When I was paying off my student loan debt in 2014 and 2015, I told everyone within ear shot about it. I was making radical changes to my life and finances, and they were not going unnoticed. When people asked me why I no longer headed to the bars each Friday, I told them about my goal. When someone asked me what was happening in my life, I always started with where I was in my debt payoff journey that week.
Building Financial Community
I was being open about my financial reality (aka, how broke and sad I was, and what I was doing to change that.) And in the process, I accidentally built myself a little financial community. I was also blogging the whole time, and I built another financial community online. I found support, encouragement, and inspiration at every corner.
When I wanted to switch a night at a bar for a movie night at home, my friends obliged. When I wanted to skip my family’s Secret Santa so I could save the cash, my family obliged. I leaned on my fellow online personal finance nerds to help me get through my debt payoff sprint. (18k in 10 months baby.) I sought help when I was building financial stability afterwards.
Today: What Bravely Does
Today, I’m in the process of building a new financial community with Bravely. Bravely exists to create a community where people can come to learn about money. Here, you can share stories, and to take back control over your financial life. I live and breathe financial community each day here, whether online or hosting one of our live events.
It’s been almost three years since I became debt free. I can honestly say that financial community is the most important thing in my life. I’m also lucky to say that my financial community includes my partner, my friends, and several people in masterminds.
Take for example, our #bravelygo retreat. This two day event kicks off with a cocktail party, a chance for the Bravely community to come together and get to know one another. It’s a chance to talk openly about our money, and to see, in real life, that we are not alone.
The second day consists of a retreat, where attendees will hear from four female business owners, a female CFP, and myself about how to set financial goals, how to connect with a larger financial ‘why’, tactics to save money, and how to bootstrap a business.
I designed this event to be a chance for real engagement with people at various stages of their financial journey. It’s a place for everyone to come, to learn and to share. No one has it all figured out; I just recently made a $150 mistake. We’re all in it together, and that makes us stronger.
Financial community has so many moving parts. It’s having someone you can talk openly with about your financial goals. Financial community is having the resources to tackle your financial problems head on. It’s about understanding you are not alone in the world when it comes to figuring out your finances.
If you’re looking for your own financial community, check out the resources I’ve put together for you. You are not alone with your money; there are millions of us out there who are figuring out our money and want to connect.
Hop on the Bravely event list: right now we’re based in Austin, but starting summer 2018, we’ll be moving around the country slowly but surely.
Start saving money with Rize: Rize is a sponsor for our retreat, and a super cool startup designed to help you save money. Y’all know I’m picky about who I work with, but when Erica reached out to me and professed a love of New Girl and personal finance, I knew there was a spark. Learn more here.
Start investing with Stockpile: Stockpile is a sponsor for our cocktail party, and helps you get started investing. You can start with as little as $5. You can even give a gift of stock to someone you love. #makeyourmoneywork baby.
Read about other people’s money journey: Below are a few of my favorite personal finance books and blogs
Year of Less- For anyone interested in the minimalism movement, my friend Cait wrote about her transformation from binger to mindful consumer.
Overcoming Underearning- This book is a masterpiece, and a must read for any low income people out there.
If you’re looking for some personal journeys, I recommend my friend Melanie at Dear Debt, who paid off $81,000 in student loan debt and is the center of another financial community.
If you’re looking for frugal ninja’s, the Frugalwoods retired in their early 30’s and are the most frugal people I know.
If you’re looking for humor, my friend Amanda from Dumpster Dog Blog is hilarious and have a range of experience when it comes to money.
And as always, Bravely is here for you. Please shoot us an email or a message on our social channels (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) and we’ll get back to you. You are a part of our financial community, and we love you.