Step Up and Saavy Ladies teamed up to host Saavy Money Management with Stacy Francis and Farnoosh Torabi at the end of April. Stacy and Farnoosh answered a variety of questions about everything from recommended phone apps to how to start saving for your children’s college education. Women across various industries and ages had the chance to network with each other, ask questions, and learn more about the work both organizations do.

Stacy & Farnoosh

In giving advice on increasing savings and what things we can cut out, Stacy said, “A latte spurned is a fortune earned.” While it may seem innocent to purchase coffee on a daily basis, it adds up! Same for dinners out and items like shoes. She believes you should automatically save for retirement from each paycheck first and then set goals for how your money will go toward those things. For example, if you want to take a vacation, she recommends figuring out the cost and how much you need to put aside every paycheck to make it happen. If you can manage this, then you do not have to worry about spending because you are already taking care of retirement, as well as working toward some things you want.

Farnoosh suggested being open and honest with friends about your savings goals. While it is easy to succumb to peer pressure and go out frequently for dinners and drinks, she encouraged letting friends know you are being budget conscious to pursue a specific goal. She also said to prioritize your Needs, Wants, and Need Wants and have your spending reflect those values. Using cash also helps, so if you know you are going to a department store to get one item, take enough cash to purchase that one item and nothing else.

In terms of apps, Farnoosh uses her bank’s mobile app. She said constantly knowing how much money you have makes you savvier and more aware of your spending. Also, for comparison shopping, she suggests Shopsavvy and Redlaser. Stacy recommends Mint, an account aggregator. You can use it to put in all your debts, assets, and get your net worth. She uses it as a budgeting tool as well and has her Mint account linked to her credit cards and ATM. If she goes over budget, she receives an email from the Mint system letting her know.

When it comes to retirement savings, Stacy suggested putting either 10% of your income or the amount where you will get the maximum match from your company toward retirement. Farnoosh said to take advantage of being young and not having a ton of obligations! She encouraged using this time to put aside savings for the future because while most people think it will be easier as you get older—that is not the case. In fact, it gets harder once you have a spouse, kids, mortgage, etc. Be selfish with your money in a positive way.

Both ladies recommend the Vanguard 529 Plan for saving for your child’s education and think it is a great idea to invite family and friends to put money toward the 529 plan.

Women tend to be givers, but we also have to understand the importance of investing in ourselves in the right ways. It is okay to use your money to buy a great suit that you’ll use for interviews or a set of books you have wanted to read to advance your knowledge. Farnoosh believes investments like these will be paid back in dividends down the road when you get that great job or promotion because you took the time to give back to yourself. Also, if we slow down a little and think about where we are going, it allows us to check in with ourselves to be sure we are on the right path financially. Walking through the city in a rush with your phone to your ear and a coffee in hand while reading the paper seems to be a norm in cities like NYC, but slowing down to reflect on decisions can vastly improve life in all areas.

While it may be out of your comfort zone, women have to be more aggressive in standing up for themselves. Even a $1,000 increase in salary could turn into thousands more as the years pass. Women generally do not negotiate or ask for what they want. This event was a great reminder for women (and men) to be more aware of their spending, saving, and monetary goals.

Post by Vitra Singh


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