- I attended Factora’s 12-week Wealth Circle course, a financial empowerment program for women.
- I learned timeless money concepts, like pay yourself first, and to dream bigger for myself.
- Thanks to the course, I’ve shifted my spending and saving and my net worth’s up by 29%.
“I am here. I am capable. I am wealthy.”
So goes the benediction at the start of every Factora Wealth Circle meeting, held over
since the pandemic but headquartered in Austin. Factora, a women-led company that teaches personal finance in a tangible way, hosts Wealth Circle, a live, online course and community, for 12 weeks, twice a year. Sessions meet every other week on Wednesday nights, with homework in between.
I decided to attend earlier this year after a fellow writer from grad school tipped me off to the program. Now, a month out from my “graduation,” my
has increased 29% from when I enrolled.
The course taught me timeless money-management strategies in an accessible way
I sit with my camera on, mic muted, amongst hundreds of other women. Our expressions range from fascination to exhaustion to epiphany. That’s just how it goes when personal finance is the topic du jour.
Our host, Allegra Moet Brantly, Factora’s founder and CEO, finishes the benediction with a bright smile and eager eyes. Looking around the Zoom room, it’s fascinating to consider what brought us all here, to a sort of financial confidence bootcamp for women. As Moet Brantly begins, I pull out my notebook and text my partner to bring me a bar of chocolate as the words “compound interest” in deep burgundy flicker onto the screen. It’s going to be a long night.
“It’s dangerous to find ourselves on auto-pilot,” cautioned Moet Brantly as slides in our third session demonstrated timeless financial principles, like paying yourself first and putting an end to trading time for money. The course also suggested repurposing mindless spending as investing, emphasizing increasing one’s investment rate instead of stressing over the small stuff.
Over the course of the class, I increased my own savings rate from a very auto-pilot-esque 10% to something closer to 30%. The trick for me? Labeling buckets in my high-yield savings account with short-to-mid-term goals. It turns out, when I can see my money’s redirection from Net-a-Porter to a house fund, it feels more satisfying.
I was motivated to change my habits when I heard other women’s stories
Twice during each Wealth Circle, the group was split into random breakout rooms. Here, with little to no context beyond the rectangles on our screens, we shared real numbers, without shame. In one breakout session, we shared our net worths, numbers ranging from the negatives to upwards of a million. Then, we shared our net worth goals. I went first, apprehensive to speak a number higher than I’d ever imagined possible. I watched as the entire group smiled back, nodding, and then proceeded to each offer a number higher than my own. There was something coven-like and moving to feel a group of women encourage me to dream bigger.
But Factora’s not built on dreaming. It’s grounded in straightforward, if not simple, investing principles, like focusing on time in the market over timing the market. The conversation around assets highlighted just how personal things can get in the world of personal finance. As a 26-year-old in Brooklyn, owning property has always been a pipe dream, at best. A sound investment, to me, was a great pair of walking shoes and an unlimited subway card. Hearing women older than me, during breakout groups and as examples during lectures, inspired me to bring a level of creativity to accumulate assets. Sure, buying my apartment might not be my next step, but it was freeing to imagine what might be.
Making small tweaks to my saving and spending is paying off
“Money creates opportunity. When you have more money, you’ll have more money and decision-making,” said Moet Brantly during our fourth session on real estate investments. Instead of investing in a home, I took the time to set aside an emergency fund with six months of living expenses. Was it a “sexy” investing move with massive payoff or worthy of bragging about at brunch? No, but it was a way of empowering myself toward decision-making from a place of security and stability.
The changes I’ve made thanks to Wealth Circle haven’t been drastic or dramatic. They’ve been small-scale shifts in the way I think about money, which is a tool toward greater freedom and more choice in the way I live my life.
By the last time we recited the benediction, I found myself believing the three sentences I spoke: “I am here. I am capable. I am wealthy.” Even though it was 8 PM in New York City, I was there. Thanks to my recent hiring of a CPA to sort out my freelancing taxes, I was capable. And because of my newfound confidence in investing, I was wealthy.