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Session 234: Friends, Family, & Finances

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

What have you been taught about money? Have you ever stopped to think about what kind of relationship you have to it? To help us think through our relationship to money and how it can impact our relationships with others is La’Quesha Boston, MA, LPC. She and I chatted about the factors that influence our money mindset, conversations to have with your partner about money, and some of the issues that come up as it relates to friends and finances.


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Session 234: Friends, Family, & Finances

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 234 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into the episode after a word from our sponsors.


Dr. Joy: What have you been taught about money? Have you ever stopped to think about what kind of relationship you have to it? To help us think through our relationship to money and how it can impact our relationships with others, is La’Quesha Boston. La’Quesha is a relationship and financial therapist licensed in Missouri as a psychotherapist and a certified financial coach. She works to help individuals who are seeking to break out of patterns that keep them feeling stuck within their relationships and within their finances.

During our conversation, La’Quesha and I chatted about the factors that influence our money mindset, conversations to have with your partner about money, and some of the issues that come up as it relates to friends and finances. If there's something that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGin Session. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining us today, La’Quesha.

La’Quesha: Thank you for having me.

Dr. Joy: I would just love to hear–because I always think it's so interesting how therapists pick their specialty areas, or how we fall into them because I think that's what happens most often– tell me a little bit about how finances and financial therapy became something that you began to specialize in?

La’Quesha: My two favorite topics in the whole world are relationships and finances and so I've always been drawn to money, I've always enjoyed talking about money and learning about money. As I was becoming a therapist and trying to figure out a niche and just really what my interests were, everything that I enjoyed learning about and talking about fell under relationships and so that's what I knew I wanted to focus on. As I was talking with couples and talking with individuals, money just kept coming up and I was one of those therapists that never steered the conversation away from money, I was very comfortable talking about money.

As I started to also shift a little bit and do more couples work, conversations about money kept coming up for couples, it was a very touchy sore spot area for a lot of couples. At the same time, I was also learning about money for my own personal life and it just sort of seemed to really fit, where I was like okay, I think I could possibly add finances into this. And so in doing research, I was like, oh wow, there's actually a specialty. Like there's an area in expertise of financial therapy. Once I started to really dig in deeper for that and learn more about myself and my own emotions around money, and my own money scripts and my own history around finances, I was like I think this is a really good and natural fit into relationship work. It has been really, really great. It just became this natural thing that just paired really well together.

Dr. Joy: Right. I would love for you to share more about like some of the difficulties you've seen clients have around money. Because I think that is something that comes up for a lot of us, like depending on how we were raised and cultural background I think plays into this. What are some of the difficulties or some of the things that cause us to have difficulty talking about money?

La’Quesha: As you said, just our background. Depending on if a client's (individual or a couple) if money was a source of tension in the home or if it was something that was openly discussed, that helps shape whether somebody is comfortable talking about money or not. If money was something where people had to really have conversations around “do I pay for this or do I pay for this” versus “can I get this and this,” like that helps to shape how people feel about having conversations about money.

And then also, when it comes to just the practical side of money, do I understand money? Do I understand how much is coming in versus going out? And if there's a lack in some way, do I feel comfortable talking about that with somebody? Where do I go if I need help or assistance? It's one thing if you're in individual counseling and you can kind of explore that yourself and you kind of go at your own pace. But when you're doing that with a partner or with a spouse and you're not only having to figure out your own money issues but also your partner or your spouse's financial issues, that can become difficult as well. Because not everybody moves at the same pace and not everyone is as comfortable talking about money and exploring money, and so that becomes a little difficult for people as well. So it really just depends.

And then also, are you a saver or are you a spender? And that looks different either way. I think a lot of times we tell ourselves that there's a lot more positive aspects around saving versus spending, but there can be some downsides to both of those things, including saving, if you're more of a money hoarder. If you don't want to spend anything, if you're tight with finances and you happen to be dating somebody or married to somebody who's more of that spender, who likes to have nice things or to loosen the purse strings a little bit. And so again, those things can be a little bit difficult.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Something else you mentioned around money scripts, can you say what that is?

La’Quesha: Thank you for asking. Money scripts are the stories that we tell ourselves about money–positive and negative. Again, around if I'm a saver, what does that say about me or what do other people think about me? If I'm a spender, what does that say about me and what do other people think about me? If I make a certain amount of money, if I'm in a certain industry that may be looked down versus somebody that's more of a higher earner, what does that say about me and what do other people think?

