We are excited to bring you this encore presentation of one of our most popular episodes. We hope you enjoy!
Keisha Blair’s husband died at age 34, just eight weeks after she gave birth to my second child. This is her story and she is resilient.
About the Guest:
Keisha Blair is the award-winning bestselling author of Holistic Wealth. She’s the Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth and host of the Holistic Wealth podcast with Keisha Blair. She’s the founder of the holistic wealth movement and a trained Economist.
Instagram and Twitter: @keishaoblair
trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. I'm Blair Kaplan Venables, and I'm here with Keisha Blair. Aisha Blair is an award winning Best Selling Author of holistic wealth. She's the founder of the Institute on holistic wealth and the host of the holistic wealth podcast with Keisha Blair. She's the founder of the holistic wealth movement and a trained economist, I had the pleasure of being on his podcast and meeting her through a mutual friend named Paige. Hi, Paige. And she is a wealth suit I did there upon wealth of information. And today we're going to talk about some really important topics. We're going to talk about, you know, money trauma, but we're also going to talk about something that happened to her. And I can't even imagine because something I came close to what she experienced, but I didn't experience it. But at the age of 34, her husband died, just after eight weeks of giving birth to their second child. And I can't imagine how devastating that is. I have not lost a husband. But my husband did almost die. He had a heart attack, and quadruple bypass surgery. It was very, very scary. And I can't imagine what it would have been like if I lost him. And so welcome to the podcast. Keisha.Keisha Blair:
Thank you so much for having me, Blair. It's great to be here.Blair Kaplan Venables:
And yeah, thank you so much for being open to sharing about your experience. And I'm sure, I mean, I I don't know too much about you, but talking about your loss of your husband when you had a newborn, and to chat to children, and how maybe it relates to where you are today as an economist. And really, let's dive into money trauma, because that's something that I don't think we talk enough about.Keisha Blair:
Yeah, no, absolutely. So absolutely. So that tragedy, set me on the path that I'm on right now. And as you you mentioned earlier, he was 34, when he died, I was just 31. I had just given birth to my second child, just eight weeks prior and had a three year old, another three year old son. So I had a three year old and an eight week old. And here I was mourning the death of my husband, he died very suddenly, very tragically, his illness is so rare. Only one in one people one in 1 million people get to each year, it took them one year to do an autopsy because they had to assemble an international team of pathologists and experts across the United States and Canada. So it was a medical mystery. And yet took them one year to find the cause. So within that one year, I didn't have any answers. None of us in the family had answers. And so as you can imagine, that also complicates things a complicates the grief, because everybody has so many questions, and they're just no answers. So of course, I went through that period. And of course, it set me in a motion and a path afterwards to kind of wanting to find answers to you know, these big questions about life and meaning and purpose. And, and, and, and, you know, when readers read the book, when they read a holistic world, they'll see how the story unfolds. But, uh, you know, I took the time off that I needed to grieve. And of course, you know, upon finishing like a one year sabbatical, I came back and and, and wrote holistic Well, no, it did not happen in that short, condensed timeline. It was more over 10 years. It's so short was actually this was a 10 year process. And yes, as you mentioned, like I'm a trained economist. So I relied on that training and that background to kind of help me come up with a framework that would help others and in this new and expanded version of the book that's coming out on March 22. It really focuses on the art of recovery from disruption, which is what we're in, we're in that period, we're all facing this collective trauma. We're all facing some kind of losses of one sort or the other And so yeah, money trauma is such an important topic right now. So I just wanted to back up a bit just to say that I wrote this viral article,Keisha Blair:
which led to the book, it was entitled My husband died at age 34. Here are 14 life lessons I learned from it. That was viewed by 50 million people all over the world, and really sparked, you know, a kind of outpouring of sentiment. And within that were some key money lessons, that I also expanded the book and several more, several more money lessons. And so the book does have a lot on money, trauma as well. And that, of course, at the Institute on holistic wealth, we just launched a money, trauma certification, but it's unbelievable. When you go through trauma, what it does to your brain, what it does to your emotions, I watched my husband die that night, I saw everything, I watched him die, I watched them tried to resuscitate him, and failed. I watched everything and for me, and for many other people who go through this type of trauma, it creates an imprint in the brain, the brain takes pictures, right. And we know that there's some key parts of the brain that are impacted like the prefrontal cortex, the brainstem, the hypothalamus, the, the amygdala, and all