Chain of Wealth

E204- Chelsea from Smart Money Mamas

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Chelsea Brennan is an ex-hedge fund investor turned full-time blogger. After several years working on Wall Street, she made a major life change to choose family, passion, and a positive impact on the world over money. Chelsea started Smart Money Mamas to help more moms feel confident and secure with their money, so they can find fulfillment and do the work they feel called to do.

Chelsea is a recovering perfectionist, aspiring homesteader, and full-blown Potterhead living in Connecticut with her husband (a rockstar stay-at-home dad and board game enthusiast), two young boys, a puppy named Stitches, and 14 crazy chickens.

Denis O’Brien [0:37]
Welcome to Episode 204. Chelsea from Smart Money Mamas. Hey Money can a very warm welcome to the Chain of Wealth podcast. I’m your host Denis O’Brien.

Katie Welsh [0:50]
And I’m Katie Welsh.

Denis O’Brien [0:51]
So Katie, really fun episode we had with Chelsea and we spoke about a ton of random topics really quickly.

Katie Welsh [0:58]
Yeah, well, it’s always a lot of fun. We’re personal friends with Chelsea. So it’s easy to get off on like random tangents and talk about fun things and it’s a much more relaxed podcast episode, but I think very, very worthwhile.

Denis O’Brien [1:15]
Yeah, definitely. And if those who just want like a quick overview, so Chelsea helps a lot of moms learn how to manage money and she’s got a really cool summit coming up. So yeah, we’ll dive right into that as we go into the episode. Before we dive in, if you guys haven’t already, don’t forget to join us on Facebook. You can head on over to, join our Facebook community. And lastly, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram. It’s @chainofwealth on Instagram. We’d love if you would follow us. Alright Kate, you ready to dive right in.

Katie Welsh [1:47]

Denis O’Brien [1:48]
Fantastic. Let’s do it.

Voice Over [1:50]
Welcome to chain of wealth. Here’s your host Dennis inspiring you to begin your journey of financial freedom.

Denis O’Brien [2:4]
Chelsea Brennan is an ex hedge fund investor turned full time blogger. After several years of working on Wall Street. She made a major life change to choose family passion, and a positive impact on the world over money. Chelsea started Smart Money Mama’s to help more moms feel confident and secure with their money, so they can find fulfillment and do the work they feel called to do. Chelsea is a recovering perfectionist, aspiring homesteader and full blown Potter head living in Connecticut with her husband, a rock star, stay at home dad and board game enthusiast. Two young boys, a puppy named stitches, and 14 crazy chickens. Welcome, Chelsea.

Chelsea Brennan [2:47]
Hey, Denis and Katie. Thanks so much for having me back.

Katie Welsh [3:18]
Yeah, yeah. So hold on before we dive into anything. You have 14 chickens.

Chelsea Brennan [2:56]
We have 14 chickens. The intention was to get 6 and we ended up with 14.

Katie Welsh [3:2]
So I’m going to assume that you have like the eggs and everything. You have fresh eggs.

Chelsea Brennan [3:7]
They’re still little so they just started laying eggs like two weeks ago. So we have some eggs, but we will have eventually they’ll each be laying about an egg a day. So we’re going to have a lot of eggs.

Katie Welsh [3:18]
All this time you have just had random chickens running around.

Chelsea Brennan [4:21]
Well, they were babies. They were growing up and then they get ready to lay eggs but yeah, they’ve just been running around. The boys love that.

Denis O’Brien [3:29]
So So how do you get to 14 from 6?

Katie Welsh [3:31]
That is like a question. How is that?

Chelsea Brennan [3:35]
My husband calls it chicken math where we went to get 6. And then there was a certain breed that Henry thought was cute, which is my oldest. So we got 2 more, and then we had 8, and then 1 died and we went to get more. I’m trying to remember the math Exactly.

Katie Welsh [3:50]
I was going to say that would make 7.

