Let’s face it: Most people are uncomfortable talking about money. Though topics like saving, spending and investing are unarguably important, they have become alarmingly taboo.
People who have money don’t want to talk about it, and people who don’t have money certainly don’t want to talk about it.
This April, I partnered with the Council for Economic Education (which educates thousands of teachers annually, providing financial and economic curriculums for K through 12 students) to ask 28 entrepreneurs, editors and economists for their top tip for saving money as part of a social media campaign titled #MySavingsTip.
Here are seven of my favorites that can make a difference for your finances.
“My parents were born in India and did not have much money,” says Mona Patel, CEO of New York-based UX/UI agency Motivate Design, another participant in CEE’s #MySavingsTip campaign. “My parents were never afraid of losing the money that they did make. I grew up around this and realized that the harder and smarter we worked, the more likely it was that we would make money.”
“[Financial literacy] didn’t come as easy to me,” says Sam Zises, participant and CEO of creative marketing agency Learned Media. “I experienced first-hand the intimidation and nerves that finance and accounting in general can cause people. Running my own business, albeit in the creative field, has forced me to take the time to learn – not just the lingo and acronyms, but true best practices.”
Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together, says, “People’s relationship to money is not rational, it’s emotional . . . We need to focus more on the psychological blocks and triggers that stand in people’s ways, instead of just explaining how to budget or the importance of compound interest.”
Dell Entrepreneur-in-Residence Elizabeth Gore, who recently co-created an AI platform for women entrepreneurs called Hello Alice, recalls how important saving was to her when she was a young woman.
“I have always wanted to have my own money,” Gore says. “It makes me confident and feel more secure. It is not necessarily about having a ton of money, it is about being smart with the money you do have. Financial literacy equals power.”
“’Financial literacy’ sounds so lofty, so hard,” says former Seventeen-editor-turned-author Ann Shoket. “We have to make it feel practical, accessible and fun. Money is freedom—to do what you want, when you want. That’s the important point to make to young people just starting out.”
“The message I have for my kids is that they have to work in order to get what they want,” says Mark Cuban, one of the 28 participants in the campaign. “We don’t just buy things. They have to find ways to earn what they want. It might be an odd job, it might be a reward for reading. But everything requires their effort.”
Fellow business owner and maternity designer Rosie Pope says, “My first ‘real’ job was as an entrepreneur, so I have always felt incredibly responsible for my own finances and also for my employees and family . . . . Running your own business can be very high risk but also high reward, so the stress of managing that is very real and always on-going.”
Coming full circle, Cuban agrees, adding, “It’s important that kids understand money and finance. Not just for their future — but to understand why their parents work so hard.”