The Financial Feminist Summit by Bravely Go

Okay, so for the past three evenings after work I’ve been binge watching Bravely Go’s Financial Feminist Summit Videos.

Bravely Go, is a Feminist financial education company; #bravelygo to the intersection of Finance and Feminism , whose Founder Kara Pérez, has been featured on FinanciElle. When I saw Kara was going to be doing this Summit, I knew I had to sign up.

The Summit didn’t disappoint, I especially liked the mix of content into what I felt like fell into two different but equally important streams around money:

  • So what and why now – the history piece and the future focused piece
  • How to – in a how to do you format because guess what? Personal finance is, personal – really most money is personal

So, that’s how I’ve decided to break down lessons learned, quotes, and snippets from the event. I’m really trying to have self-restraint and not do a full brain dump; but, there’s so much good stuff that was talked about and shared.

So What, Why Now?

Kara @webravelygo (What is a Financial Feminist)

The High Level History (The Big Picture)

  • Everyone will have a perspective of financial feminism that is informed by their personal experiences and thoughts, no one owns Financial Feminism, just like no one owns Feminism, upon whose shoulders Financial Feminism stands – a common theme throughout the Summit was how personal finance is deeply personal
  • Kara’s view on Financial Feminism is “It’s inter sectional, it’s easily accessible, it’s forward thinking but rooted in historical truth, and it is shared.” – Kara Pérez
  • My view on Financial Feminism can be found here, but in short it’s about practically applying the “Feminine” to how all the players in an embedded economy (the system ) think of, make, and use money.
  • “Financial Feminism is born out of women not having equal access to earning money, to owning money, or to managing money and to passing on money the way that men have been able to” – Kara Pérez

While this diagram is based on the U.S. you just have to look at any of the studies/reports or articles here, here, here …. to see that this is wide spread and over-reaching.

  • “Under Capitalism, which is the economic system that we (the world) are living under, when people don’t have access to money, they don’t have control over their lives, and this really, really, I think is the crux of a lot of Financial Feminists.” – Kara Pérez
  • “If you are unable to earn money – you are unable to save, to invest, to build a financial buffer, to build the protection that comes with money. From there, you may possibly have to endure an abusive situation or stay in a place or situation you don’t like because you can’t afford to get out…Being unable to control your own capital also means you are unable to care for others. If your name is not on a bank account, you can’t take that money out , use it to care for your sick parent. Basically, to sum it up, not being able to own your own capital means you don’t have flexibility in life.” – Kara Pérez

We have to acknowledge this bigger history and that different groups are starting in different places.

We’re all on the same ocean, but different boats – some people are riding in yachts, some people sail boats, some people’s boats have holes in them, some people are floating on the ocean in life jackets and swimming and still others are drowning on the outside because they don’t have boats or life jackets.

The task at hand is to, with curiosity and empathy for all the different groups carrying different loads, work together to make sure that a rising tide really does raise all boats up, instead of having some sink/drown faster.

Enough with the boat metaphors…

Berna @heyberna + Yanely @missbehelpful (1st gen $)

Your Personal History

This talk on dealing with money when you’re the first in the family made me feel all the feels because it reminded me of my family. My dad’s family immigrated to Canada from Italy when he was ten, my mom’s parents immigrated from Italy before she was born. All the stories and experiences they talked about are very true.

  • Impact of immigrant family
  • Inter-generational wealth of knowledge and/or lack of
  • Having empathy for the lived experience of those that came before you and how their experiences have shaped their habits
  • Feeling a sense of responsibility to take advantage of opportunities that those before you didn’t have ( a sense of productive anger) and passing the knowledge you have up and down

They talked about the #HellaHelpful free online money summit created by and for BIPOC, first-gen immigrant kids, and everyone in the struggle. The Summit’s done but you can still sign up for free access to all the recorded videos which represent 10 hours of free money classes.

Kiersten @richandregular (Financial Independence)

Your Personal History and Your Future

“It’s hard to be a feminist if you’re broke” – Rachel Rodgers

Kiersten shared this video at the start of her talk and it speaks to what Kara also mentioned about Financial Feminism.

“We tend to use Feminism as an adjective or a noun, but my version is really a verb – it’s action oriented.” – Kiersten Saunders

Kiersten and her husband live by the F.I.R.E movement, which stands for Financial Independence Retire Early.

