We’re going deep on credit cards—busting common myths, grappling with our own debt and figuring out what the heck “APR” actually means—alongside our first ever guest, Kelly Anneken.
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This week, we’re going deep on credit cards as we welcome our first-ever guest, notable non-math person and co-host of Handmaid’s Tale recap podcast Red All Over: Kelly Anneken! Yas busts a bunch of common credit card myths and Dara gets personal about her own experience with debt. You’ll also be learning new facts about Gwen Stefani (we were surprised, too).
Of course it wouldn’t be Money Ha Ha without a heaping side dish of humor jokes. The gals get giggly chatting about the way credit cards are glamorized in movies like Pretty Woman, Clueless and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Our action item is all about figuring out what the heck “APR” stands for and, most importantly, what it really means for you and your money.
Links mentioned in this episode:
Dara: Hi, I'm Dara M. Wilson.
Yasmine: And I'm Yasmine Khan.
Dara: And this is Money Ha Ha.
Yasmine: Money Ha Ha.
Dara: Money Ha Ha.
Yasmine: Money Ha Ha.
Dara: No, I think we had it before. It's ...
Yasmine: This is the podcast where smart, funny friends us bring money talk out of the shame drawer and onto the table.
Dara: Each week, we discuss one of those money topics that pretty much everyone struggles with, but nobody feels comfortable talking about.
Yasmine: That we do. And today we have a guest with us. Kelly Anneken.
Kelly: Hi, everybody.
Dara: Hi. We're so excited to have Kelly Anneken with us. She is the cohost of Red All Over: A Handmaid's Tale Podcast. When is it coming back?
Kelly: It is coming back on June the 5th.
Kelly: Hulu is dropping three new episodes of trauma filled fun for everyone's eye holes. And then we will try to help you through that with recaps. My cohost Molly and I try to have a fun time while we talk about this horrific dystopian misogynist theocracy. It is the greatest challenge of my life.
Dara: Molly Sanchez shouts out, she's a wonderful lady.
Yasmine: Actually, I think there's a thread between Handmaid's Tale and our topic today, which is credit cards. No spoilers here, but there is a moment in Handmaid's Tale where you realize one of the mechanisms for oppressing women is that they cannot be account holders of their own money.
Dara: Okay. I haven't seen this show. Is it a documentary because that is just true?
Yasmine: It's historically true.
Kelly: Yeah, kind of. I mean Margaret Atwood who wrote the original novel has been very clear. She's like, "I didn't put anything in this book that hadn't already happened." And the book came out in I believe 1985, '86. I always forget, you would think being one of the premier podcasters on this subject I would know for sure what year that book came out. But sorry, Maggie Ats.
Yasmine: You're on a [crosstalk 00:02:19] basis with Maggie Ats.
Kelly: We love her. I met her in November and I told her that I had a podcast and she asked me what it was called. Said, "Red All Over." She was like, "How's it spelled?" And I spelled it wrong. I told her it was R-E-A-D. If you're looking for it on iTunes, Maggie Ats, if you're listening, it's actually R-E-D. I got very flustered.
Dara: I'm so glad that you said that though, because obviously she is listening to the show.
Kelly: Yeah, clearly.
Yasmine: And it is true.
Kelly: Canadians got to manage their money too.
Yasmine: It is also true that I think even in the '70s women had to have their husbands as ... is it the word signatory? Like signers on their bank accounts.
Kelly: Oh yeah. I think maybe it was like the late '60s. I didn't know we were talking about this. Otherwise, I would have looked it up so I can be pedantic about it.
Yasmine: I love it.
Dara: We don't like pedantry here.
Kelly: Oh dear.
Dara: That's a-
Kelly: I'll just-
Dara: Big fat joke.
Kelly: Oh, a humor joke. I love it.
Yasmine: A joke about jokes, if you will.
Dara: We do humor jokes from time to time on this show, yes. How's everyone feeling today?
Yasmine: I feel good.
Dara: You feel good?
Yasmine: It's your birthday. Happy birthday to you.
Dara: Okay. That's-
Yasmine: That was the end of the song.
Dara: Oh, okay.
Kelly: I was like, 'Was that an original?" Because I was like, "I don't think I know ..."
Dara: I'm not familiar with that particular tune.
Kelly: Yeah, that arrangement is-
Yasmine: I'm not really into arrangements or tunes. I am a mixed up person. (singing)
Dara: Oh, you turned into Gwen Steffani at the end there.
Yasmine: I'm like [crosstalk 00:03:57].
Dara: To you. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Did I do the right number of letters? B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Dara: I never know when to stop.
Kelly: Actually I do have to like give a shout out to Hollaback girl because I really struggled to spell bananas consistently until that song came out.
Yasmine: Thanks Gwen.
Kelly: Thanks Gwen. It doesn't make up for the rest of it, but thank you.
Dara: The rest of what? What has she done?
Kelly: I was just like-
Yasmine: That's cultural appropriation.
Kelly: She just wears [crosstalk 00:04:25]. Yeah, cultural appropriation. [crosstalk 00:04:27] Yeah, that whole thing.
Yasmine: Yeah. I grew up in Orange County. I grew up in Anaheim, but grew up where she grew up mostly, like kind of far away but near and we used to go see her play shows for like $5 and there was a day where she was like, "I'm doing autographs." I'm like, "what are you, a rock star?" But for me, as somebody who is half Pakistani, half Mexican to see her at the time when I was like 14, I didn't know what cultural appropriation was. I was just excited to see somebody wearing bindis and henna because I would get yelled at for that stuff. If we went to a wedding on the weekend and they did henna-
Kelly: Yeah, and you came back.
Yasmine: Yeah and I came back to school I get yelled at for drawing on myself.
Kelly: By your teachers?
Dara: So, what are we talking about today, Yasmine.
Yasmine: Credit cards. They are a double edged sword. There's so much to them.