And so we have these scripts around money that were taught directly and indirectly from our childhood and that becomes sometimes the story that we tell ourselves to keep ourselves stuck. Especially when we're trying to explore breakthroughs with money or if, let's say, you got a raise or a promotion and now you're making more money, and how does that feel? What are you telling yourself about that? Or even negotiating a salary or raise, what are you saying to yourself before you're walking into a room to ask that question? Those are the money scripts that are in your head.

Dr. Joy: You know, so much of what you're saying sounds so based in emotion and I don't think a lot of us have thought about like the emotions that are attached to whether we have money, how much of it we have. Even though you wouldn't necessarily typically think about talking about some of this stuff in therapy, it actually sounds like it would be a great place to talk about some of this.

La’Quesha: It is. A lot of us think about money in a more practical sense. How much, how little? Do I have it, do I not? But money is very, very, very much tied to the emotional side of us. There was a 2002 study that was done that showed that 85% of our decisions are rooted in emotions. And so I always tell couples and individuals that I work with: money is never just about money, it represents something so much deeper for all of us. And a lot of times people, they haven't quite connected with that, about what are the emotions that are tied to money? And so they sometimes keep making the same mistakes over and over.

Dr. Joy: For somebody who is just starting to think like, huh, I want to do some work around like what is my relationship to money, what are some things that people might do when they're first starting to explore that relationship?

La’Quesha: I usually encourage people to just pay attention to your body. What are you feeling in your body? That's the very first step. Because until we can connect what's going on with our body... A lot of times people will say, like for the more practical stuff, you’ve got a budget. And I'm all about budgeting, I love budgeting, I encourage people to budget, but if you're not familiar with what's going on in your body, that tightness in your chest or your stomach, the bubble guts that you may be feeling when you’re thinking about money, just any type of pressure or sensation that you're experiencing in your body, if you're not aware of what's going on, you might find a little bit of hesitancy to explore money. Whether it's budgeting, whether it's learning more about money, listening to a podcast, reading a money book. And so it's really important to be able to understand what's going on in our bodies when we're thinking about money and when we're really starting this journey around learning about money and ourselves and our relationship to money.

Dr. Joy: I think I've seen memes and I'm sure you have too about like how people will just go and have a great weekend and just don't check their account, right? When you said that, it made me think about like the sensation that often comes from people just logging into their online account because you maybe don't know what to expect.

La’Quesha: Exactly. You don't know what to expect. Which, I will say, that is probably the first indication that your relationship with money, there's a disconnect there. Because you should be able to have some idea of what to expect in your account, even if the number is very low. But if you're like, “oh, well, I thought I had way more money than I did,” then that's something to really explore. What's the reason for not checking it on a more regular basis? What's the reason for not having some sort of better idea around where your money is going?

Dr. Joy: Are there other signs like that that we might want to pay attention to, that might indicate there may be some work around our relationship with money to do?

La’Quesha: Yeah, if you're shying away from conversations around money. Especially if you're married because your income is tied to your spouse's income, even if the accounts are separate. How much you're bringing in, how much your spouse is bringing in, that matters. And if you're unwilling or hesitant to have those conversations, then that's an indication that there's something there.

And I think a lot of times we'll tell ourselves like I'm just not a money person or I’d rather do something else, I'd rather talk about something else, but it's important to at least recognize that there's something there that's keeping you from having those conversations. And the more that you can have those conversations, the easier it gets, and so that's what I really encourage couples to do. And individuals who are meeting with an accountability partner or just speaking with their best friend or somebody that they trust, is to really start having those conversations. And you don't have to go into “I make this much and I spend this much.” I'm noticing that there's something going on with me and money, I'm noticing that I just don't like to talk about money and I'm wondering where that's coming from. And a lot of times it stems from an individual's childhood.

Dr. Joy: You said that we definitely should be having these conversations with our partners, but I'm wondering at what point in dating would we start having conversations around money. And what conversations should we be having like before marriage with somebody we're dating?

La’Quesha: It depends on how comfortable each person is. There are some people, like me, who are very comfortable talking about money and I have to sometimes remember that other people just aren't. And so if you are somebody who is comfortable talking about money, and a lot of times people will be like I talk about money on the first date, even if it's about how are we splitting the check or who's paying on the first date. For somebody that's not comfortable talking about money, then you kind of have to do baby steps with them, you have to go a little bit slower with them, and that's okay.