Chelsea Brennan [4:21]
That would make 7 but then we decided to replace it. But we went back to replace that they would only sell us 3 a minimum of 3 chicks. So then we bought 3 more. And then we had 10. And then we went back to the feed store to buy food, and they were at the end of the chick run. So basically, they like send all the remaining chicks to auction. And we felt sad about that. So we bought 4 more chickens and now we have 14 chickens.

Katie Welsh [4:17]
So you were a rescue chicken family,

Chelsea Brennan [4:21]
I guess so the boys You know what, they love them. They chase them around and pick them up and they think it’s just the greatest thing in the world, so

Katie Welsh [4:28]
I’m not gonna lie. I feel like your story is like a miserable math problem.

Denis O’Brien [4:32]
I actaully had a more serious question. So does it stop at 14? Are we gonna keep this party going?

Chelsea Brennan [4:41]
We’ll see we one of our so interesting thing about chickens, we’re really going off on a tangent here. They can’t sex them completely accurately. So like if you get ones that are supposed to all be hens, only 9 and 10 of them will be hens. So as our math problem would suggest, we ended up with a rooster. So no probably it does not stop at 14.

Katie Welsh [5:4]
Just keeps going. I take it that you can’t get like the roosters on the hens like you don’t take them to the vet to get like

Chelsea Brennan [5:13]
No, I mean you pay like $2 a chicken really it’s like you just you just sacrifice that chicken.

Katie Welsh [5:20]

Denis O’Brien [5:21]
Anyways, so you were on the podcast before and back then you were going under a different name

Chelsea Brennan [5:29]
Yes, I was Mama Fish Saves.

Denis O’Brien [5:30]
So what sort of prompted the change over rebrand to Smart Money Mamas.

Chelsea Brennan [5:36]
Yeah. So Mama Fish Saves, if you remember from the prior podcast was named by my mom’s group. It was a blog that I didn’t know blogs made money. I didn’t know there was any kind of business enterprise in it. I started it to answer questions from women in my mom’s group. And when I left the hedge fund to really focus on it full time and grow it and wanting it to be a more you know, long term brand, I wanted the name to make more sense. So and to have a more you know, clean feel so we rebranded it to something that you know, Smart Money Mama’s it’s much easier to know exactly what we’re doing exactly what we’re talking about. So we did that rebrand about 10 months ago.

Katie Welsh [6:14]
Awesome. So what have you been up to in that 10 months.

Chelsea Brennan [6:18]
So that 10 months we we changed over the site, we brought on more voices, we want to share more stories direct from moms that are you know, what their goals are, what they’re experiencing both you know, as working moms a stay at home moms what their goals are. We built out some some cool kind of mega posts, our startup business post has been doing really well. And we have been planning an online summit, which will happen next month, we have over 40 speakers lined up over five days, it’s going to be a really cool event.

Denis O’Brien [6:46]
Hectic. So what exactly is the format of it?

Chelsea Brennan [6:50]
Sure. So the summit is called mama stock money. It’s entirely online. And every day is theme. So the first two days are family finance will be talking about budgeting and debt management and handling money as a couple. The next day will be investing in retirement, we will cover all those kind of topics as well as estate planning. We’ll do a day on career and business and then we’ll do a day on kids in money which will actually be really fun because we’re going to talk about teaching kids about money at all ages how to save for college, which is something that’s obviously very close to most moms hearts.

Katie Welsh [7:22]
So will this be done? Like they’re a webinar? Or how like, what will the platform be?

Chelsea Brennan [7:29]
So registration for the event is free, you’ll go to, you can just sign up with your name and email, you’ll get a login to the site. And that’ll give you the full schedule on the back end, there’ll be a separate page for each talk. And then it’ll be like a traditional conference format, where there be a scheduled time that that talk is released. And when it’s released, the speaker will actually be live in chat q&a below the video. So if you have questions, or you want to talk to them, they’ll be there. And then the videos will be available for 48 hours after they’re released in case you’re working, or you just can’t make your schedule fit to see a video you want. You can go back and watch it. And then if you want lifetime access to the videos, as well as some upgrades like transcripts, and we’re having someone do curated notes, so there’s gonna be like a one page takeaway for each talk. You can purchase an all access pass.

