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This Is Uncomfortable

Author: Marketplace

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This is a show about life and how money messes with it. Each week, Marketplace’s Reema Khrais digs in with stories about the unanticipated ways money affects relationships, shapes identities and often defines what it means to be an adult. How much money do you lend a friend? Who can afford to vote? Can you get your life back after being wrongfully convicted?

147 Episodes
Hey y’all! We’re working on a new season coming at you this August, but over the summer we’re trying something new: The Uncomfortable Book Club! Every other week our newsletter will showcase a book that made us think differently about life and how money messes with it. All the details are in this episode, and when you sign up before June 15 at, you’ll be entered to win some merch from the show. Happy reading!
Doris Tyler has energy well beyond her 80 years. Even after retiring from her career as a music teacher, she remained active in her community — driving to church events, coming up with creative surprises for all her grandchildren. But then one day, she realized her vision was so blurry she couldn’t safely drive. When traditional medical treatment stopped working, Doris’ community came together to help her pay for a brand-new medical technology: stem cell injections.  If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter!
Lorena has been a garment worker in Los Angeles for over twenty years, going to work each day in a small factory to sew trendy fast fashion clothes for pennies per item. But one day, she decided enough was enough, and she took a stand against the poor work conditions and low pay. In part two of our mini-series on fast fashion, we look at the system of production: who pays the price for cheap clothes? And how might that system change for the better? If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter!
No more panic shopping

No more panic shopping


What’s behind our desire to reinvent ourselves through fashion? Is it even possible to shop sustainably? This week on the show, Reema sets out to answer these questions with help from fashion educator and sustainable stylist Lakyn Carlton, who shares her own journey away from fast fashion. Plus, producer Alice Wilder takes Reema on a thrifting journey in North Carolina, hunting for work clothes that will allow Reema to feel like herself without breaking the bank. This is Part 1 of our two-part miniseries on the costs of fast fashion. First up, we look at escaping the cycle of overconsumption. To learn more about how fast fashion impacts climate change, check out this episode from Marketplace’s “How We Survive.”  If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter!
Lindsey Niehay dreamed of being a doctor since she was a teenager. But when she graduated from medical school and started a residency program in emergency medicine, she felt like her weight drew negative attention from colleagues. Then, she learned about the conversations happening behind her back. This is a story about how weight discrimination can derail a career, and why our legal system doesn’t offer the protections you might expect. If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter!
A while back, we asked you to share your money struggles, and we heard from many of you! In today’s episode, we booked a session with financial therapist Megan McCoy to answer your burning financial questions — everything from navigating financial differences among friends and talking to an avoidant partner about money plans, to making big career decisions and learning how to curb spending. As promised, here are some of the research studies and articles discussed in this episode: “Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness,” by Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin, and Michael I. Norton, as well as Dunn’s TED Talk on the same topic “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right,” by Elizabeth W. Dunn “Heads or Tails: The impact of a coin toss on major life decisions and subsequent happiness,” by Steven D. Levitt “Harvard Study of Adult Development” and an awesome TED Talk by Robert Waldinger, the project’s director Take the Klontz Money Script test to measure your core money beliefs.   If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter!  
Nicole and Rachel were deeply in love when they had their first serious fight about money. It seemed easily resolvable, but the disagreement dragged on for months and brought a lot more to the surface than they expected. This episode originally aired in 2022 and includes a short update at the end about how Rachel and Nicole are doing today. If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter!
Growing up, Haein Shim was taught that if she wanted to succeed, she needed to change her appearance. Shim was raised in South Korea, where a competitive job market and booming beauty industry combined to make careful beauty maintenance all but mandatory for gainful employment. By the time she was a young adult, she was spending hours a day and hundreds of dollars a month on makeup and clothes, until one day her friend asked, “Why do we spend so much money on our appearance?” That question upended Shim’s family, career and sense of self. It led her to join a movement called Escape the Corset, calling for an end to strict beauty standards. In this episode, we also speak to NPR’s Elise Hu, who spent years reporting on the rise of the K-beauty and how it has impacted Korea’s economy and gender politics. Her book on the subject, “Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture From the K-Beauty Capital,” examines how women like Haein Shim are changing the face of beauty in Korea.
This week, we’re sharing an episode from another podcast we think you’ll love. “Classy” is a new show from Pineapple Street Studios and Audacy exploring the ways that class infiltrates our day-to-day lives. Host Jonathan Menjivar has some hang-ups about class. In this episode, he takes us from a nightclub outside Los Angeles to the halls of a fancy Manhattan prep school, and asks sociologist Rachel Sherman, “Are rich people bad?”
Four years later, host Reema Khrais checks in with one of our favorite couples, Mandy and Zach. In our first season, they told us about the challenges they ran into early in their relationship around gift giving. Now, life’s latest milestones are forcing them to figure out how to become more fluent in each other’s languages — the ones they use to talk about life, love, and of course, money.
Dream on a deadline

