- I took Factora’s 12-week Wealth Circle course, a financial empowerment program for women.
- I learned timeless money concepts, like paying yourself first and dreaming bigger for myself.
- Thanks to the course, I shifted my spending and my savings and my net worth increased by 29%.
“I’m here. I’m capable. I’m rich.”
So goes the blessing at the beginning of each meeting of the Factora Wealth Circle, which is held
since the pandemic but headquartered in Austin. Factora, a women-led company that teaches personal finance in tangible ways, hosts Wealth Circle, a live online course and community, for 12 weeks, twice a year. Sessions meet every two weeks on Wednesday evenings, with homework in between.
I decided to attend earlier this year after a fellow writer in graduate school told me about the program. Now, a month after my “diploma”, my
increased by 29% since I signed up.
The course taught me timeless money management strategies in an accessible way
I’m sitting with my camera on, microphone muted, among hundreds of other women. Our expressions range from fascination to exhaustion to epiphany. That’s how it goes when personal finance is the topic of the day.
Our host, Allegra Moet Brantly, Founder and CEO of Factora, ends the blessing with a bright smile and eager eyes. Looking around the Zoom room, it’s fascinating to consider what brought us all here, to some kind of financial confidence bootcamp for women. As Moet Brantly begins, I pull out my notebook and text my partner to bring me a chocolate bar as the words “compound interest” flash dark red on the screen. The night will be long.
“It’s dangerous to be on autopilot,” Moet Brantly warned as slides from our third session demonstrated timeless financial principles, like paying yourself first and ending time-for-money trading. silver. The Course also suggested redirecting foolish spending as investments, focusing on increasing one’s investment rate instead of focusing on the little things.
Over the course of the course, I increased my own savings rate from a very autopilot 10% to something closer to 30%. The trick for me? Label buckets in my high yield savings account with short and medium term goals. It turns out that when I can see my money being redirected from Net-a-Porter to an in-house fund, it’s more satisfying.
I was motivated to change my ways when I heard other women’s stories
Twice during each Wealth Circle, the group was split into random chat rooms. Here, with little to no context beyond the rectangles on our screens, we shared real numbers, unashamed. In a breakout session, we shared our net assets, numbers ranging from negatives to over a million. Next, we shared our net worth goals. I went first, fearing I would speak a higher number than I ever imagined possible. I watched the entire group smile back, nodding, then proceeded to each offer of a number larger than mine. There was something coven and moving about feeling a group of women encouraging me to dream bigger.
But Factora is not based on dreams. It is based on simple, even simple, investment principles, such as focusing on time in market rather than market timing. The conversation around assets has highlighted just how personal things can get into the world of personal finance. At 26 in Brooklyn, owning property has always been a pipe dream, at best. A good investment, for me, was a great pair of walking shoes and an unlimited metro card. Hearing from women older than me, in focus groups and as examples at conferences, inspired me to bring a level of creativity to accumulating assets. Of course, buying my apartment might not have been my next step, but it was a freedom to imagine what it might be.
Making small adjustments to my savings and spending pays off
“Money creates opportunity. When you have more money, you will have more money and decision-making,” said Moët Brantly during our fourth session on real estate investments. Instead of investing in a house, I took the time to build an emergency fund with six months of living expenses. Was it a “sexy” investment move with huge gains or worthy of bragging rights at brunch? No, but it was a way to empower myself to make decisions from a place of safety and stability.
The changes I have made through Wealth Circle have not been drastic or dramatic. These are small-scale changes in the way I think about money, which is a tool towards greater freedom and more choice in how I live my life.
The last time we said the blessing, I found myself believing the three sentences I said: “I am here. I am able. I am rich.” Even though it was 8 p.m. in New York, I was there. Thanks to my recent hiring of a CPA to settle my taxes as a freelancer, I was able to. And thanks to my newfound confidence in investing, I was rich.