Jasmine from MoneyAndMomming.com found herself deep in debt after college.
Jasmine and her husband decided to pay it off, but shortly afterwards, learned that they would have to cover IVF due to infertility.
In this episode, we talk about how to make the wealth-building journey one that works for you and your life regardless of the obstacles thrown your way.
Check it out below
Listen To The Episode
Read The Transcript
Jasmine Tillery 0:00
So finding that balance was, I would say where the difficulty lag. But once we did that, and we're able to do that I've seen such a difference in our finances over the last two years, and enjoying life on a budget still, being able to have fun, take our kids to do things, enjoy vacations, pay off debt, and reach our savings goals.
Unknown Speaker 0:23
You're listening to the wedding to wealth Podcast, where you'll hear real stories from real people who are on the path to building real wealth. These stories will show you how to earn more money and pay off debt start investing and make better money choices so you can build wealth for your future. Now, here's your host, Michael Lacy,
Michael Lacy 0:46
what's up what's up? What's up teammates This is Episode 40 of the winning to wealth podcast, can on this week's episode, we're talking about managing multiple goals during your wealth building journey. Now to do this, I brought on the creator of money
And Mommy, Miss Jasmine tillery. She has an incredible story. Jasmine actually created money a mom in very recently to really document her own journey, but also to help other moms navigate the challenges that can arise as you work to get your finances in order, navigating being a mom and all those things. And I'll tell you Jasmine is no stranger to challenges. So while in the middle of paying off her debt, Jasmine and her husband dealt with infertility and infant loss. And so with that said, because this is such a sensitive topic, I do want to provide a warning, we are going to go into infertility and infant loss and how these two things can impact your finances. And we do this during the last like 10 or so minutes of the show. Now these two subjects can be triggering for so many people so if you have to skip this episode, I completely understand I'm sending you love a virtual hug all those things, but
That is why I wanted to provide that warning because I know that this can be a tough subject for so many people. But Jasmine is a great person with a warm spirit and I would still recommend connecting with her. So I've linked to Jasmine's website and her social media handles on the show notes page, which you can find in the episode description. Or by just heading to winning to wealth comm slash Episode 40 that is winning to wealth comm slash Episode 40. But hey, let's jump right into this interview with jasmine from money and mommy.
So Jasmine, I am excited to have you here today to learn more about your story to share your journey with the audience here But first, I want to go into it and just kind of start with just having you share the story of how you and your husband met and how you guys ultimately became a couple. I Michael first thank you for having me. I'm so excited to do this podcast with you. So my husband Phyllis and I
Jasmine Tillery 3:00
We met in 2015. And he actually messaged me on Facebook. We had a lot of mutual friends. And it turns out that one of my college roommates is actually his next door neighbor growing up, and I had been to her house several times had never seen him never met him. And so he messaged me on Facebook, we started talking, and then a week later, we went on our first date. And we have been together ever since then. Wow, that's cool. So me and my wife kind of have a similar Facebook story. I mean, we knew each other prior, but like, our relationship really started off of like Facebook messaging and dialogue and on Facebook, so shout out to Facebook for getting something right there with the matchmaker services. So I want to ask go after that, like how were you guys managing money individually at that time? My husband was great with money when we were dating, but he had it together like credit score, great, had great savings was very responsible, and actually, you know, was trying to teach me more
More. I have always been a spender spender spender. And I think a good portion of that time before we met, was when I really got into getting into debt and pretty much just not taking control of my finances at the time. I was very young. I was a single parent at the time and just trying to make ends meet, but not really paying attention. And so, getting into a relationship with Him helped me pay more attention to what I needed to do with my money because I saw, oh, here's this man who has together you know, let me step up and do a little bit better, you know, my finances, and it's not like I wasn't, I wasn't, I was dead broke. I made great money. I had a very nice apartment, a nice car, you know, bills are getting paid, but I just would be paid on Friday, everything out by Sunday, and it had to wait till the next payday. And so he was really good with money. I was really bad with money. So some people believe like incompletely
Michael Lacy 5:00
their finances after marriage and other people feel like you know, it's best to keep it separate and kind of do things your own way but have communication. Can you share just what you what has worked for your household, we have a joint checking account where all of our bills flow through. But when we get paid, our paychecks go into our individual checking accounts. So what happens is we get paid goes in our individual accounts, we make that full transfer over into our joint account to pay bills. I am an all cash spender, I love using cash envelopes. And so I will pull cash out of that for my personal spend my gas, beauty and things for myself. He prefers using his debit card and so he will put that back into his personal account. And that allows us to have some type of financial independence as well but we talk about everything, everything that comes in whether it's our regular
Jasmine Tillery 6:00
paychecks. a bonus, we always run by each other how we'd like to spend this money because it is collectively our money. Same thing with the savings accounts. We have our emergency fund and sinking funds in a high yield savings account. And we put all that in together we save together.
