In American society, money is a taboo topic. By not talking with loved ones and friends about money, we miss opportunities to sort through the noise and learn the vocabulary and skills we need to effectively understand, evaluate and financially plan for what’s most important to us.
Money Tale$ gives a voice to this uncomfortable topic. Co-hosts Sandi Bragar and Cammie Doder bring more than 35 years of combined professional experience in personal finance to each episode to demystify money and demonstrate what it’s like to speak openly about personal financial matters.
Join us for interviews with modern day movers and shakers who share how money decisions intertwine with their daily lives and the wisdom they gained from those experiences.
Agency and Autonomy, with Marit Bakken
In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Marit Bakken. Marit grew up in Norway where her grandparents had a little farm. For them, money was bartering arrangements with neighbors. As Marit says, they’d pay half a pig to have someone slay their field for a month. Money was tight and the family had to work really hard. When she was twelve years old, her grandfather died. Shortly afterwards, Marit walked into a room and saw her mother and grandmother sitting on the floor, counting money, and crying. They had discovered a hidden stash of cash. The tears were filled with both anger, because that money could have made a difference to the family sooner, and joy because the extra money would help. Marit describes this as a pivotal moment. Seeing two generations of women, crying on the floor because the male head of the family had held this from them, set Marit on a path of agency and autonomy toward her own financial future.
Marit has worked in communication most of her professional life. She was the Co-Founder of a strategic communications and public relations company, which was recognized as one of the Bay Area’s fastest-growing private companies and largest women-owned public relations company. Today, Marit is the Founder of 360 Relationship, where she is a highly regarded relationship and co-parenting therapist, and divorce mediator. She works closely with family law attorneys and financial advisors to, regardless of circumstances, ensure that people thrive in their lives and relationships.
Nothing is Permanent, with Morwari Zafar, PhD
In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Morwari Zafar. Morwari was born in Kabul, Afghanistan to a father who was a diplomat and a mother who was a doctor. As Morwari tells us, in this culture social capital has a much higher value than financial capital. Politics and geopolitical challenges caused her family to move around the globe requiring her parents to take on different, less prestigious jobs in order to take care of their family. They ultimately settled in California. This is where Morwari first began to understand the importance of financial capital. As a young adult in love, family social pressures caused Morwari to decide to marry even though she knew in her heart she wanted to remain single and not have children. During the marriage social capital and financial capital collided. Morwari decided to leave the marriage and pursue the independent life she craved.
Morwari is an anthropologist and the founder/CEO of The Sentient Group, a human-centered research, education, and training consultancy in the Washington DC area. She is also an adjunct professor of Afghanistan's Political History at Georgetown University. She has worked in both the international development and defense sectors, focusing on diaspora engagement. She served as a Next Generation National Security Leaders Fellow at the Center for a New American Security in 2016, and as a research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute conducting an ethnographic study of county militias and gun rights activism in Virginia. Morwari has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford.
Beginners Mindset, with Amanda Gibson
In this episode of Money Tales our guest is Amanda Gibson. Amanda started adulting when she was twelve years old. As Amanda tells us, she developed a budget and related proposal to move out and pitched it to her parents. It was rejected! Only four years later, she was successful and started an independent life of her own. Reflecting on this years later, Amanda views curiosity as her superpower to imagine a financially secure life of her own at such a young age. Curiosity has served Amanda well throughout her money life.
Today, Amanda works with CEOs and other senior executives to create paths through complexity and chaos. She serves as a strategic partner as well as a Certified Executive Coach, helping ambitious leaders be the leader that they want to be. Her work sits at the intersection of strategy, leadership, innovation, and culture, building on two decades of experience designing and redesigning strategies, roles, programs, processes, and teams across disciplines that include marketing, operations, innovation, R&D, finance, and business development.