Katie Welsh [8:16]
That’s really crafty. So I’m curious, where did you come up with this idea? Because I’ve never heard of an online summit like this.

Chelsea Brennan [8:25]
Sure. So online summits are pretty big in entrepreneurship and travel space, I’ve seen them done quite a bit, not always with quite as many speakers, or with the live q&a aspect but we wanted to getting moms talking about money was something that was like very crucial as we got deeper into the brand. And when you think about it, the way moms interact with money is a little bit different than a lot of other people in that your earnings power changes, you have to deal with thinking about how you want to teach your kids about money for almost all women will have to manage their money on their own at some point in their lives, whether they don’t get married or they get divorced, or they outlive their spouse. But despite all this and despite the fact that women actually control the majority of consumer spending or they’re behind the majority of consumer spending in the US. They have lower levels of financial literacy. They are much much more reticent to talk about money than men are. And actually like a fidelity study from a couple years ago found that 56% of women said they refrain from talking about money because it’s too personal and 27% said they were raised not to talk about the topic. And when you look at that, when you look at the responsibility that’s going to come on their shoulders when you have their kids looking to, to them to teach them about money. And this was a really interesting stat that 76% of girls prefer to learn about money from their moms. And the majority of boys actually say they would also prefer to learn about it from their moms, we got to start talking about it, we got to get comfortable with the topic and feel like, you know, we’re in control, otherwise, we’re not gonna be able to pass any knowledge on to the next generation.

Denis O’Brien [9:57]
So you’ve also got a lot of moms in your group and everything and, you know, I’m sure you have a lot of first time is coming to you that have never really dived into money too much before. So what would you say is one thing that someone’s brand new to the space can sort of take away from joining a community like yours?

Chelsea Brennan [10:14]
That they’re not alone. And I think this is something that we hear all the time from our audience that they feel like they’re somehow failing at adulting, for lack of a better word that they don’t know all this stuff that they have questions and then they’re almost ashamed to bring it up. Because it feels like something they should know how to do. And I think getting surrounded with a community of people who have the same questions who are fighting the same journey to try to find that stability and financial fulfillment, will give them the confidence to keep going to ask the questions and to keep learning.

Denis O’Brien [10:44]
Fantastic. So during a little bit deeper than that, when you like to have a mom in the group, and you know, she’s, do you find that most people sort of like dive in and starts chatting with other moms in the group? Or do you find that the very reserved at first and then they sort of feel it out, see what’s going on? And then they start like opening up? And just to also add that? Do you also feel like establishing sort of like a network friend, like maybe someone that you can be accountable for and someone that you can chat to is important?

Chelsea Brennan [11:11]
Yeah, so we’d love to see you know, we don’t have this this feature or right now, but over time, we’d love to develop an accountability buddy or, you know, mini mastermind, ways to speak about it, and obviously, how people react when they come into our group. And when they come into our email list, it’s going to differ based on personality. One thing that’s been really fascinating to me is when you find these kind of safe spaces and a sense of like, okay, we’re all connected, because we’re all mothers that that just that connection alone makes people open up. So people that wouldn’t talk about money in any other format, do come in and tell really personal stories and ask really personal questions, because it feels like it’s going to be people that understand them and aren’t going to judge them. So we’ve carefully kind of tried to keep that no shame, no bit blame culture, and we plan to keep it through the summit of like, we don’t want anybody picking apart anyone else’s past behavior. This is all about Okay, what can we do better next time, look, support and growth.

Katie Welsh [12:8]
I love that kind of atmosphere because I know just in, you know, being with coworkers, and once they find out about my podcast, and I like talking about money and everything, it’s like all of a sudden, before they wouldn’t even tell you how much their manicure was and then before you know it, they are just laying their entire financial life on you. And it’s really interesting to watch people just like, have that weight lifted off of them.

Chelsea Brennan [12:37]
I think so many of us are looking for an outlet, right?

Katie Welsh [12:40]

Chelsea Brennan [12:40]
And we’ve seen that too. I mean, we I was, you know, just in town recently with my Smart Money Mama sweatshirt on and this woman who lives locally, like start asking me what I do, and I’m standing in the grocery store, and she’s just like dumping her entire life.

