I have such great news! In my third month of doing my ambitious income goal charts, I actually met my pretty ambitious goal! I count the income I book and earn rather than the income I receive as I have far more control over the former.
This was a really good feeling, and one I’m hoping to achieve next month with my Kesha/H.E.R-inspired income goal chart. I created it in honor of the two songs I couldn’t stop listening to in August: RWSM and Lord is Coming. Once I get these goals met on a consistent basis, I’ll be upping them until I get to my calculated “enough” number.
If you’re wondering what changed, ultimately meeting my goal this month came down to a few happy surprises I had planted earlier in the year.
Investing Time in Future Work
I’m a contractor, which means my work and pay is inherently variable. I’ve learned over the years to never take for granted the times of feast, as there’s always a famine coming around the corner. Often when you least expect it.
Earlier in the year, when work was steady and almost something close to predictable, I started feeling uncomfortable. I knew this feeling of routine wasn’t permanent, so I started keeping an eye out for new opportunities. In one case, I even reached out to a friend who was kind enough to set me up with someone they knew was hiring.
Because I started those conversations in the Spring, I’ve been able to phase in new clients at an unrushed pace, smoothing out a lot of the bumps in the road I would have hit otherwise.
I’m so glad I started planting then. My life has been a lot less hectic because of it.
Another frustrating thing about freelancing is that sometimes you end up being at the short end of the stick as far as on-time payments go. This does not apply to my long-term clients; if it did they wouldn’t be my long-term clients.
Earlier in 2019, before I started creating my income goal charts, I did a couple projects with organizations I was expecting to pay on time. They expected them to pay on time. There was some sort of glitch and that didn’t happen, in one case. I don’t know what happened in the others.
I did eventually get paid, but it took a while. Since I wasn’t sure when these payments would be coming in, I didn’t count them as expected/earned income when I was making my charts. When they did come in, they were a happy surprise that boosted me over the edge.
Moving Forward with Income Goals
I’d like to hit this number every month! I’d like to get it consistent enough that I can up my income goals even higher. I’m glad I’ve had a chance to harvest the opportunities of early 2019, and I’m also looking forward to new opportunities as I head off to FinCon.
I’ve been hinting to you guys for months that I’ve got something fun rolled up my sleeves.
Well, today’s the day I finally get to tell you what it is!
Personal Finance by Women
In the independent financial media space, we’re a little more than 50% female. I think that justifies accurate gender representation when it comes to publishing opportunities, speaking gigs and features. I think that means we ‘ve got plenty of people with lived experience speaking to the issues of women’s finances that hiring those without to pontificate on the topic isn’t always going to bring you the best perspective and information.
Because I think all this, I thought it was time to launch Personal Finance by Women. Apparently a lot of other people think the same thing. Since its launch two days ago, Personal Finance by Women has tripled its membership — I’m still uploading profiles! And that was just from a couple mentions in online networking groups.
What does Personal Finance by Women do?
Personal Finance by Women is a social entrepreneurship venture which believes that just because you center the most intersectional of stories doesn’t mean you have to be a charity. There is value in these financial experiences, which contain something to be learned by all.
It’s not about helping anyone; it’s about empowering everyone.
To achieve this, we’re going to have lots of projects including:
Publishing and syndication of money stories centering intersectional writers who are paid fairly for their content.
A source list for journalists attempting gender diversity in their sourcing efforts.
Service projects and initiatives in our membership’s various local communities.
Hashtags on Insta and Twitter featuring members’ content and further bolstering community.
How can I support Personal Finance by Women?
As I mentioned above, this is a social entrepreneurship venture — not a 501(c)(3). That means that while monetary support doesn’t get you a tax deduction, it does potentially get you other perks.
For example, those who support Personal Finance by Women stories through IndieGoGo receive sponsorship perks when content goes live.
Those who become Early Access Subscribers on Patreon will receive access to original Personal Finance by Women content 24 hours prior to its public release.
You can also support by participating as a member, taking advantage of the fact that membership is currently free during launch. If you want to join as an ally, we’ll talk about how you can best support the initiatives we’re currently running. If you want to join as a woman or non-binary individual, we’re excited to check out your work!
Last week, someone said something to me that stuck with me. It was hurtful, but the person meant it as a compliment. The words were not this eloquent, but essentially they told me the same thing my grandma told me back in 2004 when I attended her milestone birthday party:
“You clean up nice.”
When my grandmother said it, it made sense. I was a teenager who usually dressed in ripped up jeans, a hoodie and a beanie. To see me in full business casual was probably a legitimate shock.
But this person last week — I don’t feel like the similar comment was as justified. I’ve been “cleaned up” around this person before, and the way it was worded made me feel like my worth to this person was intricately tied to how much makeup I had on or the amount of jewelry that adorned my collarbone.
