From Broke to Financially Woke – Girl Talk with Fo
Today, I am excited to share with you the latest interview in the From Broke to Financially Woke series! The purpose of this series it to give hope to those struggling to escape from the not so secret group Broke Phi Broke. A group whose chant is, “We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke! We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke!”
To help me accomplish this goal, I have invited the best and brightest of the financial independence community here to share their stories. As you read their interviews, pay close attention to the mistakes they made. Take mental note of the success principles they used to turn things around.
When trying to apply these principles to your own life, realize that success in life is rarely linear. You will encounter some struggles. But stay persistent. Keep moving forward.
Our special guest today is Fo from Girl Talk With Fo. Like me, she graduated from college with two degrees thinking that it would be the golden ticket to financial freedom. Instead, she ended up struggling to save $50 a month.
How did she go about turning things around? I’ll let her tell you the story…
Introduce yourself. Where do you blog? What are some of your interests outside of financial independence?
I’m Fo, editor-in-chief of GirlTalkwithFo.com! Girl Talk with Fo is a platform dedicated to teaching women how to dump debt & build bank so that they can create the life that they want.
My story entails paying off over $78,000 in student loan debt in less than three years, while cash flowing my wedding. I use that story to show others how they too can become debt free.
Outside of personal finance, I enjoy writing, fashion sewing, and learning something new in coding. I’m always tinkering with my website and figuring out new ways to do things.
Tell us about a time where you were a member of Broke Phi Broke. How did living paycheck to paycheck make you feel as a person? At your lowest point, how much debt did you have?
I was a member of Broke Phi Broke from 2011-2016. This is when I graduated college and became a fully independent adult with real adult bills. I was swamped in student loan debt and living paycheck to paycheck.
Being broke made me feel irresponsible and somewhat a failure. I had gone to college and gotten two degrees, and that should have been a ticket for financial freedom, right? Wrong! I felt like a failure because I was smart, I had a great career, but still couldn’t manage to save $50 per month.
After graduating, I have over $78,000 in debt. I only started tracking it after I began aggressively attacking it with the debt snowball.
What are some of your biggest financial mistakes?
My biggest financial mistake was thinking that a financial advisor could fix everything for me. As a result, I spent $600 that I didn’t have to hire someone who wasn’t helpful at all. It’s my biggest financial regret, but it was the catalyst for me learning things on my own and now teaching others.
Describe your upbringing. Where did you grow up? What did your parents or teachers teach you about money?
I grew up in the rural parts of South Carolina with a military dad, an educator mom, and my older sister. I don’t remember a time where my parents actually sat down and talked to me about money. The only advice that I did receive was to not get a credit card.
What they didn’t teach me with words, I learned from observing. I watched them manage money together. They combined their finances and worked as a team when it came to money. I was able to see how far they were able to go as a result, so I knew that it was something that I wanted to implement in my marriage.
I attended public school and learned absolutely nothing about money management. At best, they helped us open bank accounts in 1st or 2nd grade, but that was it.
How important is becoming financially woke to you? What steps have you taken to increase your financial knowledge?
It’s very important for me to be financially literate. Money is something that we can’t avoid, so you might as well master it. To increase my financial knowledge, I’ve read tons of books and am currently becoming a certified financial educator. Overall, the greatest teacher has been my mistakes.
What are some of the key principles you have used to improve your financial life?
There’s nothing novel about personal finances, so I stick to the basics. Stick to a budget, get out of debt, increase your income, and invest. By doing those things, I’ve completely changed my financial life and future.
How often do you consume personal finance information? Name 3-5 of your favorite sources (books, podcasts, blogs, etc.).
Daily! I not only produce content on my site, but I’m a contributor to other financial websites so I’m constantly immersed in personal finance information and education. There are tons of blogs that I frequent, so I won’t even attempt to name them. My staple podcasts and books are:
- Earn Your Leisure Podcast
- How I Built This with Guy Raz
- The Total Money Makeover
- The Millionaire Next Door (Staple!)
- The Automatic millionaire (Staple!)
Where are you on the path to financial freedom now?
Right now, my husband and I are on the path to paying off our home within the next 5 years. That will put us in our mid-thirties. Simultaneously, we’re building up our passive income sources through our business.
Is there any advice/encouraging words you can give those who are struggling to escape Broke Phi Broke?
Don’t make things complicated. Do the basics– budget, get out of debt, increase your income– and you’ll find success. Surround yourself by people who support your and get encouragement from those who’ve been through it. It’s only a matter of time. Before you know it, your financial picture will be completely different! Just stay the course.
How can the readers contact you?
You can find me at GirlTalkwithFo.com and on the Girl Talk with Fo podcast which airs every week. You can also find me on social media at @GirlTalkwithFo on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter! I’d love to connect!
Read more interviews in the From Broke to Financially Woke Series.
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Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.
If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?
For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.
Before you go, check out the new From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series.
Also, please subscribe below if you found his content valuable and want to continue following him as he documents his own journey from Broke to Financially Woke!