Katie Welsh [12:53]
And you didn’t her like at all?

Chelsea Brennan [12:56]
I don’t know her at all. Just like she’s, like, you know, her husband never listened to her about how to manage money. And now they’re stuck in this position, and how should you talk to him about it? And I was just like, okay, like, luckily my three year old is being like kind of patient. But when these hard questions, we want someone who will listen to us.

Katie Welsh [13:14]
Yeah, well, and you want that affirmation?

Chelsea Brennan [13:16]
Oh, yeah.

Katie Welsh [13:17]
You want the affirmation that like, Okay, if I made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, but what can I do and I’m not the only one that done it and moms I think a lot of times you’re trapped, I should say trapped. You are your child all day. So and you also get that time to even just talk to another person, you know who’s an adult or able to read or anything, you just get so excited, you have so much that you can talk about that. It just all comes out.

Chelsea Brennan [13:47]
I think for stay at home moms that that can absolutely be true. And I think for working moms, there’s just so much on their plate, right? I mean, you’re trying to grow at work you’re wondering if the walls you’re coming up to for promotions and, you know, just mentoring and connections are because of some bias or because of something you’re doing and a lot of times you know, we all live in that guilt mindset, right? So we pull it back on ourselves and then it gets hard to find space to really work on ourselves financially professionally. You’re just so focused on others and in kind of keeping all the all the plates spinning.

Katie Welsh [14:24]
So Chelsea you have obviously, you know, been in this space for a while with, you know, Mama Fish Saves before and now Smart Money Mama’s, um, you’ve had such a huge, you know, readership and following and such a great like community aspect, what is like one or two of like the best story takeaways of people that you know, have kind of reeled their life in and been able to refocus.

Chelsea Brennan [14:56]
Absolutely. Okay, so let me think about this because I’m also we’re careful about sharing people’s stories outside of the group, right? Because,

Katie Welsh [15:2]

Chelsea Brennan [15:3]
Because of trust. But I think one of the stories we can share, and this woman has been fairly public, at least within the group about her story is that she came to me in a real struggle, they were in a lot of debt. And, you know, we did some kind of pro bono coaching with her just because she was so stressed out, she has three little kids. And while they made a very good income, they’ve gotten themselves into debt to the point that her kids didn’t have clothes that fit and she was like, you know, really struggling with how could they be making this much money and be this, this over overspent. And as we sat down, we worked on her budget, it turned out that she had this line item in the budget with her husband’s name on it, and I was like, what is this?

Denis O’Brien [15:42]
I really like where this is going?

Chelsea Brennan [15:47]
That’s a very large line item. And her response was, oh, that’s my husband’s vices. I was like, okay, explain. And she’s like, Well, you know, it’s alcohol and tobacco and and other things. And I was like, Okay, well, this is a huge I’m, we’re talking, not $1,000 but a lot of money. And in an environment where they couldn’t spend and she’s like, we’ve just never been able to talk about money he shuts down as soon as I bring it up. I’m just trying to like manage this myself without burdening him with it because he’s not gonna listen. So we had multiple sessions. She talked in the group, she has questions, she started finding ways to talk to her husband in a way that like he would bring up goals that he wanted for the family that they weren’t able to achieve. And she was learning how to, you know, talk about, well, if we made some changes, we could do that. It’s not like it’s out of reach, it just feels out of reach right now. And about two months ago, she posts that he actually sat down and looked at the budget, he cut that spending in that account by like, 70%. As soon as he saw the number, his like, head exploded, and he was like, I had no idea was spending that much money. And they now are like, on a very good path to getting out of debt. They’ve set some goals together. He actually like does little money dates with her. So that was a huge, huge win, and was actually just really empowering for our whole group because we’d seen her talk about how hard it was. And for other women in the group who were struggling talk to their spouse, it was like, that was a major turnaround and something that was really cool to see.

Katie Welsh [17:45]
Naww that warms my heart. Because we all know that money in a relationship can be like one of those underlying problems like just as reoccurring. No matter how many times you talk about it, if something doesn’t change, it’s not going to get better.

