There's an idea floating around out there that everything you need to know about personal finance can fit on an index card. It's a super smart concept, because personal finance isn't actually that difficult. There are ten steps that revolve around saving money, paying off debt, using your 401(k), buying insurance and all the other financially responsible jazz you're supposed to do. If you haven't read Helaine Olen's book (linked above) on the index card, I recommend you do. It's a helpful look at how to handle money and it makes personal finance seem way more manageable.
While this newsletter will certainly hit on those ten steps, we'll also focus on actionable ways to make more money at work, hone a side hustle, pay off student loans and think about using and earning money in a different way.
The first step to all of this, though, is making sure you know exactly how your money is working for you. This week, your goal is to face something in your financial life that scares you. That can be taking a look at your bank account for the first time in months, opening bills that have been haunting you, checking up on how much you've saved in your 401(k) or Roth IRA, talking to your financial adviser about saving options or talking with others at your workplace about how much money they make. We'd love to hear how this goes — share on our Instagram or on my personal Twitter, or just respond to this email!
For whatever reason, money is still crazy taboo in our culture. We as women are encouraged to divulge details of our sex lives, but still can't share with each other how much we make at work. And that holds us back! I recently talked with a co-worker about how much we were earning. We both were in the same position at the same company for nearly the same amount of time. We also had the same experience (just out of college), yet she was making less that I was. Um, WTF?
I know it may gross you out to discuss your finances with your co-workers. So consider starting smaller. Share how much you make with your best friend, or discuss concerns about the workplace with your women's group. The only way we can bridge the wage gap is by staying informed.
- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #1