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SDS NYC Event Recap: Financial Fitness With The Financial Gym

By Liz Roberts

"We don't have real gym equipment but we do have a lot of wine and tissues - this is a mindset change.”

 Getting Financially Fit with Friends (no workout clothes required)

Getting Financially Fit with Friends (no workout clothes required)

On Sept. 19 Allegra Brantly and Bridget Todd of The Financial Gym challenged SDS to talk about something most of us are in denial about: money.

Talking about money with friends can be awkward. We all have unique financial situations that affect our spending habits --student loans, supporting a family, forking over 50% of your income for NYC rent-- that can make our bank accounts feel squeezed at the end of the month. The Financial Gym is a financial planning start-up with an all-female executive team. They call themselves “financial trainers” because they believe that money sense has to be worked out just like a physical workout; managing your money is part of holistic wellness.

 Financial Presentations Should Include Wine (this one did!)

Financial Presentations Should Include Wine (this one did!)

Being stressed about money can bring a range of emotions. Shame and guilt, if not acknowledged with a financial plan, can erode your bank account and your overall wellness goals. The Financial Gym offers an individualized plan that works with your priorities, acting as your accountabilibuddy to keep you on track. It starts with a “discovery session” – they also refer to it as a “financially naked session” – where you get brutally honest about your money goals and learn how to achieve them. Cue the wine and tissues.

After The Financial Gym’s presentation at the Money Bar, we interviewed two new SDS members who confronted money issues head-on to get #financiallyfit.  

SDS: What do you do and how long have you been involved with SDS?  

KATE MIGUEL: I am a Beauty Brand Marketer & Business Strategist. I'm a new member and Financial Fitness was my first event. 

DONNA LEUNG: I’m a Project Manager at a bank. My friend from the New York Junior League introduced me to SDS and invited me to join her at Financially Fit as a guest. I was incredibly impressed by the event and the women in attendance, and have since become an SDS member.

SDS: The credit score section of the presentation had the highest number of questions from our group. Did you have a credit score question that was answered? If so, what was it? 

KATE: “If closing a credit card does not ding your score, would keeping it open help your utilization?" The answer: It depends; if the card appears on your credit report then keep it open as it helps with the utilization of your credit. However, if it is not listed, to use Bridget's example, her Lord & Taylor credit card does not show up on her report so she could close it without repercussions and leaving it open would not help her score.

 Making friends and smart NYC

Making friends and smart NYC

DONNA: The credit score section for me was pretty self-explanatory--don't overdo your credit line and pay your bills on time, and your score is pretty much A-OK (mine is around 770). Credit cards on the other hand-- oof. I didn't have any specific questions, but I learned a lot about proper usage and the different rewards associated with certain cards. I occasionally fall prey to retail therapy, and I am guilty of spending over 30% of my credit line some months--for me, the greatest takeaway was AVOID THIS. It goes hand-in-hand with what my mom taught me--if you don't need it, don't buy it; if you can't pay it off next month, don't buy it--but gave me specific metrics to measure myself against.

SDS: Can you share one of your financial goals?

KATE: Create a larger savings, pay down debt and allocate more of my budget to travel & retirement. 

DONNA: My biggest short-term financial goal: I turn 27 this year, and most of my friends are (to my surprise) putting down down-payments and planning mortgages for homes already. I would ideally have saved enough to own my own place by 30. To that end, a big financial goal is to not only save, but to maximize the return on those savings. 

SDS: Is there a word / sentence that stuck in your mind from the event?

KATE: Freedom.

DONNA: "Letting your money sit in savings is basically the same thing as losing money." That to me is a TERRIFYING thought, and pushed me to rethink how I'm treating my money--I'm now looking at investing in CDs and potentially property down the line.

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