I’ve been obsessed with money since I was a child. My parents would make comments about how I better figure out a way to make “a lot of money when I grow up,” whenever I asked them for money. Side note: thank you mom and dad for instilling in me that I better figure out a way to make money, versus “I better find someone who makes a lot of money.”
The first time I actually sat down and created a budget was in my fifth grade class! A card with a salary was randomly picked from a hat. We were then asked to use that money to set a budget. This project was hilarious! I still recall a kid in my class saying he was going to drive the most expensive car, only to have the teacher remind him that he didn’t set aside enough money for housing. This kid simply responded, “I’ll live out of my car!” to which the whole class burst into laughter.
My budget was clearly well thought out and very practical. Because you see, I’ve been practical for as long as I can remember. And that my friends, was the last time I can recall learning about budgets or finances in school. In college I took macroeconomics and microeconomics and learned a few things about economics, but nothing about finances or how to manage your budget.
Fast forward, I am now expected to adult with my finance knowledge from fifth grade! I’ve spent all these years trying to reach my goal of becoming a pharmacist, daydreaming about the salary, and I actually never thought to educate myself about finance. In college I was pretty good about sticking to a budget and saving money. Largely because I still lived at home and my parents would check in on me. But once I moved out, and didn’t get any judgement from said parents everytime I came home with a shopping bag or a package was delivered. I lost control of my shopaholic tendencies. Soon I found myself comforting myself, telling myself that once I graduated and made more money, I’d be able to pay off the credit card.
It was true, once I graduated I paid off six thousand dollars in credit card debt, saved money for the down payment of our home and always made sure to pay at least the interest on my student loans. But I wasn’t thinking long term. These were all short term goals. I didn’t even educate myself about all the benefits offered at my job, I just took everyone’s word for it. A year into this strategy, we had closed on our home and had gotten engaged. And you best believe the shopaholic alter ego reemerged again.
My fifth grade budget planning skills were no longer cut out for things like mortgage payments, retirement accounts, utilities, student loan debt, taxes, health insurance and all the other miscellaneous expenses that come with homeownership. I felt like I was running in circles and no matter how I worked the budget, we weren’t making any progress. I knew my old ways weren’t going to yield new results, therefore I had to evolve.
Around this time, I had been introduced to Rachel Hollis’s book “Girl, Wash Your Face” which I listened to on audible. Which then led me to finding her podcast, because I was feeling very motivated when Rachel spoke to me. Which then led me to listen to her podcast with David Bach. Which then led me to buying his book “Smart Women Finish Rich”. And I lived happily ever after in my summer home at the hamptons…..wrong! Instead I found myself reading something along the lines of “budgets don’t work.” Like what?! Excuse me sir?!
All jokes aside I am currently educating myself about finances and I am talking about money again. Somewhere over the years, I got shy and stopped talking about money. I accepted the excuse that women don’t talk about money, it isn’t polite. Well I’m calling BS, because money is important. I truly believe that in order to close the gender pay gap, women need to start talking about money. I can literally no longer afford to be a bystander.