Without it, I wasn’t quite enough.
I was aware how much of a show getting girly was at a very young age. When I was a child, I loved playing baseball with the boys, hated brushing my hair and loved hanging out with the people I cared about. Eventually, cultural pressure kicked in and I switched over to the softball team. I started brushing my tangly hair on the regular. I don’t regret the latter.
When I was a teen, I learned to perform femininity to gain social acceptance. I am a cis woman, and I do feel better about myself when I’m all dolled up. Whether that’s because it’s what makes me happy or because it makes society treat me better I still have yet to figure out.
It’s inconvenient. It’s time consuming. And comes with other costs. Back in those days when I shocked the elderly by dressing up for birthday parties, I came across this quote that really struck me:
Femininity is not made for comfort or movement; it is made to accentuate the sexualization of a woman’s body — and that’s why things like holding the door open (so she doesn’t dirty her white gloves or expensive manicure,) pulling her chair out (so she doesn’t have to awkwardly move a bulky piece of furniture and risk getting it caught on her skirt or stockings and ripping something,) or holding her coat (so she doesn’t have to reach around and risk ripping the tight seams in her shoulder or upper back) are necessary to me, as an acknowledgement of how restrictive femininity can be, and of how difficult it is to walk around in these clothes, as a celebration of the beauty of femininity on the body, and with deep respect for the courage to costume and perform femme to begin with.
I’m not saying everything in that quote is morally right. Or that those who spoke the words are infallible human beings. Just that it was a thought that really made me think over the past 17 years.
There are those routine costs, too. The cost of makeup. The cost of clothing and unmentionables. Overpriced shoes that kill your feet.
As you’re getting ready for the day, the most feminine look is going to take the longest to apply — at least if we’re assuming femininity is defined by our society rather than us as individuals. When time is money, women are either waking up earlier to get ready for the day or spending time getting “pretty” when they could be working and bringing in an income. I’m aware the latter is a strawman’s argument, but this is a PF blog. Time is money is an important theme in our discourses.
Then there are the more dire costs of performing femininity as society defines it. Body image issues. Self-hatred and the need to address the mental health issues that come along with not being “enough.” Eating disorders. Potential of death if you take things too far.
Abandoning Aspects of Femme
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten far more comfortable in my own skin. I do feel better about myself when I’m dressed to the nines, but I’ve also started actually believing that my value is not tied to how well I perform femininity. Despite what the world may tell me.
I tried to wear heels a couple times after I had kids. I couldn’t wear them when I was pregnant because I’m super klutzy and would have fallen as my center of balance adjusted to my changing body. When I tried to resume the practice, it invariably ended in tears of pain. Eventually, I gave them up. Yes, I’m short. Yes, heels make me look even more bomb than I already am. But they’re not a necessary part of my femininity.
I am more than enough without them.
I’m also a remote worker. That means I don’t have to get dressed up to go into work. It’s beautiful, really. I’m crazy lucky I can work in yoga pants without makeup on while earning a decent income.
Why do I do it without makeup on? Why don’t I put on real clothes while I’m clacking away at the keyboard in my own living room?
Because I am more than enough without it. And yoga pants are freaking comfortable.
Also, my skin looks awesome when I don’t wear makeup for a few days. So there’s that.
I’m leaving on a jet plane.
Yesterday I flew into Boise for a book signing. Usually when I fly, I do the yoga pants or leggings thing. I try not to look trashy, but I’m also not trying to get all made up when I know I’m going to look a hot mess after 12 hours of travel.
But the comments from last week left me feeling insecure. I really respected this person and thought their respect for me was a little deeper than the jewelry I was wearing or the way I did my hair on any given day. Complimenting femininity is great, but when the largest part of your value as a human being is attributed to your external presentation at any given second, it’s more than demoralizing.
So before I hopped on the plane, I got all dolled up. Full makeup. Girly clothes. Later, I even put on a bracelet and necklace.
Did I regret it?
I wasn’t comfortable. My makeup melted throughout the day as I ensured I made flights, tried to catch up on edits on layovers and dragged my two bags throughout the entire airport because I’m too cheap to check.
While I had worked so hard to get “presentable,” the drunk dude sitting next to me and elbowing me throughout the entire flight stank to high hell. Reminding me that the standards for me and this guy were so far away from each other.
I’m going to continue performing femininity. I like the way it makes me feel. I like that people treat me better when I put on the costume. But just like the heels and the yoga pants, I’m not going to bother myself with it when it’s not worth it anymore. The next time I hop on a jet plane, I’m not going to perform anything. I’m just going to be me.
Because with or without makeup and stilettos, I’m plenty enough. Despite the economic realities our society places on us when we don’t conform, you are enough, too. I see you, and your value as a human being doesn’t go up just because you put on a costume.
