April is Financial Literacy Month, and although you could continue avoiding your finances, this month is the perfect time to refocus. Fortunately, Secret Deodorant has launched a financial empowerment initiative to educate 1 million women about finances by providing free resources. Instead of promoting lectures from rich white guys who work on Wall Street, they have brought together women of color to share relatable and helpful information about money.
One of the women who are a part of the initiative is Jamila Souffrant, founder of the blog and brand Journey to Launch, which helps individuals launch into financial freedom. BGN met with Souffrant over Zoom to discuss how financial freedom and independence are possible for every woman.
What does a life of financial freedom look and feel like to you?
A life of financial freedom looks like confidence and resilience regarding your finances and money. There’s a misconception that to obtain freedom and security, you must always feel confident. Yet there are so many things outside our control that we can’t change.
The journey to financial independence means you have options and the ability to choose what you do for work. You’ll go through different stages and make mistakes to get to that point. Financial freedom is when you can feel confident even when you have debt or are still figuring things out.
Financial freedom is also being confident in yourself, having a growth mindset, and knowing that you can get past the economic issues you’re currently experiencing. Sometimes financial independence means standing still in confidence. Not all progress is noticeable. Trust that you are where you’re supposed to be, doing the best with what you have, and learning how to do better.
Why did you share your financial journey on your blog?
My blog was initially called Mrs. Budget Fab, and I started it because I was stuck in a career I didn’t love. I realized I needed a way out when I got pregnant with my first child. So I started googling how to quit my job and create financial freedom, leading to other blogs and podcasts discussing financial independence. Listening to those podcasts and reading those blogs inspired me to share my journey. I was determined to reach financial freedom, and my blog, now called Journey to Launch, was crucial to my success.
When you left your six-figure job to focus on your blog and pursue your dream, how did you know it was the right move financially and energetically?
Building a financial foundation and having resources were very helpful. Budgeting was a huge and important factor in my confidence to leave behind my six-figure job. I was pregnant with my third child when I quit my job. In addition to budgeting, I learned about investments and managing my money. I focused on building a financial foundation.
This partnership with Secret means so much to me because now I can provide my Budget Boot Camp — the same process I used when leaving my job and how I began understanding the inflow and outflow of my money.
If financial independence was a toolbox, what are some essential tools in this box?
First, we have to decide on a vision. What does your version of a financially independent life look like? Understand what you want for your life.
Next, a budget is important. It may feel like a restriction, but it is liberation, a way to spend without guilt and within bounds.
Along with a budget, mindset and habit, which aren’t typically associated with money, are also important. Consider how you feel about your money and how you consistently use it.
Lastly, two powerful tools are income and expenses. Understand your job, and be aware of how you can optimize your expenses to create the lifestyle you want.
What was one of the biggest lessons on your journey to financial independence?
It’s OK to change your mind and do things differently. When I first started, I thought I would invest aggressively and put in the hours, and eventually, I changed my mind. I wanted more balance in my life. One of my biggest lessons was to pivot and follow what would work for me. You can veer off the path if you stay true to yourself and use tools and resources to guide you.
What do you think is stopping most people, particularly women, from reaching financial independence?
A significant barrier is a lack of access to financial education, especially for women of color. In addition to the wealth gap, we’re often raised not to talk about money. When women have free tools, it allows them to learn and receive the support they need.
Finances don’t have to be boring, which is why representation matters. For example, whenever I listen to a podcast and someone mentions something about Jamaican culture or going to brunch, I connect to that. Women must know that they can still have fun and be financially empowered.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Since April is Financial Literacy Month, I want to remind women they can have financial freedom and be financially empowered. Whether you are older or younger, you can start today, and this initiative is a great way to get started.
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Kiersten is a freelance writer and coach. As a writer, she has written for Travel Noire, Passion Passport, BAUCE mag, and various travel and lifestyle blogs. As a writer, her goal is to write content that inspires others to take action. As a coach, her goal is to empower women to be their most authentic selves. In her free time, you can find her dancing to any song any where.