Denis O’Brien [17:34]
Actually, sorry. Just to add to that, I actually read an article the other day that said that financial problems are actually the biggest reason for divorces as well.

Chelsea Brennan [17:45]
It is, and I think a lot of times, at least in my experience, and some of the research I’ve read, it’s not the money. That’s the problem. It’s some underlying disagreement, right? And in the money itself is where you build resentment and where you actually are arguing. But if you talk about it, it’s a misalignment of goals and it’s a misalignment of priorities, which is why it’s so important to to break that down and start talking about in this couple in particular, right, it took finding a way to talk about their long term goals and where they want it to be before they could reel it back in and talk about money.

Katie Welsh [18:15]
That makes me so happy for them. And I think that money dates we talked about it in the personal finance like world a lot and I it really is helpful when you’re able to sit down regularly and it doesn’t have to be a tedious type of exercise. Like you can go to a nice dinner or have a nice dinner at home or have a nice glass of wine and talk about your goals and your money. Because I know a lot of people think of like, budgets and money and, you know, where are we? What are our goals for the next year or so? People are just like, Oh, I don’t want to think about that.

Chelsea Brennan [18:51]
Yeah, and we talked about even the even the phrase money date, I think, brings up like board meeting.

Katie Welsh [18:58]

Chelsea Brennan [18:58]
Situations for some people. So we we recommend all the time, like, go for a walk, go in the car, like something about motion and just kind of doing something else while you’re talking about it eases the tension versus if you’re just sitting staring at each other. Because especially your early early conversations don’t even have to be super numbers based. It just has to be like how are you feeling about where we are and what do you want to feel where do you want to go?

Denis O’Brien [19:25]
Fantastic. So just to bring it full circle to your summit, that Coming up. So what are the dates for it?

Chelsea Brennan [19:31]
The dates are October 21 to the 25th.

Denis O’Brien [19:34]
Fantastic. So right around the corner Really?

Katie Welsh [19:36]
Right before Halloween.

Chelsea Brennan [19:38]
Exactly just a few weeks away.

Denis O’Brien [19:40]
Cool. So if people do want to know more information about that, where’s the best place for them to go?

Chelsea Brennan [19:46]
So they can go to And we’re also posting daily updates and previews of all our incredible speakers on Instagram, which is @mamastalkmoney.

Katie Welsh [20:24]
Awesome and just out of curiosity, who are some of the speakers you have?

Chelsea Brennan [19:59]
Sure, so some of our speakers are Ty and Talat McNeely from His and Her money, and Rosemary Groaner from Busy Budgeter Brittany Castro from Financially Wise Women. We have the CIO of Ella vest Sylvia Kwang will be speaking Tiffany Alicia from the Budgetnista. I mean, the list it’s it’s a crazy list.

Katie Welsh [20:18]
Wow, that is an intense lineup. Yeah. Go You, that’s awesome.

Denis O’Brien [20:23]
Those are some really big names.

Chelsea Brennan [20:24]
Their talks are their sessions are incredible. Like it’s been so much fun learning from them through this process.

Denis O’Brien [20:31]
Fantastic. And maybe we’ll chat a little bit about the show about getting a special link for our listeners just sort of gain access to that Pass that we’re talking about a little bit earlier.

Chelsea Brennan [20:40]

Denis O’Brien [20:41]
Cool. Well, we’ll definitely chat and like when it comes up close to the time we’ll start promoting it for you.

Chelsea Brennan [20:46]
Sounds great. Thanks, guys.

