Don’t Let Anyone Tell You You’re Bad With Money

By Ellevest Team

Since you’re here, on the Ellevest Magazine, we’re willing to bet we know a few things about you. You’re conscientious, driven, and smart, right? And you’re the kind of person who never quite gives up on setting new goals? Even if it’s just to finally start drinking more water? (Cheers to our fellow emotional support water bottle girlies.) 

You’re probably no stranger to financial goals, either. Maybe you’ve opened a high-yield savings account, or regularly use a budgeting app, or even have an investment account with some money in it.

A woman seen from behind, looking to the right. Around her, speech bubbles containing dollar signs, a bar chart, and a stack of cash. Illustration.

But we’ve talked to thousands of women across all ages and life stages about their money, and there’s still one thing we hear again and again, no matter where they are in their financial journey: They don’t feel like they know enough, or are “ready” enough, to take the next step. They just need to do some more research. To learn a bit more first. To wrap their heads around the next step before they take it. To get a little “better with money.”

But that little voice telling you those things is big wrong. It’s not necessarily lying, mind you — let’s just say it’s been seriously misled.

It’s not its fault. Consider the myriad of lies women receive throughout our entire lives. They start early (“girls aren’t as good at math”) (false) and continue into our teens (“girls are shopaholics”) (oh word? Show us your son’s PlayStation online purchase history) and adulthood (“you’re wasting money on that daily latte”) (yawn). 

You might be helping it along, a bit, too. All those false messages can make it easier to swear off budgeting, or to leave the mathing to others. Sometimes it’s more efficient to say we’re bad with money than it is to say, “I haven’t fully dismantled the internalized gender norms that told me I’m bad with money, so I’m still working on it.” Sometimes we’re just really tired, so we let the myth live another day. (Or maybe all those societal biases pushed you toward the other side of the spectrum: perfectionism and imposter syndrome. Financial perfectionism is real, too.)

But here’s the thing we want you to know: You are already a financial expert. The financial expert of your own life, that is! Seriously, we mean it. You already know all the things that you really need to know. 

You (and only you!) have all the ingredients for creating the financial life you want:

  • A desire to take control of your finances (you’re here, aren’t you?)

  • An understanding of — or access to information about — what you’re working with, ie. how much you make and how much you’re currently spending, saving, and investing

  • Your core values (which guide financial decisions, including tradeoffs)

  • What area of your finances needs attention next (hint: it’s probably the one you’re avoiding)

  • What a happy, satisfying life looks like for you, today and in the future — you’re still going to be you when you’re 65! — which is how goals are born

All the other stuff you think you need to learn more about? That stuff is technique — an arrangement of all those ingredients. Chances are, you already know way more than that Tinder date who sank his money into monkey NFTs. Because here’s what they won’t tell you: Men don’t start out knowing any more about money than women do — they just dive in anyway.

And because you are smart and driven (and good at math!), you can totally learn the techniques as you go. Plus, just because you haven’t done something before doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. (A good teacher can help, too. 😉)

Most importantly: This can’t wait. Building wealth is a long-term game that depends on you starting as soon as you can. We did the math way back when and found that every day you wait to invest could cost you $100.

(And just for the record? Women are better investors than men. Data don’t lie.)

So the next time that little voice tries to tell you you don’t know enough to take the next step with your money, tell it to kick rocks. Listen instead to the new one that says, I’ll just learn the details as I go. Because you absolutely, 100%, totally and completely have this in the bag. You have everything you need to make those moves

Don’t let that anyone — that bad boss, that bad date, that ignorant relative, that old guy financial advisor, or yourself — tell you otherwise.


Source Ellevest. To calculate “about $100,” we compared the wealth outcomes for a woman who begins investing at age 30 with one who began investing at age 40 after having saved in a bank for 10 years. Both women begin with an $85,000 salary at age 30 and all salaries were projected using a women-specific salary curve from Morningstar Investment Management LLC, a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc., which includes the impact of inflation. We assume savings of 20% of salary each year. The bank savings account assumes an average annual yield of 1% and a 22% tax rate on the interest earned, with no account fees. The investment account assumes an investment with Ellevest using a low-cost diversified portfolio of ETFs beginning at 91% equity and gradually becoming more conservative during the last 20 years, settling at 56% equity by the end of the 50-year horizon. These results are determined using a Monte Carlo simulation—a forward-looking, computer-based calculation in which we run portfolios and savings rates through hundreds of different economic scenarios to determine a range of possible outcomes. The results reflect a 70% likelihood of achieving the amounts shown or better, and include the impact of Ellevest fees, inflation, and taxes on interest, dividends, and realized capital gains. We divided the calculated cost of waiting 10 years to invest, $341,181, by 3,650 (the number of days in 10 years). The resulting cost per day is about $93.47.

The results presented are hypothetical, and do not reflect actual investment results, the performance of any Ellevest product, or any account of any Ellevest client, which may vary materially from the results portrayed for various reasons.

© 2023 Ellevest, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

All opinions and views expressed by Ellevest are current as of the date of this writing, are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute or imply an endorsement of any third party’s products or services.

Information was obtained from third-party sources, which we believe to be reliable but are not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness.

The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities, and should not be considered specific legal, investment, or tax advice.

The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any specific person.

Investing entails risk, including the possible loss of principal, and past performance is not predictive of future results.

Ellevest, Inc. is a SEC registered investment adviser. Membership fees and additional information can be found at

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Ellevest helps women build and manage their wealth through goal-based investing, financial planning, and wealth management. Our mission is to get more money in the hands of women.