She talked about how the F.I.R.E movement has been growing rapidly in recent years but it’s not the only sub-culture or lifestyle picking up steam. In many ways the movement is connected to underlying patterns that are shaping American life. Now, more than ever people are challenging the status quo, tradition, and the “old” way of doing things.

The F.I.R.E movement is based on saving 50% + of your income and building an investment portfolio that earns enough income that you don’t have to work anymore.

She showed a diagram about how retirement is viewed based on your savings:

  • No savings = a dream
  • Just starting (5-10%) = a thought
  • Doing well saving (10-15%) = a plan
  • Ramping up saving (50% +) = a reality

And how the behaviours associated with this movement fall into two categories:

Lowering Expenses:

  • Pay off all debts
  • Cook more at home
  • Live smaller
  • Consider transportation alternatives
  • Budget

Boosting Income/Investing Wisely:

  • Get a raise
  • Invest in real-estate
  • Pick up a side-gig
  • Start a business
  • Invest in low cost index funds
  • Insurance

This category requires the most mindset work, healing, and self-awareness

She referenced a quote from Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life, who is considered the founding mother of the movement,

“None of this is about retiring, though people confuse retirement with financial independence. It’s about having choices, and being able to deepen your self knowledge while aligning how you spend your time with what you care about most. It feels amazing to live life this way.

I have not worked for a paycheck in 50 years, though some of what I’ve felt called to do has produced an income. My frugality has bought me so many freedoms – time, space, thought, curiosity, creativity, and risk.” – Vicki Robin

Events and changes like what’s happening with COVID-19 and Artificial Intelligence (A.I) are disproportionately affecting already marginalized groups. The affect of time is creating a higher stakes game.

Kiersten talked about how financial independence allows you to opt out. Any movement centered on liberation has to teach you how to think for yourself.

She showed a quote from Jessica Rycheal,

“Survival looks different for every generation. It’s okay if your liberation diverges from the traditions that raised you. Give yourself permission to grow into your own freedom.”

She talked about how The work of becoming financially independent is uncomfortable in a soul work kind of way and went into three things to consider before getting started:

Consideration #1:

  • There’s a vast difference between how men and women think about money. Women are twice as likely to associate negative feels with their finances as men. Only 9% of women feel empowered, 8% excited about finances. More than 2/3 of women with debt said they felt overwhelmed by debt with some frequency compared to 1/2 of men. Men are more likely to associate positive feelings with finances across the board and most frequently reported feeling in control of their finances and hopeful vs. women.

but, women are trending to control 2/3 of America’s wealth by 2030, she said “Now is no the time to be scared of money.”

She talked about how if you are a woman of colour a lot of your journey is about unlearning. Your relationship with money is likely based on all the lessons you’ve learned throughout life, and, many have narratives based on survival, tragedy, and scarcity.

She talked about how for her the lessons she had to unlearn were around worthiness and that the biggest mistake you can make is assuming that what a company is paying you is the same as what you and your time is worth. “your salary is a reflection of what that job means to that company, it’s not what you are worth as a person, or what your time is worth.”

She talked about how if you’re willing to get uncomfortable for a little while, you may be free forever.

Consideration #2:

  • You can’t change something about yourself by hating it. Shame and guilt are favourites of the personal finance industry (not the community). These emotions do not burn clean, you need a plan/budget/strategy that reflects who you are.

She referenced a quote by Paula Pant,

“You can afford anything, but not everything” – Paula Pant

Figure out the trade-offs that work for you. Don’t be afraid to get help, your relationship with money will affect every other relationship you have. Money is a tool and you can’t effectively use a tool if you’re afraid of it or feel some kind of way about it. The key to this journey is that you are able to see money as a tool to engage with life.

Everything is figurouteable but it will take time. There is too much emphasis but on instant gratification.

Consideration #3

  • You don’t have to like change to take advantage of it. There’s a lot you can’t control about circumstances; but, you can choose how you want to think and feel about it and let that guide your actions.