of this is affected. And it's so unbelievable the role our subconscious plays. Because and this is why even years after the trauma has happened, you're still feeling it like it was today, because not only is your brain taking pictures, but your subconscious is always in the present. So your subconscious doesn't know time. So it's it experiences everything, again, as if it were happening today. And if we don't know how to deal with those emotions, if we leave this trauma unresolved, then it will have like serious consequences. And as an economist who also looks at the risk side and the investment side, I've seen people who suffer losses just because of unresolved money, trauma and losses in the millions, you know, some people in the 1000s or hundreds of 1000s. So it's this money, trauma, topic and theme that we're discussing is hugely important. And as you said, Blair, it's just not sufficiently discussed. It's not sufficiently talked about. We talked about grief and tragedy. But we don't talk about money trauma enough. And as an economist who's also done behavioral economics, who's also trained, licensed clinical social workers working in the child welfare system. I feel like, you know, you know, even in writing that course, and really bringing those experiences to bear. It's unbelievable how important this is for all of us.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Well, thank you so much for sharing all of that. You know, I think what we need to do is define what is money trauma? And how do we know if we are living in a place experiencing money? trauma?Keisha Blair:
Yeah, no, absolutely. So money trauma is trauma that is tied to your finances and your personal finances. It can be caused from a wide range of experiences that were traumatic, that caused emotional pain, emotional grief, emotional losses. And sometimes, and in a lot of cases, it's tied to our childhood experiences as well. Because for many of us, and this is what I train, you know, these trauma, money Consultants is that we need to trace it back to childhood because most of it starts there. So it's very important to be mindful now in terms of knowing if you know, like what that looks like on a day to day basis. It looks like hyper vigilance around money. It looks like thinking and obsessing about money. And not only if you're in a state of say, lack or need or financial difficulty it can happen if you're feeling quite abundant. Like I get people asking me questions, when they're like, You know what, there's no lack in my life. There's no need for money, I have the money I budgeted for it. The item cost like 20 or $30 Why am I worrying about spending this money? Why am I having these intense feelings of worry and concern and fret and that's the on result money trauma sometimes. And so even if you're not in a state of lack, it can play out in your life like that. So it's that hyper vigilance, vigilance that emotions are constantly thinking about it. It stirs up emotions of worry, fear, regret. And, and yeah, like it You either avoid money conversations to avoid talking about it with your spouse. So there's that avoidance as well, that, that, you know, it brings about. And so there, I'm sure a whole range of others that I haven't mentioned. But that's basically it in a nutshell. And, you know, as people listening in, they can think about, you know, what, you know, how it plays out for them and, and what it looks like in their personal lives. But I'm sure some of this is is, you know, like, is it jogging?Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, like, and I, I'm like, Oh, I have some money trauma. And I know I do. And I'm working through it. And I didn't know it was called Money, trauma, but I was just like, issues with money. You know, for me, I think this is really good. And I think there's a lot of people out there like me, who have money, trauma, but don't know it. You know, I grew up with a single parent who put herself put herself in a position to provide a really great life for me and my sister. And so money. You know, we didn't have the luxury growing up to spend extra money on things, like what we had was the necessities. And you know, as soon as I started making money, extra money, I didn't know how to save it. And I just wanted to spend it because I wasn't used to having it. And so I've actually done a lot of work on it. And it's really interesting, because I kind of want to talk about what causes money trauma, like what are some things in childhood. So for example, it's really interesting. And for everyone that's been following along, they know that I've lost my mother and my father, and I didn't grow up with my father, my dad, and my mom divorced when I was seven, and I lived with my mom. And my mom was always someone who was doing math, like there was lots of like sheets of notes, where it was like she I don't know what she was doing, maybe like, what her income was, what the costs were like, there's always like notes of like, long, long addition and subtraction and whatnot. And my dad, when I was cleaning out his hospital room had had like backs of envelopes. And like doing this, like long for math, like figuring out how much money he made, what it costs, what. And it's just so interesting, because I maybe that's something they did together. Maybe that's something my parents generation did. But for a while when I was starting my business, and I was trying to figure out, okay, if I have this, many clients doing this, and my rent is this and my bills are this, I used to do my math like that, too, because my mom always did it. But I