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Anti-Capitalist Financial Planning with River Nice Part II

You might have caught the first part of our conversation with anti-capitalist financial planner, River Nice (if not check out Anti-Capitalist Financial Planning with River Nice Part I). In it, we talked about capitalism, how anti-capitalism financial planning works, and why popular financial planners traffic in shame.

In part two, Nice and I dig a little deeper and discuss their insights on negative feelings about money, how people can change their relationship with money, planning for the future when the world looks so dire, and the dreaded restart of college loan payments.

What are some of the things that people say when they have negative feelings about money?

Almost everybody has shame. I see shame about not [having] enough money. I see shame about too much money. I see shame about not understanding money. And I see shame about not using money the best way it could be used.

It's a lot, everybody's got it. And the more I noticed how everybody has shame about money, the more I realized, “Oh, the one percent are doing that to us on purpose.” If we all feel like sh— about it, if we all think we are bad people because of something related to money, then we're not going to talk about money. And we're not going to do anything to overthrow the system.

What steps can people take to change their relationship with money?

You've got to start with, “It's not my fault,” and “I’ve got to do something.”

Stop telling yourself you're a bad person. Whether you're saying, “I'm a bad person for having money in my account,” or “I'm a bad person, because I'm not using this the most effectively,” or “I'm a bad person because I'm not where this other person is in their financial life.” Stop it! It's probably capitalism's fault, not yours.

Even if you've made mistakes, those mistakes are so high stake because of how the systems are set up. All our brains are different, and we all have emotional baggage around money because we live in a world where money is necessary for every aspect of human survival.

It's hard on purpose and we’re not educated enough on purpose. You're taught that you should feel shameful and that you are not good enough—f—k that. This is capitalism's fault.

It's hard on purpose and we’re not educated enough on purpose. You're taught that you should feel shameful and that you are not good enough—f—k that. This is capitalism's fault.

Once you can come to terms with, “It's not my fault,” it is also still [your] responsibility to do something. No one's going to save you.

Start small. Pick one thing in the next week and do that. Is it looking at your bank account to see what you spent your money on last month? Is it talking to your best friend about whether you can afford brunch this weekend? Is it logging in to look at the student loan balance?

Then it goes from there. Baby steps.

What do you tell people that express hopelessness about the current state of the world when they talk about retirement?

You know it comes up a lot. We're all like, are we even going to be alive in 30 years? Is the planet going to be here in 30 years? I get it, it is scary as hell politically and climate wise, there's a lot going on.

I think [about it as a kind] of harm reduction approach. Instead of saying, I'm either going to retire the way this last generation did or I'm going to be dead, let's start to think in some shades of gray. As I age, I want to have some resources available, so that I don't have to just fully be exploited by landlords and bosses 100 percent of the time.

What can I do to secure stable housing so the rent can't get jacked up on me? What can I do to have some extra resources set aside for healthcare and whatever else I need? That is worth doing.

And in the meantime, what are the mutual aid relationships that we are setting up to care for us in a way that the state won't? Am I making sure that I'm developing relationships in my community where we all look out for each other a little bit? Is there somebody in my friend group who's good at growing food? Is there somebody that's good at medicine? Is there somebody that's good at keeping us all calm when things are rough? Is there somebody that's good at making art and telling stories? What are the resources and relationships that I can build outside of the state tools to make things a little less bad as things get worse?

There's been a lot of discussion online about whether we should take some kind of course of action when it comes to student loans now that payments will be restarted. Is there anything that people should keep in mind?

People need to know there are consequences if you don't pay your student loans. First, it's going to hurt your credit score, that affects your ability to buy a house, car, get a payment plan when you buy a new phone. You need a credit score to be able to take out a loan, get a payment plan, or a credit card.

Second, if you continue not paying your student loans the government will garnish your wages. They will come to your employer and say, “part of that paycheck goes directly to us now,” I've seen it happen, they will do it. I need people to be aware that those are the consequences. And I don't say that just to scare people. I say it [so] people are informed about what happens.

Now when it does come time for repayment, you'll be able to choose between which repayment plan you want to use. There is a calculator offered by the federal government, the federal student loan simulator. It'll show you what repayment plans are available to you and what the monthly payment amount [is] for each of them, so you can choose which one makes the most sense for you.

How could an anti-capitalist mindset work with a mixed belief family? i.e.: the mother is an anti-capitalist, but the father is on the cast of “Succession.”

The thing about talking about money with other people is that we're almost never talking about just the numbers of it. We are almost always talking about how we feel.

Some people might say something like, “I don't want to donate my money,” and what they mean is, “I’m scared for my own safety or my family's safety if I have less money.” Someone else might say, “I don't want to invest in the stock market,” and mean, “I'm scared about participating in a system that feels exploitative or feels uncertain.”

[It’s] always about our own fears for our own personal safety that is underneath [the surface of] conversations about money when approaching how we talk about how we’re sharing resources or how we’re teaching our family about what we're doing with money and why. [Then] you can start from a place of everybody's scared for their own and their family's survival, that might make it a little easier to find the common ground between you.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.

Learn more about River Nice and anti-capitalist financial planning at Be Intentional Financial LLC. You can follow them on Instagram.


Perdita Patrice is a Texas-based writer and documentary filmmaker. She enjoys live music, reading, and watching TV. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @perditapatrice


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