Money: ‘I make money moves’: Inspired words from Cardi B and RBG

Kelley Donovan

Kelley Donovan

Kelley Donovan

Among other things, Cardi B’s song about women and money empowerment (Bodak Yellow, explicit) speaks to (very much paraphrasing): “You are out spending money in the club, and I am up here singing, using the same venue to make money.”

Most of the remainder of the song would not be fitting to print in this space, but she does shove the concept of women taking financial control to the forefront.

Not in the elegant judicial actions of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, yet the notion of Ginsberg’s female money moves is similar.

I appreciate that point of view. I asked women of all ages what they considered their smartest money moves:

Sharleen, 46: “In my 20s, I had a 401K with about $9,000 in it. I found this adorable car I was so crushing on, and I considered cashing out my 401K. I decided to wait another year, and instead, save the money I needed to buy a car. Today, that account is no longer $9,000. It is more than $37,000. And I cannot even remember what car it was I was dying to get.”

Tiffany, 37: “I have my own CFO. No one taught me about my money — or maybe I didn’t listen. I used to feel intimidated. Now, I feel confident and comfortable asking questions, and I’m still learning. Once I saved a little money, my spouse and I got a financial advisor we trust. She calls us CEO and herself CFO. She will answer any question we ask about our money.”

Tessa, 28: “I built up a large debt right out of college. I was earning more money than I’d ever had, so I wanted new things: Clothes, a car, frequent dinners out. One day, I realized I was paying my credit card bill for clothes I bought and meals I had more than a year ago. It was stupid. I got an extra weekend job earning tips on Saturday mornings and put all the money on my bills. I paid them off in nine months, and I kept the job because it was fun.”

Betsy, 60: “I am 60, wondering, “Where did all that money I made go?” I feel my best move was participating in a 401K. I made a pact to always invest 10% of my paycheck. I can now make the choice to retire early.”

Ellie, 23: “My best move is sharing rent with a friend, plus we share wi-fi with our neighbor. I walk to work. This keeps my expenses lower. I am saving as much as I can for a duplex someday. The other renter will help pay my mortgage. (Thanks, Mom and Dad for that idea.)”

Carolyn, 72: “Some guy I barely knew from college was pressuring me to buy whole life insurance. I went to a co-worker for an opinion. He told me I only needed term insurance, then probably only if I had a spouse, a house or children. Armed with this information, I felt more confident to say, ‘No, thank you.’”

Staci, 33: “The smartest thing I did was keep my inheritance in my name. When I got divorced, it stayed with me. I learned if I had put it in any joint account (or in the value of our house), I would have had to give 50% to my ex-spouse.”

Emily, 27: “The smartest thing I did was when I was 25. I called a financial advisor and asked, ‘What should I do?’ Even though I did not do business with them (yet), I got about 10 ideas for what I needed to do in the years right out of college.”

If you have money questions, email

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