Kiersten then shared some practical tips:

  • Look for the stories, not the rules. Rules tend to delete outliers in order to make them make sense and marginalized people and minorities tend to fall in the outliers. Personal finance is personal. She shared some of her favourite stories:
  • If you can’t read, then listen, some of Kiersten’s favourite podcasts:
  • Join an in-person (or during physical distancing a digital) meetup. The destination will feel like the journey. The way to ensure you feel joy when you reach your financial goals, is to practice feeling it now, where you are. Anything you tackle with stress is going to feel stressful.
  • Commit to three weeks of – either cutting expenses, increasing income, or increasing your knowledge base. It’s all meant to be seasons.

Carmen @makerealcents (Changing the Personal Finance Narrative)

Future Focused

When Kara and Carmen were talking about changing the personal finance narrative, representation was the main theme and this also came up at the STATEMENT event I attended earlier in the month.

“That’s also why I say on my platform, I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that there are people that live, you know, at the poverty line and below the poverty line that are making a living wage. That would be a dis-service because sometimes, most of the time, that personal finance information does not apply to those people, you can’t really budget if you don’t have enough money to budget period. Like that’s a real thing.” – Carmen

They talked about how some of the narratives focus one small things like the latte factor and how mainstream personal finance media is still focused on placing blame; but, there are systemic things that need to be put in place for your money that are bigger picture than things like clipping coupons and not buying a latte, thinks like:

  • How do I work on getting more income?
  • How do I work on increasing my skills?
  • How do I negotiate for a bigger salary?
  • About ownership and starting a business

“Personal finance definitely needs to make more space for lower income households and figuring out ways, outside of policy – because I think policy change is going to be the biggest thing that will affect change as it relates to lower income households, that will move the needle. But I think more space needs to be made for people that have lower income, the working poor, black people, people of colour, women, specifically women of colour, marginalized communities, Native American’s, I can go on LGBTQ, all of that.” – Carmen

Carmen shared three small pieces of advice that changed her money life:

  • Opening a high yield savings account (separate bank)and making direct deposits/auto drafts – either from your main account if you’re not a W-2 employee getting a paycheque direct deposited, or if you are a W-2 employee getting a portion of your pay direct deposited. You can start with whatever amount you feel comfortable $5, $10, $15. She talked about how you might feel like that’s nothing and won’t be impactful; but, $5 can turn into $100 really quickly. It’s about starting where you are and with what you have now. If you’ve never saved that much before, it starts building a good habit and boosts your confidence.

“Starting small and sucky beats staying stucky.” – Marie Forleo

and remember to be kind to yourself even if you have a set-back , don’t stop because:

  • Talk to people that are actually good with money that you peep from afar, reach out and ask questions, tips, tricks (like all the ladies whose social handles are listed here)
  • You’re only one decision away from a different life

Lily @lkherman (Why We Can’t Keep Politics Out of Money)

Future Focused

Kara and Lily spoke about how the personal finance narrative is very much focused on bootstrapping it up and focusing on individual financial issues vs. focusing on systemic and policy issues. When Kara asked Lily, about how to deal with talking about sticky issues and getting people to listen or engage in the first place, Kara had this to say:

“I think the most important thing, above all is to meet people where they are. Every audience you talk to is going to be different. In every person, you might have to start at a different base. I don’t think you have to water things down for people, or dumb them down for people, but you have to think of the fact that hey, certain language just might not be something that people have heard of, or certain examples might be easier to use.” – Lily Herman

Whether it’s getting people to talk about bigger issues or getting people engaged with wanting to learn about policy and how it affects them, the key takeaways are to:

  • Meet people where they are
  • Know that the first conversation, is just that – the first one. You are not necessarily going to get transformative affects from one conversation. Things take time to simmer and for people to digest and think about
  • Know your intent for starting the conversation and what kind of impact you’re trying to have with the conversation
  • Break bigger systemic issues and policy into smaller goals, wins and make things personal – personal stories, how this one issue or one policy impacts all the other areas of a persons life. How does this policy impact them personally and then what does that look like when you multiply that impact across millions of people, tying them to the whole
  • Make it interesting, it’s okay if serious things look cool and interesting, that doesn’t make them less important, it makes them more digestible like the example that Kara gave of The Betches SUP and how they provide political information

How To:

Jocelyn @hire.women (Money + Mindset)

The Mindset

The whole time I was watching this video and listening to Jocelyn, it was reminding me of two things and resources that I’ve used – one often, one recent:

  • The first, that I remind myself of often is a passage from The Maxwell Daily Reader by John C. Maxwell about feeding the right emotion (This book has lots of daily tasks on mindset and I highly recommend it). He rights, “Someone once wrote: Two natures beat within my breast, The one is foul, the other blessed. The one I love, the other I hate; The one I feed will dominate. The thing is, both of these emotions will always be present in you. The emotion you continually feed is the one that will dominate your life.”
  • The second resource, the book Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo is basically the mindset holy grail in it she writes, “Beliefs are the hidden scripts that run our lives…A belief is something you know with total and absolute certainty. It’s a thought that you’ve decided – consciously or unconsciously – is The Truth. Our beliefs are the root of our reality and our results. Therefore, our creation formula looks more like this: Belief – Thought – Feeling – Behaviour – Result. In order to solve any problem or achieve any dream, we must first make a change at the level of belief.”
  • Jocelyn mentioned the following about the brain:
    • It’s efficient – whatever you tell it, it will find proof to support that belief
    • It has a function called the Reticular Activating System that sweeps through thousands of data points that we’re confronted with daily, and it will only focus on the things it deems you think are important
    • It does not know what jokes are, especially at your expense, it’s taking everything literally
    • It has an autopilot that switches on the moment we’re faced with a situation that we have no immediate solution for

The good thing is that, through nourishing our minds with positive repetition, we can control how we handle what gets thrown at us. If you constantly feed the blessed nature referenced above, it will dominate. This isn’t to say that the blessed nature is always well fed, we’re all gonna have bad days but it’s important to remember to feed the good.

Jocelyn talked about what she called her Mindset Mami’s – tools to help feed the good mindset:

So, when confronting money and the inevitable anxiety that tends to accompany it – take these mindset tools with you.

Erin @brokemillenialblog (Negotiation):

I’m just going straight into this one and what Erin said. She’s literally written the book on it, her first book Broke Millennial has a whole section on Negotiation, and her new book coming out at the end of this year Broke Millennial Talks Money has scripts developed from talking to experts, plus as a freelancer she’s basically in a constant negotiation.

How to be more confident going into negotiations:

  • Practice:
    • In front of the mirror just with yourself
    • Another human (Role Play)
    • Practice letting it hang and being silent
  • Bring data to back yourself up
  • Have a conversation early about what it’s going to take to get a promotion/raise and make them quantify it

How to approach a conversation when you know there are invisible barriers:

  • Just keep trying – incremental process
  • Remind yourself that you’re doing your part for yourself and future generations
  • If you’re really unhappy, look for another job

Where to Get the Data:

You should never go into a negotiation blind, but the only way to get the necessary knowledge is to do the uncomfortable and ask your co-workers…

3 People You Need to Ask:

  • Someone who does your role at your company or at a similar company
  • Someone who has been promoted out of your role recently
  • Someone who hires for your role – mentor (outside of company), sponsor (works in your company like your manager)

How Many People to Ask:

  • 3 Men
  • 3 women
  • If you’re a person of colour, you should ask both a fellow person of colour and white men and women

Freelancers:

Talk to each other. Ask people their rates who are doing comparable work at your stage, or you can ask someone further along what they did charge.

Sharing rates helps other people raise their rates, which makes it easier for everyone to negotiate.

How to Ask:

  • The Direct Ask
  • The Cold Pitch
  • The Over/Under (which can be combined with either of the other two)

Script for the Direct Ask:

Sentence 1: “I’m doing some research because…(Insert your reason)” (asking for a raise, interviewing for a new position)

Sentence 2: “And I think you have some information that could help me.”

Sentence 3: “Would you be willing to share your ball park salary with me?”

If you’re asking higher up in the company or a mentor, then amend sentence 3 to “I’m thinking of asking for $X, does that sound reasonable to you.”

Script for Over/Under:

“If I just ask you if you’re making over or under a certain number, could you just tell me yes or no?”

Script for Cold Pitch Email/Linked In Reach Outs:

This is a numbers game so Erin suggests sending out 25 LinkedIn requests.

Style #1:

“Hey, I’m a (Job title) and I just found out I’m really underpaid compared to some of my co-workers. As I go into the next round of job interviews, it would be helpful if you could share what you think I should be making or what salary you think I should ask for.”

