Most people I talk to automatically assume that I’ve always been confident about financial literacy. After all, I started blogging about it in my early 20s and now make a living writing about it, interviewing guests about it on my podcast and speaking to audiences about it at live events.
But that’s where I am in my life now. That’s not where I started from.
I Wasn’t Always Confident About My Financial Knowledge
I’ll admit that I did probably have a better handle on my finances than most people growing up because of my parents. They’ve always been very practical with their money. They’ve never been in debt besides their mortgage and always lived within or below their means. Growing up, I just thought this was the norm, so it was relatively easy for me to bring those good financial habits into my life as a young adult.
That being said, I wouldn’t say I was confident about money by any stretch of the imagination. Especially when talking to others who knew more than me or would use financial terminology I’d never heard before.
I would be that person who would nod along pretending to know what everyone was talking about, but would really be taking a mental note to Google “exchange-traded fund” or “derivative” when I got home.
And this was still the case when I was running a personal finance blog of my own. How embarrassing that I was blogging about personal finance, yet didn’t know everything there was to know about the subject!
I felt like a fraud, and it didn’t help that whenever I did ask a question or admit that I didn’t know something, a nasty email would be waiting for me in my inbox or I’d be ripped apart on the personal finance forums.
Most Women Feel the Same Way Too
So when EQ Bank came out with their poll about women and financial confidence, I was honestly relieved to see that I wasn’t the only woman who felt like this. Relieved but saddened because I don’t want other women to feel this way.
What EQ Bank found was that “roughly a third of a group of women felt confident about their financial knowledge yet two-thirds of the same group proved to have a considerable grasp on the subject. In other words, many of them were underestimating their abilities and felt they needed to hold themselves to a higher standard.”
Sound familiar? This whole underestimating abilities and holding oneself to a higher standard, well that sounds like me a to a T. What do you think pushed me to take a financial planning course through the Canadian Securities Institute, or pursue my Financial Counsellor accreditation? I felt like I needed some actual credentials, some letters after my name, to feel confident enough to speak to others about responsible money management and brush off the haters.
But Taking Ownership Changed Everything for Me
But guess how many male personal finance bloggers there are who have gone to the same lengths? I can name maybe one or two. As for women personal finance bloggers, I can name at least 20 who have gone on to become CPAs, get their MBAs in Finance, or who have completed the Canadian Securities Course among other designations.
For me, getting some formal education actually did help with my confidence. And it wasn’t because I learned a bunch of new stuff. Most of the stuff I knew I already from reading books and blogs about personal finance throughout the years. What the formal education did do was arm me with a weapon. Whenever I got someone questioning my opinion or calling me out for something I said, I had the literature to back me up. And I am being completely serious about this. It wasn’t too long ago that I had to take a photo of a section in one of my textbooks to get someone to back down.
Besides that, and probably the most important thing to know if you just want to feel more confident about making your own financial decisions, I also realized that you need to take ownership of your finances. And what I mean by that is you need to take responsibility for what you know and what you don’t know, and not just hand everything off to a financial advisor and hope for the best. Never forget that old adage, no one cares more about your money than you do!
And honestly, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t know something. That’s the amazing thing with personal finance. No one’s born good at money. It’s something you learn. It’s something you get better at by educating yourself, asking questions and talking to others about it.
Something I always like to tell people is that I didn’t know what the difference between a chequing account and savings account was when I was 23. Now, at 31, I’m able to give full on presentations on the foundations of investing. If I’m able to go from money moron to millennial money expert who’s frequently featured in the news, literally anyone can learn how to manage their own money.
Why I Said Yes to Becoming a Stnce Ambassador
This of course leads me to why I said yes to becoming an ambassador for Stnce. In case you don’t know, Stnce is an initiative started by EQ Bank to empower women to take control of their own finances. Since my brand’s mission is to empower others to take control of their lives by taking control of their money, this initiative is something I feel so fortunate to be a part of.
Not only that, the group of women I’m on the Stnce advisory panel with is absolutely incredible: personal finance journalist Rubina Ahmed-Haq, personal finance blogger Desirae Odjick, CEO & Creator of THE TEN SPOT® Beauty Bars Kristen Wood, and entrepreneur and Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den Michele Romanow.
I’m so thrilled to see all the amazing content, events and programs unfold that Stnce has in store, and to be part of something that’s sole purpose is to empower more women to grow into not just financially knowledgeable women, but financially confident women.
Onward & upward!