Talking About Finances Is Key to Getting Your Money Right

By: Anneken Tappe · March 21, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Let’s Talk About Dollars

Money is a very personal topic that can evoke strong emotions. Embarrassment and shame can plague people at all income levels. But if you ask Karamo Brown, he’ll tell you that a key step to combating negative feelings is transparency.

You may know Karamo from Netflix’s Queer Eye and his own Karamo Show. He didn’t grow up with money, and frugality still shapes the way he deals with his finances today. He recently shared all with Vivian Tu, aka Your Rich BFF, and SoFi’s Head of Advice and Planning Brian Walsh on SoFi’s YouTube series Richer Lives .

When his parents divorced, Karamo watched his mother struggle to figure out her finances. Later he witnessed his sister take jobs to make their lives work, and observed the wage disparity that Black women face. These lessons shaped his position on pay transparency and negotiation today.

“It’s okay to want more,” he said. “I encourage my children and my family members to consistently have transparent conversations.”

He says that nurturing curiosity about money — from financial literacy to dreaming big — is key to getting it right down the line.

Ask for Help

Learning his own financial lessons wasn’t easy. Karamo got into debt after college when his spending patterns didn’t match his income.

“I was still maintaining my bills, but I just saw the debt piling up, and up, and up, and up,” he said.

He shared a story of feeling overwhelmed by payments for a car that his mother had cosigned for. Eventually, he ran behind on payments, and his mother ended up getting called about overdue bills. This taught him to ask for help in order to get his finances under control again.

“And slowly but surely, we got out of it,” he said.

Keep It Real and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Now a Netflix star, Karamo said the first season of Queer Eye wasn’t the gigantic payday people might think it is.

“Sometimes the payout doesn’t come immediately. Sometimes the payout comes in language,” he said when describing the contractual carveout that allowed him to have a daytime talk show.

Another fun fact about him: He is secure in what he does and doesn’t want to waste money on today.

“All my jewelry is fake,” he revealed. “I also don’t spend money on designer clothes.”

Looking for more stories like this? Check out On the Money — SoFi’s one-stop-shop for news, trends, and tips!

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