Do What You Enjoy, with Monica Mazzei
In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Monica Mazzei. When she was a teenager enrolled at a private high school, Monica’s parents told her that she’d have to be financially self-sufficient after graduation. This meant Monica was on her own to pay for the formal education needed to achieve her dream of becoming an attorney. Monica tells us that financing college with loans makes you look at your education a little bit differently. She knew she was making investment in herself and realized that she couldn’t afford for it to be a bad investment.
Monica Mazzei is a Certified Family Law Specialist representing clients in the Bay Area, with a concentration in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as well as Los Angeles. She represents high net worth clients throughout the divorce process and in mediation. Monica has been named a California Super Lawyer from 2015-2019 and has been recognized in the international Chambers High Net Worth 2017-2019 guide for Family/Matrimonial Law.
Monica specializes in dissolution actions involving complicated valuation and financial matters, and complex community property and support issues, including international issues, dissolutions involving hedge funds, private equity, venture capital and privately held businesses.
Monica drafts and negotiates cohabitation agreements, pre-marital and post-marital agreements for her clients.
Monica also mediates pre-marital agreements. As a mediator, Monica helps to identify the thoughts and concerns of both parties in a non-confrontational setting. Mediation helps clients discuss difficult topics which allows Monica to create a financial structure that works for both parties.
Monica takes a modern approach to the practice of family law – addressing various needs for her clients related and unrelated to their family law case. Monica has relationships with top professionals in the Bay Area such as forensic accountants, mental health professionals, real estate agents, financial advisors and business valuation experts. She also works closely with estate planning attorneys to come up with creative solutions for her clients and ensure their agreements reflects their current objectives.
Monica is a frequent lecturer and speaker on family law matters and a staunch advocate against domestic abuse in her pro bono work.
Navigating Blended Families, with Paul Hood
In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Paul Hood. Paul is a “recovering tax lawyer”. Among many things, he is also a prolific writer. Paul recently published his ninth book, Yours, Mine & Ours: Estate Planning for People in Blended or Stepfamilies. In this Money Tales conversation, Paul talks about his personal journey navigating his own blended family. Paul has two sons from his first marriage and later married again. As he shares, there have been periods where he felt like he wasn’t doing enough for his current spouse, while also feeling like he was never fully caught up with his kids. Paul viewed this as a “damned if you do and damned if you don't” situation.
A native of Louisiana (and a double LSU Tiger), Paul obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University and an LL.M. in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center before settling down to practice tax and estate planning law in the New Orleans area. Paul has taught at the University of New Orleans, Northeastern University, The University of Toledo College of Law and Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law. Paul has authored or co-authored nine books and over 500 professional articles on estate, charitable and tax planning and business valuation. Paul’s ninth book, Yours, Mine & Ours: Estate Planning for People in Blended or StepFamilies, is now out. His website is www.paulhoodservices.com.
A frequent contributor to Leimberg Information Services since its inception, Paul is a highly sought-after speaker and consultant because of his innate ability to see through the complexity and explain difficult and even boring subjects in understandable and entertaining language with his insightful and biting sense of humor, and he minces no words in doing so. Along the way, Paul’s been a father, husband, uncle, Godfather, lawyer, trustee, member, director, president, partner, trust protector, director of planned giving, expert witness, agent, professor, judge, juror, respondent, and a defendant, and he uses his experience in these myriad roles to guide others.
A passionate history buff who teaches the history of tax and estate planning in his school and continuing education classes, Paul is a self-described amateur papal historian (boasting a personal library of papal history books that exceeds 100), and he has given numerous speeches about the history of the papacy and the popes as well as the history of the governors of Louisiana.
In the fall of 2022, Paul is beginning to teach a three-semester course on the history of the popes and the papacy in the Adult Lifelong Learning Program at Lourdes University, and he’s also teaching another course in the fall of 2022 on the fascinating and litigious histories of Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame groups the Platters and the Drifters.
Paul is an author, speaker and consultant on tax, estate and charitable planning. He also is a Vice-President with Thompson & Associates, a charitable estate planning firm.