And I think it's really important to know what the other person is doing having that open communication. We've never had a fight about money. We've argued about small things like turn the TV off when you're sleeping, because I like it all. He likes it on. He likes a fan on I don't, but we've never had a spat about money. And we've been together five years.
Michael Lacy 6:44
So you know, what is that level of really financial unity done for not just your finances, but really your marriage as a whole.
Jasmine Tillery 6:54
I would say it keeps our communication lines open. And that's something In that we can be on the same page with and it flows down into everything else. Because we are talking about, you know, what events we need to go to, like our kids birthdays and holidays, what we're going to spend, when it comes to like even Christmas, that's a big thing. That's my favorite holiday. And that's something that's something that is very important to me. But you know, we have a big family on both sides. So let's talk about what we're spending on who. And I just think overall, it allows us to spend more time together when we have our budget meetings, because we do try to make it into like a date night almost. And so we'll have a glass of wine and some snacks and go over our budget. We plan our meals together because that's how we grocery shop to make sure we stay on budget. And it just allows us some more one on one time to get business done and stay on top of our household.
Michael Lacy 7:54
Wow. Okay, so you've mentioned the debt that you brought into the relationship. So how much total debt do you have? At the peak of everything,
Jasmine Tillery 8:02
alright, so I'll start individually so I did I graduated college 100% debt free. But then after a year of entering the workforce, I told myself I deserve a brand new car because here I am killing it as a single mom landed a job right out of college finance, brand new car zero dollars down, dumbest decision. So that added 30,000 and then I went to grad school. And instead of taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement and pacing myself, I used some of what the company gave me and then took out more than necessary on student loans. And so in total, I came into the relationship with about 50,000 in debt. And then together our joint debt together. We have six figure debt together because he has student loans, actually private student loans from undergrad To pay for all four years of college and so the interest rate on that is disgusting. And then he also has student loans from grad school, a car loan, and then together we have credit card debt, which we recently paid all that off.
Michael Lacy 9:16
Wow. Wow. Okay, so nothing that you mentioned really sounds like anything out of the ordinary, like a lot of people have student loans. I mean, one of the first things I did when I started my career was buy a new car. So like, none of this really seems like anything just super extravagant. It's kind of like a normal lifestyle. So what happened that made you realize that something needed to change about the way you were doing things and handling money at that time?
Jasmine Tillery 9:44
Okay, so we had a destination wedding in 2017 in Punta Cana. And so we didn't really have a honeymoon. It wasn't like a family man. So then six months later, we decided, Okay, let's take this trip to Europe. And we kind of did it on a whim. Not much planning. And we went, we had a great time. But while we were there, like we were just spending, spending spending, and it was at the end of the year. And so, you know, with making new year's resolutions and trying to get on track when we got home, I said, you know, what do you think about us trying to, you know, get our finances in order, and pretty much just do better, because we make a lot of money. And for us to be six months into our marriage, you know, I want us to get set up, I'm ready to get started on saving for a house. We want to have children we were trying to have, you know, more kids. And so that was something that we talked about. And after we came back from Europe, and having a blast and blowing through money. We decided to come back and really get serious about our finances.
Michael Lacy 10:42
So at that time, I mean, did it feel like you were struggling or did it feel like this is just normal? Like this is what we're supposed to do. This is just a normal middle class lifestyle.
