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Meet the 'financial hype woman' who wants you to talk about money

Berna Anat, author, podcaster, and financial hype woman.
Karen Santos
Karen Santos
Berna Anat, author, podcaster, and financial hype woman.

Her description of the world of money is "hella male, hella pale and hella stale."

Who is she? Berna Anat is an author, podcast host, and self-titled "financial hype woman."

  • Hailing from the Bay Area, Anat is a first gen Filipino American and daughter of immigrants. 
  • She first entered the world of personal finance when she found herself with $50,000 in student loans and $12,000 in credit card debt, and resources that she felt didn't speak to her way of expression or life experiences. 
  • Anat's approach to saving, investing, and paying off debt is one that focuses on using more accessible language, and being more up front about the systemic barriers that marginalized communities face when it comes to obtaining financial security. 
  • The cover of Anat's book.
    Karen Santos / HarperCollins
    The cover of Anat's book.

    What's the big deal? With the release of her book, Money Out Loud. All the Financial Stuff No One Taught Us, Anat dives into these topics and more, providing an education on finance that she wishes she had when first looking into the topic.

  • Anat's hope is to tackle subjects that carry societal shame and taboo, and turn them into opportunities for learning, communicating, and improving.
  • "We're working against a very powerful system that wants to keep us small. Wants to keep us broke. Wants to keep us easy to control. I think once we confront things like the truth about capitalism, the truth about systemic discrimination, then we can be a little easier on ourselves. Some of that shame can melt off because shame is only going to keep us quiet. Shame is only going to keep us isolated. And we're not going to be able to wield the power of money the way that we truly can."
  • What's she saying?

    On seeing a diversity gap in the financial industry:

    This is the thing I think that really compelled me to jump into the financial space. You know, I'm there in my mid-twenties with $12,000 of credit card debt, almost $50,000 of student loans. And people are like, "Oh, you're just getting into personal finance. Amazing. You should read this book. You should read this blog. You should listen to this podcast." 

    I'm like, great. I have all my tabs open. Every single one of those tabs, every single resource, [was] from an older white dude. I am not an older white dude. And it struck me immediately that it's not that this advice that they were giving was bad. It was all sound advice mostly, but it just was not relatable to me. A lot of what they said came from a level of privilege that I have never experienced, from a level of financial ease that I don't understand as a beginner. And that's what made me look around and go, "This doesn't make any sense because everybody is affected by money."

    Want more on personal finance? Listen to Consider This on how to build your own recession toolkit.

    On acknowledging systemic barriers in finance:

    I wanted to come right out the gate and let folks understand that there are forces at work that have been at work way before you were born, generations back, that were set up against you, and your ancestors and the people who came before you. There are systems that were meant to keep many marginalized folks poor, unhoused, living under wages. There are so many systems at play meant to keep you "bad at money." And yet we are raised, and we see so much financial education material that is intent on making us believe that we are 100% of the problem. It's our mindset. We don't have the right budgeting apps. We never read the right tips from the right old white dude. That's just simply not true.  

    So, what's her advice?

  • Budgeting: When making different accounts and buckets for financial goals, come up with different names that appeal to you. "I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to feel personally connected to your budgeting categories or to your bank accounts."  
  • Saving: Anat says that using a saving calculator online will set you free. "You can plug in numbers that you know, and a free savings calculator will tell you exactly what it will take every single month to reach your savings goal. It almost gives it to you like a bill." 
  • Celebrating: Though money is a stressful subject for many, Anat says an essential part of moving forward is celebrating your victories, which for her include dancing: "I'm a big fan of the solo financial dance party."   
  • Read more:

  • If you're getting financial advice from TikTok influencers don't stop there
  • Can forcing people to save cool inflation?
  • Behold the tax-free bagel: A New York classic gets a tax day makeover
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Manuela López Restrepo
    Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.
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