Shoot for the Moon, with Julius Robinson
In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Julius Robinson. As Julius explains, he came from pretty meager beginnings, raised by a single mother of four kids, living in one of the traditionally low-income areas of Los Angeles. When he was a college student, Julius made a commitment to himself to shine a proverbial light over his shoulders so that others wouldn't stumble on the potholes and rocks in the path he was taking. As he continues through life, Julius has come to understand that the beacon of light he’s creating needs to be amplified by the people following him. Doing so creates opportunities where people and communities can manifest themselves.
Julius is Managing Director and Head of MUFG Union Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Group for the Americas. He is responsible for company-wide CSR strategy and programs in the United States, Latin America, and Canada, including charitable giving, community outreach, environmental, and Chief Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance officer, directing resources and investments, Supplier Diversity and Environmental Stewardship Policy & Risk. Julius is an integral part of the bank’s government relations & affairs activities; he Chair’s the MUFG Union Bank Foundation, the nonprofit entity that acts as the agent for the bank’s charitable contributions. He plays a key role in the bank’s overall Community Development strategy in organizing the bank’s cross-functional resources to benefit of low and moderate income and minority majority communities.
Julius joined the bank in 1997 and has more than 43 years of banking experience. He has held position of management and progressive responsibilities with several major financial institutions including San Diego Trust & Savings Bank, Crocker Bank, Union Bank, Chase Manhattan, Home Savings of America, GMAC Mortgage prior to his 25-year career with MUFG Union Bank. Julius has comprehensive knowledge of Credit Analysis & Underwriting Risk, Residential Mortgage Origination, Commercial and Consumer Lending, Private Equity Investment, Community Reinvestment Act Compliance, Philanthropy, Supplier Diversity, Environmental & Social Risk Governance, Community Relations, and Governmental Affairs.
Julius is well known for his community involvement as: Chairman of the Board of Students Rising Above.org; Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD), Board Secretary; SF Jazz.org, Board of Trustees; Western Regional Minority Supplier Diversity Council (WRMSDC), Corporate Advisory Board; Operation HOPE Regional Committee; California State University Monterey Bay School of Business, Corporate Advisory Board; USC Latino Alumni Assoc, Corporate Advisory Council; L.A. Latino Chamber, Corporate Advisory Board; and former Committee co-chair of the Bay Area Council’s Workforce for the Future: Boys and Men of Color Initiative.
Julius received his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Diplomacy with a minor in Economics from the United States International University, San Diego & Mexico. He completed the post-graduate program with Pacific Coast Banking School at University of Washington, Seattle. In addition, he holds a Certificate of Practice in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College Carroll School of Management.
Julius has received numerous awards and recognitions for his professional accomplishments and community work. These include Senatorial, Congressional, State and City proclamations, awards and recognitions from nonprofit, NGO, and professional organizations.
Julius has two adult sons. He enjoys sports of all kinds but particularly basketball, football, and tennis. He is an avid runner and enjoys general fitness including hiking in the East Bay Regional Park hills near his home. Other favorite pastimes include live music of various genres, and he is an avid art and wine collector.
Why are Americans so afraid to talk about money? Is is pride, shame, or… culture? If you are hesitant to have that conversation, start here! Cami and Sandy are active listeners and amazing podcast hosts.
These discussions on money are so critical for learning how to live a rich life in ALL ways. If you haven’t gotten serious about accumulating wealth yet, there’s no better time than now and better people to learn from than Sandi, Cammie and their guests.
Great take away from each podcast
Money Tales was recommended to me by a friend. I was reluctant at first, but have found each episode to be quite engaging. The guests are interesting with varied life stories (i.e. olympic skier, writer raised by a communist mother, Northern Ireland immigrant) and I always take away a good piece of financial advice. The hosts contribute to lively discussion but don’t get in the way. Recommend!