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On the morning of June 14, 2022, we were in Manhattan as our book, Cashing Out, was introduced to the world. We were jittery, excited, and perplexed all at once. Finally [we thought]—after almost three years of writing, editing, re-writing and tweaking titles, it was time for the big reveal.
Then, ‘round 8:18 AM EST, for a few seconds, our book cover was plastered on a Times Square jumbotron and for a few minutes thereafter, we held our breath as an entire segment about it and our story played on Good Morning America. As first time authors, you can’t ask for much more that.
Kiersten, with her hair still in twists, almost lost her shit as she stared in disbelief at TJ Holmes and Rebecca Jarvis talk about our story and incorporate our ideas into the segment. Julien actually did lose his shit and proceeded to hammer fist the bed screaming “Yes”, “Fu** yeah” and a few other joyful expletives. That’s about all we remember and honestly, we’re surprised we can even recall that much because apparently, when dreams come true, it’s really all a blur.
apparently, when dreams come true, it’s really all a blur.
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We spent the rest of our morning visiting Barnes and Noble bookstores in Manhattan; signing copies for future readers and scribbling inspirational notes inside the first few pages. And when the initial high finally subsided, we grabbed some ridiculously expensive sushi followed by a few cocktails with our literary agent to celebrate the moment.
Throughout the day, there were texts and calls from loved ones congratulating us on the accomplishment and expressing how proud of us they were. And ever since then, especially on our book tour, folks have been asking us how we’re doing. So we figured we’d write a blog post to share a bit more of what’s happening behind the scenes and a few stories from the road.
A busy summer we’ll never forget
Any author will tell you writing a book is hard and promoting a book is even harder. As of today, we’ve not hit the wall just yet but we do understand how easily it could happen. You may think the author of a book would want to talk about it all the time, but you’d be wrong. For us, it’s actually far more interesting to hear other people’s thoughts on Cashing Out which is why we’ve enjoyed the book tour so much and have been pushing for readers to leave ratings and reviews on amazon.com and audible.
We should also mention our book isn’t the only thing occupying our time these days. As creators, we’ve been working on several brand campaigns, we still record our weekly podcast which recently eclipsed one million downloads and we’ve done a handful of speaking engagements with organizations like the PGA Store, The Plutus Foundation and Fulton County Government. And somewhere in between there, Julien even got a vasectomy.
In other, less alarming news, our son officially started Kindergarten which meant we needed to coordinate getting him registered, preparing him for the big transition and all the tedious things involved with leaving daycare behind. Somehow, we also found the time to write an article about how a random picture we took of him years ago will lead to an estimated $76,000 balance in his custodial account by the time he turns 21. And guess what? There are more articles, podcast interviews and media features coming.
In the weeks leading up to our release date, we’ve also taken a few family getaways to Galveston, TX and Orlando, FL and in the fall, we’re excited about incorporating even more inter-generational travel so we’re building memories with our son, his grandparents and extended family.
We know what you’re thinking. And yes, we know…that’s A LOT.
But in the moments we find ourselves a little stressed out, we’re reminded this is what we asked for. And as we think about the life we left behind where we constantly felt undervalued, un-inspired and censored, we’re immensely grateful for the freedoms and privileges we enjoy today.
…as we think about the life we left behind where we constantly felt undervalued, un-inspired and censored, we’re immensely grateful for the freedoms and privileges we enjoy today.
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Stories from the Cashing Out summer book tour
So you know, book tours, don’t just…happen. They take time, planning and most importantly money to pull off. Thankfully, we secured a sponsor [Capital Group] who has helped to offset some of the costs of pulling this all together. From mid June through early August, we’ve held events in Atlanta, Philadelphia Washington DC, Dallas, Raleigh NC and Richmond VA. As our fall/winter calendar come’s together, we’ll likely add a few more cities like Houston, New York City, Charlotte, Tampa, the Midwest and West Coast.
It’s been absolutely amazing to meet so many readers, viewers and listeners in person, to hear how they found us, what they’re building or struggling with. And quite naturally, as we’ve collected these stories, we’ve identified some patterns.
Here are a few that stand out so far.
The Job Lovers
There’s always one. Without fail, at every event, at least one person [usually a passionate educator] will ask something to the effect of “what if you love your job”? The presumption is that our message is for people who’ve struggled in their careers, experienced hardship or lost their passion somehow. And that they [the person asking the question] are an exception because they actually LOVE their jobs, feel fulfilled by the work and can’t justify ever quitting despite the challenges it brings. When we say “cashing out”, it’s as if they hear give up, accept failure and throw your identity away.
