During the pandemic, financial planner Meghan Dwyer was looking for good advice about financial independence for working mothers taking care of small children. She wanted to discover a deeper purpose for how she spends and saves money. When she was unable to find what she was looking for, she decided to do it herself. Meghan joins Tracy Hazzard to share how she started Money Isn’t Scary, a podcast that breaks the stigma surrounding financial discussions. She talks about guiding working moms with kids on creating a more meaningful and confident approach when making financial decisions and strategies. Meghan also opens up about the scariest part of podcasting for her: putting herself out there and struggling to be perfect.
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How Can Women Achieve Financial Independence From A Place Of Abundance And Confidence? With Meghan Dwyer Of Money Isn’t Scary
I have Meghan Dwyer, the Money Isn’t Scary podcast host. I love that title. It’s straightforward and wonderful. Meghan has such a great perspective on how she’s doing things. She’s a certified financial planner, which is problematic when you go to start a podcast because there are regulations and other things. You have to start a very different-styled podcast. You have to do something that’s much more personal, connective, and interview-based. It’s really difficult to do anything that surrounds financial advice. Having a conversation about money and scariness is an okay thing and she was able to make it work.
After spending years watching women take a passive role in the management of their money, she’s on a mission to help them stop playing small. By challenging the societal norms around women, and money, Meghan aims to empower women to make money decisions out of a sense of abundance and confidence rather than scarcity and fear. When Meghan isn’t working, she loves running, writing, and being a mom to her two young boys, which are part of the reason why she needed to start this podcast. We’re going to talk about that as well. Let’s talk with Meghan Dwyer about Money Isn’t Scary.
Meghan, so glad to have you here. Money Isn’t Scary, I love that title. When you’re straight out with what your topic is, it’s always so much better. Is that the name you started with or did you agonize over it?
I did. Honestly, there was another name I wanted. I feel like it was never enough. That’s what it was going to be. I remember chatting with somebody that I had worked with and telling him. I didn’t tell many people that I was going to do this podcast. The podcast is all about our relationship with money. I am a financial planner. All day long, I talk about numbers. I am doing all that black-and-white analysis and the details, and I wanted to talk more about the softer stuff, work with women in the same stage of life that I’m in, and help them with their relationship with money and help them not be so overwhelmed and afraid of it.
The person I was talking to was like, “I don’t know, Meghan. I feel like that’s vague.” What I meant by never enough was that we live in this scarcity world, and so many of us come from that as a background. I felt like that resonated with me, but I’m glad that he pushed me to keep thinking about it. One day, all of a sudden, I was like, “What about money isn’t scary? It’s not scary. It doesn’t have to be scary.” He’s like, “I like it.” This guy was awesome. He worked with me, but he also had a very entrepreneurial itch to him. He did a lot of guiding and mentoring people along those lines. I’m like, “I got something good here.” I stuck with it.
Wonderful. There are a lot of money podcasts out there. It’s daunting, especially when you come out of the financial planning world because there are a lot of regulations over there. You have to think about how you’re going to manage that. Did that frighten you? Did that figure in to your planning?
I was at a different company when I started this podcast. I’ve had it out there for a few years now. There was some piece of nervousness and Imposter syndrome that was going on when I was thinking about starting this podcast. I also had to run it by our compliance department at work. I had to let them know that what I was doing wasn’t an outside business activity, that I wasn’t going to try to sell or do anything to impede the work that I was doing with the company, have any bad energy around the company, or energy one way or the other.
I remember putting together a proposal for our compliance team, and I still to this day think they don’t quite understand what I was doing. I want to talk about our emotions around money and the softer stuff with money, not actual money. I’m not giving financial guidance, but they just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. After several versions and iterations of this proposal and lots of back and forth, finally, they were like, “You do this, but this is completely separate from work.” I’m like, “It’s completely separate from work.”
The unique aspect of the financial planning world is the guidance is so customized. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to financial advice and guidance. There are certain rules of thumb out there, sure. I still don’t think that everything like a blanket rule of thumb applies to everybody. I try to be very careful about what I’m saying and the guidance that I’m putting out there and have it be more on turning inside us and what’s going on with us and our emotions versus you should have this amount saved for retirement by the time you’re 40 years old. You can steer somebody so wrong in that way.
It applies to every coaching. This is the thing that we so often come up with hard and fast rules in podcasting. The advice I give to someone who’s got over 100 episodes to the advice I give to someone who’s only got 10 are totally different. We need to be careful about giving our blanket responses out on the internet or out in podcasting somewhere that the advice that they’re taking is completely wrong and isn’t going to work for them.