Kelly: Tell me more about this sword.
Yasmine: Credit cards are a double edged sword because, okay, there's one side of them where you can earn rewards, get cash back. If you're living paycheck to paycheck or in general just it can help smooth out just the need for cash today. Or access. Sorry, not cash. It can smooth out the need for access to something today. On the other side of that, there's a lot of interest. There's a lot of fees. If you're ever late, it will start to tank your credit. There's also a lot of myths about credit cards. A lot of people believe this myth that you have to carry a balance on your credit card to build your credit. That's not true. So not true.
Dara: Wait, what?
Yasmine: Yeah. So in my research, one of the things I learned was a lot of people believe that in order to build your credit ... And it is true, you should have something that reports to creditors that is reporting positively on your payments. And so if you're using the card, yeah, you pay it, but you could pay it within the statement period, you could pay it off right away, and it will still show that you're paying things on time.
Dara: Oh, okay.
Yasmine: A lot of people believe, "Oh, I keep a balance on there and I slowly pay it down to show that I'm making payments." The only person that really benefits is the credit card company who's charging you 26%.
Kelly: Their plan is working really well?
Yasmine: Yeah. There's a lot of people who get paid a lot of money to make it really hard to understand the pitfalls of credit cards, and to really glamorize the upside. So today, I think we're going to talk about all of that honestly because ... I know. I'm bracing myself.
Kelly: I'm excited I feel really good.
Yasmine: Tell me more.
Kelly: No, I'm in a really good place with my credit cards.
Dara: Oh, that's nice.
Kelly: They're at zero. Yeah. I made it happen and I'm happy to share more about that.
Yasmine: Yeah, was it a long journey?
Kelly: Yeah. There's definitely been like a hobbit journey. Not so much like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It hasn't been quite that dramatic. But definitely ...
Dara: We sent out a poll on our Twitter account, that is @moneyhahapod. And we asked how do you feel about your credit card usage? The options were bad, send help ASAP; okay, on my way to managing it; and good, could be better; and great under control. The most, 35% of people said great, under control, but 32% of people said bad, send help ASAP. And then everybody else was in the middle, almost split evenly 15% okay, and 18% good.
I think this is pretty reflective of at least how I have felt in my life. I have been probably at every single one of these polls, where I feel like, "Oh, yeah, everything's fine." And then all of a sudden, because I have felt like everything is fine, then things are real bad.
Yasmine: Before you know it gets out of control. And I will note that 35% saying great under control. That's definitely in the minority, right? Everyone else was like, "Something's happening."
Dara: Right. On every episode, we usually ask you all listening what you're thinking about for the topics that are coming up. We do have some more responses about how people are thinking about their credit card debt and how they're prioritizing paying it down. Yas, you want to throw one of them out there?
Yasmine: Yeah. So we asked them, "How do you prioritize paying off your credit card debt relative to pay down other debt and why?" And one of the responses was, "Even though I know my credit card debt is the most expensive and stressful type of debt, I prioritize it below saving and my student loans. It's really hard for me to grasp that any credit card spend is considered itself debt. I think maybe because it's such a scary beast full of shame. When at least my student loans were for useful purpose and my savings will help my future self." This is really in line with what I've seen a lot of my research about the way people think about their credit card debt day. When you ask people, "Oh, tell me about your debt." They're like, "Oh, I have student loans." You really start digging into what's on their credit report and those things and you're like, "Oh, but what about this, like $7,000 of credit card debt?"
And they're like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's my credit card balance." There's a lot of people who don't actually equate that as debt. This is my personal hypothesis is that I think because it starts out as just this little mechanism for smoothing over, maybe you're in between paychecks or you want to go on a vacation and you're just accessing something a little bit early. You don't think of it as like, "I'm borrowing money." The way that the interest is framed on a credit card, there's so many things about the way that credit cards are positioned that just ... It's not positioned as debt, and it actually is very much debt and it's extremely expensive debt.
This feedback makes sense, and I really commend this person for being thoughtful and reflective of the way in which it's hard for them to grasp it because it's full of shame. And so I think when something is shameful, it goes into that stress category. And when something goes into that stress category, your brain sort of locks it away. And then you'll have like a deep vocabulary for it, because you're not letting yourself think about it too much.
Kelly: Yeah, I definitely agree. I got my first credit card in college and somehow in my brain, that kind of put it in parallel with my student loans. I cannot figure out exactly why because this is really not necessarily how I was raised, but it's just like, "Oh, everybody in America just has all this debt and it's fine." And my whole narrative was like, "Oh, I'll be in debt for a long time but then I'll be fine." There were no steps. There were no there were no mitigating factors in between what was like, "Well-"
Dara: No, plan.
Kelly: Yeah. There was no idea of like, "Here's how I'm going to change my behavior to go from my debt, debt, debt, debt, debt, no debt." I just was flailing around for a really long time. It was also this sense I think credit cards are also to young people, they're very marketed as, "Oh, here's this very adult thing for you. Here's this piece of plastic and you can get anything you want with it." I still to this day, I'm like, "Yes, I want things. You get me things. Let's go credit card." And we just ride off into the sunset.
Yasmine: You remember like 80s movies how glorified credit cards where? It was like, "I'll just charge it, cha-ching. My gold card. My black card. Oh, my goodness."
Dara: Yeah, like montages on Rodeo Drive. Those are all fueled by credit cards.
Yasmine: Clueless, Pretty Woman. There's probably more.
Dara: Those are the only two I can think of.
Kelly: Maybe Ferris Bueller's Day.
Kelly: Somebody definitely had it, Sloan definitely had a credit card in that movie.
Dara: Oh for sure.
Kelly: With that hair [crosstalk 00:13:00].
Yasmine: She definitely had a credit card.
Dara: Oh, heck yes.
Kelly: Yeah. Please tune in for my Sloan Peterson Fan Podcast where I get really sweaty.
Dara: She's so fantastic.