Disclosure: This post was made in paid partnership with Bestow. Neither Bestow nor North American Company for Life and Health Insurance were involved in the preparation of the information in this article. The opinions and ideas expressed in the article are those of the author(s) and are not promoted or endorsed by Bestow or North American. You should always seek professional advice before making a financial decision.
When I got my life insurance policy, I had a
nurse come into my home. She took my weight, drew my blood and went over a long
and complex form with me, assessing my physical and mental health.
It wasn’t a particularly convenient or fun
But if you’re looking at purchasing a term life insurance policy today, you’ve got options. If you qualify, you could get a policy for as little as $5/month from Bestow. No medical tests. Easy questionnaire. And the entire process takes less than ten minutes.
I gave the platform a whirl myself, though I
did not qualify for a policy. I have a couple preexisting conditions, so that’s
not a huge surprise. These are low-cost policies, which will often mean they’re
available to those who do not have many “negative” marks on their medical
There were seven sections of the application,
reviewing basics like name and address all the way through lifestyle decisions,
physical health, mental health and income information. From here, you’ll either
be rejected or offered a final rate. Policies start at just $5/month, and are
underwritten by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®.
What should I look for in an
When you’re shopping for an insurance company,
you want to be as sure as possible that the company will be able to pay out
your benefits should you ever need to make a claim. You can do this by looking
up its rating with an insurance rating agency. Scores operate similarly to the
grades you received in high school; the closer to an A++, the better. Companies
with lower ratings are less likely to be able to actually pay out the claims.
North American Company for Life and Health
Insurance has an A+ rating from AM Best, and Bestow administers their policies
Why do you need life
There are many reasons you might need life
insurance. You may want to provide for you family in the event of your death,
aiming to leave them with enough money for the kids to attend college and to
replace your income for several years as they adjust to lacking your income or
work as a homemaker.
Of course, the primary thing you want to get
them through is the mourning process. Giving them time to handle the emotional
waves that come along with grief is perhaps one of the greatest gifts of all.
You may want to support a partner or parent in
the event of your death, which is another reason to take out a life insurance
Why don’t I have to submit
any medical records?
Bestow pulls your data as you give it
permission to do so as a part of the application process. It pulls your health
data and prescriptions in this way. Then it goes through an algorithm which
decides if you qualify for coverage.
What else should I know
before I use Bestow as my life insurance provider?
If you get a 20-year term policy from Bestow, you must be age 21-45. The other policies offered are 2-year or 10-year term policies, and you must be between the ages of 21-55 in order to qualify.
You will not be approved if you have any of
Cancer—unless it’s basal or squamous cell skin cancer
Diabetes before age 40—unless it was gestational diabetes
Alcohol and/or drug abuse
As long as none of the above apply to you and you fall within the age limits, you may qualify. Finding out is as easy as applying online, and shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes.
purchased life insurance? What was your experience? Let us know in the
I have so many posts bouncing around in my head ready to write for you guys. There’s so much I want to tell you, so many ideas I want to bounce off of you and so many new things I’m learning about that I can’t wait to share.
But I’ve been a little off kilter lately.
I was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease. So I’ve been incredibly tired, among other symptoms. All those symptoms have kept me from getting things done the way I wanted to after I got home from some recent travels, which I swear I will tell you about soon.
I don’t think it’s anything to worry about long-term. They caught it super early and I’ve been religious about taking the meds. I should know in a couple weeks just based on the way I feel, but I will of course pursue lab testing, too, to ensure it’s gone.
Income Chart Update
Last month I showed you my new income charts with ambitious goals. If you remember, in June I did quite well, falling just short of my pie-in-the-sky goal.
My goal for July was a bit more ambitious–mostly because I accidentally drew too many boxes. Here’s how I did:
So I didn’t quite reach it. Which I realize looks *real* great when displayed within those now-ironically confident Cardi B lyrics.
But I didn’t do horribly. It’s still higher than my monthly average was before. Just not as crazy great as June. This is freelancing. Ups and downs are natural.
For August, I counted the boxes right and am injecting some Beyonce into my motivational progress chart:
This weekend I received some great news. Thanks to all of you who voted, The Feminist Financial Handbookhas been nominated as a Plutus finalist for Best New Personal Finance Book. I cannot tell you how immensely grateful I am–THANK YOU!
I was honored to see that the Intersectional Finances series was once against nominated as a finalist for Best Series: Blog, Podcast or Video. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, you should know it is not written by me. Instead, it is written entirely by a group of phenomenal contributors. Go check it out and then check out more of these writers’ work.
If you’d like to contribute to the award-nominated series, get in touch. Submissions are open and rolling!
I also received another piece of news I wasn’t expecting: I was nominated for the Biggest Impact Award, which is a new Plutus category this year. Completely humbled to be up there with a group of such great women! And yes–all the nominees are women!