That’s the lesson. The lesson is there’s a lot of guidance and advice out there, but it is what matters to me. That’s so hard because there are so many people, especially women that are part of my audience that are so used to not trusting themselves, myself included. We are so used to trusting all these outside sources for what we should and shouldn’t do. That gets us into some trouble.
It does. Let’s talk money podcasting because this is a common thing. Did you go in with this idea that you were going to make money off your podcast? Did you go in saying, “No, that’s not a part of my factoring for why I’m doing this?”
Not at all. I started the podcast in December of 2020. We were right in the middle of a pandemic. I was struggling. I was working full-time from home. I had kids. Nobody else was spending. You couldn’t go anywhere, you couldn’t do anything. I was sure was spending, I was online shopping. People are probably like, “What do you online shop for when you’re in the middle of the pandemic and you can’t go anywhere?” You name it. I was buying shoes and bags because I realized in my mind that buying these things filled this hole for me. It filled this void. I didn’t know what it was yet, but I knew there was something more than just the shoes.
I wanted to explore it and dig in a little deeper. That’s why I started the podcast, to share my journey. If I was going through this, other people out there must be too. Personal is universal. We just don’t like to talk about it. Money, especially, is a super stigmatized topic. It’s super taboo. Most people don’t talk about it or are raised in households where they don’t talk about it. I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to help other women feel less alone because I wanted to feel less alone. I didn’t have any agenda other than that. I wasn’t trying to even make it that big. I was just trying to use it as an outlet for myself, as a cathartic way to work through what I was going through during a difficult time.
That’s amazing. It comes a long way in your show. When I listened to some of the early episodes to listening to the more recent ones, I loved that you’re mixing up. You’re doing interviews and solo shows. Your solo topics seem very personally chosen. Timing-wise, they’re chosen by something that you’re doing. It seems that you’re a little bit farther out because I could tell when you recorded. You mention them and anchor them in time. You have a sense of that. Your interviews are way out, but you must be recording your solo shows a little closer to publication dates.
I do it the week off, usually. You’re right. It is what’s going on in my world at that time. It is this feeling that if I’m going through this, this is the season that I’m in, and somebody else out there likely is too. Why not share what I’m going through and how I’m processing it?
This is why your show has such a great binge factor, and I want to talk about that now. You set it out at the beginning, and what you said to us earlier here was that you wanted to talk to other women at a specific life stage. You’re specifically saying working moms with young kids. You have this mindset about who your audience is and who needs to hear this. You’re being very curated about what you’re choosing to present to them, what they will respond to, and how emotionally triggered they probably are by some of those things because you’ve been through it.
It’s always great to have someone who’s a few steps ahead of you when you come into a show rather than have someone who’s at the end of their stage if they’re about to retire, they’ve got their nest egg, and then they’re giving you money lectures about what it’s like when you’re struggling to figure out how to pay for gymnastics. It’s a different stage of life. When you’re talking to that and it’s coming through in the content in how close you are to the topic and how emotionally invested in the topic you are as well, that’s what makes your show so bingeable that I have to go back to the beginning and listen to all of them because I am at that same stage.
I appreciate that. Thank you for saying that. I also wanted to make this very much a come-with-me journey versus me saying, “I know more than you do. I’ve been there, done that.” Not at all. I am still screwing up every single day. I want all those other working moms out there who are trying to do the juggle to know that it’s okay. Somebody else out there is also in the same boat as you. I said that I started this podcast during the pandemic when I was feeling very isolated and alone.
One of the other reasons is that I wanted a friend. I wanted to be able to put out into the world what I needed at that time. It’s worked, I do. I’ve had a lot of listeners. As I started to grow and expand this and create a social media presence, I’ve had listeners reach out to me and say, “I heard that episode that you did on back-to-school shopping. I can relate to that. I know exactly what you’re dealing with.” That feels good. It’s the whole community aspect of it all that makes me excited to be doing this.
I’m slightly ahead of you with kids’ ages. They both rode their bikes to school. It’s scary independence. Wait until you get to that and you’re like, “I don’t have to do anything but kick them out of the house on time.” That’s it.
Make sure they’re awake.
Wait until you get to the high schools. They do crazy things like fluctuating schedules. I cannot keep up with the schedule.
Is high school starting to get later? I feel like when I started high school, at 7:05 when the bell rang, you had to be in the door. I was talking to a client, and it was like, “No, high school starts at 8:30.” What?
