Wrap Your Head Around Financial Wellness
Q&A With Money Coach, Ashley Gerstley
Let's be honest here, no one likes to talk about money, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who jokes about the glaring number on my bank statement. Starting today, it's time to tackle our finances head on and start holding ourselves accountable for our future financial wellness. After sitting down with Ashley Gerstley, Money Coach, Founder of the Fiscal Femme, and creator of the 30-Day Money Cleanse, I learned that in order to achieve true financial wellness, finances need to be celebrated - even if that means small victories. How do we achieve those small victories, you ask? Read on to learn Ashley's tips for getting out of debt, and how you too, can hold yourself accountable for your financial wellness!
Want to watch the entire chat? Become a PowerToFly VIP and you'll receive exclusive access to live conversations with women like Ashley, as well as the recordings!
Q: I feel like I'm in way over my head - where do I even start?
Ashley Gerstley: Let's start with what I like to call a "money party". Every other week I would dedicate some time (and when I say dedicate some time, I mean put it on your calendar) to sit down look at all of your expenses for those two weeks, check those numbers with your financial goals, and make an agenda. This will help you keep track of your subscriptions, alert you if there's something you need to cancel, and just bring attention to what you're actually spending money on.
Q: What is a "happiness allocation" and how can I accrue one?
AG: I use the term "happiness allocation" instead of "budget" because when I say the word "budget" I can just feel the expenses being pried away from me. I want you to look at your giant pie of money, and think about what is going to truly make you the happiest, and not just at that moment. We're so consumed by this "treat yourself" movement, when in reality, if what you really want is to take a trip, that moment of treating yourself is really taking away from your true happiness allocation. Another tip is to look at your spending plan annually, not weekly, or even monthly. When looking at expenses annually, you can look at your spending habits more honestly and disperse some expenses into your happiness allocation.
Q: What are your best tips for getting out of debt?
AG: Let's talk about the practical debt steps. First, and this reverts back to the money party, you're going to want to take inventory of all of your finances, and I mean ALL finances. Write down every loan, credit card, dollar owed to a friend - complete with the balance amount, interest rate, minimum payment due, credit limit, and payment date.
Second, you want to prioritize these debts and rank them with actual numbers. There are three ways to do this, the interest rate method, the snowball method and the emotional method. The interest rate method is pretty self explanatory - you pay off the highest interest rate debts first because technically they are costing you the most money. The snowball method is where you pay off the smallest pieces of debt first regardless of interest rate. The reason this works well is because it feels really good to cross a piece of debt off! The emotional method is where you pay off whatever piece of debt will make you feel the best (think owing a friend lots of money - paying this off may save a friendship). The key here is paying off what motivates you; when you're motivated to pay off debts, the entire process is going to be more successful.
Finally, once the debts are prioritized, you're going to start making the minimum payments on all of your debts except for whatever debt is your number one priority until you pay it off. It feels good to put money towards our debts, but just remember, you still need money to live! Make sure you are putting enough money aside to not only pay off your debts, but to live comfortably without accruing more debts.
Q: Should I have a rainy day fund? If so, how much should I have saved?
AG: Absolutely - and if you're a homeowner, you should probably have a separate fund just for a major household expense should one arise. When planning for your rainy day fund, think about how many months you would feel "comfortable" should an emergency arise. This can be a scale - think "right now I'd be ok with two months, but ideally I'd like to have six". Just by putting a small amount over time into a checking account for a "rainy day fund" will ensure that if anything were to ever happen, you won't have to put every expense onto a credit card - thus accruing more debt.
Q: Pay off debts or invest in my future? Where do I start?
As far as paying off debts vs investing in your future, it really depends on what your goals are. If you're thinking about investing in retirement or your child's education - think of it this way, there aren't loans for investing in your retirement. You either have it, or you don't, where as student loans exist.