Yasmine: But it's sort of your thought of it. It's your adult moment. I'm so in my four years of researching and talking to people about their very, very personal lives with money. It's like the story you just told. I cannot tell you how many literally hundreds of times I've heard that story of I was 18. And oftentimes, it was the credit card company set up a table at my college.
In some places, that's now illegal. I treated it like free money. And before I knew it, things were out of control. That's so many people's origin story. Where you go from there, it splits off into different directions. And then there's a lot of things that influence where you go from there. So many people have the origin story. And I do think that ... Not to get like overly nerdy on this, but-
Kelly: Do it. I love it. I love it.
Yasmine: This age keeps on creeping up. So it used to be like, "Oh, we thought your prefrontal cortex was fully formed at like 18, 19. And nowadays neuroscience is saying like 26."
Kelly: Yeah, 25. Oh my gosh, is it 27 now?
Yasmine: Something like that.
Kelly: Oh, man.
Yasmine: But it's-
Dara: No, I feel like I must be even older than that, because I just turned an age and it's still not together.
Yasmine: It's for the listeners.
Dara: I'll let you know. I'll let you know the age is.
Yasmine: The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that is in charge of executive thinking and it's what helps you predict future outcomes of current behavior. So it's what lets you look into the future and say, "Okay, I'm doing this today. How will it affect me tomorrow?" And when you are 18 years old, and you're swiping that card, your ability to really think about what is tomorrow going to look like as a result of this action today, very limited,
Kelly: I'll say also A big thing for me was like when I got my first credit card, they're like, "Oh, your credit limit is $5,000." And there's this weird transference that happens that says, "Oh, man, I'm worth $5,000. That's amazing." I didn't know anything. Again, it's just like, "Yeah, like these people want to invest in me. But really what they want is for me to spend money I don't have so they can take more of the money that I don't have."
Dara: Yeah, I think I'm so glad we're talking about this too, because I also feel like, as soon as that prefrontal cortex finally finishes solidifying, you immediately forget what it was like not to have that. You can no longer conceive of a world where you don't have that level of executive thinking. And so we blame young people for so many decisions that they make where they were literally set up to make bad decisions on purpose. People intended for them to make bad decisions.
Yasmine: It's trap.
Dara: What's that guy's name?
Yasmine: Admiral Akbar.
Dara: Yes. Thank you. It's a trap. You didn't even know you were doing a meme.
Yasmine: No. [crosstalk 00:16:09].
Kelly: Accidental meme With Yasmine Khan.
Dara: Yes, it's a trap. Let's do one more listener submitted.
Yasmine: This is a really good one. By interest rate, this person said, "I decided to pay off my credit card debt depending on the interest rate, the highest rate gets the most attention and minimum payments on other debts. Once that is cleared, I move on to the next highest rate rinse, lather, repeat." What I like about this one is that the person's actually thinking about the interest rate. Because again, like I said, most people don't actually think of it as debt. Therefore, they don't think about the interest rate. And it is phenomenal how big these rates getting.
Dara: And I do want to say that this is from Ryan. We didn't mention the names of other people because we won't say your name unless you tell us it's okay but Ryan says it's cool. So, thank you Ryan.
Yasmine: Tell me about your credit card debt.
Dara: That's not finesse. That's like a harpoon.
Kelly: Don't be a therapist.
Dara: That's like a harpoon.
Yasmine: I'm not there therapizing. I've already been instructed not to therapize with that exact room.
Dara: I got therapized on the last episode, I'm good. My credit card debt. So I was fortunate enough that I never got any credit cards in college. I only ever had debit cards. So I was only spending what I actually had. And I waited like a smart person to go deep, deep, deep into credit card debt. When I was an adult who should have known better but also I didn't feel like I had any other options. I had quit one job with plans to be out for six months. And then after that six month period, I still didn't have a job and it took me another six months to find a job and so I needed to pay my rent and eat and do all these things and not worry anybody about me and not talk to my parents about what was going on. Also, "Hi mom and dad you're finding out about this now."
They know a little bit but even when I finally got the next job, I still wasn't making enough to pay down the principal without like racking on interest. So like for a year, I just worked with the stress on my head and body and shoulders pushing me into the ground like, "Oh my God, I am never, ever, ever getting out of this place." Financially, things changed for me that I was able to dig myself out. But still, it was one of those things where I was like, "I'm out. I did it, I finally did it. It's so great." And now I'm not paying attention to it.
I still have that feeling of like, "Oh, I'm afraid to look, I'm afraid to look at the balance." But I have found myself like backsliding, and I shouldn't but it but it's happening.
Yasmine: It's a really hard subject to think and talk about because there's so much shame. Today, I spent the day at a people nerds conference where it was a bunch of researchers. And so it was a bunch of people who talked to all kinds of people and one of the things they came up was, of all the things people talk, interview people about money is the hardest. It's actually more ... One woman told me that in her research, she found that talking about money is more shameful than talking about sex. People are more willing to talk about their sex lives than they are about talking about their money lives.
Dara: Absolutely, yes.
Yasmine: Yes. It's so-
Kelly: That's why I came on this podcast. I thought that was what I was going to be talking about. I was-
Dara: So sorry to disappoint you.
Kelly: Yeah, it's okay.
Yasmine: You'll be so bored.
Kelly: That was a good prank, good prank.
Dara: You know what? As soon as we stop rolling here, we'll just corner you and get all the details.
Kelly: Oh, lordy. Okay.
Yasmine: But it's a hard thing to even confront with yourself, let alone talk to about with anybody else. And so most things that are difficult, you lean on your peer group, you lean on your family, but like you just confessed to your family on the internet right now.
Kelly: That's just how we do stuff now.
Kelly: That's fine.
Yasmine: It's like the world can know, my loved ones.
Dara: Yeah. Once I felt like I was getting it under control, I let them know. But that's like-
Yasmine: You live silent shame [inaudible 00:20:50]?
Dara: Yeah, that's my MO where it's like, "Uh-oh, everything's terrible, better not tell anybody." And then finally, get it up right. Then I was like, "So here's what's been happening for the last 12 months."
Yasmine: But that's how they get you. They use the shame to keep you silent. This is going to seem like a tangent, but it reminds me of like Me Too, right? Because women are so ashamed of being victimized, they don't talk about it. And because we're so ashamed of our debt, we don't talk about it and then keeps it silent and you perpetually are just like ... You're building all this interest and you're building all this wealth for credit card companies and waste for yourself.
Kelly: You're already vulnerable because you have no money. And then you're doubly vulnerable. Possibly even triply vulnerable. I am not a math person. But you're more vulnerable after that because you have had to borrow money and nobody's ever borrowed money because things were going swell, I guess, except maybe mortgages. And that's a whole separate episode that I look forward to from you two because what actually is that?
Yasmine: A really long fucking process, is what it is.
Kelly: Anyway, so it's like you're already too ashamed to go to your family for help or your friends or anybody because you don't want to have that vulnerability. It's just all of these different vulnerabilities stacked on top of each other. And it is this thing where you go to this soulless corporation and you say, "Hey, could you help me mask my vulnerabilities?" And they're like, "How much do you got?"
Yasmine: How willing are you to-
Dara: It's so like Rumpelstiltskin.
Yasmine: There is an aspect to that. [crosstalk 00:22:33]. They look you up and down and they're like, "How credit worthy are you?"
Kelly: Exactly. Also, I have a really great joke about Rumpelstiltskin. I'm not going to tell it here.
Kelly: Well, it's a dumb story, right? Like Rumpelstiltskin goes to the king's wife or whatever because she's like, "Oh, my dad is crazy. And he said I could spend straw into gold, which was like the medieval credit card." The king just marries her or he's like, "Okay, whatever." And she's like, "If I don't spin straw into gold, I'm going to die." And Rumpelstiltskin is like, "My time to shine. I actually can do this thing." Three times it's like, so she can marry the king so she can get pregnant and then he's like, "Give me that baby." And she's like, "I don't want to give you my baby." And he's like, "All right, cool. I won't give you this baby." If you-
Yasmine: I won't take the baby.
Kelly: I won't take the baby if you can guess my name and he disappears. And then this idiot just goes and hangs out in the woods and he's stomping around a campfire just saying his name out loud. Like dude, you could have had a free baby and you messed it up.
Dara: He got taken down by his own ego.
Kelly: I know. It's ridiculous.
Dara: How often do you just stomp around a fire, I'm assuming there's a fire.
Kelly: It's like every Bond villain. It's like every Bond villain that-
Dara: Yeah, it's his version of monologuing.
Yasmine: Yeah, explains a plot.
Kelly: But also if you wanted to do that, dude, you could have just waited one more day. What was the deadline? Take the baby and then stomp with the baby around the fire. A baby and a fire, what a great Friday night.
Dara: Well, Kelly, you kind of talked about your credit card journey. But can you get into the specifics of how you got out?
Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. Also, what I realized, as I'm like telling you guys this story. I'm like, "Oh yeah, all my balances are at zero." This is true. My balances are at zero because I took out a consolidation loan. And I'm still paying that off. So again, this is how our minds just rewrite stuff. I'm like, "I'm amazing. Somebody call Oprah I'm going to tell her my five point plan for life." No, I'm still paying off a non-insignificant amount of debt. My story's not that dissimilar in recent times, but it was a situation where I got my first credit card in college. I got married pretty young. I didn't know what I was doing about finances. My spouse didn't know what he was doing about finances. We just kept blundering our way through the world mostly fine. We were like, "Okay, cool. We're just whatever."
And then we moved to California. And again, we were mostly pretty fine, but I got a credit card to get miles basically because we're both from Ohio. And we were like, "Okay, well, we should like get miles or something. Right? What do people do?" They get miles.
Yasmine: Sounds fancy. Let's do it.
Kelly: Yeah, that sounds legit. And then, it was just a situation where I was funding a lot of my early comedy shows and things like that. I had a sketch group for a while. So it was like we were buying costumes and props and all that kind of thing. And again, I still had this notion where it was like, "Oh, just this is what grown-ups to. I'm grown-up-in. This is fine." And then we got divorced, which is expensive, it turns out. And it was a very amicable divorce. We didn't really have that many shared assets. But at the time that we got divorced, I also lost my job. And I was freelancing for about 10 months. And I don't know if anybody's heard about California but it's expensive to live here.
Dara: You heard it here first.
Kelly: Yeah. I doubt that. I had some freelance gigs that were great. But definitely I wasn't able to like put aside money to pay taxes later. I needed food.
Yasmine: As one does.
Kelly: I needed my phone to be on.
Yasmine: Super reasonable.
Kelly: Needed the internet so I could do the freelance work. I was in debt. Just about maxed out my card by the time I got a full time job and the job is great and basically, once I had the job, once I knew I was going to have a steady source of income, that was when I really started seeking out options for, how do we get rid of this debt? How do I do it in a way that's like methodical and how do I not be in this situation again? I actually did ... If you have heard of this guy named Dave Ramsey, he is a financial guru that my mom loves. This is like the only thing my mom and I agree on is this guy. And I'm like doing it almost to be like, "Hey, now we have something to talk about mom."
Kelly: But so he's like a Bible guy. So I just ignore all of that. He's very prosperity gospel. But I did listen to his audio book because for whatever reason, I just really needed a man with a southern accent to yell at me for like three hours.
Dara: Oh, my God.
Yasmine: People love the tough love.
Kelly: Honestly, that's the whole financial industry. That was just people be like, "What are you doing?"
Yasmine: We try not to do that.
Kelly: No, you're not. That's why I love this podcast. I'm like, "Oh, you're nice. You're my friends." But he has like a seven point plan, which I won't get into. But he does like the Debt Snowball method where you pay off the smallest account first, and then you roll those payments into the larger accounts, which is not exactly what I'm doing at this point because I do still owe on some taxes from last year. But because the APR on my consolidation loan is higher than it will be on my taxes, that's the one that I'm prioritizing right now. So that's where I'm at. I am at credit card balance zero but I'm not it debt balance zero.
Yasmine: That's a better place to be.
Kelly: Yeah. I'm a lot happier. I think I shaved 10% off of interest in doing that.
Dara: You literally can feel it on your shoulders.
Kelly: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Dara: Listening to your story made me realize I should mention I was taking time off because I had come from a very physically and mentally and emotionally traumatic job that I needed to recover from. But I also was still working. I was doing a podcast and TV show. I was getting up and doing things four days a week, but it was not enough to cover all the bills. That's how you can slide into those situations.
Kelly: Yeah. I mean, it's not a myth about credit cards, but it's a myth about people who are in debt. It's like, "Oh, they're lazy, and they want something for nothing." And it's absolutely not.
Yasmine: They're working so hard.
Kelly: I have worked so hard since I entered the workforce at 15 years old. And my ex-spouse and I would always joke question mark, because I worked so much and so hard compared to him, and he made so much more money than me.
Yasmine: I think I might have heard that story before.
Dara: Yeah. This is something that Yas and I talk about all the time, that the people who are making the least money are working the hardest.
Dara: Have more decisions to make during the day than anybody else.
Kelly: Well, and I mean, just-
Dara: I'm laughing, but it's not-
Kelly: It's the painful laugh.
Dara: Yeah. So deeply unfair that it just like boggles my mind sometimes.
Kelly: Yeah. I mean, this is getting into an issue that's too dense to talk about now, but it's like, okay, wages have been stagnant, but inflation has not been.
Kelly: So what recourse do people who are not part of the ultra-wealthy have?
Yasmine: I think what's allowed wages to be stagnant but income not to increase is that we all internalize and sort of take it on ourselves and say, "Oh, it's my fault. I'm responsible for myself." We had this bootstrap mythology in this country where you just pull yourself up and it's on you.
Dara: Yeah. It turns out not everybody's born with bootstraps, but that's a detail.
Yasmine: Not everyone's born with bootstraps and I'm sorry like-
Kelly: Or boots.
Yasmine: Or boots. And also the place that you have to pull yourself up to just keeps ... that pedestal just keeps rising and rising and rising and your boots aren't getting any taller. We allow it because we are creatures of ... I think we can be shame magnets. And because we can only really see our own experience, it's really easy to say like, "This is all my fault.' And we are personally responsible for the debt that we accrue because we choose to accrue it. But I think that what's important to also recognize is all the signals that we get around us that normalize it. You see Samuel L. Jackson and Tina Fey on the television and they're like, "Hey, get rewards cards. It's amazing. We get a travel bonus and perks." And credit card companies put so much thought and-
Kelly: Jennifer Garner's so beautiful.
Yasmine: She's so beautiful. I'll do anything she asked me to do.
Kelly: I was so proud when she started doing the Capital One commercials. I was like, "I have a Capital One card." I am horrifically in debt.
Yasmine: Pride by association.
Kelly: Well, but so is she because Ben Affleck gambled all of her money away.
Dara: Oh my God.
Yasmine: Oh, lordy.
Kelly: Oh Jennifer, love you girl come on this podcast.
Yasmine: You're welcome. We got a seat, pull up a chair. But there's people who are getting paid millions of dollars collectively in some as individuals to figure out ways, devices, to seduce us into believing this is super normal. I like to think of it as those Tinder dates who crop out the beer gut because they just show you what's great about the credit cards and not the downside.
Kelly: You don't like a beer gut?
Dara: I'm sorry are you-
Kelly: I'm a big fan. Are you body shaming?
Dara: Are you talking about me right now?
Yasmine: I am going to breeze past both comments. I'm going to breeze right by them.
Kelly: I'm just saying if you're a guy on Tinder and you have a beer gut, I'm into it.
Yasmine: The beer guy is the APR. I just want to make this really, really clear because these girls are laughing their faces off.
Dara: Bec you can't say that. I mean-
Yasmine: The beer guy is the APR.
Dara: I know you're going somewhere. But that is not a sentence that anybody has heard before.
Yasmine: They've heard it here and now first.
Dara: There we go.
Yasmine: Depending on how you feel about beer gut. If you think of it in-
Kelly: I think that's actually true. Like before when we said that, no, but I don't think anybody has ever made this comparison before.
Dara: Tell me how the beer gut ...
Yasmine: I'll tell you. So-
Dara: ... is the APR.
Yasmine: In plain language, APR means annual percentage rate, but do not be fooled because it does not get charged annually, people. It gets charged daily.
Kelly: Shouldn't that be illegal to call it that?
Yasmine: No, there's a lot of things we do in this country to make these difficult to understand so that we can get away with swindling one another. Yeah, it's highly complex. A lot of companies will give you a grace period of about 25 days. So if you pay off the full balance in 25 days, yeah, you could be a Tina Fey executive lounge romping, awesome, champagne glass clinking person.
Kelly: They had Lin-Manuel Miranda do it too. Alexander Hamilton himself.
Dara: Alexander Hamilton.
Yasmine: Yeah, and if Alexander Hamilton can-
Kelly: Credit ratings here for you.
Dara: Hi five. That was the sound of a high five.
Yasmine: If that man can afford to pay it all off, the entire balance off in 25 days in that grace period, cool. Good on you. But half of Americans according to 2014 Gallup poll, that is not possible. So what then happens? You're getting charged daily for APR. So if you're a person with decent credit, and you get a 15% APR, divide that 15% by 365 and that's your daily rate. So 15% divided by 365, the daily rate of 0.041%. So let's say your balance on your credit cards $1,000. Every day at the end of the day, they apply 0.04% to that $1,000 by the end of the day. It's $1,000 and 41 cents. No big deal. Who cares? It's 41 cents. But guess what happens the next day?
Kelly: Compound interest, baby.
Yasmine: Yeah. So then they apply that 0.04% to $1,000 41 cents. And by the end of the month, that $1,000 balance is $1,013. Now imagine your interest rate is higher than 15%. Or you have more than $1,000. It just really builds a facet. It builds up exponentially faster. So the snowball method is cool if you are looking at not only the size of the balance, but also the APR. And it's really important to know what your APR is. Don't let them hide that beer gut, people.
Kelly: That would be a way better-
Yasmine: Hands down.
Kelly: Than what's in your ...
Yasmine: What's in your wallet? What's above your belt beast?
Dara: Okay, and I want to be on record and say, we are not attempting to do any kind of fat shaming, we are talking specifically about the method of cropping that certain people use in order to deceive others on dating apps. And that is the kind of cropping that many of your credit card companies are doing when they are applying your compounding interest.
Kelly: Is there a financial world dating app analogy for when I use photos of myself from 10 years ago to trick people? Is it like savings bonds or?
Yasmine: You know what that is? That's your intro APR.
Kelly: Oh, daddy.
Yasmine: They're like, "Hey, Kelly. I'll give you 0% for one year."
Kelly: Yeah. Okay. I'm very susceptible to peer pressure.
Yasmine: For 12 to 15 months and then guess what, before you know it time rolls by and it's 27%.
Kelly: Oh man, that's my picture that you just took outside.
Dara: All right.
Dara: All right, this is getting hot and heavy, before I have to leave the room.
Yasmine: I mean Kelly's here, what can we do?
Kelly: I bring the heat with me.
Dara: Now that we have broken down our APRs and what all that means, let's get into our action item.
Yasmine: I don't remember what the-
Dara: It doesn't-
Yasmine: Our producer's going to put better sound in the back. Ignore me.
Dara: No. It's going to be that we're going to be exactly what that was.
Yasmine: Damn it.
Dara: So yes, what is our action item for this week?
Yasmine: You guessed it. Find out the actual rate, a monthly cost of your current credit card. I know that sounds really scary. But the first step in taking charge of this thing is to not shove it away into the shame drawer but just take a peek. Just for today. Just first step, just take a look.
Dara: How do you even find out where that is? I feel like I've looked online at my credit card stuff and I haven't been able to find it.
Kelly: Are you suggesting that a credit card company might not make that information readily available?
Dara: I mean ...
Kelly: That seems so shady.
Yasmine: I know. So Elizabeth Warren helped found the CFPB, who fought really hard to make sure that credit card companies couldn't hide things from you. So they made it a requirement that they have to actually show you how long it would take you to pay off credit card balance if you only pay the minimum and how much it would cost you. They also made it so that you have to upfront show your APR. Where it gets a little tricky though, is they don't have to actually show you. So most people use their apps, you know, like an app for your chase or your app for Barclays or MX to view your credit card statement. There's no law that says it has to be in there. So you might have to download the PDF. You might have to download your PDF statement to go find your APR.
Dara: So you have to go to the actual desktop website?
Dara: I see.
Yasmine: A lot of times you'll have to do that. Or you can call. Just pick up the phone and call the company and ask them, "What's my current APR? And how long will it last? Is it variable?"
Kelly: Could that be called your current purchase APR?
Yasmine: Yeah. What distinguishes that is you have a purchase APR, you might have a cashback APR, you might have a balance transfer APR.
Kelly: Oh, I do.
Yasmine: They could all different.
Kelly: I can say I'm looking at all this on my phone right now. The Capital One app makes it all very visible.
Yasmine: Oh, that's great. Contact Capital One.
Kelly: I also just found out that I'm paying a $59 membership fee every year. So that was a fun thing to learn just now on this podcast as we're recording live.
Kelly: Look, before I was literally just shoveling flaming piles of money on to the tire fire of this credit card. So it's just exciting that I'm at a point where I can even know that.
Yasmine: Look, for some people that $59 is going to be worth it because they're going to be reaping so much benefit. But that's only if you're paying off your balance. So if you're somebody who's paying off your balance within 25 days, great, you're going to make the free money back, you're going to get all the perks and that $59 is going to pay for itself. Some of the annual fees are like $450.
Kelly: Yeah, that's too much.
Yasmine: Which is nuts. But for those of us who cannot pay off the full balance, you have to put it in perspective and really know what the cost is. So call up your credit card company, or check out their PDF statement. Find out what the rate is and then go online, Google credit card interest calculator. Calculators.org has one, so does Credit Karma. Put in your principal and find out how much it's going to cost you over time.
Yasmine: Oh, your principal is different from your interest. Your principal is, so you go buy a pair of shoes, you charge $50 to buy that pair of shoes, that's your principal. You get charged a few dollars every day. That's your interest. The funny thing is you will get charged on the combination of your balance whether or not it's principal or interest. It leads into that whole compounding thing. So it's really important to know what your rate is.
Kelly: Your interest essentially becomes part of your principal.
Yasmine: Yeah, it's really shitty. Sorry, there's no way to say that in a fun way. Sorry.
Kelly: It's shitty.
Dara: It's shitty, it's shitty.
Kelly: New segment.
Yasmine: Yeah. So your action item is to find out what your APR is, whether that's downloading your PDF statement, or finding the original terms or picking up the phone and calling them and asking them, "What's my APR?" And figure out how long it will take you to pay off your debt and how much it will cost you. That way, you're just getting a real sense of whenever you're swiping a card to purchase, how much it's really, really costing you, the true cost of your credit card debt. It's just step one, it's awareness and let us know how it's going. Tweet at us. Message us. We want to know. We're here with you. You're not alone on this journey.