Jasmine Tillery 10:56
Felt, I would say a mix of both right. So we were living the normal Life. As far as everybody has student loans, we're always gonna have a car payment. You know, we believe that we had some savings, we were making our bills on time, we were, we were able to cash your wedding. And so we thought we were fine. But at the same time, you know, during that time from when we were dating, and then got married, we both got raises, I switched jobs and got a significant raise. And I would always say, you know, when I make that next 5000, or next 10,000, I'll save more, I'll do this, I'll do that. And I kept making more money, but then lifestyle creep as well. And so here we were, together combined income over six figures and still kind of just know treading along not really making much progress in terms of saving in terms of, you know, increasing our 401k contributions or even, you know, making sure that we're paying down our debt. As long as you know, our credit scores look good, and we were able to maintain the bills, we thought we were okay. When actuality like we really couldn't, we weren't really affording the lifestyle that we want it for ourselves.
Michael Lacy 12:12
Let's talk about coming home from that trip from Europe, right? And you guys already decided, like, you know what, okay, we're gonna do things the right way. We're going to go in a different direction now. So what were those early conversations like as you're starting to get the ball rolling?
Jasmine Tillery 12:26
So like many other people from, you know, starting their debt free journeys, we found Dave Ramsey and started to listen to his podcast. We didn't read the total money makeover, but that's when I first found it, that free community. And so I was showing him these posts from people and I was just like, you know, we could do this look at the stories of people that I'm seeing online that they make less than US had higher debt, and they're paying it off. So it is possible, and he's a pretty easygoing guy. And so and very open minded, so We looked at stuff and listen together, and we got started. But starting that journey, it came with a bit of an obsession. And so we got burned out pretty quickly. And we quit four months in. And so I would say maybe six months later, we would talk about but remember earlier in the year, this first four months, like how great we were doing, like we put together an emergency fund, we started paying off debt, we saw some progress. We need to figure out a system that works for us. And so we use that as a guideline. And then we had to figure out what would work for us and what steps we wanted to take to reach our goals that made more sense for us.
Michael Lacy 13:41
Okay, so talk about that a little bit. So what were you doing specifically in those early months, that led to that burnout and then once you pick things back up, what changes have you made at that point?
Jasmine Tillery 13:55
So in the beginning, we did full on as he calls it, good. zone 10 city. And so we cut out everything. And we are really we were really big on eating out, going out to these restaurants spending, you know, $200 on a dinner, that kind of stuff, not all the time. But it was enough to where it made a difference or, or ordering out five nights a week, buying lunch, things like that. So when we started, we cut everything, there was no room for fun. We really didn't give ourselves room to have fun money, we didn't really give ourselves room to have that cash cushion over $1,000 at the time. And I feel like I was just checking numbers and comparing what we were doing to what I was seeing on the Instagram communities. You know how people were paying off thousands of dollars a week and perhaps comparing are beginning to somebody middle or in and so I got sucked into that and that kind of put me in a bad place and thinking, you know, but our finances, you know, we're not going to be able to do it. And all he wants to do is fix the issue. And so if I was sad, he said, Okay, well, then we'll figure it out, we'll, you know, we'll we'll do something different. You don't want to do it this way. We won't do it this way. And so that's why I kind of just like got away from it. And then to get back on track, what we did was I looked at different budgeting methods, and kind of figured out what worked best for us was budgeting by our pay cycles. Because at that time, when we started back up, I was getting paid two times a month, which was very different for me because I had always been paid weekly or bi weekly. So taking that being paid by our pay cycles and budgeting with that, and allocating our bills throughout that time versus looking at the overall month made it a lot easier for us, giving ourselves grace when we do mess up the budget and having flexibility with it. Being able to move things around if we need to. And I would say, definitely just budgeting for the fun stuff, giving ourselves and allowance every week, planning ahead for the things that we know are coming up. That was a big thing, because I was just saying no to all events at first, but now it's like, okay, we can do these events. We just got a plan form and limit ourselves to two or three a month, and not say yes to everything. But don't say no to everything. And so finding that balance was obviously where the difficulty lied. But once we did that, and we're able to do that I've seen such a difference in our finances over the last two years, and enjoying life on a budget still, being able to have fun, take our kids to do things, enjoy vacations, pay off debt, and reach our savings goals.