Diversity Reboot 2021: The One Hundred Day Kickoff<p><strong>When</strong>: February 1-5, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free!</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://summit.powertofly.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>We had to include our own Diversity Reboot on our list of the best diversity and inclusion events to attend in 2021 because we know firsthand how the quality of 100+ expert speakers, the enthusiasm of 10,000 participants, and the cutting-edge tech that enables meaningful virtual networking and job fairs combine to create a truly epic five-day experience. This year, the theme 100 Day Kickoff harnesses the energy of the new government's first 100 days in office to help jump-start personal and professional plans to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces. </p><p>Following the February summit, we'll have a monthly series of smaller virtual summits on topics spanning everything from returnships to LGBTQ+ advocacy, so be sure to stay tuned for updates!<br></p>
The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When</strong>: February 3-4, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hr.com/en/webcasts_events/virtual_events/upcoming_virtual_events/the-future-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-2021_kcxf8glq.html#detail" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This virtual conference put on by HR.com focuses on how social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have pushed DEI at work beyond legal compliance and into a major factor of any company or brand's culture, employee engagement, and performance. Topics include how to uncover and resolve pay gaps across your team and hire top-level diverse talent.</p>
Workplace Revolution: From Talk to Collective Action<p><strong>When</strong>: March 8-12, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$820</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://cvent.me/ZQ4BbE" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>The Forum on Workplace Inclusion's 33rd annual conference includes 12 session tracks, from DEI Strategy to Social Responsibility, along with 59 workshops and daily networking sessions. This year's theme focuses on one question: "What will it take to start a workplace revolution that moves us from talk to action?"</p>
Diversity: How Employers Can Match Words With Deeds<p><strong>When</strong><strong>: </strong>May 19, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register</strong><strong>: </strong>Early bird registration is $49 and general admission is $149</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://hopin.com/events/may-virtual-conference-diversity-how-employers-can-match-words-with-deeds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here</a></p><p>From Day One is hosting monthly conferences in 2021 focused on different ways for companies to foster strong relationships with their customers, communities, and employees. May's half-day virtual event is focused specifically on how companies can make diversity promises that don't fall flat and features workshops, panels, and a fireside chat.</p>
Hire with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion<p><strong>When:</strong> August 18, 2021</p><p><strong>Where: </strong>Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$195</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hci.org/conferences/2021-virtual-conference-hire-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-august-18-2021" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This conference put on by the Human Capital Institute is one of 12 virtual conferences that HCI has planned for 2021. This one focuses on fair and inclusive talent acquisition, including how to attract diverse talent, implement inclusive hiring practices, and addressing bias in employee selection. Other conferences will focus on optimizing talent strategy, engaging employees, and developing your workforce.</p>
Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> September 26-29, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual, broadcast from Chicago, Illinois</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Was $799 for regular access to the virtual conference in 2020; 2021 pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://ghc.anitab.org/attend/registration/" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>Grace Hopper might be the best-known conference for women in tech. Through keynote presentations, networking sessions, job fairs, and community-building activities, vGHC reached over 30,000 women for their 2020 conference and are expecting even more in 2021! While not a conference focused exclusively on diversity and inclusion, many speakers plan to focus their talks on creating environments for women to thrive in the male-dominated tech field.</p>
Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> October 25-27, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual and in person in Austin, Texas as of now</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://conferences.shrm.org/inclusion" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>The Society for Human Resource Management's biggest conference of the year saw 1,200 DEI leaders participate last year; SHRM hopes to see even more come to learn, be inspired, and to walk away with a playbook of implementable strategies to create truly inclusive workplace cultures.</p>
AfroTech 2021<p><strong></strong><strong>When:</strong> November 8-13, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Early bird pricing is $149 for individuals and $249 for corporate attendees; regular pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://experience.afrotech.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>AfroTech is a conference hosted by Blavity, a tech media platform for Black millennials. It focuses on emerging tech trends, connecting Black talent with top tech recruiters, and providing networking and educational opportunities, with an overall goal of building a strong Black tech community. Over 10,000 people participated in 2020. While the conference isn't focused specifically on DEI, its main audience of Black tech talent is an important one to understand and to engage at work and beyond, and several speakers plan to focus on issues of race and inclusion at work. </p>
A Conversation with Vouch's Lead Designer Carrie Phillips
Nina Unger, Talent Acquisition Specialist at SoftwareONE gave us a behind-the-scenes look at SoftwareONE's Application process, culture, and values.
Learn about the company and how you can make your application stand out!
To learn more about SoftwareONE and their open roles, click here.