digress. Anyways, it's so interesting, because my mom had this money trauma, because my mom and dad were together. And my dad was financially very successful, and then developed an addiction and left her and left the family. And so now my mom was left to provide for me and my sister on her own. And so it's really interesting. Because I think my family came from a place of abundance to a place of, I don't want to say lack, because we still had a really good life. But it was just a very different life than my mother imagined. And so money was always an issue. We didn't you know, spending extra money always was a trigger for my mom. And so now I have to unlearn the things that I was surrounded with growing up. And I'm doing lots of reading and learning and I cannot wait to read your book. Like I hope I get a signed copy. Let me know if I can do that. We can do a book trade. But yeah, like I just like, there's so much there. And I'm really working on my deep trauma from all the things in my childhood, you know, divorce, addiction, abandonment, but I need to work on this money trauma. And so what are some things that you know, maybe in a child's home, that would be happening that would trigger that money, trauma, you know, as an adult?Keisha Blair:
Absolutely. And it's so amazing Blair, as you're talking, like, even on the holistic world podcast, I've had so many guests who've gone through their childhood, who said, you know, they witnessed their parents arguing about money, when they were young, they witnessed the cycles of feast and famine. So cycles, where there was an abundance of money, and another time where it was just so scarce, it was almost like famine. And, and so in terms of childhood, that can cause a lot of money trauma, in terms of having that security blanket removed. And so in childhood, when, or brains are developing that kind of security or the loss or that perceived loss of security can cause money, trauma. And so there are other kinds or other reasons, so it can be familial, passed down through generations. So we've seen and, you know, with, with many people who I've coached and people who've been on the podcast, we've seen people who said, listen, like my parents lived through the Holocaust, not my parents, my great grandparents, right. Or, you know, they were refugees, and had to come from Africa to the United States and basically went to war. There are others who, whose, you know, ancestors went from slavery and so they're there These big global socio economic events that define our families and define our lineage. And we know that DNA and we know that genes get passed down. And so there's the field of epigenetics also, right? Where, you know, it's a new field. But basically, you know, that field and studies coming out of that field, say that even when you're in the womb, right, certain things get passed down from mother to the child. And we know that as well. And, of course, even if we think about what's happening today, with COVID-19, there are people now developing lots of money trauma, I mean, there were studies, there are studies just published, that talk about the depth of the mental health challenges. And some of that is resulted to finance as well as some of that is as a result of finances. And of course, you know, racial trauma is also a part of it, that history and cycle of oppression, right where our ancestors were enslaved for certain people. And certain types of scarcity, you know, habits got passed down, and whether it's slavery or any other type of oppression, economic oppression, that that does, you know, tend to get passed down through generations. So that's familiar those as well. But of course, going through things like domestic violence. So there are other things like financial abuse, domestic violence, having having a narcissistic spouse, a spouse who's just abusive, some of that can cause money trauma. So I'll give you the example of, let's say, and not to say that this was my experience, but if I talk about being widowed at 31, I'm, that in itself wasn't money trauma. But I, for instance, we had a life insurance policy. And I was, you know, the recipient of the proceeds we had planned well, I was an economist, he was a CPA, we were both kind of in similar fields, where we planned ahead and did everything, we put everything in place. However, what many people don't realize is that when once you get, you know, money that's related to a death, a loss pin, it could be even a job that you hate, that can cause money, trauma, that can pass on feelings of an I call this financial survivor's guilt, right. So anything like that creates money, trauma. So I'm giving a wide range of examples of what causes it here because it spans the gamut. And those are just some examples blare of, you know, you know, some reasons why it happens.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Wow, thank you for sharing. It's so insightful. Now. If someone's listening, and this is triggering, like, Whoa, I need to explore this. What are they do? Can you go to like a regular psychologist or therapist, like what do I do? If I have money trauma, and I want to heal it? Like, where do I go?Keisha Blair:
Yeah, no, absolutely, you can absolutely. You know, go to a therapist, that's actually one way of dealing with it. There are resources out there books, courses, like the one I mentioned at the Institute on holistic wealth. For a lot of us the process starts though even before we get to a therapist, the process starts with really looking within. We all know what we've been through what we've experienced since childhood. So you know, writing down, and you know, it's so funny, I coach my clients to write down your personal disruption timeline, right? So what does your personal disruption timeline look like and start from as early as you can remember, and jot it down and think about the significance of the different events and prioritize them. And also think about the impacts they had on you and look back at your, you know, your, your ancestors, your great grandparents and your parents. And just as you did a while ago, Blair, when you mentioned how, you know, what you saw your parents did their money, habits, kind of what you know, what they passed on to you the messages, the habits, the patterns, we can also do that self reflection, long before we get to the stage where we decide, you know, what, it's time for me to see a therapist, because we know what we're doing in our day to day lives. And we'll know if our finances are in disarray, or we're, we feel financially paralyzed there. And there are a number of effects that it causes on us. And we know because we know we all know the state of our personal finances, and how it makes us feel so even before we get to the stage of Yeah, I need a therapist, or Yeah, I want to do some Coaching one on one with a money coach or someone who is trained in the field somehow, then I think it's good to be just very mindful, and just very self aware of, of, you know, your habits, your current habits around money, the story you tell yourself around money. And, and even before we get to even rewriting our personal money story, which is something that I also encourage people to do is just thinking about tracking, start to journal, track your habits, think about, you know, your lifestyle, and how money makes you feel. And I think that will also yield a lot of insights as well.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, that's so interesting. So I like, on my journey with money. My mom worked really hard, she put a lot of ways so like when she inevitably would retire or pass away, she'd have money. But she didn't get a chance to retire, she passed away quite suddenly at 62. And then my dad had lots of money, but he had an addiction. So when he died, he had no money. And it's so interesting, because Scott, cuz I've had so much loss in such a short period of time. I do believe in putting money away and saving for a rainy day. But I feel like and it might not just even be me, I think a lot of people feel this way is like, I don't want to work as hard as I can now and save for retirement. I want to work hard, but also live my life. And so I'm not saving as much as I should be. Because I'm doing things like going on trips, or spending on things because I just watched two parents die. I've watched a lot of tragedy happen. And I don't know what's going to happen to me, I lost my aunt when she was in her 50s, my mom, her sister, when she was 62. And I want to live my life now while I'm healthy and do stuff. So I think for me, that's kind of how I'm rewriting my money trauma. And so yeah, I mean, it's trying to find that balance, like what advice do you have for people who like me? Who Yes, you might be putting some money away, but I'm not like, I don't have a plan. I know what I want to do. But I also know there's places in the world I want to see and all this thing, all these things I want to experience. But because I've had so much loss, and I've watched people die before they can even enjoy their life or their retirement, or they retire, and then they get sick and die. It's like, I don't want that. I want to enjoy my life now. Yeah. And that doesn't mean like, and like when I do retire, and do entrepreneurs ever fully retire? Like, I think my great uncle has retired and gone back to work a few times, right? Like, I just think of him. You know, I want to not do what the you know, traditional conventional thing is is save, save, save and then retire, I want to like work, spend save were expensive, you know?Keisha Blair:
Mm hmm, absolutely. And that's the whole holistic wealth concept to Blair, which is amazing that you bring that up, because I was in that same state of mine, after my husband died, I was just like, No, I need a different life. i He died at 34, I was 31, I thought you have got to be kidding me. I don't want to have to wait until I retire to live a good life. And so that's when I developed the concept of holistic wealth and having that harmony and balance, and being able to take those trips that you said, right to be able to live that meaningful life. And so the concept of the holistic wealth portfolio is what I developed, which is what I needed, which is what you need. And many of us who are thinking along these lines, which is the great majority of us right now during COVID-19. But I knew I needed a portfolio approach to looking at my goals and my long term goals. And thinking about the type of life I wanted to carve out. I know, I know, it had to be very intentional by design. And this concept of the holistic wealth portfolio is that because then you put down all your goals, you know, we plan your investments, everything and then you're able to take those trips, you're able to look at what you need. And you know, you're able to have a resilient portfolio that can help you weather different shocks that actually might come up again. Right. So that's the whole concept. And that's kind of a lot of the work that we do at the Institute on holistic wellness enabling people to have that balanced life. And we coach certified holistic wealth consultants on helping others to achieve that balanced life. But that's basically it in a