But I would say definitely if things are starting to really get serious in the relationship, that's definitely a time to talk about money. Having a conversation about money before moving in with somebody is extremely important. And I always challenge couples, especially when they're thinking about moving in together, around let's have this conversation right here in a session and let me pay attention and watch you two have this conversation. And then that way, I'm able to give feedback on which person is more comfortable, what's a sore spot for somebody, that sort of thing. Again, the more you can practice it, the better people become. And so at the very earliest, when you're starting to realize that you're wanting the relationship to be serious, that is really an important time to start having money conversations.

Dr. Joy: Are there other things to focus on in the conversation besides like saving versus spending? Like what other kinds of things might you want to be talking about?

La’Quesha: Yeah. Again, it depends on what the next step is. Let's say if a couple is wanting to move in, then not only are you talking about how much each of you are making (so income) but also what debt do both of you or either of you have? How are you splitting utilities? How are you splitting rent or mortgage? What happens if there is a financial setback? Do you both have separate emergency funds? Do you have a joint emergency fund? What happens if somebody loses a job and you two are living together? How do you navigate those conversations? What's the plan in place? What are you two talking about? Those are all the things to have conversations about.

And I'll throw out another one that most people tend to not think about. If one person is financially responsible for a family member (so a parent), if they tend to loan money to somebody on a regular basis or even pay somebody’s bill on a regular basis, that is something to really share with the other person. Because again, if you all are cohabitating or even married, it can hinder the other person. And so those are conversations to have with one another before actually moving in.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, that does sound really important. I'm wondering if you can share maybe some of the common things that come up with your couples. Where do couples tend to get stuck in these money conversations? Or what conversations are they not having that they should be having?

La’Quesha: Everything I just talked about is actually pretty common. If we're talking about couples who are dating, what I typically see in my practice, if they can bring it up to me before they actually move in, that's when we start to have those conversations. Sometimes though, they've already moved in and they're already having these money arguments and seeing that one person’s a spender, the other one's a saver. One person's loaning their mother a lot of money and the other one just doesn't quite like it. Saving is usually a big, big issue.

And then, like I said, not having a plan in place as far as an emergency fund. And so those are things that just haven't been established. How much are you paying and how much am I paying? And is that fair? Whatever we've decided around finances, is this fair? Or is this setting the other person up for failure, so to speak, which then sets the relationship up for failure? Those are the things that I see when it comes to dating.

With couples who are already married, what they're recognizing is that they did not have these conversations prior. They thought that just combining their income would make things easier. And so what ends up being a sore spot for couples is when they start to get their first home. Either they've already bought it and they realize now they're becoming house poor because they didn't quite have this conversation beforehand, and so now we've got debt and how do we handle this? And is this my debt, is this your debt, is this our debt? Do I have to help you pay off your debt, I've already handled mine? It becomes a huge issue. And so again, just getting them to say, okay, let's just talk and just notice what's going on within yourselves and recognizing that with the other partner. That's the work that we start to do.

Because it's not really about the money; it’s about the emotions underneath. Is there somebody in the relationship or in the marriage that feels unsafe? That feels that their sense of security is being ripped out from under them because there's a lot of debt? Or is somebody feeling like there's a power and control issue around finances? Like I can't spend money the way I want to, I have to check in with you first if I want to spend money. Those are the things that we have to navigate.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with La’Quesha after the break.


Dr. Joy: Something else that comes up, La’Quesha it seems, is this whole conversation around joint accounts, separate accounts, like how do we decide? I'd love for you to share like how might a couple decide on what might be the best setup for them?

La’Quesha: It’s really about what goals does a couple have together? What is the goal that you two want–short term and long term? And what we know is that when couples have a joint account, they win better with money because it forces them to have money conversations. Wait a minute, I saw that $300 was taken out of the account, let's talk about this. Or, hey, like what's going on? Or okay, yeah, let's put money here and let's figure out how we want to allocate this money, let's sit down and budget. Having a joint account forces couples to have those conversations. When I have a married couple, I always encourage them to have the joint accounts because, again, it forces them to have these conversations.

