Women’s Fund Fabulous Forum

Author: Dana Silberstein

Women’s Fund Fabulous Forum

“It’s impossible to handle your money, to build a strategy for your financial future, if you won’t open your bank statement.” Trisha Funk made this edifying statement at a fabulous forum on women and money held by the Women’s Fund at the Redding Library. 

Funk, Director of the Women’s Business Center at the Jefferson Economic Development Institute joined forces with Financial coach and CPA, Linda Lingo and Financial Advisor, Courtney McElvain at the end of August, delivering valuable advice, support and encouragement to dozens of women who came to get educated on how to manage their own funds. The panel members were in complete agreement that most women carry fear and shame around money. Maybe they were told they would never understand it or perhaps they made a bad decision in the past. Those influences can stay with us and prevent us from trying again. McElvain calmed the waters and lifted the mood by telling the full house that dealing with money was not only easy, it could be fun, adding that facing the issue of money is one of the most important things we can do in life. 

Lingo stripped away the stigma of finances by telling the rapt audience, “You should dream. What do you want? How do you want to live? Money is a resource like time or talent. Money does not own or define you or determine your value.” 

All three women urged audience members to open themselves to learning about money. “If you can add, subtract and punch a calculator you are on your way,” said McElvain. “Are you collecting receipts? Are you adding up every single penny you make and spend each month? Do it. It will change your life. I can’t impress strongly enough, the changing demos show us that women are living longer and longer lives. That means we have to be thoughtful about how we invest our money so that it works for us later in life. Money is freedom.”

The women urged the crowd to not only educate themselves but to teach their children about money as well. Lingo related a personal experience about how her daughter had reminded her that it was time to do back-to-school shopping for new clothes. Lingo said she told her daughter that she had budgeted a certain set amount for that. Lingo told her daughter that she could shop by herself or with friends or with her but that she must stay within the budget. Her daughter opted to go with friends and her buying decisions were not perfect but Lingo said that her daughter learned a great deal about how to shop thoughtfully and maximize her dollars. Lingo added that she would  much rather have her daughter make mistakes now than to have to tackle tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt later in life. 

Start teaching your children when they’re young was a continuing theme of the hour long session, driven home by all three women. Start your kids early with small bank accounts or allowances, budgets and accountability. And teach them that money is a resource for you, that it shouldn’t be thought of as governing you. You govern it.  

All three panelists encouraged the audience to read, converse with others and learn. Then read more, talk more and learn more. Start fresh now with learning about how to handle money with confidence. It will make you a more giving member of your community, a more confident human being and a more secure person.

The Women’s Fund was pleased to hold such an informative forum and we encourage you to follow us on Facebook for details on the next Educational Forum.