Dara: We do the action items with you. If you are following us on social media, you'll be able to see the result of our action items. We also have started to have action item parties at the office. So we had a bunch of people coming and making stress jars last week, which is really fun. And you can see all of that online. We are at Money Ha Ha pod on all of the things. Talk to us.
Okay, now, okay, listen, everybody get ready.
Kelly: So ready.
Dara: Are you?
Dara: Okay. We are moving into another segment on the show. I can barely even get it out because I'm so excited. If you have listened to the past episodes of the show, you know we have a segment called It was Worth It. We make songs about it sometimes. There was a person, speaking of social media, who suggested to us on Instagram, this is At Style and Savings, who said, "When you were introducing the Is It Worth It segment, in my head, Missy lyrics popped into my head. So that is what we're going to do this week.
Yasmine: Is it worth it, was a worth it. Sorry. Maybe?
Dara: Oh, my God.
Yasmine: Start over, start over.
Dara: After all of that build up you stole it from me.
Yasmine: I didn't mean to. You got me excited.
Dara: Oh my God.
Yasmine: It was like you got me excited.
Kelly: That was a real Gwen Stefani move. Perpetuating the cycle of abuse.
Yasmine: No. Cut all that. Let's not do it.
Dara: No. Cut nothing. Let everybody know what you just did to me. Now, let's do it together.
Kelly: All together?
Yasmine: No, I don't want to.
Dara: No. We're all going to go together.
Dara: Okay, one, two, three, four. (singing)
Kelly: I met a dude today who can say that. He can just do it. Anyway, he's not here so let's move on.
Yasmine: Why isn't he here?
Kelly: Because I'm wooing him as my work best friend. It's a long story.
Yasmine: Next time bring work husband to come record is it worth it.
Dara: Anyways, Is It Worth It as a segment in which we talk about a moment recently where we have spent money and it was actually worth the money that we spent we feel good about the fact that we spent this money. So Yas, why don't we start with you?
Yasmine: I spent money. I did put it on my credit card, but I knew I was going to get paid back. I bought a round of tickets to see Michelle Buteau last week with all of you guys. It was so much fun. It was so worth it and I had such a good time and I got to hug her and she told me how to get eyebrows.
Dara: For our listeners who don't know who is Michelle Buteau?
Yasmine: She's an amazing comedian. I love her so much. She is warm. She's funny, she's joyous. So she is a big comedy inspiration for me personally. And she has a podcast called Late Night Whenever. And she is on some Netflix movies right now like Gina Rodriguez. I can't really remember the name of.
Dara: She was in Russian Doll.
Yasmine: She was in Russian Doll. She's awesome. She's wonderful.
Dara: She got fantastic hair.
Yasmine: She has the best hair.
Kelly: I just love-
Yasmine: And she gives the best hugs.
Kelly: Her style is amazing. I aspire to look as good as she does. She looks fantastic.
Yasmine: Yeah. So it was worth it.
Dara: What about you, Kelly?
Kelly: I bought this week some fans for my apartment because every year whenever we have the inevitable heat wave in the hot months, it gets very, very hot in my apartment and the air does not move.
Dara: As an entire area, as a bay area, we are never prepared-
Kelly: We're never prepared.
Dara: For when it gets warms.
Kelly: We're never prepared. And then the second that it gets hot, all of the fans are gone. If you go to Home Depot everybody just looks shell shocked. All the employees are like, "We don't know." They said they were hot and we were like what?
Yasmine: Goodbye, you're done.
Dara: Well, I don't think that's the thing that everybody knows out of the Bay Area. because historically the Bay Area doesn't get very hot. [inaudible 00:46:20] get real hot.
Yasmine: It was a real thing.
Kelly: So controversial.
Dara: I know. We believe in science here. I'm sorry for that.
Yasmine: I also believe in just me swimming in my sweat at night. I just know that's happening.
Dara: It is happening. It is happening.
Yasmine: It was not happening before it is happening now.
Kelly: So it happens a lot more. I moved here 10 years ago and it happens much, much more now.
Dara: Same. I also moved here 10 years ago. Never had cause for a fan and now I do.
Kelly: Now, I have two fans. And the nice thing is now when that happens, I will have the fans or even just have an evening. Do I want a little white noise a little ...?
Dara: Because there is not air conditioning in the Bay Area.
Kelly: There's not nor ventilation, which is-
Dara: No ventilation.
Kelly: It is connected but separate issue.
Dara: No. Very rarely even screens on the windows in the older apartments. We are not prepared-
Dara: For the elements at all.
Kelly: It's not going to be. Yeah.
Dara: There was actually a moment when I lived in San Francisco, I now live in Oakland, when I lived in San Francisco it was raining really hard. And I woke up and was like, "Oh no, I must have forgotten to close the window." No.
Dara: No. Just raining through the window because windows are suggestions here. Rain all up on my face and the power was out everywhere again, because San Francisco. Please go on. Fans, white noise.
Kelly: Yeah. I'm just very stoked. One is like a cute little retro silver fan and that goes in my room. And the other one is one of those tower ones. It's a Vornado.
Dara: Oh, my word.
Kelly: Right? It sounds very aggressive. It has this sort of post, post-modern art look to it. I'm like yeah.
Yasmine: Fancy fans.
Kelly: I'm like, "Please have a seat in my living room. Admire my fan, why don't you?"
Yasmine: Dara M. Wilson, what was your it was worth it this week?
Dara: Thank you so much for asking, Yasmine. My it was worth it is a hula hoop.
Kelly: Oh, my gosh.
Kelly: Really? Does it have beads inside?
Dara: No, most of the adult ones I think don't have the fun beads inside.
Kelly: Are they marked adult?
Kelly: Oh yeah, because I guess the sizes are different.
Dara: Yeah, I was going to say, I don't know if you know this, but adults tend to be larger than children.
Kelly: Do they make a plus size hula hoop because I think I might need that?