It’s later. It’s crazy. My younger one got earlier and my older one got later. I was like, “When did this happen? I don’t know what’s going on.” It’s crazy. These things are what we’re going to go through. Knowing what’s coming for you makes different choices. It makes different ways to look at things. Let’s talk about Money Isn’t Scary. I want to talk about that. People get so hung up on the fact that their podcast probably will not make money because that’s what they hear, that they don’t start one. When you went into this and said that wasn’t a consideration for you, what was your metric for return on investment of your time?
It was an outlet for me. It was another coping strategy. I didn’t have a metric for return on time. First of all, when I started, I did not want to be one of those podfade people. Ninety percent of podcasts stop after episode eight. I’m not going to do that. I didn’t want to do that because I liked it. I enjoyed doing it, but I also put a lot of pressure on myself at first because everybody, when they start, wants it to be perfect. Everybody wants it to be like, “Look at what I created. I have this amazing award-winning podcast with hundreds of reviews already.” That was not me, whatsoever. Still isn’t.
It’s slow daily growth, but it’s a grind. I also try to remind myself of why I started. I have a sticker right here on my laptop that says, “Remember why you started.” I have it there because when I have those days where I start to get into the mindset of, “I need this,” that needy energy, which I talk about I have a whole episode on that, I realized that puts me back in scarcity mode. It’s going to do what it’s going to do if I put the right energy into it. I deeply believe that. If I can continue to approach this from the perspective of my why, my why is to not only help myself selfishly but to help other people which takes the whole money aspect out of the picture.
I have a full-time job. That’s what’s paying the bills now. I know that’s not the case for everybody. It helps me to take the pressure off of feeling like I have to do this. If I don’t get to an episode that week, I try to do one episode every week on Wednesdays to release it. If I don’t get to it, not a big deal. I am trying to approach this in a way that adds value and joy to my life versus adding anxiety to my life.
There’s a lot of anxiety around money. You don’t need more. Let’s talk a little bit about what happens. I was listening to Jessica Kupferman because she’s a friend and someone I know well. You did a recent interview with her. She was so frank and I loved how frank she was about the anxiety, money, events, and things like that. She was straightforward, it went virtual, and the live event got canceled. When something like that happens, what do you do? You’re recording so far in advance. You had no idea that was going to happen. You end up publishing after the event. Did you think about pulling it? Did you think about what you might do about that?
I did. I sent her an email. She took the summer off. She didn’t get back to me. I also realized the vulnerability that she had in that episode was incredible and authentic. I felt like it was so worth sharing with everybody because everybody’s going through something like that. Maybe not on the scale of planning this big live event. Everybody’s going through something like that. I just thought it was important for people to know that even these people who seem like they have glamorous jobs or the heads of this are going through the same thing you do. They have the same insecurities. They have the same fears, and that’s okay.
At the end of the day, she’s a very smart person and I’m sure she found ways to recoup whatever money she could and to have a good perspective about how 2024 is going to be. I also loved her genuineness, straightforwardness, and realness. Those are the guests that I love talking to. Those are the people that, to me, add the most value because the people who are going to not share, what’s the point?The best podcast guests are genuine and straightforward people. They add the most value to the discussion. Click To Tweet
Why have them on?
There’s so little connection I feel in the world these days just in our culture. This is my little part of the world where I want to create more of that connection and help people who are out there feeling alone, frustrated, or upset with themselves or whatever it is to get a little bit of perspective and feel a little bit better about themselves. That’s why I started it because that’s what I wanted. That’s what I needed at the stage of life that I was in at the time I started it. The things that I worry about now have shifted, but there are always going to be those worries.
What things did you find so surprisingly wonderful about podcasting that you hadn’t imagined before?
Honestly, it is the outlet. I didn’t realize how much of a mental health, cathartic tool it is for me. I don’t necessarily script or anything like that, but I usually do an outline in my head and map it out on paper around the topic that I want to talk about. “How do I want to approach this?” I use that outline, and that’s what I speak to when I record the episodes. Even doing that outline is such a helpful way for me to get it all out. It’s like journaling in a way.
Verbal journaling, I love that.
It is. There’s so much stuff to work through and it gives me that space to do that. It is allowing myself, too, to have that special time to myself. That’s alone time. In many of my episodes, you probably hear the dog barking in the background or the kids screaming downstairs. I’m like, “Mom needs a couple of minutes.” When I’ve been allowing myself to have that time consistently and weekly, it makes me a different person. It brings me more joy, honestly. It’s my way of connecting to myself.