Michael Lacy 16:51
I love that and for you listeners I mean you guys know the one thing I always say is personal finances personal and you know, I often get asked like What's the best method for paying off debt? And I always say, it's the one that you're gonna stick with. It's, you know, it's not it's not this or that it's literally what you're going to stick with what you're going to do what keeps you motivated? So I love that you shared that part of it. Can you talk about just now, like in you know, now that you've kind of figured out your rhythm and your pace and all those things, what have been some of the challenges that you faced, you know, in the second part of the journey,
Jasmine Tillery 17:27
and the second part of the journey, so I would say I started end of 2018, early 2019. And that's when we were still trying to expand our family, and found out that we had to go through the IVF process. And so that's something that can cause at minimum $20,000. And so we were very blessed that my job put in for the 2019 benefits that they would cover the cost and full we just had to meet our deductible. And so we were able to do our IVF process, but only had to put it About $6,000 of that ourselves. So that was a challenge because, you know, it's kind of like, do you continue on your debt free journey and become 100% debt free before having more kids? Or, you know, do you put that on hold for the sake of being debt free? And that was a decision that we had an act together and we weren't willing to wait for that. We wanted to have more children. Yes, we were and still are in debt. But that's not something that can that should hold us back from having children because we are in a pretty stable place. And so the IVF process, I would say, that was definitely one once I got pregnant, putting our snowball on poles to make sure that we had money aside for my leave for the portion that was unpaid. And also, in case anything happened. And you know, as far as labor and babies delivered, make sure everybody was home. I was pregnant with twins. And I actually went into preterm labor in January so my babies weren't due until May I had them on January 29. And then six weeks later, one of my daughters passed away. And so I had babies in the nick you pandemic, starting a nine year old at home, who was getting out of school the next day, they were closing school the next day. And then I had one of my children pass away. And we had funeral costs for that and arrangements and just, you know, everything that we did to prepare to bring two babies home, also, like we pay for a lot of stuff. car seats, cribs, like, just all of it, you know. And so obviously, those were the financial challenges that came in the last two years. And but we were able to get through them, you know, a lot of prayer, a lot of working together a lot of teamwork and just being prepared. Have we not been prepared? This time would have been way more stressful than what it already is. I can definitely say that.
Michael Lacy 19:55
So let's talk about I mean, how do you manage you know, the stress as you're going Going through that situation. And I know that's not really just a financial question, but I'm sure that there are people listening that have experienced that or somebody that may experience that in the future. So, as you're navigating all of these things happening at one time, like, you know, how were you and your husband, staying together, staying unified and dealing with that stress together?
Jasmine Tillery 20:21
Well, I will say this is very fresh, you know, it's only June and today is actually three months since my daughter passed away. And so, for me personally, what I do, I am a doula. So I need to get things done. I need to stay busy. I need to figure out what can I do to turn a bad situation good. And that's when I turn my debt free page money and mommy into more of a platform to advocate for mothers dealing with infant loss or infertility and those financial strains that come with it and that's where my Anglo financial literacy comes from. Because Had I not been prepared this situation could have been more stressful on us financially speaking, you know, on top of the emotional stress that we're getting together as a couple, I'll say my husband is strong and faith. We pray together, he prays for me, I pray for him. And that is something that we hold very high. And as believers in Christ, I would say our biggest thing with dealing with our daughter's death is that same day, we were able to say, you know what, because she was sick. This is God's plan. She's not in pain, and I know she's in heaven. So yes, it still stings. It hurts, you know, we're human. And having that emotion of, you know, I was supposed to bring home two babies, and now I have one, but it's a blessing that I was able to spend time with her, you know, having had both babies at 25 weeks, and that my one daughter is here. She's huge. She's thriving, doing everything she's supposed to be doing and that they will Identical twins, so I am never gonna have to worry about what she would have looked like. But I will miss not knowing her individually growing up. And it's difficult. It's a pain that when women are families, when they go to the it's a pain that doesn't go away. It's something that's very difficult. And that stings. And I don't think I'll ever get used to it. But what I try to do is take my grief and use it to be something positive and share my experience because I think a lot of issues around. Alright, we're talking about, like a lot of race things right now. Right. And so one of the things is let's normalize black infertility, and the use of IVF. That's not something that I had really anyone to talk to you about when I was going through that because I don't know other black women who were going through it besides when I read Michelle Obama's book becoming and so that's something that I want to use my platform for. Also infant loss, that's something that seems a little taboo, you know, everybody kind of dances around doesn't want to ask you because, you know, just trying to make sure that your feelings are okay, trying to protect your feelings, I get it. But that's something that some people might need to talk about. And then also, on top of that, all of this stuff comes with a cost. It's not free. And you know, there's, there's all these different things that come into play with that. And that's what I want to use my platform to help other families, other women to get through these times. And as I am still going through it, and so I'm learning each day talking to people and trying to figure out you know, what, what can I do better to help the next person and also help myself as I'm going through this.
