by Jenn Uhen, Founder of The Pledgettes
Were you told that talking about money is rude? What about “rich people are greedy”? Or if you grew up in a wealthy family, you weren’t rich, you were fortunate, blessed, hardworking, and lucky…but definitely not rich.
While so much of what we were taught about money was intended to keep us safe and happy, it has led to a widening wealth gap by gender, race, and generations.
I’m sharing the secrets because secrets have power and I want you to have the power too.
Here are three big money secrets I want the whole world to know.
1 ) Nobody was born with financial literacy.
Feels obvious to say but also a strange ah-ha that was right in front of us all along. That’s right, anyone with financial literacy learned it. They learned from their parents, read books, took classes, and some even chose a career path in finance.
A few years ago, I was mentoring an early professional. She jumped from sales to recruiting, and then set a goal to work in the financial industry because she wanted to make that money. She wasn’t the best at math and never showed any interest in the stock market, investments, or even numbers. However, she committed to learning it.
She started every day with market podcasts, she had flashcards posted on her bathroom mirror and studied around the clock. After two months of interviewing, she earned a position in the financial service industry, six months later she had passed exams and earned her two required licenses, and ended the year earning top recognition at her company.
It’s okay to not want a fast-track intensive on everything financial, but it is time to start. In 2020, I committed to learning something new about money every week with The Pledgettes and I did it. Here are 52 Things I Learned About Money in 2020.
2 – You shouldn’t go on your financial journey alone
I’m picturing Reese Witherspoon in Wild, hiking alone. I wouldn’t make it the first day, nor would I want to. About two years ago, I was seeking more purpose and ways to make an impact on the inequities I was seeing. I went to work talking to women, researching the gender wealth gap, and learning what was needed. My biggest takeaway:
The key to enjoying your personal financial journey was to not do it alone!
I was talking to a number of women and saw a common theme. Those that were putting their finances off until “someday” felt they had to do it alone. The women that were confident about their goals and financial plans were talking about money with their Financial A-Teams. They had teams of people around them. There are five types of people that belong on your Financial A-Team: Growth Partners, Connectors, Mentors/Mentees, High-Five Tribe, and Diverse Thinkers.
This realization drove me to create The Pledgettes as a community first, financial literacy second. Now, I am on a mission to abolish the gender wealth gap by facilitating money conversations with women and allies.
3 – You are a powerful woman!
What kind of world do you want to live in for the future? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Your money can make it so!
Different sources estimate that women make 80% of the consumer purchasing decision. What would it look like if we switched even three monthly purchases to values-aligned purchasing? I stopped buying soap refills on Amazon and went to The Conscious Merchant, a local women-owned business helping customers with sustainable swaps. Banking is a free switch that can have a lot of impact. You can switch from a global bank to a community bank which keeps more money in your community for housing, small businesses, and public work projects. Impact Investing and Sustainable Investing continues to get better. Beyond the stock market, your investments can be values-aligned.
Your financial goals should go beyond working towards a dollar amount.
I always struggled with the idea of working towards a retirement number. I didn’t want to predict when I was going to die, how much medical support I would need, and what lifestyle I wanted to lead. That morbid question made me hesitate on goal-setting for a while. Then, when I clarified my values and goals, my motivation increased and I was confidently (and happily) making money moves.
I examined ways that my values could show up with my money: Spending, Banking, and Investing. Here’s a blog with some great resources to go down the rabbit hole about how to use your money for good.
Here is how my value of community and equality show up in one of my investments. I purchased a condo with an inherited tenant with my Self-Directed IRA. The tenant had lived there for nine years and really wanted to stay. I wanted him to stay too because I believe that everyone should have a safe, comfortable place to live. So, he pays below-market rent and is a fantastic tenant. As an investor, I was able to say, that I will earn a fair ROI on my investment and it will be values-aligned by not displacing this tenant and or pricing him out of his home.
Bonus Secret: You are on a personal financial journey.
Whether you like it or not, you can’t get off the ride. Ignoring your money is a missed opportunity to achieve your future goals. And achieving any of your goals is easier with money. Want to start a business? Get that seed money going. Want to have a family and take a career pause? Build up that freedom fund! Run your goals through the “how can money help me achieve this goal?” filter and then take an active role in your finances. Here are 43 ways you can take an active role in your finance! You are ready. Enjoy the journey!
Oh, and if you need someone to be on your High-Five Tribe, I’m your girl. I love giving virtual high-fives for progress, milestones, and achievements! Send me an email – email@example.com – or a DM on Instagram @thepledgettes
Jenn Uhen is the Founder of The Pledgettes, a community for women to talk about money. The Pledgettes were built to democratize access to financial experts, build a supportive space for women to evolve their relationship with money, and create connections so no woman is going after her personal financial goals alone. Jenn and her husband have clear financial goals, which include a diverse portfolio of investment property, retirement accounts, and businesses. All while living a minimalist (but comfortable) lifestyle, including traveling the country in an RV.