☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 
☻  WELCOME TO THE LOCAL OPTIMIST GROUP   ☻   SHOP MADHAPPY  
 

Financial Wellness with Dasha Kennedy    

Financial Wellness with Dasha Kennedy

Art by Andrew Wetmore

By Jessica Schiffer

Dasha Kennedy is a breath of fresh air. In a personal finance space historically riddled with elitism and run by older white men, Kennedy (self-dubbed The Broke Black Girl, though the title no longer applies) is the rare financial educator who speaks in a language that everyone can understand. Providing advice on everything from budgeting to paying off debt, Kennedy is trying to fill the widespread void of basic financial information that she experienced growing up. 

“My parents had me as teenagers, and I didn't grow up in a household where we discussed finances,” says Kennedy, who’s based in Georgia but originally from Missouri. Her interest in finance was sparked when she started working as a mailroom attendant at a bank at age 19, overhearing water cooler conversations with terminology she’d never heard before. “People were having conversations and using terms that I had never heard of, like 401K,” she says. “On the flip side, I had been around conversations where people were struggling to pay rent or relying on payday loans or dealing with eviction.” 

Hoping to fill in these gaps, she began doing her own research and quickly realized how privileged a lot of basic financial information was, and still is, in America. The more she learned, the more she worked her way up the ladder at work, eventually becoming a senior accountant. In the process, she started a Facebook group where she could share her learnings with other women of color and provide a safe, non-judgmental space for them to ask and answer questions about money. That group quickly grew and expanded onto Instagram, now the main platform for her brand, allowing her to quit her job and focus full time on financial education.

We spoke to Kennedy about what financial wellness really means, why money should be viewed through an emotional lens, and how to get comfortable talking about money, below.

How did you first become interested in finance and begin sharing your insights on Instagram? 

I was never interested in finances growing up, but not because I didn’t find it interesting – I just didn't know that it was a thing to be interested in. I didn't grow up in a household where we discussed finances. My parents were teenage parents so by the time I was a teenager, getting my first job and opening up a bank account, my parents were really just getting a grip on their own finances. My interest was sparked when I started working in the finance industry as a low-level mailroom attendant when I was 19-years-old. Prior to that, I hadn't received any real education on personal finance from my parents or school. While working as a mailroom attendant, I started to become curious about the different finance terms and resources I would overhear people mentioning during the workday. I heard a woman talking about how she was taking money out of her 401k to pay her mortgage, which I had never heard of. On the flip side, I had been around conversations where people were struggling to pay rent or relying on payday loans or dealing with eviction.

I started to shadow an accountant who began to teach me the basics of personal finances and the core values of money management. After shadowing her work for a few months, I applied for an entry-level accounting position and was immediately hired, eventually working my way up to a Senior Accountant position. I then left to work as a Debt Counselor for another financial institution, and it was there that I learned more about the disparities that exist between personal finance, women, and marginalized communities. That prompted me to want to share my insights online to connect with other women of color that may have shared my experiences and provide them the resources and tools I'd learned over the last few years. What started as a small Facebook group has grown into a community of over 214,000 members. 

I feel like a lot of young people, regardless of their backgrounds, are not taught about money. We go to school and learn about history, and that's great, but we should also be learning about how to handle money because it’s one of the most important things in our lives.

Yes, I see that a lot when I talk to people about money. There are a lot of people who, even if they grew up in a financially stable household, didn’t have these conversations. There’s a huge disconnect between parents and their children when it comes to finance, and we often don’t realize until we’re adults how much we don’t know. A very large part of my personal finance education came from my corporate job, it wasn't anything that I learned in my community. I didn't have access to the information. I decided to start sharing what I was learning on Facebook because I knew other people must have had similar experiences. I wanted to provide personal finance information in a relatable, non-judgemental manner. One of the things that I would hear a lot was that the women in the group felt safe to have the conversation that we were having, and they felt okay with being transparent about some of their experiences with money, especially as women of color. They felt that when they would go to financial institutions and seek help, it was often with a man who was dismissive. None of the advice really spoke to the unique experience of being a woman, or a woman of color, navigating personal finance, and they felt that they didn't get the help they needed.

Why did you choose the name The Broke Black Girl for the group? 

It's a true testament to my experience of trying to navigate personal finance and what it means to build wealth as a young black girl. There were many systemic barriers that made this journey very difficult for me. Although things have gotten much better for me, I have decided against changing my name because this is still the experience of many other young black girls navigating personal finance and I want to be an advocate for them as well.

What drove you to eventually leave your job and focus on TBB full time? 

Financial sympathy is completely lacking from personal finance as a whole. Working for a financial institution, I couldn't be as sympathetic as I wanted to; I couldn't deviate from the script and really sit in that moment with them, which is what most people need. They need to feel heard. They don't want to feel shamed. They want someone to see them as a person and not a number and really help them work through this problem, and I could not do that while I was working for someone else.

Eight months after launching the group, I was being covered in the media a lot and the demand for me to take part in speaking engagements was growing, so I quit my job, but it probably could have been a lot sooner than that if it weren’t for my financial trauma. Even though I was making a decent amount of money, the thought of not having a consistent paycheck really [freaked me out]. I was scared to bet on myself and try something new, which goes back to the unique experience women have with money. We experience a lot of financial trauma and we don't have a lot of spaces that are created for us – we often have to create them for ourselves.

How have you worked through that financial trauma that you've experienced over the last few years to get to a better place with it? 