Style #2:

“I’m doing research because (Insert your reason) and I think you have some information that could help me. Would you be willing to share your ball park salary with me?” or, “I’m thinking of asking for $X, does that sound reasonable to you?”

What happens if you’ve unearthed a gender pay gap?

Script:

“I wanted to talk to you about my salary. I’m being paid $X and I’ve learned that John Doe (a male co-worker in the same position), who does the same work that I do and manages a group of the same size (or insert your comparison here) is being paid 20% more than that. I’m trying to understand the reason for the difference?”

Avoid accusing or being adversarial right out of the gate, come from a place that the other party is acting out of ignorance rather than malice, you know your boss. If it’s clearly the issue, it’s always best to try to deal with a wage gap issue in-house first, speaking directly with your manager and/or human resources. Next steps, if you feel you need to escalate are to seek legal advice and/or look for another job.

When to Ask:

An Employer:

  • Your annual review might be too late because budgets could be set
  • Ask 3-4 months before raises are usually offered
  • You can directly ask a manager or higher up when review discussions typically happen

As a Freelancer:

  • Decide when you’d like to re-up your rates
  • One year is generally a good policy or when the scope of work significantly changes

Negotiation Techniques:

Go ahead and talk first if your asking for a raise, it’s sort of hard to avoid, especially if you’ve called the meeting. You can also make the first offer.

Start on the high side to give yourself some negotiating room but you can stat the salary or raise you want, it can also anchor the conversation to a higher number.

Make your ask and then…. SHUT UP!

practice in day to day life with smaller things, your goal is to outlast the other person’s discomfort.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with making a big ask, try using ” I would like….” as the start of your sentence. It won’t come off demanding nor wishy washy.

Raising Your Rates as a Freelancer:

Script #1:

“It’s been great working together this past year, (sprinkle in some big wins). I’d love to renew our contract to help keep building your business. My annual rate has increased to $x for projects in (insert year). Let me know If I can send over a new contract?”

Script #2:

“My rates have gone up since we started this partnership. Currently, I’m charging new clients $X. Because you’re a long-time client, I can do $Y for you. Let me know if this works?”

If Your Counter Gets Rejected:

At a Current Job:

Script: “Can you give me a sense of what it would take for me to earn that raise?”

At a Potential Job:

Script: “You know, I really appreciate you considering it, but I’m excited about the job and I’d love to accept regardless.”

In either scenario, what else can you negotiate for that’s important to you? Vacation time, flex time, working remotely, funds for professional development, leadership opportunities…

If you know you’re not going to get what you need, don’t be afraid to career hop. One of the best ways to increase your salary is to negotiate at an entirely new company.

Negotiating During COVID:

  • What’s the least amount your willing to take
  • You know the situation you’re in – the industry, your company…(don’t be tone deaf, now might not be the time to ask)

All I can say about this session was WOW! If this is the advice Erin gave in a 1 hour session, I can’t wait to read her book.

Ashley @Thefiscalfemme (Creating a Spending Plan You’ll Love):

As was the common theme about personal finance being personal, Ashley talked about creating a personal spending plan that you’ll love.

For a fantastic visual representation see the info-graphic Here. For in depth details, and access to helpful templates to support the creation of your spending plan, visit:

Sahirenys @poisedfinancelifestyle (How to Slay Your Debt):

Sahirenys’ approach to slaying debt is realistic and again personal because it allows for pivots and life happening.

For another fantastic visual representation see the info-graphic Here. For in depth details and access to helpful articles to support your debt payment strategy, visit:

A common theme in these two sessions – creating a spending plan, and slaying Debt was the creation of multiple bank accounts to managing goals. There’s a similar method for business that is used called Profit First, that’s been recommended by a few FinanciElle’s when I’ve interviewed them. Essentially if your tired of your business surviving cheque to cheque it’s a tool that helps.

Kara @webravelygo (Investing):

From the beginning of this post, we already know that women and other groups are faced with gaps in earning, the best way to try and close the gap and get ahead is through investing.

Kara has a free worksheet – Investing is not just for old white dudes in suits. You are an investor, that covers terminology and frequently asked questions.

That’s a wrap from me, I hope that you take advantage of all the free resources that have been listed/linked throughout this post in your Financial Feminist Journey and find something that can help you wherever you are starting from. These women shared and shared some more and that is something I am grateful for.

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