a minority. It's a white male dominated field. And so representation matters. Especially with the generational stuff, and things that have happened over the years between us, and that demographic, so you have to realize. Let's say, for instance, and I'm gonna just name out there, Dave Ramsey, or what have you, is talking, and somebody that looks like me is listening. It's like, okay, yeah, whatever. Are you trying to get over it? It's just all this other stuff going through our mind, which is no fault of his, but it's just a difference. So what I have learned is that, with me conveying this information, I could be saying the same exact thing as Dave Ramsey.

But since I can relate to my people, and I look like my people, it's like, oh, okay, this is refreshing I can get with this, because as you can tell, I don't fit any of those demographics. I'm not white, I'm not old, and I'm not a male. So that's why I tell people out here in the financial literacy, financial education, arena, representation matters, because you're able to reach different demographics that aren't normally reached. Or if they are, they don't really, they kind of shut out that information. So I hope that answered your question.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, really, it's all about representation. And it's like who are you? Who does your audience relate to? It's like, I can't relate to Dave Ramsey, I'm an Asian male. So. And one thing about the physician population is there's a lack of literacy among physicians, too, it's not just just because they make a lot of money doesn't mean they don't have the same problems. So and so it's good to have somebody, as a leader to help you to educate you in these very important matters. So it's great that we have thought leaders, such as yourself trying to get into help the underserved, really try to democratize everything. And really, I mean, you're right, it's always been dominated by the 1%. And they make all the rules and call all the shots, but so we need more people, such as yourself.

Tiffany Grant: I was gonna say, yourself as well, because when you're thinking about, for instance, you speak to physicians. I've never been a physician, I don't know the nuances of being a physician, I don't know what you all go through on a daily basis. Not saying that I can't help physicians, but it's like having people that specialize in certain things and can reach - there's so many of us that are needed, there's plenty of space. So if you're listening, if you have an interest in money, please help us spread the gospel, because there's such a need in all types of demographics, all types of industries, behaviors, etc, etc. So, I just want to put that out there.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: And I think we live in a great time because now all of these issues such as empowerment and equal representation, and everybody having an equal voice, are coming to the forefront and we're confronting our past generational trauma and all of that. So now, it's a great time to be a thought leader and influencer.

What's interesting is you talk about the psychology of money. That can be a whole masterclass, but just tell it delve into it briefly. And we can expand upon that idea.

Tiffany Grant: Yeah, it is a whole dissertation. But, long story short, we kind of hit on some of the things. So you know, our relationship with money, how we behave with our money, how we look at money, it's influenced by a lot of different things. One of those things is how we were brought up, with our family norms, our cultural norms, our society, all these different things, but one thing that people really don't talk about that's super important, is your emotions. All of these things trigger your emotions and your emotions and your mind is what controls everything else.

And so, to give you an example, because I think that's the easiest way to do it to keep it short and succinct. Let's look at budgeting, right? So let's say I have a client, and I'll say, alright, let's go ahead and get our budget together. And they’re just like Oh, my Oh my gosh. Like, it's just an automatic response, it’s negative, right? Kind of like if you're trying to lose weight and somebody says diet, oh, I don't want to diet, it's the same thing. It's an emotional response. So think about that.

One thing that I work with my clients about when we get into psychology is flipping that negative to a positive. So if you hear something like debt, or money or budgeting and you have a negative response, how can you flip that to a positive experience? Because positive experiences are how you're going to stick to it. So with budgeting in particular, I give them this story, because I'm very, very frugal. Okay, I do not like to spend money. Let's be clear. [laughs]

So one day, I had some shoes. My shoes, they were doing this number, right, they were coming apart at the bottom. And it was time to get some more. Now, this was when I was heavy into my debt payoff. And so I was like, I don't want to get any shoes, because it's gonna throw off my debt payoff plan, I want to make sure that I'm on track. Then somebody said, Tiffany, look at your budget. So I go back to my budget, and I've been budgeting for clothing for months, I just never used it. Okay. So I said, Well, this is really not going to take me off track, because I've already put money aside for this particular thing. It's just that I never use it.

And so long story short, I went ahead, found a coupon, got some shoes - actually ended up getting two for the price of one. But I went ahead and got the shoes. And it was at that moment where it clicked to me that a budget is not a restriction. It's giving you permission to do the things that you want and need to do. So pretty much what a budget is doing is saying, Okay, go ahead, you got this, you can do this, it's not going to mess anything up. And it's supposed to be there to give you peace of mind as well. And so that's when it clicked for me that I was looking at budgeting completely wrong. It's not a restriction. It's giving me permission. So I can do things because of my budget, not in spite of my budget, you get what I'm saying?

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. Oh, total reframe.

Tiffany Grant: Yeah. And that's pretty much what you have to do when you're dealing with these difficult topics. You kind of have to reframe and retrain your brain to think about things in different ways. Otherwise, you're just going to keep repeating the same cycles over and over and over and over again. And then you realize, well, dang, why don't I have money at the end of the month, every month? Because you're doing things the same exact way that you've always done. So in order to make that change and start getting headway in different ways, you have to change your mindset around it. And so that's where the psychology of money comes in.

I had a really interesting conversation on my podcast, we were talking about how there's four parts of your brain. And you are an MD, this is not my arena. So I'm just repeating. There's four parts. So he was saying the main two that we want to focus on are survival instincts, which are like your fight, flight, or freeze or whatever. And then the other side is your creative part. And as human beings, we're meant to operate from the creative part. That's how we become our higher self, and blah, blah, blah. Now, if you are in a situation where you're in survival mode all the time, it shuts off that part. So you know, that's why you have to kind of watch what you're intaking. I don't watch the news, I really don't know what's going on. Not that I don't care. But if you notice, the news is mostly negative, you never see any positive things. And so if you're constantly taking negative things, then you're constantly in this survival mind frame, like, oh, my gosh, there was a shooting, is something going to happen to me. It cuts this part of your brain off.

Getting to the psychology of money, you have to realize how your brain works. You have to do different tips, tricks, think about the different things that trigger you. For instance, if you're a super spender or a super saver, what triggers that emotion? What trauma are you dealing with? Like for me, I became a Super Saver because of the trauma from my childhood, when I saw what happens when you spend. So you can be on either side of the spectrum, but really, you want to be in the middle, because that's where you'll have the most peace and you'll be able to function in life. Sometimes I'm like, Dang like Tiffany, you saved way too much, you could have been enjoying some life [laughs]. Like there's no balance. So you kind of just have to be cognizant of all of those different things that are going on. And it's not just you dealing with money. It's so much more than that. It's biological. It's mental. It's all of these things. So just tapping into that.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, love that. Yeah, there was a really great book, The Psychology of Money, that was, like, so fascinating. Because money is just an idea, it's a tool and a resource that we humans created to exchange values. But it's just a fascinating book. I really enjoyed this conversation. And I know a lot of people in the audience will resonate with your story and your ideas. So how can they visit you, contact you and even work with you?

Tiffany Grant: Yeah, absolutely. So my home base is You can find everything you want to learn about me on there. But also you can find me on all social media platforms @MoneyTalkWithT, and when I say all I mean, literally every single one. If I'm not on something, let me know. And I'll get on it. And then also, the podcast is Money Talk With Tiff, and you can find that on all of your listening platforms.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, for the listeners in the audience, Tiffany's resources and links will be in the show notes. I really enjoyed having you on, and I look forward to meeting at FinCon.

Tiffany Grant: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Definitely, if you see me, say hey.

Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!


Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.


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