A lot of it really was finding a community of like-minded women who acknowledged that this financial trauma is real. I had to sit with myself and confront a lot of those traumas: Where did they come from? Why am I still holding on to them? Is what I’m feeling real, or is it just something that I am experiencing because of something that happened to me 10-15 years ago? I had to be brutally honest with myself about the why behind a lot of the things that I felt about money. 

What is your definition of financial wellness, and how would you advise other people to get to that place?

Financial wellness is the overall financial health of a person and their ability to be absent of money-related issues. It’s having the knowledge and resources to make sound financial decisions that lead to a financially stable life. My advice would be to start with what you have and grow as you go.  One of the biggest obstacles with getting started in trying to reach a place of financial wellness is the idea that we have to have it all together to get started and that is false. This is why I believe it's important for us as a culture to share all parts of the personal-finance experience because it should be normal to see someone starting from the beginning rather than glamorizing the end results.

I think for young people especially, talking about money can be very difficult, particularly if you’re in a friend group that has very different financial circumstances. Do you have any advice for people on how to get comfortable talking about it? 

This may sound simple but, just do it. Make an effort to initiate a money conversation with your friends. Also, your immediate friend group may not be where you'll find the community you need for this and that’s okay. Find a community of like-minded individuals who are on the same journey as you and willing to hold a safe space to discuss money-related topics. You can normalize talking about money by talking about money with yourself. Record yourself or look in the mirror while you talk about how you feel about budgeting, or investing, or debt. Do you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with yourself? That's a great place to start.  Get a good understanding of how you feel about money and confront some of your own taboo ideas about talking about money so that it becomes normal to hold these types of conversations with other people.

You mention money shaming on your account a lot. What is it and how does it affect the way we talk about money? 

Money shame can be self-judgment or someone else's judgment over your current financial status and/or finance choices. Ultimately, people are applying their moral judgment to how they or others spend, manage or earn their money or their lack of money. It affects how we talk about money because it diminishes your desire to want to seek help or be better with your finances if you feel judged or bad about the financial choices you've made.

I love that term because finance has such an elitist culture.

I try so hard to fight against that with my platform by not using a lot of fancy finance terminology. I tried to stay so far away from that because it is very intimidating and what I keep in mind is that when I show up online, I'm not showing up to impress other financial educators or to appear like I know more than them. That's absolutely not who I show up for. I always make a conscious effort to check myself when I do show up online because I know exactly who I'm speaking to and if they haven’t spent decades in finance like me, it's going to go completely over their head, and they're going to feel intimidated. They're not going to be comfortable asking questions because they don't want to seem like they don't know anything. Sometimes personal finance educators can really do a disservice to the people who actually need help when they present their information like they're talking to someone who already understands it.

You talk a lot about the lack of racial and gender equity in the personal finance space. There have been some strides, but I’m curious what else you think needs to be done to make personal finance more equitable? 

For decades, we have been having discussions on how race and gender play a part in the personal finance experience, but financial literacy work still doesn’t really speak to the holistic financial experience of black and brown women. There is a difference between giving someone what everyone has versus giving someone exactly what they specifically need. That is the key component missing from most financial literacy; we need products and services that speak to the unique needs of black and brown women.

I feel like it’s still really difficult for a lot of women to talk about money. What is still locked up there for women and do you have any advice on how to shift that fear a bit? 

I think that it’s hard for women to discuss money around people who are not connected to how money impacts women differently than men. Right now, there are tons of other women creating safe spaces for women to hold money conversations amongst their peers. I recommend women find communities of other women that have already done the work to create safe spaces for them to seek personal financial advice. I always encourage women to understand that no one will care more about your personal finance experience than you. If you have to ask a question with your lips quivering and voice shaking, do it! Trust me, there are thousands of women willing to support and walk through this journey with you.

I love that you view money through an emotional lens and always come back to how people are feeling when they talk about or deal with money. Why do you think financial empathy, as you call it, is so important?

It’s so important for people to be able to be vulnerable when they talk about money because we all have different experiences. When you're on social media, it’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that you're not doing enough. Some of the most common headlines we see online are like "I paid off  $100k in debt in 9 months” or “I became a millionaire in three months." That's not the majority. So when we have people who are not experiencing that, they start to beat themselves up and get discouraged. It's so important for us to meet people where they're at. A lot of people will ask me "why do you still call yourself the Broke Black Girl? You're not broke." And I'm like, "Okay, I'm not, but broke people still exist." Yes ,having the 100K or the millionaire conversation is amazing, but we can’t just be talking to people in that sphere, who are ready to invest and start businesses. Who is helping the people that are not there yet? They're being completely forgotten, or they will try to figure it out on their own and make mistakes. I want to make sure that, instead, those people get exactly what they need. I have empathy for them because people are not just waking up broke because they want to be broke. I feel like we beat people down so much in personal finance and have made it this exclusive, high school-like world. I try my best to stay away from that.

If you had to summarize some of your best financial advice in a few words, what would it be? 

The very first thing that comes to mind is that personal finance is personal. When someone is ready, when they have made up their mind to take charge of their personal finances, the very first thing they have to accept and sit with is that this journey is personal. You need to design a financial plan that works for you and your goals, so that might not be paying off 100k in debt in nine months, that might not be becoming a millionaire in three months. You have to become so committed to a financial plan that works for you and is aligned with your goals, that you are not going to fall off track because you try to do what someone else is doing.

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414 and subscribing to our bi-monthly newsletter here.