It’s easy to be confident about money if you’ve got a formal education in finance, or if you’ve been rocking your money management for ages. But if you’re not quite there yet? There are steps you can take as part of your everyday life (no marathon study sessions required) to build that confidence.
And since we just had International Women’s Day (and it’s now Financial Literacy Month!), I think it’s especially important to point out that women have a confidence gap when it comes to money. Stnce did some research on this exact topic, and found that a bananas 41% of women are “hidden gurus” of personal finance. They had high financial literacy scores, but reported low financial confidence in their abilities. What.
Beyond that, not a single woman was confident enough to say she got all of the answers correct — even when she did. Luckily, financial confidence is something you can build, and it doesn’t take a degree in finance to get there. It’s important, too, because a big part of being good at money is having the confidence to take action and ask questions. So if you want to become a person who is Confident About Money (especially as a woman!) here are the four things that helped me do exactly that. (You can also watch me talking about this over on YouTube here!)
1. Take baby steps
As Becca K. from The Bachelor (and now the Bachelorette!) would say, “Let’s do the damn thing.” You do not have to do all the things at once, and I’d very much recommend that you not try. You could spend your whole life learning things about money, but the most important thing is to start by implementing the small things that you already know you should be doing.
Things like switching to an online bank, or moving your emergency fund to a high-interest savings account, or setting up an automatic savings contribution to your RRSP (or an IRA, for Americans). It could be as simple as opening a savings account to house your yet-to-be-saved emergency fund. Do just one thing you’ve been putting off, that you know would be a good money move — and then use your momentum to build from there by doing another thing.
2. Talk about money
Whether you have people IRL who want to talk about money with you is largely a luck thing. I’m very very lucky in that way, because I have a ton of amazing women in my life who are more than willing to talk money with me. My mom is the OG personal finance rockstar, and I have a network of amazing women entrepreneurs who are always up to talk business with me. But if you can’t think of anyone who would want to chat budgets-and-saving in real life with you, all is not lost. There are amazing money conversations happening all the time on Twitter, and you can jump in by following everyone my online BFF mentions in this tweet.
There are some great personal finance Youtube channels run by women too — Mixed Up Money, Money After Graduation, and The Financial Diet are personal favorites of mine! Last but not least, see if there are money events happening near you!
3. Take advanced steps
Once you’ve taken a series of small steps, and found places to chat about money (online or IRL), it’s time to kick things up a notch. That’s right, it’s time to do the bigger things that might be a little scary, a little intimidating, or a little bit “not for you.” There’s a lot of identity that goes into how you see yourself with money, and for me, that always meant that I didn’t see myself as an investor. I knew investing my money was important, and I knew what I was “supposed” to do, but being an “investor” was for dudes in suits, not for me. It held me back for a long time, and I missed out on some sweet, sweet investment gains.
It was only after I had been taking a more active role in my money for months that I finally realized that Okay, I’ve done everything pretty well so far, it’s probably time for me to do this, too. So I signed up with Wealthsimple, and I haven’t looked back. I’m finally confident calling myself an investor.
4. Share what you know
Maybe this means you start a blog about money (it’s fun here, join us!) but it could also just mean that you become that person at brunch who’s all, “Friends, do you have renter’s insurance? If not, you should.” I wish more people had said that to me while I was renting!
You don’t have to be an expert to start sharing what you know. If you’ve done even one of these steps, you could help someone out who hasn’t, even if it’s just sharing which money nerds you follow on Twitter or Youtube! As a bonus, when you realize that yes, what you know is helping the people in your life (and that you’re now the IRL friend who’s open to talking about money) you’ll get an extra confidence boost — promise.
Image via Unsplash