Cally Ingebritson on founding her own LGBTQ-focused financial advisory firm

This week, I sat down with Cally Ingebritson, the mastermind behind Chillax Financial, a new financial advisory firm based in San Diego dedicated to serving queer folks. She started the firm after spending nearly 10 years in personal finance.

Tell me a bit about yourself.
My pronouns are she/her. I’m originally from Minneapolis. I studied Spanish in college, and I knew that I wanted to help people in some way. I lived in Spain, Mexico and Columbia before settling back in the Midwest.

Once there, I worked in personal finance in the Midwest for roughly 10 years. I realized that a lot of financial places can be very square and very serious.

I recently founded my own business, which is called Chillax Finance. It started when I saw how much of a need there was in a queer community for people to offer realistic financial advice at a low cost. Additionally, I work at the Women’s Business Center as a business adviser. I’m helping women start businesses in my role there. I also work at a local salon to support myself.

How do you stay on top of things when you have three jobs?
It’s very challenging, but it’s also on purpose. I took all the coursework to become a CFP and I have two financial coach certifications. I don’t want to look for financial advising jobs at traditional firms. I would just die in one of those environments. I want to create a new financial space for young people who are queer, identify as nonbinary or just generally are looking for something new.

What do you focus on at Chillax Financial?
Some of the common issues that the folks I work with want to address include cash flow. A lot of people struggle to understand how to divvy up their paycheck or to know where their money is going. A lot of people are working on creating a rainy day savings buffer. A lot of people want to open a retirement account or purchase a home. In the short term, it’s cash flow and building savings or paying off debt.

I really help them open different accounts. We create multiple checking and savings accounts, which can be really helpful for folks. After working in personal finance for ten years, I have come to realize that for folks with one checking account, their finances can be a hot mess.

When everything is coming in and out of one account, it’s really stressful. At Chillax, we use the rough guidelines of a 50/30/20 budget. We set up direct deposit. We include automation with that. I have found that that is super successful.

What are your plans for the future?
In one year I hope to be serving many more clients than I am now. I hope to be able to connect people to the tools we just talked about. I am hoping to do some national work, I hope to attend some women and queer events here to spread the word so that people know I exist. With the clients I’m already serving, I want them to feel relaxed, not judged about money. In all, I hope to be serving my full threshold.

What resources have helped you in starting your own business?
For me and starting my own business, it has been really helpful to get connected to the Women’s Business Center in San Diego. I found it using www.SBA.gov. There are a lot of different resources for readers who are entrepreneurs. It’s paid for by our federal taxes, so you should take advantage of it.

I really like Jenna Kutcher. She’s super rad. She has a podcast called Goal Digger. She gives lots of awesome advice and resources for people who are running their own businesses. I love listening to the Queerly podcast with Cameron Esposito. I also like the podcast called 2050 Trailblazers. It’s more like an industry podcast that’s specifically for financial advisers that are doing innovative things with people of color.

Any final words?
I would just like to encourage people that improving your personal finance is possible. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the stuff that is out there. You’re not bad with money, you just weren’t given the tools to handle it. You most likely weren’t taught it in school. I just want people to not feel overwhelmed.

Liv Gagnon On Building Her PR Business From the Ground Up

Liv Gagnon and I met serendipitously at a barre studio in Brooklyn nearly two years ago. We were both studio regulars, so one day after class we started talking about our careers. I learned that she worked in public relations in the financial services sector. Given that I was a business journalist, we made a networking connection immediately. 

Catching up with Alicia, Amanda and Jemma

Welcome to November! Big things are happening for She Spends, and we want you to be a part of them. What follows is a list of some of the changes and new things you can expect to see from us in the coming months

  • Newsletter: You will continue to receive a newsletter every Friday at 8:30 a.m. This newsletter will include a round up of the week's financial news and a money diary. It also will likely contain some personal finance or career content, however, it will be shorter than previous newsletters. We're doing this to accommodate staffing changes we made over the summer.  
     

  • Website: We are in the process of UX testing design changes for our website. Our end goal is to make the content more accessible. This means it will be easier to find what you need (hell yeah, search bar!), and readers with vision impairments will be able to access the content (bye bye difficult-to-see content!). 
     

  • Webinars: We are launching webinars as of Jan. 1! Our first round will include four live workshops taught by a member of the She Spends team. They will include topics such as freelancing as a career, negotiating for a raise, managing your career with a mental or physical illness and how to start investing. We'll work with webinar participants to determine a date for each of these, but they will take place in January.

    Once the webinars launch, they will cost $50 apiece (with a sliding scale option). However, if you become a Patreon at the $10 level prior to Jan. 1, you'll have access to all four webinars. Interested? Check out our Patreon page to get started.
     

  • Potluck: We have partnered up with Abigail from This Needs Hot Sauce to bring our New York readers a potluck on Nov. 29. At 6:30 p.m., meet us at Greenwich Treehouse. Bring a dish and buy a drink to support Greenwich Treehouse before settling in and celebrating our community. RSVP to our Facebook event here.
     

  • Tote Bags: We are making totes! And they're beautiful! Pictured below, the totes cost $20 without shipping. Any profits we make on them go right back into building She Spends, aka creating awesome content and hosting events for you. Fill out our pre-order form now

Book Recommendation: "Money Diaries" by Lindsey Stanberry

We did not invent money diaries. I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to most of you. While our diaries are designed to get a holistic view of a person’s spending, we have to credit Refinery29 for being our inspiration for the column in each newsletter. 

This week, I had the chance (thanks Emma!) to pick up the new “Money Diaries” book by Refinery29’s work and money director, Lindsey Stanberry, after seeing Stanberry speak at an event. 

The book is good. Very good, in fact. It, essentially, is a guide to tackling your finances with money diaries and “money challenges” peppered throughout. 

Stanberry takes a welcoming attitude as a writer, and even shares some of her personal experiences, including a money diary from herself and her husband, in the book. She also interviews money celebs like Sallie Krawcheck for topics like asking for a raise. 

“Money Diaries” includes a number of illustrations, which break up a somewhat monotonous topic. 

What makes it different, though, and a strong point of the book, is that it’s written specifically for women and non-binary folks. There’s a section on having children as a queer couple, for instance. These very real money issues are rarely discussed in mainstream financial media. 

Given these necessary conversations, “Money Diaries” is an important book, especially for those who are marginalized. We definitely recommend checking it out from the library, or, if you have a few extra bucks on hand, paying for a copy is certainly a good idea!

Michaela Guzy on Building Her Travel Business

Michaela Guzy knows a thing or two about travel. The former vice president of global travel and strategic development at American Express Publishing departed from corporate America to start Oh The People You Meet (OTPYM), a website focused on forging authentic local connections all over the globe.
 
The adjunct professor at New York University who is also a self-taught videographer and entrepreneur spoke with She Spends about the power of education, networking and following your passion.

Wendy Liebowitz on Performing a Financial Checkup

Wendy Liebowitz grew up at financial services firm Fidelity. She began her career as a 19-year-old intern at the firm, working her way up through the ranks, eventually landing the role of vice president branch manager of the firm’s Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, location. 

“I just saw what value working at an investment company had,” Liebowitz said by phone Thursday. “I was personally able to learn the value of a dollar and how investing early helps you build your wealth long term.”

Liebowitz, who is a certified financial planner, shared advice on performing a financial checkup with She Spends. What follows are some of her tips!

Susan Goldberg on How To Build Leadership Skills

Susan Goldberg didn’t expect to get into leadership consulting. She started her career with a degree in French literature, worked in marketing and for an executive search firm for awhile before opening her own consulting business, only to move to leadership consulting after noticing a hole in the market.

She spoke to She Spends about her experiences with sexism in the workplace, going solo and how to boost your own leadership skills. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Rachel Dougherty on Launching Their Community Engagement Consultancy Business

Rachel Dougherty’s community work started at a young age. While growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, they got involved in social justice work through their synagogue that set the tone for the rest of their career. After hustling in multiple non-profit jobs, Rachel is working to strike out on their own. They launched a community engagement consultancy business this spring, with the hopes of helping both nonprofits and companies like She Spends build communities in intelligent ways.

Rachel talked with She Spends about launching their new business, staying organized and being a non-binary person in the workplace. Stay tuned to the end of the interview, where Rachel shares their favorite resources for community building.

Angel Onuoha and Drew Tucker on Changing the Color of the Hedge Fund Industry

Two Harvard sophomores are working hard to change how the hedge fund industry looks.

Angel Onuoha and Drew Tucker, two black men who want to eventually work in finance, started BLK Capital Management, a nonprofit that operates as a hedge fund, this year. The group allows black students across Ivy League schools in the United States to get experience investing before ever leaving school. 

Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa on Launching a Luxury, Eco-Friendly Clothing Line

Without any prior design experience, former fashion editors Kate Zubarieva and Asya Varetsa have a fashion crowd-approved hit on their hands: sleepwear line Sleeper.

The clothing line, which produces pajama-like clothing made for outdoors in natural, eco-friendly fibers like cotton and silk, is made-to-order — meaning there isn’t any excessive production. Each garment is hand sewn by a seamstress and can take between eight and 12 hours to finish.

The Ukrainian founders spoke with She Spends about how they launched the brand with just $2,000 in six months, why they love Man Repeller and how they hired nearly all women to head up their operations.

Regina of Wolf Medicine Magic on Hustling to Build Her Yoga Business

Taking a barre or yoga class with Regina of Wolf Medicine Magic is grounding. The Brooklyn-based instructor is strong, and she inspires class participants to tap into that strength, both physically and emotionally. Regina, who prefers to use just her first name, hustled to create her yoga-Ayurveda-breathwork business that travels to different studios, Wolf Medicine Magic, after graduating with a BFA Arizona State University in dance in 2004. 

Since then, her business has swelled. She leads breathwork workshops specifically for people of color or focused on releasing trauma from toxic masculinity. She also offers Ayurvedic mentoring and teaches yoga and barre classes at several Brooklyn studios. Shespoke with She Spends about how she hustled to create her business and what’s next for Wolf Medicine Magic. 

Homa Woodrum on Advocating for Elderly and Disabled People

Homa Woodrum has a lot to say about the field of law. She works as an advocacy attorney for Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services, advocating on behalf of disabled and elderly people in her state. Woodrum discussed her career in law, life as an immigrant, having a child with food allergies and professional loneliness with She Spends.