When it comes to unmarried couples, that could be a little bit tricky because of laws. And if somebody breaks up or dies, then what happens with the money that's within the joint account? And so those are things that you have to navigate, person to person. That's also why I tell people: personal finances are personal, they’re personal for a reason. And so what works for one couple may not work for another couple. What works for one individual may not work for another individual because of all of the other dynamics that are at play at any given moment that a couple is having to navigate around money.

Dr. Joy: Thank you for that. Something else that comes up quite often in conversations with our community is this idea that a lot of us have gone on and gotten advanced degrees and like all these additional credentials and so, to your point earlier, a lot of us are making maybe the most money in the family. So a lot of us, we've heard about the strain that sometimes comes because you're supporting nieces and nephews, maybe your parents, maybe grandparents. Can you talk a little bit about whether this has come up with any of your clients? And like how might someone continue to take care of themselves if they find themselves in this position of supporting a bunch of other people in their family?

La’Quesha: Majority of my clients have this thing that they're experiencing, yes. And I think that's because, especially for our community, I think years ago, there was a term called Black tax that was thrown around and that was helping people in your family get a leg up. And the guilt and the shame that an individual faced if they did not do that and if they were making more money than most of their family members. This is why budgeting is very, very, very, very important and that's when I will sit down with a client and we will actually write out their budget. Because sometimes you can't do it. You can be a high earner and still not be financially stable enough to help somebody. And so sometimes the budget will just show there's no wiggle room in the budget to take care of you and somebody else or take care of you and five other people.

I've had clients who are like, okay, I get that, but I still want to help this particular person, and so we just write that in the budget. There is a budget line and they allocate a certain amount of money each month to go towards helping out that person. So that way, they're not getting further into debt, they're not just completely demolishing their budget. They know this set amount goes towards this person and when I've met that amount, that's it, I can't do anything more. And that has been really helpful in setting up boundaries for that person and that family member and then being able to fall on, no, I just can't do it. Rather than I don't want to or I have to feel like I'm the worst person in the world because I'm saying no to this person. You're saying no because the budget is just not there. It's not in the line.

Dr. Joy: I really appreciate you adding in the fact that it helps to set a boundary because I would imagine that it's also important to have conversations (probably in therapy or you journaling about it for yourself) like what is driving you to give the money. Because if it is like I feel really guilty or I feel shame about the fact that I make this much money and like my parents don't, or something... Or does it come from a place of I want to do this? Like I feel like they’ve poured into me and this is a part of how I want to give back. And so I think that conversation along with the budgeting seems like it could help somebody really manage good boundaries in that kind of a situation.

La’Quesha: Yeah, and I'll say a little bit more about that. You have jogged my memory on there are some clients, like I said, because of their childhood, power and control around finances has been a huge issue. And so sometimes as they become adults, they do you feel really torn between setting this boundary of I have to take care of this family member, even though this family member didn't take care of me well, and so there's some resentment around that. And those are the things that we'll work through in therapy. That even if you want to say, “For the next few months, I'm going to say no because this makes me feel a little better and this helps me to practice boundaries. And then I'll start to say yes, I'll start to allocate some money.” Or, like I said, just putting a cap on whatever that finance is. And so they're not blowing the budget just to help this one family member and that causes some resentment and some tension.

Dr. Joy: Thank you, I appreciate you sharing that. The other thing that I don't think comes up as much but maybe has in your practice, are conversations around money with friends. Are there tensions or things that have come up for you or for clients around like money between friends?

La’Quesha: Yeah, and that's usually because a group of friends don't typically make the same money a lot of times, especially if you’ve known this friend since your childhood and you two are working in different industries. The first half of my career, I spent in nonprofit and so I was making the least amount of money out of all of my friends and then the tables started to turn where I was able to start making more money. And thankfully, the group of friends that I have, we've always been comfortable talking about money. And so I’ve always felt okay for the most part saying, unfortunately, I can't do this or I can't afford that or I'll catch you next time or I can't take that trip–maybe next year.

But I do know that there are some clients who don't feel comfortable having those conversations and then they feel guilt or they feel shame in not being able to afford those things, and so those are conversations that we'll have in our sessions as well. What does that mean for you that you can't afford it? And what does that look like, how does that play out in your friendships? But then there's also this thing that happens with higher earners who can afford something and they feel obligated to either pay for somebody else or they have to sometimes pick and choose–do I celebrate this great event with this particular group of friends who I know can afford it and leave this other group out of this other person out? Or do I do something separate with that person that has a lower income? And those conversations, they can be a little bit tough and tricky because money is never just about money and so there's some hurt feelings that come up or there's just a lot of emotions that come up on both sides of that for individuals.

Dr. Joy: Did you see this video that came up? Given your work, I'm sure you did. This video, a couple of months (ago) where this guy had a whole spreadsheet of the friends, how much they make, how much like time off they have, do they have apartments?

La’Quesha: No, I missed that!

Dr. Joy: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!

La’Quesha: I’ll have to find that. I missed that.

Dr. Joy: Oh gosh, it was so much commentary around this. But basically, it was like a spreadsheet system that this guy and like six of his friends have created, like it's supposed to help with ease of planning travel. Some friends are okay with like international travel, some friends have like unlimited time off, so it's all in a spreadsheet. But you made me think of that because you're saying like these are the kinds of conversations that I think can sometimes be tricky to have, but I think it's also really important to have them. What kinds of tips can you share for people to have maybe some of these more delicate money conversations with groups of friends?

La’Quesha: I always like to tell people to set the intention. And so it's okay to go to somebody that you feel is trustworthy, I think that's very important because not everybody you're able to have these types of conversations with and it's important to recognize that. But when you're able to recognize a person that you can trust to have these conversations with, then you can just say, “Hey, I want to start exploring my own relationship with money. So therefore, I want to talk to you or whomever about money and what that looks like and how I feel about that.” And so just naming it and saying sometimes it's gonna be awkward for you and sometimes it's gonna be a little bit uncomfortable, but that's just moment to moment. And you can sit in that uncomfortable feeling, you know, that moment will pass. And again, the more that you do it, the easier it gets.

And I think, too, what people end up finding out, at least for my clients, is that when they start to have those money conversations, like when they start to initiate it, the other people around them that they're having those conversations with start to chime in and share information as well. And they end up learning a lot about one another, that just because somebody might be a high earner doesn't necessarily mean that they're good with money. And so they may be struggling to pay debt or they may still be living paycheck to paycheck, or that they are doing fine and they can give tips and suggestions. And I've read this book or I listened to this podcast and this has been really helpful. And so it becomes this deeper connection that friends can have with one another around money conversations. And that it doesn't have to be isolating and it doesn't have to be just a negative thing. It can be very eye opening for everybody to have more conversations around money.

Dr. Joy: Like you've mentioned, money is never just about the money and so when you're having these kinds of vulnerable conversations (regardless of the topic) in a group of people that you trust, typically it deepens the relationships. And so I think with money being the topic, it really is just an opportunity to really kind of deepen some of those friendships. And I think the other piece of that is that the timing of that conversation is important. Like you don't want to try to open this conversation when we're trying to decide whether we're going to take like a week-long trip to Italy, right?

I think starting some of these conversations when we're not talking about spending money but just as a topic. Like let's talk about our relationship to money, like I think it would be cool. I could see this podcast episode being a great place for you and your girls to listen to it and say, hey, let's explore our relationship to money. And what does this mean? And how was I raised? Because I think it can feel safer to sometimes talk about that with your friends and then you have those conversations with romantic partners in the future.

La’Quesha: Yeah, absolutely. And I think too, the more that you have these conversations, you start to be able to really see what you can and can't do. If we were to take your example of a vacation in Italy, I've had a conversation with a client before and she's like, yeah, my friends are going on a nine-day trip and I can't afford that. And so we talked a little bit about budget and I said, okay, after going through the budget and seeing where her money goals were and all of that... And this is somebody I'd been working with for a while anyway and so we were already used to having these conversations, it was nothing for me to say, okay, let's just look at your budget. And she wasn't able to do a whole nine-day trip but she was able to go for half of it. And so she was like, okay, so then yeah, I’ll do that. I'll just go right then in the middle and I'll stay until the end, and that's exactly what she did.

And so you learn that it doesn't have to be an all or nothing, it doesn't have to be either I can go or I can't go. Sometimes you can do a little bit of that or, like I said, you can't go every year but maybe you go every other year. You can't do three trips in one year, maybe you do just the one. And so that's why it's important to also know for yourself what your relationship around money is and what your budget is and all of that. That the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with La’Quesha after the break.


Dr. Joy: I really appreciate you sharing that example because I think, especially if you've had long-term friends, like people you met in college and you're now maybe in your early 30s, you have likely experienced lots of firsts with this group of people. And so, like you mentioned even for your own personal journey, starting out in nonprofit and then moving into different areas of work, your ability to spend is different at different times in that journey. And so I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about some of the feelings that do come up as people may be at different places in their jobs or in their earnings and how that might impact the friend group.

