Stories about money are never about money. They are about pain, about family, about atrocity, about luck, about health, about politics. And while we get a kind of vicarious thrill from listening to other people’s financial tales of woe, whether we are morally condemning a millennial for buying a daily flat white when she could be putting that $3 into a savings account that earns zero interest in the hopes that the city she lives in won’t be underwater from rising sea levels by the time she has enough for a deposit or just feeling gratitude that we are better off than the poor shmuck explaining their hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, rarely are these stories allowed to be as complex as their situations truly are.
In each episode of This Is Uncomfortable, the host Reema Khrais introduces us to an individual’s financial plight. There are a lot of these podcasts out there, granted, but Khrais isn’t listening to someone’s sob story only to advocate for discipline and self-reliance like Dave Ramsey, nor is she acting as a way too intense cheerleader for prosperity like Suze Orman. Here the stories are never just about personal problems but instead about how people are enlivened, agitated, #blessed and shamed by their experiences with money.
In a recent episode, a young indigenous woman found herself explaining how she got tens of thousands of dollars into credit card debt. One day at work, she tried to lift a heavy bag and suddenly collapsed in pain. She finished working her shift, then she started on the very long and expensive process of trying to find medical help.
Whether the doctors she visited — and she visited many — helped her or not, she still had to pay them.