Guest Blog Written by Jessi Burg
For a lot of us, learning about finance is a tricky thing. It feels unnecessarily complicated and hard to access. We think “I can budget, I understand my finances, that’s enough for me.” But realistically, we need to understand how money works in order to use it to our advantage. I’m a giant reader, and have been for most of my life. So when I wanted to learn about finance, I turned to books…and the public library.
As a kid, I grew up in a house without a lot of money and I was great at budgeting. For years after college, I made ends meet on less than $20k per year. Not spending money is my forte. But then, I hit a point where I wasn’t broke. I didn’t have to choose between food and rent. Household internet stopped being a luxury. I had disposable income and I had no idea how to manage it. I didn’t want to start spending willy-nilly, but I had no idea how to plan for the future.
Like many people, I was stuck in the “I don’t know what I don’t know” headspace, and I needed a place to start. For me, that place was going to the physical library, finding the finance section, and looking at the titles to see what piqued my interest. I looked for books with female authors, that were written for beginners, and that focused on growing wealth, not just budgeting. In the middle of this process, I met Jenn Uhen, who was just starting the Pledgettes.
The Pledgettes become my sounding board for everything I was learning and trying to implement in my own life. This amazing crew of women celebrated every accomplishment, whether someone opened their first savings account or bought their 7th rental property. The community started talking about the need for a book club, so we could share resources and learn about specific topics. As the most vocal reader, I volunteered to lead it.
To date, we’ve read 12 books over two years, ranging in topics from budgeting to achieving financial independence to money mindset. Until the current book, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, every book has been by a woman author. They’ve been women of color, women who identify as LGBTQ, women who were born wealthy, and women who lived on less than $2 a day. I’ve suggested books I want to read, like Wallet Activism by Tanja Hester, and discovered they were exactly as amazing as I thought they would be. I’ve discovered life changing books I didn’t know existed (what’s up Your Money or Your Life). Members have suggested books I wouldn’t have read on my own that turned into amazing conversations. Get Good with Money’s concept of financial wholeness turns budgeting from a dreary task to a vision for your future.
My favorite thing about the Pledgettes book club is the ongoing commitment to learning. We chase curiosity – if someone has a question or a topic they want to learn about, we find a book to help them in their journey. It mirrors the overall focus on personal growth in the bigger Pledgettes community. How can we learn together and use that knowledge to build us all up? Book club happens every quarter, but the Pledgettes community is available all the time. I hope you join us for the next book club on February 28, 2023. You don’t even have to read the book – we can fill you in for the discussion. And if you can’t make it, come join the discussion in the community!