La’Quesha: Yeah, keeping up with the Joneses is huge, a lot of people struggle with that. Like it's one thing, people will talk about like, oh, Instagram, people their lives look so great on Instagram and they're doing all of these things and now I have FOMO or I'm struggling with my own self-worth. But when you're experiencing that within your group of friends, where your friends are able to travel more often than you for whatever reason, then it does feel as if you're being left out. And that doesn't feel great when the four people you tend to hang out with are out on vacation and you have nothing to do for a week. So what do you do with your time? What are you telling yourself? That money script that we’ll go back to.

That money script that you're saying to yourself in your head about your own self-worth and what it means that you can't have this lavish lifestyle, so to speak, or you can't do these fun things or experiences. What are the things that you're saying to yourself and is that then playing a part in your friendships? So now your friends are back... And I've had clients who have talked about I want to hear these great experiences but I'm also jealous and so I don't want to hear them either. And that's okay to have those conflicting emotions. But it's also important to know what that comes up for you, what that means for you, and then how do you work through that? Because if you're holding on to that and that starts to breed some resentment within the group, or you start to distance yourself from the group for days or weeks or whatever the case is, then now you're adding to the uncomfortableness in the group and you can really start to have these conversations. And it can be, yeah, it really sucked that I couldn't be there but I would love to see the pictures and I would love to hear the stories and maybe next time I can be there.

Dr. Joy: Is that something we should be paying attention to, just knowing that people may be in different places in their money journeys? Within a group of friends, should we be sensitive to the idea that maybe everybody can’t afford an international trip or maybe everybody can’t afford going to weekly five-star restaurants kinds of things? Should we be having and convening in a variety of different ways so that we don't burden one person with either the feeling like they're always going to be left out or making somebody feel like they always have to like overextend their budget?

La’Quesha: I think it's important for any friendship that you're able to recognize when somebody can or can't do something, and that's with any area. And so if you have a friend or a couple of friends who are making way less than you are, then it's okay to have that conversation if there's been an intention set. And you're not going to blindside them like, hey, are you too broke to come here? You want to be a lot nicer than that, you want to have some tact and so it's okay to just check in.

And I will say too, I think it's important to recognize who's celebrating what. Like is this something that we do every week, like a brunch at a five-star restaurant, or is this maybe a once in a while kind of thing we're celebrating? And if it's my thing, then I want to celebrate here and I may have to recognize that some people may not be able to attend. And then do I extend an invitation to do something else later or do I just say that person can't attend and they just can't attend. And I think that just depends on the dynamics of who is involved and what that person may or may not want to do.

But in having those conversations with friends, it is important not to just assume that somebody can or can't do something. And so that's why it's important to start this money conversations when there's not a whole lot of stuff going on like you mentioned, and saying, hey, I just want to be more mindful about my own finances and other people's finances. And so if you can't do something and we can do something separately together or we do something free where somebody cooks at the house or we order takeout or something, then we'll do that. I think it just depends on what those dynamics look like and what that person wants to do.

I think it's just realistic to know that everybody can't do everything. Because again, that goes back to budget–that person just may not be able to do it. And that could be because finances or their income is low or it could be because they have some sort of money goal. Like there are people who are saving for a down payment and that may mean that they can't do certain things as often as they used to because they have a financial goal. So yeah, sometimes you’re just gonna have to be comfortable and okay with being left out but it is important to recognize how you feel about that and what you're saying about yourself when that happens.

Dr. Joy: I think that's a nice way to kind of reimagine how we celebrate things because I think this often comes up around stuff like weddings. When you are like asked to be a bridesmaid and then it feels like every year we add some new celebration that the bridesmaids are expected to be. So you’ve got to be at the wedding, you’ve got to get your hair done, you’ve got to get your makeup done, you’ve got to have this certain dress and shoes, then you’ve got to also come to the bachelorette weekend then you’ve got to come to my sprinkle. You know, all of these different things. And I think it is important, like fine, celebrate however you want but I also think having the expectation that people be at all of those things really is sometimes not considerate of like what people's money goals might be. Yeah, so can you look at different ways to kind of celebrate things?

