Understanding Systemic Oppression and Solving the Marketing Problem | Julien and Kiersten Saunders from rich & Regular

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Today’s episode features Julien and Kiersten from Rich & Regular.

The name is a play on Rich & Famous where they talk about how they never want to be disconnected from regular people.

They share their personal and professional journey. Julien and Kiersten also share the unique challenges that face the black community and wealth-building.

Most people can think of white people who are wealthy but not famous, yet when we think of black wealth, we conjure names like Oprah, LeBron, or Obama, and Julien and Kiersten want to show that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Listen, learn, and let us know what you think about this incredibly important topic.

Episode Summary

Julien and Kiersten’s Background

  • Julien grew up with a scarcity mindset
  • This was during the crack era in 1980’s Brooklyn
  • He knew that money existed but never saw it in real life
  • This led him to believe he could never be rich
  • Kiersten’s background was very different
  • She grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta
  • Kiersten says she was comfortable and never worried about money
  • Julien credits mentors at all stages of his life for his ability to make it in life
  • He says these people would always push him further
  • In 2005 he was graduating from Georgia State University and spending time in Europe
  • This trip changed his world view and made him realize what’s possible

Difference’s in Spending Come to a Head

  • Julien and Kiersten go on a vacation to Panama
  • Julien expected they would really cut back on spending after returning
  • His focus was on getting the credit card back to zero
  • Kiersten was on a totally different page
  • She wasn’t looking to slow down spending
  • This caused some friction but obviously they got through that
  • Kiersten realized she just always had income coming in so she felt like there was always more

Wealth Disparity of the Black Community

  • Julien highlights the median net worth of black members of the Boston community
  • The median net worth at the time was $8
  • He talks about the problems society we will see as this gap grows
  • He cautions that there will be violence and crime as people get restless
  • Julien also quotes a study that project the median net worth of black families in the U.S. will be $0 by 2053

How Do We All Help

  • Kiersten urges people to support black-owned business
  • She talks about how this allows you to vote with your dollar
  • This also trickles down to other families
  • She says that for any product you can buy at a big store, you can probably buy from a black-owned business

No FIRE Number

  • Julien doesn’t find a lot of value in focusing on a FIRE number
  • Kiersten jokes that it has bounced around by 100s of thousands
  • Hitting that number wouldn’t radically change how they operate
  • They’re very motivated to keep that number climbing
  • With this money, they can make more of an impact on social activism

Resonating with the Black Community

  • Talking about the FI path in a non-linear way
  • Often times people of color don’t have the benefit of predictability
  • Then we talk about the book The Real Pepsi Challenge
  • In this, it’s highlighted that black people aren’t just white people with darker skin
  • The experiences and interests there are just different
  • You wouldn’t market to a mother of three the same way you would to a man with no children
  • So it should be familiar that different people need messages in different ways
  • Julien and Kirsten feel like they’re meeting people where they are and speaking to people who haven’t been spoken to

Rich and Regular Get Published

  • They didn’t expect to be writing a book this soon
  • This process has involved agents and a writing coach
  • There were 13 different versions as they tried to pull this together
  • Julien describes it as part financial love story, part financial inspiration, and  part an invitation to the black community to come to join the FI movement
  • It is also targeted to help couples get on the same financial page.


Key Takeaways

  1. Vote with your dollar: You can make a direct impact with who you do and don’t support with your hard-earned money.
  2. Gas Tank Analogy: We often feel like we have to hit our FI number before we can make these decisions but imagine if we wouldn’t drive our car unless we had a full tank of gas?

Call to Action

1) Support business owners and entrepreneurs in the black community 2) Make your workplace or organization more inclusive and open 3) Speak up! Nothing gets solved if it isn’t brought to light.

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Julien and Kiersten’s Information

Website – Rich and Regular

Twitter – Rich and Regular

Instagram – Rich and Regular

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