Dream on a deadline


At what point do you walk away from your dreams? Kashy gave himself a deadline: if he didn’t become a pop star by the time he turned 25, he’d give up music. But years after he left his music career behind, the universe gave him a second chance, thousands of miles from home.
We wanted to share a particularly uncomfy episode from Marketplace’s “Financially Inclined,” a financial literacy podcast for teens. Being a first-generation student can mean facing bigger financial pressures than your peers, with less generational knowledge and wealth. “Financially Inclined” host Yanely Espinal talks to Gigi Gonzalez, the First Gen Mentor, to help you navigate the unique pressures of being the first in your family – whether that’s being a first-gen American, first-gen college student, first-gen professional, first-gen entrepreneur or more! Think you’re financially inclined? Check out these resources: Explore resources for first-gen students from the Collective Success Network Learn more wealth building tips from Business Insider Prepare for a “money talk” with your family using this guide from CNBC Are you in an educational setting? Here’s a handy listening guide. This podcast is presented in partnership with Greenlight: the money app for teens — with investing. For a limited time, our listeners can earn $10 when they sign up for a Greenlight account.
My name is Hana

My name is Hana


Overnight, Hana’s life became unrecognizable. She used to enjoy quiet mornings in her lovingly decorated apartment in Gaza, but since Israel’s invasion forced her to evacuate, she’s now sleeping on the cold floor of a crowded house, fearful of airstrikes. Hana shares how the war is threatening the life she built for herself and the impossible financial calculations ahead of her.
A conversation with Baba

A conversation with Baba


In our new season premiere, Reema sits down with her father to reflect on how recent global headlines have been impacting their family in Gaza.
“This Is Uncomfortable” returns for its ninth season Feb. 1, with brand-new episodes about life and how money messes with it. We’ve got stories about medical scams, workplace discrimination, the fast fashion industry and more. New episodes coming Thursdays.
A note from Reema

A note from Reema


Hey, Reema here. I just wanted to thank you all for listening to “This Is Uncomfortable” this year. We shared some great stories in 2023 and memorable conversations that I’m still mulling over. And we have some great new episodes coming for you soon in our ninth season, which starts Jan. 25. We could not have done this kind of reporting without your support. So thank you! Your support keeps our nonprofit newsroom and podcasts going and helps us bring you the rich, personal stories you love. If you’re able, please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation today. Contribute what you can at We really appreciate it. 
What would you be willing to live with for free rent? No heat, mice in the walls, a toilet in the middle of an unfinished basement? Chris Badeker and Jake Daugherty went through all of it in an effort to save money and claw their way out of debt. But that free rent became the ultimate test of their friendship.
In the cutthroat world of professional classical music, Eric Abramovitz was headed toward a shining career. Until something — or someone — got in the way. We’re revisiting this episode from our first season with an update about where Abramovitz is now. 
We have a special treat for you today! We’re sharing an episode of the new podcast from APM Studios and Chalk + Blade called “Tiny Huge Decisions.” This is a story about two best friends, Mohsin and Dalia, as they make a life-changing decision: Will Dalia be the gestational surrogate for Mohsin and his husband? It’s emotional, intimate and more than a little complicated. Here’s Episode 1!   Subscribe to “Tiny Huge Decisions” now to listen to the whole season.
You’re heartbroken. You just got out of a relationship, and now you have to figure out who you are and what you want as this newly single you. But that can be expensive. This week on This is Uncomfortable, one woman’s unique way of coping, plus listeners give us a glimpse into their post-breakup splurges.
Comments (26)

