13 ways to up your financial game

By Jenn Rose Smith

featured image from the sartorialist

When we reconvened in the office for the new year, we realized that almost everyone on our team had some sort of financial resolution: to start saving, to start investing, or to simply start paying more attention to our monthly spending. We decided to look for an expert — someone who could answer our collective questions about personal finance and give us a few new ideas for 2015. We didn’t have to look far to find Camille Gaines, Austin-based financial consultant and founder of Financial Woman, a company whose purpose is to educate and empower women’s financial lives. “The ethos of women leaving the room when money was discussed is still present based on generational messages,” explained Camille. “While this is shifting (especially with the Millennials) changing this ethos drives me. I want to end the eye shift to only the men in the conversation when investing is discussed. It’s my mission to inspire, educate and motivate women to create and embrace their own financial journey so they can create the lives they truly desire.” We liked the sound of that, for sure. But we had so many questions. Where to start? How about with the single biggest problem she’s observed in women and finance over the years: “I often see women living with a limited mindset about what they can have and do because of what they believe controls everything else,” Camille said, “including money related actions such as income, spending and investing.” And if she could give us ONE piece of financial advice while we’re in our 20s and 30s, what would that be? “Create life and financial goals, which are one in the same since money is the driving force of your lifestyle, and then live from these goals with clarity and focus.” Fortunately for us, Camille had time to give us 13 more money tips to take with us into the new year. Read on for for her expert advice on how to take your financial game from uneasy to empowered.

1. Create life and financial goals.

These are one in the same since money is the driving force for your lifestyle. Once you’ve defined these goals, you can live from there with clarity and focus. Your goals will provide a foundation for all of your decisions that relate to money, including career, and where and how you live.

image via madewell

2. Create a wealth board.

The strong feelings that visuals trigger actually help you achieve your goals. This simple technique is used successfully by Olympian athletes. It will also serve as an encouraging reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing when the going gets challenging.

image by jamie lauren for style me pretty living

3. Increase your income to create wealth.

Everyone automatically focuses on cutting expenses, which has very limited upside. While spending consciously is important, it doesn’t create wealth. Besides, it’s way more fun to brainstorm 10 potential ways to increase income than to decrease spending.

image via emerson fry

4. Invest in yourself.

Everyone has skills that others need; identify yours, and think of yourself as a contributor of your talents, for which you’re well paid. If you need to get some training or a certification to increase your marketable value, it’s probably a very smart investment.

image by brooke dennis for alt summit

5. Love your money.

What you love gets your attention, and then it grows. Give your money attention by scheduling monthly wealth creation time on your calendar. If you have a family, involve them as well. Make it fun and engaging with games and challenges that instill important life lessons.

image by mattias swenson for what we are wearing

6. Be a bank.

Get paid for having money that you invest in a variety of assets, instead of paying a bank for borrowing their money. Using debt only to purchase assets that increase in value over time, especially after down cycles, enhances this principle. Real estate is a good example.

image via the calcasieu marine national bank

7. Buy undervalued things.

This potent philosophy applies to smaller purchases like groceries and clothes, as well as big purchases like houses, cars and even stock portfolios. Don’t underestimate the power of this habit that helps you accumulate wealth, live richer, and avoid buying into market tops.

image by kuda dabrowski for women’s wear daily

8. Don’t budget.

Yuck! Create a spending plan with this mindset instead: You have a certain amount of money, and you get to choose how you want to use it. Apply this approach to your monthly spending as well as your investing funds to live from an empowering place of choice, not lack.

image via hotel costes


9. Allow money to be joyful.

Money often has a terrible ethos, but we all know the wonderful anticipation of a vacation, the deep satisfaction of giving, or the delight of that perfect new dress. Celebrate that money is magnificent, because there’s always much to be happy about that money did, in fact, provide.

image by cyn kain via style me pretty

10. Don’t say “I can’t afford it.” Say “How can I afford it?”

Then brainstorm how to make it happen. This strategy applies to the new, more enjoyable career, having a home you absolutely love, and the lifestyle that you desire. Define it, own it, and make it happen.

image via lonny

11. Take responsibility.

It’s easy to blame the economy, the man in your life or the politicians for your financial woes, but the problem with this mindset is that there’s no resolution. The truth is that your financial life is a factor of your choices. Once you own this, you can create positive change.

image by the sartorialist

12. Define clearly why you want money

Is it a kitchen remodel, a trip to the islands, or peace from knowing you have a big stash of money? Assign a target date for funding each desire, including both near and longer term goals.

image via wildfox couture

13. Practice gratitude

Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. This habit creates a wealth mindset that invites expansion and abundance. When you focus on lack, you create more lack in your life. End your day with a list of 5 things you’re grateful for to embrace this timeless wealth principle.

image by donna’s word

Camille Gaines is a finance expert and the founder of Financial Woman, a company whose purpose is to educate women and empower their financial lives. You can learn more about how to take control of your personal finances on Financial Woman, or pick up a copy of Camille’s Amazon best seller, Earn, Grow, Give: Simple Steps to Grow Your Money While Creating a Rich Life.