Michael Lacy 23:48
Oh, thank you so much for sharing and being transparent about such a really a tough subject. So one of the things that you did touch on there, though, that I want to go a little bit further into was Just the impact that all of this had on your finances. I mean, can you just talk about that part of it.
Jasmine Tillery 24:06
So the impact of the IVF. So as I was saying before, my my job added that as a benefit, and so we just had to pay our deductible that was out of pocket costs, I want to say about 50 $500. And so we just cash flowed it along the way. Because it was just when you would go to a doctor's office, and you didn't reach your deductible yet, and so they send you a bill and when those bills come in, we would just pay them. And then as far as when the girls were in the nick you my income didn't change at the time because my job also has great benefits as far as maternity leave. So I actually spent 14 weeks off of work at 100% pay, and we had saved money in case I needed to go into any of that unpaid time but with the pandemic, we're working from home anyway, so it didn't make sense for me to use that unpaid time. So again, another blessing in itself in regards to arrangements for my daughter Sienna, we had emergency fund. And that was something that we were able to tap into, in order to take care of her arrangements. And so basically our, our stork Fund, which we called it for a while I was saving for maternity leave, we transition it into emergency funds after I had the babies, and then just pulled from that. And so the impact financially hasn't been really big. But for a lot of families like this whole IVF being covered by your job, that's not common. It's not and you know, in 2018, before I found that that was going to be for 2019. We were just like, Alright, well, we got to pause everything and come up with $25,000 because we're doing this. And so there are a lot of people out there who have to cashflow this or who take out loans just so they can expand their families. And it sucks that it's not covered and a lot of it it's not there. There's no type of system in place to help families expand their families. And it's horrible. I think it's horrible, having gone through that wanting more children. And it was particularly hard for me because I have a son from a previous relationship. He was conceived naturally. But I was also like, younger too. And so as I gotten older, and I changed body change, that's not something I had control over. But I did want more children. And then I was stuck with a bill to do it. But it's been a blessing for me and my family that our impact wasn't so severe. But it's not the same for a lot of other families. And that's where I'm trying to teach financial literacy, just so it can help alleviate those issues and that impact for people.
Michael Lacy 26:44
So despite everything that you guys have gone through throughout your entire journey, you guys were still able to rack up some pretty incredible wins and hit some awesome goals. So can you take just a couple minutes and just share, you know what you guys were able to accomplish as you were dealing with all This.
Jasmine Tillery 27:01
Sure. So we've paid off credit cards and my car. So we are consumer debt free. We just have student loans left, we have our emergency fund funded. And we're still adding just because of the pandemic circumstances right now. And then we're also saving for our house and we're looking to probably purchase our first home next spring. The kids now have 529 plans, and we are contributing to that every month. And then also, instead of falling into the lifestyle creep, when we get raises, we are increasing our 401k contributions yearly.
Michael Lacy 27:35
Wow. Okay, that's incredible. So one thing that I do want to give you the opportunity to share because I feel like it was something that we touched on in the interview and I want to give some hope to some people who maybe are going through what you've gone through, or, you know, maybe they don't know it now, but maybe they will go through something like that. So can you just take a second to give some advice to someone who's maybe experiencing infertility or has Maybe lost a child or, or something like that. And they're trying to get their finances together kind of at the same time. What would you say to that person?
Jasmine Tillery 28:08
I would say, all this is highly emotional finances. They are emotional, and fertility and football's all it's all emotional. But you have to be able to align that with the facts, right. So you have to be able to take a look at where your budget lies where your finances lie, and be able to align both of them in order to be successful. So it might not happen as fast as you want it to. But be able to just take a moment to, to look at what you have and where you want to be. And try to align that with your emotions. And that will help you prioritize and your budget to be able to say for the expected and the unexpected.
Michael Lacy 28:47
Looking back on your journey, right from the time you know where you met your now husband, and he had the good spending habits and you didn't, too now like looking over the totality of that journey. What financial advice would you give to your younger self?
