Do you like money? Does it motivate you? Want to make more, keep more, and live more richly? If so, you need to spend some time listening to Michelle Singletary, the sassy, no nonsense personal finance expert. Michelle was the keynote speaker at this year’s Money Conference for Women, hosted by the YWCA of the Hartford Region, CT, as part of its effort to increase financial literacy for women.
Michelle Singletary shared 5 steps to financial freedom with over 350 women (and a few good men) this weekend in Hartford, CT.
This year was my fourth time attending the Money Conference for Women. It the kind of professional and personal development that should be required for all women. The price is right (it’s FREE) and the energy, information, and networking connections are off the charts!
I listened to Michelle from two vantage points:
- From the perspective of a woman who wants to and needs to get smarter about money;
- From the perspective of an executive presentation coach who works with professionals to present themselves and their ideas to others more powerfully. Click through to my assessment of what Michelle Singletary did well as a speaker and whaty you can learn from her to become better presenter yourselves.
5 Steps to Your Financial Freedom from Michelle Singletary
S = Save automatically. Pay yourself first by setting aside 10-15% of your net income into savings & retirement funds. Set up both an emergency fund (3-6 months of living expenses) and a “Life Happens Fund” (to cover unexpected car expenses and household repairs). Don’t allow yourself to have access to these accounts (no debit card);
T = Take advantage of time. Start investing early and your money will grow more significantly
E = Eliminate debt. Credit is evil. Plastic (whether is credit card or debit card) makes you spend 30-40% more than you intended, according to a research study by MIT.
P = Put eggs in different baskets. Diversification is essential to managing risk and return.
S = Spend less than you earn. If you don’t have the cash (yes, cash), don’t buy it. She suggested the next time we think about buying a flat screen TV, that we take 100 bills to pay for it. It may make you think twice about such a non-essential “want.”
Other words of wisdom shared by Michelle Singletary include:
- Cash is still King. The root word of cashier is “cash”
- Stop swiping your life away
- Is it a need or a want? Really ask yourself this question.
- Be content with what you have.
- Learn to shop like men. Shopping is not a form of recreation. Don’t take a cheering crowd with you.
- Stop texting and talking away your wealth. Don’t kid yourself, your children do not need cell phones. Review what you are spending in telecommunication expenses and you’ll find the wealth that you’ve been wasting.
- A sense of entitlement leads to financial ruin. You do NOT “deserve a vacation” unless you have saved the money for it in advance and can pay cash for it.
- Know your priorities – this will lead to your prosperity. Write them on a 3×5 card and tape them to the dashboard of your card. Keep them visible – front & center.
- When you children hound you for things like video games, designer clothes, etc., master the power word NO. Then follow with “I have two words for you: College Fund”
- Don’t fool yourself that you are saving money when you buy it on sale. “You never save when you spend” she reminds us
- Debt is bondage – a modern form of slavery. There is no such thing as “good debt.” There is nothing good about it.
- Pay your bills on time – this is the key to a strong credit score. You can get a free credit report once per year at the official site: www.annualcreditreport.com
Michelle’s closing comments were powerful. She asked members of her audience to stand up if they were rich. Out of 350+ women in the room (and 5 men), only a handful were brave enough to stand. She then went on to challenge us to examine our definition of RICH. It is much more than just money. It is your health, relationships, jobs, children, passions, hobbies, and other things that bring joy and vitality to your life.
“By broading your definition of rich, you can find the keys to prosperity.” – Michelle Singletary, author of Spend Well, Live Rich: how to get what you want with the money you have