We’ve typically responded by clarifying our message and explaining that Cashing Out is about preparing for the worst—or at the bare minimum—for history to repeat itself. We remind them of the odds of getting the big promotion they’re dreaming of; how much more difficult it is for people of color to accomplish and what the costs associated with those ambitions are.
For many, a life devoted to work is one that prioritizes a steady paycheck to the detriment of one’s health, the ability to nurture a marriage and effectively support a family. We then remind them that our sentiments aren’t just based on our lived experience, and that everything we’re sharing is all supported by research. But unfortunately, we also know that data and research are pretty ineffective at motivating people to change their behaviors.
So going forward, we’ll likely take a softer, more abstract approach when confronted by Job Lovers. The next time some hard-working, big-hearted reader tells us they love their jobs; we’ll respond by asking “how do you define love”? Because, unlike languages from other parts of the world, there is only one word for love in American English and because of this, we use it like hot sauce, cheese and ketchup. In other words, we put that shit on everything.
The next time some hard-working, big-hearted reader tells us they love their jobs; we’ll respond by asking, “how do you define love”?
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The Sandwich Generation and shifting generational values
While visiting Philly, there was a moment that gave us chills.
One of the attendees asked a question about our family and in a moment of pure transparency, we shared some recent struggles and observations in dealing with our parents. Clearly, it struck a chord because in that moment, it was like the choir section all hummed in unison. It was abundantly clear that several people in the room identified with the struggle of being the financial leaders in their family. They’re the one’s who “make magic happen” at family gatherings, the one’s expected to cover the cost without question and the ones everyone assumes is doing ok because they have a good job.
And when we were done speaking, we watched as five women of different backgrounds swapped stories of how they’ve tried to help their parents, siblings and extended family; only to be dismissed or in some cases estranged. The tension was palpable and was often made worse whenever it intersected with a family member’s religious beliefs. Here’s what we see.
By and large, many in our parent’s generation [Boomers] are woefully unprepared for retirement and un-willing to confront the realities of their situation. Their expectation is that their children [millennials] offer support unquestionably as a show of respect and appreciation for having raised them. To complicate matters further, our Boomer parents are also holding onto religious values and practices that millennials have been slowly letting go of.
Everything from the way children should be raised, to gender roles/identities, political affiliations and tithing appear to be in conflict and contribute to a breakdown in communication. In Cashing Out, we don’t dive deep into these issues but as we think about topics to explore in future seasons of Money on the Table, this one is definitely at the top of the list.
A desire for in-person events
In our book, we dedicate an entire chapter to the importance of community. This is because we know how important it is to effectively build new habits, learn new skills and to have others who can serve as role models in your life. Naturally, as we’ve met with hundreds of people around the country, the question is asked if we’d ever consider doing events so people can really dive in. This comes up for several reasons.
First, while events like this already exist [like Chataqua and Camp FI], they aren’t often in places that are convenient and comfortable to people of color. Furthermore, they haven’t historically attracted many people of color over the years which sends an indirect [and perhaps unfair] signal that these events may not be for them. Most importantly, many Black and Brown families want to learn collaboratively and feel free to discuss the issues that are pertinent to them, which only happens in spaces that are hosted, curated and designed with their needs in mind.
In full transparency, we KNOW THIS and planned to do regional events two years ago but writing the book and COVID threw a wrench in our plans. Now that we have a bit more experience with in-person events under our belts, we’re re-evaluating what this would look like. But we can’t and won’t do this alone. So, if enough of you [our readers, viewers and listeners] want us to do it, we’ll definitely try to make it happen. And if you have ideas or connections on venues, locations, topics etc, please send us a note at our general inbox: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The wrap up
Writing Cashing Out was one of the greatest experiences of our lives. At this point in our lives, its a crowning achievement and proud contribution to the culture and global movement we hold so dear. With that said, we still need help…and lot’s of it if we truly want to have an impact on as many people as possible. So if you believe in our mission, here’s what you can do:
- Buy Cashing Out (either in hardcover, audible or Kindle) and leave a five star rating and review
- Consider buying multiple copies for friends and family (e.g. graduation gifts, newlyweds, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, special occasions, bachelor/bachelorette gifts etc.)
- Recommend us as speakers for your Black Employee Resource Groups, Black History Month, Juneteenth celebrations You can see our speaker/media reel here
- Request your local library have copies of Cashing Out available to be borrowed
- Buy discounted copies in bulk (min. 25) by clicking here or sending us an email at email@example.com
If the stories we’ve heard and notes we’ve received over the last few months are any indication, we KNOW we’ve tapped into something real. But it takes a consistent and persistent ground swell to take things to the next level. Now, all that’s left is the support of the people behind us.
Til next time.
Julien and Kiersten
The post Stories from the Cashing Out book tour and what’s next appeared first on rich & REGULAR.