Denis O’Brien [20:49]
Cool. So right before we dive into the value link round, we’re just gonna take a quick break and say a very big thanks to our sponsor. This episode is sponsored by Savvi Financial visit them at Why does good financial advice have to be so hard to get so complicated, so expensive? With Savvi it doesn’t. Simply smart advice can be yours at no cost. You can be a financial action hero and take control of your financial future in minutes with Savvi. Savvi helps you organize all your financial accounts and make sense of your overall spending then gives you specific advice on your financial goals. Boats by a team of MIT trained data scientists Savvi offers world class financial advice on retirement, refinancing student debt, life insurance and more. And the best part, the basic subscription is free, who doesn’t love free? Oh and the advice that you’re going to get, It’s personalized and independent Savvi puts your best interests first. You don’t have to pay human advisor thousands of dollars, or waste countless hours struggling to build a plan. Savvi makes it easy and fast. Go To and click on the sign up tab on the top of the screen that’s Savvi with an I take control of your financial future in minutes with Savvi

Katie Welsh [22:19]
Okay, Chelsea, well, you have been on the podcast before so I’m sure you know what iscoming. What is your retirement plan looking like these days.

Chelsea Brennan [22:30]
In what sense I so I haven’t I don’t look at it on a regular basis we are coast fi there’s so many different fi now but our retirement is completely invested in as long as we don’t touch it by the time I’m 45 ish we will be fully fi so honestly it it just sits there

Katie Welsh [22:51]
Awesome good for you.

Denis O’Brien [22:52]
Nice and you have a favorite book that you’re currently into?

Chelsea Brennan [22:56]
Favorite book so one that I’m I really enjoyed book that I really enjoyed recently was Chanel Reynolds What Matters Most the Get Your Shit Together Guide to wills, money insurance and life what ifs. Obviously with our family emergency binder, it’s a topic that we talked a lot about a lot at Smart Money Mamas and something that I think all families need to carefully consider. But Chanel lost her husband when her son was five and it’s a really powerful book. It’s there’s a lot of times where you’re in tears for her but I think that I have haven’t seen any breakdown is clear and easy to follow as, okay, here’s what you got to do to make sure you’re ready. No matter what happens.

Katie Welsh [23:36]
I love things like that because a lot of times people talk about, you know, important topics really high level and really broad like,

Chelsea Brennan [23:44]

Katie Welsh [23:46]
And then somebody listening or learning about it will walk away and be like, Okay, well that’s great. Now I know that it’s important, but I still have no idea what I’m actually supposed to do.

Chelsea Brennan [23:57]
Yeah, and she doesn’t really I mean, she does a really, really good job of, of showing you what it feels like. And I think this is also a topic where until you’ve been in, you can feel the pain and you’ve been in those shoes it doesn’t feel like something you have to do right now and you kind of need to hear somebody’s story to get the motion get the ball rolling to get it done. As I read that book, my husband kept being like can you stop reading this right before bed like your sobbing in a good, I’m happy for her. She’s found peace and comfort and I’m glad that she’s impacting so many people’s lives. Now.

Denis O’Brien [24:28]
That’s really inspirational.

Katie Welsh [24:29]
Wow, I really like check that book out now. I hadn’t heard of it. So do you have a quote you try to live by?

Chelsea Brennan [24:37]
There is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.

Katie Welsh [24:40]
I like it.

Denis O’Brien [24:42]
Chelsea, we absolutely loved hanging out today, Do you have any other last parting piece of advice for our listeners and then we’ll say goodbye.

Chelsea Brennan [24:49]
My parting piece of advice is to if you have kids, no matter how young they are, start talking to them about money in a non stressful way. Explain what you’re spending on how you think about budgeting. If you’re in the aisle of the grocery store and your price comparing something explain to them that how that works because when they grow up and they’re trying to decide how to buy life insurance or or their price shopping, you know much bigger things they’re going to understand those basic concepts and I think we think kids aren’t ready for for real money lessons until they’re much older when their minds are powerful and and they can start learning good lessons. Very young.

Katie Welsh [25:27]
I definitely agree.

Denis O’Brien [25:28]
I love that

Katie Welsh [25:29]
Yeah, suddenly underestimate children.

Chelsea Brennan [25:32]
We totally do.

Denis O’Brien [25:35]
Money clan we been hanging out with Chelsea Brennan. You can check out her website it’s and if you are interested in checking out her summit, definitely check it out. It will be right before

Katie Welsh [25:46]

Denis O’Brien [25:47]
Cool Chelsea this has been lots of fun. Thanks so much.

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