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Looking around at my fellow folks who are ~trying to adult~, it sometimes feels like other folks have like, an adulting manual. From shopping for a new car to figuring out retirement to apartment shopping to applying for a new job – I sometimes feel like I’m missing 60% ++ of the needed information – AND EVERYONE ELSE HAS THAT INFO!
Gatekeeping: Why is it so hard to learn about personal finance and investing?
In the last year or so, I’ve done a lot of personal development work in learning about personal finance, investing and money in general. Talking and learning about money has (historically), been an education that takes place in one’s home. Older family members teach younger family members how to invest, manage money, etc.
And, while I love that this familial knowledge is being passed down – it does perpetuate systems of inequality. If the only place we’re learning about money from is our parents or grandparents – we can make the same dang mistakes they’ve made!
Why We Resist Learning about Personal Finance
I’m not going to go on a fun rant about access to info on personal finance, but I do think it’s important to say:
A lot of the resistance in learning about personal finance comes from feeling ashamed that our respective families didn’t teach us and/or guilt about money.
Diving into the world of personal finance, investing, etc, requires us to confront how we were raised to think about money and our personal values.
TBH, getting a root canal sounds more fun, am I right?
LGBTQ+ Politics & Money
Adding queeeeer politics into ~all of this~ can muddy the waters even more. Being in any activist or political space can bring a bunch of emotional baggage (I’ve been there).
At a certain level, as LGBTQ+ people, we have to be willing to give ourselves permission to make money. There’s probably a whole blog post series (slash dozens of books?) within this topic. I’m bringing it up now and HERE, because chances are you know a few places to start learning about personal finance – and what’s stopping you is your peer group and/or upbringing.
Money is power. Failing to engage with money or figure out personal finance serves to keep the status quo as is.
Now Let’s Talk Resources
Okay, now that we’ve done a fun little trip through our respective childhoods and LGBTQ+ identities, let’s dive into figuring this stuff out!!!
Step 1: We’re Building a Radical Framework
Listening to podcasts on money or reading books can be hard, because a lot of the personalities in this space aren’t necessarily folks we’d want to get dinner with.
While it’s tempting to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, keep in mind that your journey and relationship with money is yours to design. Maybe you end up deciding on a specific budget line item for reparations or taking a pledge to allocate a certain % of discretionary spending to BIPOC owned businesses.
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Step 2: Learn a Few Helpful Terms!
When it comes to learning about personal finance, here are a few terms I’ve found helpful to use in searches for books/podcasts/advisors:
- Impact Investing
- Resource Regeneration
- Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)
- Socially Responsible Funds
- Responsible Investing
Step 3: Start with a Podcast Episode a Day (or a Few Times a Week)
When I first made the decision to start learning about personal finance, I started listening to a few different podcasts. Podcasts are low stakes, and you can skip around. I find that if I buy a few books that they just sit next to my bed, with strong judgey energy (lololol), because I DON’T READ THEM.
There’s a lot of different viewpoints and approaches to personal finance, so I recommend trying a bunch of different podcasts. Figure out who you jive with! I started with the Afford Anything podcast (focusing on earlier episodes), and then I branched out.
Give yourself at least 4 ish months of listening to podcasts before making big changes. You’re learning about money, not joining a cult – avoid picking 1 podcaster or thought leader right off the bat and doing *everything* they say.
When it comes to personal finance, here’s a few podcasts to check out:
Step 4: Engaging with Guilt about Money
WHEW! We are diving into it TODAY! Next up on our journey is to get real about guilt or negative feelings about money.
The book, “You are a Badass at Making Money,” is my go-to recommendation for folks trying to figure this out. Jen Sincero (the writer) does a deep dive on our emotions around money, guilt, and building an abundance mindset.
I recommend listening to it a few times and then getting the book to do the exercises! I’ve listened to the audio book like 17 times at this point.
Snag this book here.
Step 5: Curate an “Abundance Mindset”
One of my favorite quotes is, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
If all of the people in your life focus on learned victimhood and saying things like, “Money is evil” – well guess where that leaves us, friend?
There’s a lot of room to discuss different political ideologies here (do you!). That said, it’s hard (impossible, I’d say) to really tackle money and personal finance if you’re surrounded by negativity and angst.
Step 6: Starting to Do… Money Stuff!
Okay, now that we’re moving along, it’s time to make a plan and start doing something with our knowledge.
I like Ramit Sethi’s book, “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” for figuring out how to systemize money. You can also work with or find a financial advisor. The book has a clickbait title, because humans love clickbait! That said, it’s a great resource.
Snag the book here.
NOTE: If you go with a financial advisor or “money coach,” I would stick with an hourly fee model. If they earn money on what you invest in or accounts you set up, they *could* be swayed to recommend products they make a higher commission on. I only work on an hourly fee basis with advisors.
Step 7: Take What Works & Leave The Rest
There are a LOT of ways to approach money and personal finance. There is no “one right way,” (and I run FAR away from folks who act like there is one way!).
When it comes to learning, make it your goal to gather up as much info as possible. You may not agree with the tactics, morals or viewpoints of every resource, and that’s a GOOD thing. It isn’t helpful to only engage with info that we agree with 100% – we’ll run out of resources FAST!
Make it a habit to engage critically with content, and ask yourself, “Do I agree with this perspective?” Take what works for you and your life – and leave the rest!!
Radical Acceptance – “I don’t know sh*t.”
It can be really hard to start learning about a topic that is fraught with emotional baggage. Start small. Accept that in the beginning all we’re doing is learning and gathering info! There’s no magic button to press to learn everything.
It’s not going to be comfortable, but it’s going to be worth it.
More Money Posts
Want to do a bit more reading from my cute gay perspective? Here’s a few posts:
Hi, I’m Brianne
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