And I'd love to hear from you suggestions for things you can do to like cultivate friendships and even relationships that don't cost a lot of money. Because it does feel like we kind of automatically go to the brunch, we want to go to the museum, we want to go to the trip. What kinds of things can people do that actually don't cost a lot of money or no money at all?

La’Quesha: Yeah, anything outside you can do. So picnics, I love picnics and it's starting to... Well, I am in St. Louis and so it's starting to get a little bit colder. I enjoy intimate conversations, whether it's about relationships or money or anything, and so let's sit down with a glass of wine and some cheese breads and crackers or whatever, and let's just talk. Let's catch up, let's just, you know, watch a movie or whatever the case is. You could do game nights. I always tell people go back to your childhood, the things that you loved to do as a child, that was free. Going for walks, spending time outside. Like I said, having a game night or a movie night, a book club. All of those things are things that you can do that don't necessarily cost a lot of money. They can be very cheap or free.

Having a potluck, just anything like that. And even if you want to do that as a challenge, a week or 30 days of not spending money or let's hang out and not spend over whatever certain amount of money and see what we can do and have that be fun. Just getting to know each other again in a different kind of way, I think it's great. I think it's a really good thing to do and it doesn't have to cost money.

Dr. Joy: Let's talk about lending money to friends. Is this something that you... I'm sure as a therapist you’re not gonna say yes or no, so either way. But what kinds of things should we consider or what kind of conversations should we have around whether we're gonna lend money to friends or even asking friends to borrow money?

La’Quesha: If you're not going to miss it, you can do it and I would encourage it to be a gift, not a loan. If you can part ways with the amount and it doesn't, like I said, set you back a lot and you don't need that money back, then just make it a gift. And if that's not the case, then I say just don't do it at all. And I think that would be a good challenge for yourself in creating a boundary or having a money conversation with somebody.

The other thing that comes up in my sessions with clients, too, is really recognizing another person's limitation and seeing them for who they are, even if it may not be in a positive light. And so if you have a family member... And that's usually with my clients, that’s who it is, not so much a friend, but it's usually with a family member who asked to borrow money and then they never give it back. And so there's conversations that I'll have with clients around, okay, if this is now a pattern, then what is going on with you that makes you overlook it, that makes you want to give into it? What's that money script that you're telling about yourself if you don't spend that money or if you don't give that money?

And then what are you saying about the other person when that other person doesn't give the money back? Those are the things that we navigate in our sessions together. And that can be really tough when it's somebody that they care about who doesn't give them the money back. And I think for a lot of people, if they then see that person later and they're going on a trip or they're spending money doing something else that's not a necessity, then again that breeds some resentment. So that can be a very touchy subject.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I think that's really important to hold on to, like the idea of can this be a gift? And if it's not a gift and you find yourself kind of repeatedly loaning money to somebody who doesn't repay you, what's going on with you there? Like what's happening in your relationship with yourself? So this has been such great information, La’Quesha. Are there any resources that you kind of find yourself recommending over and over to your clients that you think would be helpful for our community as well?

La’Quesha: I really like somatic work because it really engages people to go deeper and within the body and to recognize what happens with their body when anything comes up. Whether it's trauma or money or this particular person or whatever comes up. The more that you can get in touch with your body–the more that you can listen to what's going on with you, the better in tuned you can be in making decisions, both money and relationships or anything like that. And so I think there's a lot of information out there around the practical things to do with money but there's not a whole lot of information... well, I take that back. There's not a whole lot of encouragement around seeking your relationship with money and what emotions come up for you when it comes to money. And so I would encourage people to start there and just really paying attention to what happens–how do I react when I'm thinking about money and different aspects of money?

Dr. Joy: I love that. And please share your website as well as any social media handles that you'd like to share with our community.

La’Quesha: My website is And just seek me out. I don't do a lot of social media, I know that that's weird in this day and age, but I just don't. But I am always open to having conversations, teaching people to dig a little bit deeper in their relationship with money, and I'm always here. So, yeah, find me, seek me out.

Dr. Joy: Perfect, we will be sure to include that in the show notes. Thank you so much, La’Quesha. I really appreciate it.

La’Quesha: Thank you. Thank you so much. You have a good one.

Dr. Joy: You too.

I'm so glad La’Quesha was able to share her expertise with us today. To learn more about her work, visit the show notes at And don't forget to text two of your girls and tell them to check out the episode as well. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at

And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here