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Author and Activist Gaby Dunn on Millennial Money Matters

Photos: Courtesy of Robyn Van Swank

Gaby Dunn didn’t plan on becoming a finance expert. But the podcast host who talks sex realized she should talk about another topic: money.

“I cried about money more than I cried about anything else,” says Gaby Dunn, 31. “All these people like me for my honesty, yet my biggest secret is that I cry about money at least once a week, and I don’t tell anybody about it.”

It never stopped

Like many millennials, Dunn was worried about medical and student debt, fixing her car, and affording a cell phone. She also stressed about making ends meet if her freelance clients didn’t pay.  

She often wished for a 24-hour break from worrying about debt, but says, “It just felt like it never stopped.”

The solution has been talking about it. In the few years she’s been doing her “Bad With Money” podcast — which was named one of the top 10 podcasts of 2016 by The New York Times — Dunn has realized that having money issues is not an isolated problem.

“The audience has followed me learning, and I think they’ve learned along the way because I’m asking the stupid questions,” she says.

Dunn encourages consumers, especially millennials, to be politically engaged so they can work to improve financial wellness in the country.

No shame

The author of “Bad with Money: The Imperfect Art of Getting Your Financial Sh*t Together” says it’s OK to ask for financial advice.

“Money­ is already hard,” she says. “You don’t need to add shame. Just talk to each other.”

Dunn uses the “You Need a Budget” app and an Excel spreadsheet. Plus, she keeps a handwritten list of financial data including her tax information, which she prints and highlights.

She also recommends printing out your bank statement so you can see what you’re spending your money on and what you don’t need. For example, she realized she was overpaying at parking meters.

“It’s taking your head out of the sand, and saying, ‘What’s going on?’” she says. “It’s your money — you’re the only person who’s going to care about it.”

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