Jasmine Tillery 29:04
So to my younger self, first, I would say, Listen to your parents, because my parents are very financially sound people. They always save money. My dad is really big on investing. And he would always tell me to save as much as I can and invest as much as I can early on. I just chose not to listen. So that will be the first thing. The second would be to, you know, pay attention to where money's going and get on a budget, especially as a young mother. I was 19 when I got pregnant had my son right after I turned 20. And definitely getting on a budget would have made things a lot easier to stay organized, trying to, you know, raise a baby and make sure his needs were met. Yeah, I think I think that's what I would definitely tell my younger self
Michael Lacy 29:59
why Man, I've had just an awesome time talking to you today and getting really to learn more about your story, your journey, and just all the challenges and things that you've had to overcome. But I do want to give you the opportunity to share anything that you have to offer and where listeners can find you if they'd like to connect with you and follow along. As you tackle you know, personal finance in your own way.
Unknown Speaker 30:28
I can be found on all social media platforms Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at money and mommy and my website is www that money in momming, calm, I create tools and resources for budgeting, and for paying off debt and saving. And so what these resources they helped me stay accountable and keep me motivated. And so that's why I share them with everyone else. My best seller and most popular item is the budget sheet, where it helps people prioritize their spending and their budgets and it can be used Either for a monthly budget, weekly budget or if they want to budget by their pay cycles. I also do cash envelopes because I am a cash spender and it helps me stay accountable. And we have debt tracker savings trackers, sinking fund trackers and also some mugs. I also do one to one budget coaching. And with that I've been able to help several women get on track with their finances help moms be able to incorporate birthday parties for their kids activities and still reach their goals for building emergency funds or start paying off debt. And one of my goals with money momming is to be able to start to generate enough income to make significant donations to charities that are for infertility or for infant loss.
Michael Lacy 31:48
Awesome. That is so incredible. So I mean definitely you guys head to winning to wealth comm slash Episode 40 check out the show notes. It's there. I'm gonna link to everything Jasmine Jasmine. mentioned on the show notes page. Also, if you enjoyed this episode, I want you to do two things. Number one is hit the subscribe button wherever you're listening to this. All this does is ensure that whenever we release a new episode that you are in the loop, you get notified. The second thing that I want you to do, and this is a personal thing for me, I'd love it if you'd leave a five star review with just your feedback on the show what you've learned, any takeaways, anything like that, that kind of stuff gets me excited, and lets me know that this is helpful for you guys, and that you're learning, you're applying this stuff, and you're seeing results for yourself. Alright, so now it is time for this week's win of the week. So early on jasmine and her husband started out on the journey really fast, right? But they were comparing their journey to other people. And they weren't really enjoying the life that they have. And ultimately they got burnt out. Now they did end up getting it together as you just heard, but they did this by figuring out what worked for them. Like budgeting by pay cycle instead of monthly, being flexible with their budget and also adding some fun to their budget. Now since they figured out a strategy that works for them, they've paid off their consumer debt. They've cashflow their IVF. they've dealt with infant loss. They built an emergency fund saving for a home investing for retirement saving for their kids college fund, just all these great, incredible things, and to think just four months into the journey they had given up because they were comparing themselves to other people, and hadn't really figured out a system that works for them. So that just goes to show that there is no one best way to budget, there is no right way to experience your debt free journey. The only method that matters is the one that you're going to stick with. So if you're struggling right now, and maybe you feel like giving up, just know that it's better to switch things up, take a break or slow things down and hit your goal later than it is to not see this thing through because I can tell you as someone sitting on the other side right now, you will Want to see this through and become debt free and start building wealth and all those great things. Now if you need someone to talk to or just a place to vent and try to figure out all this financial stuff, you can always hop over to my private Facebook community which you can find at winning to wealth comm slash teammates. Again, this is just a safe space for you to talk all things money, and you can find it at winning to wealth calm slash teammates. But hey, thanks for listening to another episode of the winning to wealth podcast. Until we talk again, keep racking up those wins one at a time. Take care.
Unknown Speaker 34:35
You've wrapped up another episode of the winning to wealth podcast. To learn more about how you can start making winning money decisions head over to winning to wealth.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Connect With Jasmine
Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”