The other thing I was going to say that surprised me about podcasting is the connection piece. It’s not even the way that you probably think. I said I wanted to connect with the listeners and I wanted the listeners to be able to connect with somebody that they could relate to. I was saying to you before that, at first, I had to reach out. I used a podcast guesting platform to find guests. After a while, the more people I met, it was like, “You should meet this person and that person.” The introductions and the kindness of people and women willing to help each other and be supportive of each other blew my mind.
I realized that there’s a world out there of people who want to help each other, and that’s awesome. The more people you meet, I love that. I’m totally an extrovert, so I love connecting with people. That’s how I get my energy. You never know. I love the intros and the meet and greets. I also love having a conversation with somebody that I don’t know that well. You just never know where it’s going to go. Typically, when I prepare for interviews, I have bullet points. I have maybe some questions and things that I know I want specifically to talk about, but I also like to let it be and see where the conversation goes. You never know that you get so many cool nuggets out of those conversations.
Let’s talk about what’s scary about podcasting. Podcasting Isn’t Scary would be my show’s name if I had thought of yours. There were probably some scary things. What scared you the most about it? What were you most afraid of when you first started? Maybe there’s still a little bit of insecurity lingering around too.
It’s putting myself out there and not being perfect. That is something that I worked through a lot. I remember at the beginning of my podcasting journey, I did. I scripted every little word. I was like, “What if I say this wrong? What if somebody doesn’t believe me? What if I don’t come off as somebody who people see as intelligent?” I’ve explored a lot of this through some of the episodes. A lot of that goes back to the underlying beliefs that I have that I’m not smart, I’m not good enough, or that there’s a lot of worthiness. All of these beliefs are wrapped up in money, but they’re all wrapped up in accomplishment and achievement as well.
That was the biggest thing for me, putting myself out there. It feels so vulnerable. “What if people don’t like me?” That took me a long time to work through, and I’m still not quite great at it yet. It’s funny. There are so many moms in town and I have a circle of parents from both the second graders and the kindergartners. My husband’s like, “You should promote it. Put it up there and tell everybody to listen to it.” Our town has a local website for businesses. He’s like, “Put it out there.” I’m like, “I can’t do that.”
I realized that there are so many of those vulnerabilities that’s still I’m still not great at, that aspect of fear, “What if somebody sees this and judges me?” It’s still there. I’m still working through it, and I feel like a lot of us are. It is scary to put yourself out there. People are looking at you and you’re in this public forum. At the same time, I would never take it back. I would never go back and not have made the choice to do this because the platform that I have created has done so much for me and it’s made me grow so much as a parent, person, and professionally too. It makes me so much less nervous about meetings and having conversations around things that I may not be 100% an expert at.
You’re probably really identifying quickly, “This is a pattern of language I’ve heard here before. This is that fear creeping up. Let me talk about that,” when you have a client in front of you or things like that. It gives you a broader view of your industry and all the people that you might be touching in the future. I love that that’s what your takeaway is. It’s so great that you’re still working through those things.
We have international staff as well, but for our USA staff, we do a monthly mentorship call and they ask for mentorship on confidence. It was such a great topic. I said, “Here’s the thing. I don’t want to completely talk about to confidence.” Confidence has a whole bunch of things underneath it, like fear of judgment and Imposter syndrome. It’s so layered. It’s so nuanced. I said, “Here’s what I do know about confidence, and here’s what we’ll work on. Confidence is a practice.” That’s it. Being good at money is a practice. All of these things are practiced. Podcasting is a practice.
It’s our belief system that holds us back. It’s our mindset. The things that we tell ourselves when nobody’s watching is what holds us back. It doesn’t have to be that way. I want to help women. I want to encourage them to know, first of all, you’re not alone. We’re all going through these things. We’re all nervous about one thing or another, and none of us has to be perfect. That’s where I differ so much from all that financial guidance that’s out there, especially that male-dominated financial guidance like, “You do this or you do that. You do this, you don’t do that, and then you’re rich.” No. Women don’t work that way. We are so much more feelers, more intuitive, and we connect better.Our belief system holds us back from doing something wrong. It is what we tell ourselves when nobody’s watching. Click To Tweet
There’s a different or a softer approach to this whole process. You said, “Money isn’t scary, podcasting isn’t scary.” The things that I talk about, I always say that I look at all these things from the angle of money, but these are all concepts that apply to every aspect of our lives. It applies to parenting. One of the biggest things I talked about on my show was when I had the amazing guest, Dr. Kristin Neff. She’s the pioneer in Self-Compassion Research. I talk about self-compassion in every single episode because we need it. For me, I’m the hardest person on myself ever.
That’s exactly what comes across. That’s what we discussed in our confidence and mentorship. It is exactly the same thing. Would you say that to someone you mentor? Why do you say it to yourself?
Absolutely not. Would you say it to your child? I think about that all the time too. The way that I talk to myself, even if it’s just in my head, we got to watch that because that’s damaging. It’s putting us down this rabbit hole of not being able to help ourselves. It keeps us stuck. My whole purpose is to help women thrive and trying to help women stop playing small. There are so many aspects to that beyond just the numbers.
Meghan, you are not playing small. I’m very impressed with all of that, and I am so glad that you have put out Money Isn’t Scary. You put out your new website. You’ve got a new website all up and running. Tell me. What’s in your future?
What I’m working through on the website is I want to start doing virtual online workshops. I want to teach these concepts to women beyond just the podcast. I want to be able to do it, whether it’s one-on-one or group format. That’s what I’m working through now. I want to be able to spread the message to more women that this isn’t scary. We can do this together. Money is such a nerve-wracking emotional topic, but if we’re all in this together and you know that you’re not alone, then that’s where we can all thrive.
I want to start doing more workshops. I’m going to keep doing podcasts. My goal is to get some amazing guests on the show over the next couple of months. Stay tuned for that. I’m excited to see where it goes. It’s been an awesome year. I’ve had a lot of growth personally and everything that I’ve been doing with the podcast and putting myself out there. I’m excited for the next step.
I’m excited for you, Meghan. Money Isn’t Scary, Meghan Dwyer, thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me. This has been great.
There are a lot of money podcasts out there and they all have very different focuses, but there is a fundamental difference in Meghan’s show with addressing this model of a life stage, which is so critically important for financial advice. It is by addressing that and by setting the tone when these fears start cropping up. They start cropping up in the early part of your life. They start cropping up later in life as well or when a life stage adjusts. Addressing that and putting that as a core focus of how she developed her show was a really smart choice for her.
It was a smart choice for audience attraction and it’s showing in her numbers. She’s got a great podcast. She shared her numbers with me. She’s doing very well with this show because it’s so focused. It is also because she’s so service-minded in how she is doing the show in general. When you’re dealing with insecurities and fears or hopes and aspirations, you can either be in one place or the other. When you’ve got something that has a lot of stigma to it, which money does, dialing into those insecurities and fears and putting it right out there in the title of the show was a smart choice. That’s where she’s excelling and why her show is attracting the audience that it is.
Plus, she’s got a great show. She’s doing some really smart things. She’s discovered this idea of doing solo and interview shows and having a good balance of those. She discovered that early on in her show and the path of it. Now, 140-something episodes in, it hit its stride and doing what it needs to do to keep that audience engaged and activated and keep them listening to the next episode. She’s built her bingeability into it.
There’s always growth in a show, and I’m glad to see that she’s moving into a new website and that she’s taking the power of her show back moving it so that it has its core headed back to her. She’s not only the host of the show, just like many of you are the host of your show, but you’re not just this passive host. You’re an active host and that’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking to guide them, provide resources to them, and you’re looking to provide more. If they can’t get from your show onto your website or onto a path to workshops and other things that Meghan wants to provide, it’s not going to work.
You can connect up with Meghan Dwyer, Money Isn’t Scary. You can go to a new website and check out the workshop that she’s planning to run. Check out how she presents her podcast and what she does over there by going to TheBingeFactor.com. That way, you’re always sure to get to the most current place and current way to find Meghan Dwyer.
You also going to want to check out our show because I guarantee you that some scary things are coming up for you surrounding money and podcasting. It’s a pretty common thing that I see and hear again and again. Take some advice from someone who is an expert in it. Go check out Money Isn’t Scary, subscribe to the show, take a tune to many of our episodes, and I bet you’re going to find some things that are helping you support not just confidence with money but confidence in your podcasting.
Podcasting isn’t scary, as Meghan and I pointed out. It might have some scary aspects to it, but you can certainly push through that, especially with some confidence-building in both actually doing, growing, and building a show that surrounds the topic and the area you feel most confident, in which is exactly, or maybe like Meghan, it’s in the place where you want to build the most confidence in, so you build it into practice for yourself.
I hope that you enjoyed this episode with Meghan Dwyer. I certainly did. I hope that you’ll join me next episode for another interesting podcaster who’s got a journey that might be very similar to the one you’d either like to follow or are already following. You can learn some great success tips from them as well. Join me here next episode.
- Money Isn’t Scary
- Jessica Kupferman – Money Isn’t Scary Past Episode
- Dr. Kristin Neff – Money Isn’t Scary Past Episode
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