This week’s blog post is by guest blogger Lauren Davidson, a young entrepreneur who is graduating from college and getting started as a freelance writer for hire. I’m happy to support this young woman. You can find her website here: http://laurdavidson.com/.
Far too many women entrepreneurs don’t understand basic finances, and would get an F in financial literacy. In other words, we are financially illiterate. In part, that is because our public schools do not teach financial literacy the way other countries do, as part of the basic curriculum in secondary school. If we aren’t taught at home by our parents, it’s often up to us as women entrepreneurs to take charge of our financial knowledge. We all want to become successful, but that’s hard to do without a basic understanding of how money and the economy work.
Why worry about your financial knowledge?
If you can admit to yourself that you aren’t financially literate, no time is better than right now to start learning about finances. Financial smarts open the door to personal freedom, whether it’s deciding on your own stock portfolio, choosing the best bank with which to do business, or comparing credit card offers.
Here are four resources that help build financial literary for women entrepreneurs.
Watch Some Videos
Khan Academy is a free website (and corresponding app) with courses on everything from biology and Spanish to—you guessed it—financial literacy. The team behind Khan Academy has teamed up with Bank of America to make a website called “Making Better Money Habits.” It’s full of short, 5-minute videos that will teach you about saving, budgeting, and investing. For example, check out “How to set a budget and stick to it.” You can find the website here.
Download Some Apps
If you prefer to learn on your phone, there are all kinds of apps out there focused on improving your money skills. Mint is an app that helps you to track the money you have coming in and going out each month. It links to your bank accounts to help your characterize your spending habits and see where your money is spent.
If you’re interested in learning more about investing, try Acorns, which is an app that links to your debit card and rounds up your purchases. The spare change is deposited into your Acorns account and when it reaches a minimum balance it is invested for you into stocks. Their website also gives you access to free educational content aimed at financial literacy, where you can learn key terms about investments.
Go Old School
There are hundreds of books out there on financial literacy. Before you plop down retail prices, check out your neighborhood used bookstore for classics like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek. These can often be bought for just a couple bucks – and the money you are saving is your first step toward smarter finances!
(Note: Here are books highly recommended by Sue.)
- My Own Money Mechanic by Deb Schmitz, available only on her website. http://womensmoneymakeover.com/
- Overcoming Under Earning by Barbara Stanny
- Secrets of Six Figure Women by Barbara Stanny
Take a Class
Last, but not least, you can always take a class on financial literacy. Just because you didn’t take one in high school doesn’t mean you are doomed to be financially illiterate forever. Many libraries offer short classes on budgeting and general finances, as do some city recreational programs. If you would rather learn in the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of online courses on financial literacy as well—although they are generally more expensive than the community classes.
Make this year the one you achieve greater personal freedom by taking control of your financial literacy!
If you’ve faced down your own fear or lack of knowledge about finances, please share your story below. Your comments will help and encourage other women entrepreneurs. Thanks!