Yasmine: I do.
Dara: I mean they must, because I have it.
Kelly: Okay, cool.
Dara: So I use the hula hoop.
Kelly: I'm going to come over.
Dara: Yeah. Okay. It's weighted and you can change it so that the weight is off balance. So it's like kind of an exercise.
Kelly: Oh, it's like a fitness hula hoop?
Dara: It is kind of fitness hula hoop, but when you get really, really good at it is not a fitness hula hoop at all. It's just like-
Kelly: A fitness hula hoop. So sorry.
Dara: I didn't like it. I don't like it. It's okay, it's okay.
Kelly: That was a bad pun.
Dara: It's okay, it's okay.
Kelly: Bad pun, bad pun.
Yasmine: Wat color is your hula hoop?
Dara: I think the heavier pieces are orange. They have orange foam around them and the lighter pieces have pink foam around them.
Yasmine: Wait, what? It's not a single piece.
Dara: Okay, yes.
Kelly: Can you swap them out?
Dara: You can swap them out. So you can do it so that you'd go like orange, pink, orange, pink, orange, pink, and then it's just evenly weighted and you're just hula hooping, or you can make it harder and have it all orange on one half and all pink on the other half.
Kelly: Oh, it's like a truly a fitness tool hula hoop?
Yasmine: Can you bring it? Can we take pictures? Can I try it? Or just can I try it?
Dara: I must remember that everything I say on this podcast will end up on social media.
Dara: Yes, I can bring it. It's got a couple of little slices on it. Because one time when I was at home in Philadelphia with my parents, we were making Milo into a circus dog and having him jump through the hula hoop.
Dara: I'm not 100% sure it was my idea. I'm pretty sure it was my dad's idea and we all got.
Kelly: Dads are fun.
Dara: Yeah, we all got really-
Kelly: Plus one Mr. M. Wilson.
Dara: He's Mr. H. Wilson, but it's okay.
Kelly: It was a humor joke.
Yasmine: Jokes about joke.
Dara: A humor joke. I missed it again.
Yasmine: I love that it was on a hula hoop.
Dara: Yeah. So I took a couple of hula hoop classes with my mom a few years ago. I purchased them as a gift for her one time she was visiting. I have forgot how much I love hula hooping. Hula hooping is so much fun. And so now if I have got extra beans in me, I put on my headphones. It's usually like late at night when I should be sleeping but all of a sudden I have energy because that's how my body works. And I just hula hoop and listen to Beyoncé and it is great. And my dog, Milo, does not care.
Kelly: Do you mind sharing how long you can go?
Dara: Forever. As long as I want.
Dara: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kelly: That's amazing. I feel like I can get like three good rotations and then it's just like ...
Dara: Oh, no, no.
Kelly: You're like a professional hula hooper.
Dara: I know a couple of tricks actually.
Kelly: Is there an Olympics for hula hooping?
Dara: Isn't that the thing where you ... And they use the thing and then they throw it up and then they do a tumble and then they catch it? Or is that cheerleaders?
Kelly: I don't know. That might be-
Dara: I'm getting nods from one side of the room.
Kelly: That might be rhythmic gymnastics.
Dara: Yes, yes.
Kelly: Okay. Okay, great. Cool.
Dara: They definitely use hoops.
Dara: So I'm an Olympian, I guess is what I should say.
Kelly: I mean, that was what [crosstalk 00:51:53].
Dara: It was worth that I'm worth it.
Kelly: Can I get your autograph because I don't want to make the mistake that Yasmine made with Gwen Stefani.
Dara: Yeah. Get it now before I am deliriously popular.
Kelly: This is my entire investment strategy is just getting random people signatures. You go for volume, you diversify that wealth.
Dara: Love it, love it.
Yasmine: This is not financial advice. Just [inaudible 00:52:18].
All right, that's our show. You can catch us back here every single Tuesday. Next week on Money Ha Ha credit scores.
Dara: As usual if you have any comments or feedback about this episode, even suggestions for topics you want to hear about in the future be sure to email us at email@example.com. That's H-I@moneyhahapod.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice message at 404-MoneyHa. That's 404 M-O-N-E-Y-H-A. You can also Tweet us @moneyhahapod or email us at the address again firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yasmine: If you like the podcast show that support. Rate us, leave us a great review or a pretty good review. I don't know. Tell us what you think. We love you.
Dara: If you want to-
Yasmine: Love us back.
Dara: ... leave a pretty good review, email us. If you want to leave us a great review, leave it on Apple podcast, Stitcher, or any of the pod catchers any place that you're listening to us you can leave us a review.
Yasmine: But subscribe, feel us out, see how it goes. Follow us @moneyhahapod on Twitter and Instagram. Dara is @daramwilson on Twitter. And I am Yasmine K on Instagram.
Thanks so much to Kelly Anneken for joining us today. Once again, Kelly is co-host of Red All Over the podcast about Handmaid's Tale, which you should totally listen to. Do you have anything else you want to add them how people can follow you?
Kelly: Yeah, I'm @kellyanneken on all the things and thanks to you both for having me. I have such a great time.
Dara: Thank you for being here.
Yasmine: It was so nice to have you. [crosstalk 00:53:57]
Kelly: We had a good time. We had some laughs, right?
Yasmine: We had times.
Dara: We had four.
Yasmine: It was good.
Dara: We had four laughs and they were all great.
Yasmine: Money Ha Ha is a production of the Even App. Learn more at even.com.
Dara: It's hosted by me, Dara M. Wilson.
Yasmine: And me, Yasmine Khan.
Dara: Our executive producer is Jane Leibrock.
Yasmine: Our producer is Phil Circus.
Dara: Our designer is Allison Chan.
Yasmine: Our social media manager is Nicole Maltrotti.
Dara: Our copywriter is Kelly Anneken. And until next week, have a nice life.
Yasmine: Have a nice life. We love you, bye.