Habia Khet


Feb 5th

Joe A. Finley II

She couldn't understand why her mom had bad vibes about husband-to-be #2??!! Uh, he wasn't contributing to the relationship FROM THE BEGINNING!! Red flag you could see from Jupiter!! HUGE shocker he just drove them further into debt post-wedding vows.

Aug 25th
Reply (1)

Lori Freetage

The story is well done and evokes some of the feelings around financial infidelity, but this is a soft version that hardly qualifies as financial infidelity, rather some sins of ignorance and irresponsibility, which she then corrects on her own. A romanticized, warm fuzzy version of "financial infidelity" with a straightforward problem and a simple happy ending. A much more uncomfortable topic would have been to discuss the (often marital) financial infidelity involves lying, cheating, sneaking, breaking the other person's trust repeatedly. The half ass attempts to "get better" and "fix" the debts that assuage the situation temporarily, only degrade again months or years down the road, worse than they were before. Arguing about not incurring new debt or not buying this thing and the other person secretly sneaking around and doing it anyway, and refusing to be honest about what's going on. Or maybe thinking everything is fine and then one day waking up and finding up that your spouse ha

Jun 15th

Billy Weinheimer

Two people spending and saving responsibly, and no stupid drugs or crimes. How refreshing.

Jan 9th


Loved it! Thank you for your great work 👍

Jun 23rd

Vicki J

This episode almost brought tears to my eyes. I understand the feeling of trying to "save" her brother. My brother died as well. It's a shame they didn't have information for her. This was somebody's baby boy. And just because people don't have the finances. The deceased should be valued and loved just as if they were their own. I pray she finds peace. There's nothing worse than not having peace about the deceased.

Jun 7th


the whole episode I was waiting for the part of the story where she gets an ADHD diagnosis...

Nov 7th

Vicki J

Ibby. You are a true saint to be willing to spend that much money to have a child. Also, I wish that doctor was honest with you and told you she had to remove so much!!!! What an ass!!! I would need answers from her. Did she feel it was necessary to not have you have anymore pain?? Were there cysts all over the Fallopian tubes?? I would need answers from her.

Oct 24th

Vicki J

glad you're back!!

Oct 15th

Amanda de Boer

ugh, this guy is a big whiny baby coward!

Jun 25th

Adeline Francois

I'm glad one partner was able to rescue another. Can they copy & paste that google spread sheet to my email. Better yet, sell it! I'd buy it. Great story! both partners in debt is just sad. I should know that is my current situation.

Mar 2nd

Morgan Watson

This is an episode of marketplace?

Feb 27th

Jeremy Einhorn

Is anyone else’s “In sickness and in fraud” episode a different podcast?

Feb 26th

Beauregard Throckmorton

Every time I listen, I think "This IS uncomfortable." Then I smile. Nice work. Love the podcast.

Nov 22nd

I Hope Someone Relates

So strange to have Venmo be such a big part of a romantic relationship.

Oct 2nd

Ari Christine

Its my opinion that people feel they need to share all aspects of their lives to others. while I understand the young man's reservation about sharing the details of his inheritance with his friends - I don't feel he was "lying." Money matters are private. He wasn't lying.

Aug 29th
Reply (1)

Maher Hajarat

Great podcast

Aug 17th

Kristin Chong

Gosh I wish they did a story when both people are in debt.

Aug 17th


great podcast, really relatable.

Jul 20th


The premise of this show is false. Money doesn't mess with people. People mess with people.

Jun 30th
Reply (1)