My Financial Literacy Toolkit

A picture not of me spending all of my money on not a better future. | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

There was a point in my life when I was standing at a Lululemon cash register and I looked down and I honestly did not recognize myself. Here I was buying a $98 pair of leggings reaching for my $100 Kate Spade wallet in my $250 Kate Spade handbag while holding a $150 pair of Coach sunglasses impatiently checking my $150 Marc Jacobs watch. I had all of these nice things but I was not saving a dime outside of my 401k. And more importantly, I did not feel happy. These things did not bring me joy. I don’t think I even own any of these items anymore. I’m not shaming anyone that does enjoy finer things in life or wears luxury brands. You do you boo! It’s just not who I am and I felt it deeply in that exact moment.

After a recurring argument with my husband about my high credit card bill, even though I successfully paid it off every month and dammit I work hard and I deserve nice things, I was frustrated that I was not a part of our financial goals conversation. Not because he didn’t include me in them, but because I didn’t care nor did I understand them. I decided that day, right there in the Lululemon store, that I was going to become more financially literate so I could start caring about managing our personal finances and contribute more to our savings goals. (I still bought the leggings though.)

Sure, I knew what a savings account was and I was contributing responsibly to my 401k. But I had no idea how the stock market works (I still don’t really, but I at least know how to use it to my advantage more now), how to save up enough money to buy a house, how to start investing, how people retire early and live financially free (they just get lucky right?!) After I started learning about financial strategies and setting my own financial goals, it also became easier to stand up for my worth and negotiate salaries in my career which was incredibly empowering.

These are the tools and resources I’ve collected over the years that have helped me understand personal finance and set and reach goals toward a financially independent lifestyle. I will continue adding to these lists as I come across new resources and please do comment to share your own or let me know if any of these are outdated!

Heads up there are a few affiliate links in here, because well this is about making money after all, so why not support someone while learning about it!

Websites & Blogs

  • Read about my own financial journey here:
  • Career Contessa: From main menu, select Articles then navigate to Money section

Audiobooks & Podcasts

  • Selina Gray—Money is Energy on the Mark Groves Podcast:

Banking & Investing:

  • Schwab’s low cost automated investing platform, aka a robo-advisor. Schwab requires $5,000 to get started.
  • Ellevest is another amazing robo-advisor I recommend with no minimum deposit, an incredibly user-friendly platform, and approachable knowledge base to learn more about investing. They also have an impact fund that allows you to invest in companies that power positive social change by advancing women. Oh and did I mention their CEO/Co-Founder is a woman?!

Budget templates (Google Sheets)

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