nutshell because I felt exactly like how you did. I wanted to travel I love traveling. I wanted to enjoy my life. You know, here I was widowed with two young sons. I wanted to enjoy life with them as they were growing up and not after when I was sick, and you know, ready to die almost and they weren't Big and no had families and you know, had no time for that. So I wanted the same things and you know, many people are feeling this way. And I think that solution to it is that portfolio approach with planning, you know, to have that kind of space and room to be able to do it, but to do it intentional, and you know, having a personal mission and outlining a mission statement and your money mission under that, and rewriting your personal money story around your values and the type of life you want it. It's not necessarily what your parents had, or what they thought security men because I know that's a big block for some people to a mental block in terms of carrying out the type of life they want, but thinking about what you authentically want for your life. And a lot of that comes down to a lot of planning. And, you know, putting aside, you know, different funds and different pots and really thinking about the type of light. And some of it might mean sacrificing and other areas. Some of it might mean, you know, pulling funds from other areas, but it's really just outlining what you're comfortable with the type of risk you're comfortable taking on and how you're going to invest. And if you're investing so far what you're invested in, and really sitting down with someone who has gone through this type of trauma, someone who has walked this path, because I think that's so important. Right, who knows the frame of mind and knows what you're thinking? And why I think that's also critical.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, no, definitely. And I think that's really great advice. So how can our listeners find you? What's the best way for them to absorb your information, track you down so they can hire you?Keisha Blair:
But yeah, so my website is Keisha blur, calm. And the institute's website is Institute on holistic wealth calm. So there, you know, on the institute site, there's lots of different courses that I mentioned. And then on my website, I do do one on one coaching with select clients. So that's also available. And of course, the book, the book is a great start, especially the new and expanded edition of holistic wealth. It's now available for preorder online, everywhere, it's at Indigo, it's at, you know, Barnes and Noble online, Amazon target. And it's available now. And it's a great resource in addition to the holistic wealth, personal workbook that has sheets, you know, like worksheets for you to work through and going through your mission statement and going through all these various things that are very helpful. You know, if you've been through money, trauma, and so yeah, my email is info at Keisha Blair calm and, you know, listeners can track me down on social media. And my Keisha Oh, Blair, at Instagram and on Twitter, and Keisha were author on Facebook,Blair Kaplan Venables:
and I'm going to have all those links in the show notes as well. Before we wrap up, what advice do you have? For someone who is just realizing they have money trauma?Keisha Blair:
Yeah, no, absolutely. I would seek out I would definitely seek out help. I would try to jot down, you know, how I'm feeling my emotions, how often does it happen? What what are the implications in terms of the state of my family finances, I think all these things are important to be able to communicate to anyone, so whether it's me, whether it's another coach, whether it's a therapist, all these things are important. And there's one aspect I didn't get to mention, but I developed this personal financial identity framework with with a free quiz. And I've had many therapists say to me, now listen, I wish I did that quiz 10 years ago. And I think everyone should do the quiz. And as you do the quiz, and you're answering each question now that quizzes available on the Institute on holistic wealth website, think about why you're answering the way you're answering that will help trigger memories from the past. And it helps you think about whether or not and how deep your money trauma is. So that quiz is also helpful in a variety of ways. Because then you get to see, well, oh, I'm a risk taker. But maybe my parents were anxious spenders because they grew up in a time where a feast and famine and this was passed down to me this anxiety around money, but yet still I have the need to want to take more risks, but I'm holding back because I think about them. So all of that will help you to really realize what's going on and to think about it and to express it in a way where you know, you have the words and and you you know you've written down thoughts about it. And it's it's very helpful to do that in the beginning. And of course, I think the earlier you talk to someone, the earlier you, you start to take steps is the is always for the better, especially if that person is trained to not only talk about trauma, but trained in terms of getting you through rewriting your personal money story, which is the ultimate outcome in terms of getting your finances in this new relationship with money off the ground, because that's what's going to enable you to have that type of success and, and to live that life. You mentioned Blair, where you know, you want this balanced lifestyle. You want to be able to spend and to be able to craft a life that's uniquely yours. And that's the whole goal of this.