This last weekend, I attended the inaugural Cents Positive event.
I was interested in the event when it was first announced, and then when I learned it would be held within a reasonable driving distance from my home, I took that as a cosmic sign that I was meant to go. I probably wouldn’t have gone if I had had to buy a plane ticket there.
However, after being there, I can assure you, a plane ticket to the next one will definitely be worth it.
Cents Positive was powerful in that it was the first event of its kind to bring women together to talk about financial independence.
Now, the term “financial independence” holds a lot of baggage in the personal finance sphere. People are either strongly for it or strongly against it for some reason. But I believe that deep down, most probably want to achieve some form of financial independence, in its truest sense.
Whether or not you identify with the term “financial independence,” if you are a women who is interested in personal finance, in building financial security, in living a life on your own terms, this event is for you.
The powerful thing about this space was the connections that it facilitated.
There were women representing at least 4 decades worth of age groups, from all walks of life. Early career, retired, stay at home moms, singles, wealthy, barely getting by*, kids, no kids, those who live in high cost of living areas, and low cost of living areas and everything in between.
(*some self-identified this way, I’m not judging).
We were bound by the commonality that we all use money and want use it to build a future for ourselves.
Since it was located in a rural suburbia there weren’t many other places to go to, so most people just stayed at the hotel and TALKED. We talked over breakfast, and in hotel rooms, and at the facilitated sessions, and other meals. We held deep conversations that I found truly refreshing.
In our bite-sized, 160 character, tech-based, rapid, on-the-go world, too often we don’t slow down to deeply discuss things in person. But this event made that happen.
We talked about money openly and honestly. There was no shame.
Women shared their numbers if they wanted to, but weren’t pressured to.
The focus wasn’t on “how can I optimize everything to save 25x my annual income.” It was more nuanced – how can we use money as a tool to live our dream lives?
We talked about the emotions that we attach to money and how we can use it to achieve goals, but we also talked about the fears and anxieties that we attach to money.
We talked about how we, as women, are socialized to perceive ourselves and money in certain ways and how that affects our beliefs toward money and our actions.
One of the quotes that I wrote down was, “In order for change to happen, we have to change the internal stories about who we tell ourselves we are.”
1) There are many different paths to financial independence. Since I feel like I’m at the beginning of this journey, it was encouraging to talk to women who are further along. Spoiler: They don’t all work in tech!
2) There is someone else out there who shares your money insecurity. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, someone else is thinking the same thing.
3) We have more in common than we think. I talked to women this weekend that I probably never would have talked to otherwise, but I found common threads with everyone. In an age where it’s SO EASY to find things to be divided on, deep down we’re all still people.
4) Reach out and talk to people. As an introvert, it’s very nerve wracking for me to put myself out there. My heart was racing as I walked into the hotel. But I genuinely believe that most people in the world are good and kind, and this weekend reinforced that for me.
5) We NEED to talk about money more. Money carries a lot of baggage with it, but if we want to shift the narrative, it starts with having conversations openly and respectfully. You don’t have to change everything all at once, but start where you are and do what you can.
The cost to attend
Event Ticket: $200 (included dinner Friday, lunch Saturday, and snacks. Breakfast was a continental breakfast at the hotel).
Hotel Room: $120 (shared a room with someone I had never met before. I was really nervous to do this, but I wanted to save money and my roommate ended up being awesome!)
Dinner on my own Saturday night and lunch Sunday: $26
Worth every penny.