If you had looked at my resume or LinkedIn profile when I was 26 years old, you’d have thought I was an expert at managing my own money. I studied finance at Wharton, became an investment banker, and then worked in corporate finance. The reality was: I actually knew nothing about my own money.
Then, I had an 'aha' moment — looking at my ever shrinking bank balance — where I realized my current lifestyle was completely unsustainable. I decided to figure it out and shared what I was learning (and all the mistakes I had made) on my blog, the Fiscal Femme.
What happened next took me by surprise. Countless others reached out to share that they were struggling with the same exact issues. We don’t realize everyone struggles with money because it’s too taboo to talk about, even with our closest friends and family, even our partners. One-third of newlyweds don’t know how much student loan debt their partner has.
We end up sitting across from our best friends, feeling all alone, thinking that we’re the only ones who don’t have it figured it out.
We have a lot working against us when it comes to personal finance. Most of us don’t learn about it and we can’t talk about it, yet we have to deal with it almost every single day. It’s also extremely emotionally charged, a lot like food.
Us women have it worse. We have the gender pay gap which is $0.82 for white women, $0.68 for black women, and $0.62 for Latinas. There’s also the pink tax which is the nickname given to the pervasive price hike on products marketed towards women (and girls), so the things we buy cost us more than the same products cost men. Then, we invest less than men so the money we do have isn’t growing. And, we tend to live longer than men, so we actually need to have more money saved to retire.
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Does this make you want to pull your hair out? Me too!
I share this because it’s no wonder we’re not flourishing in our financial lives. It’s important to know how much we have working against us so that we can have some compassion for ourselves rather than punish ourselves for where we are. Then and only then, are we ready to do something about it.