Lessons From Young Women and Money Conference

by Galia Gichon on February 11, 2014

In December, I was thrilled to speak at the YWCA Berkley  “Young Women and Money” conference in Oakland, CA. This was the same trip when I filmed my Creative Live course “Personal Finance for Artists and Freelancers.” 

Valerie Coleman Morris  was the other keynote speaker. Many of our talking points were similar which affirms the importance of our message to these amazing young women.  Most of the attendees were college and high school girls from the Bay Area in California. I didn’t know what to expect and my main takeaway was the full engagement and level of interest from the participants. There were more than 100 high school and college women that were so eager to speak with me about their money and how they could make a difference going forward. 

Money Has No Color
I was also thrilled to see the racial and religious diversity.  Conversations were honest, authentic and realistic.   Cultural habits of money play a big role in how we develop our money habits.  For example, Valerie pointed out that African American women don’t put their purses on the floor.  I love this tradition and have started making a conscious effort not to do this.

Should you Co-habitate With Your Money? 
This question arose with a couple getting married and should they combine their money?  While most college students are not getting married this young, it was a great opportunity to have this conversation. Valerie felt strongly that no matter what you do, be sure to keep an account in your name that you manage alone.  It is important to maintain some financial independence. I agree wholeheartedly.  

More Lessons:
What is your first money memory? This caused quite a discussion as we all shared the impact of our parents attitudes and lessons (or lack of lessons) on our money habits. When going through your money journey, this can be a great place to start. 

It’s not too early to start a budget or spending plan while you are in college. Even if your expense are few, it is easier to create weekly plans, saving a small amount and creating conscious spend habits. 

Loaning money to people.  I was surprised how often this question arose.  The overwhelming response was DON’T!  By loaning money to others, you are NOT taking care of yourself. 

Money has no conscience. It depends on yours.  Leave with the reminder if graduation is around the corner and you are starting a job, sign up for the 401k or 403b at your new job to get started immediately on retirement planning.

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