Magazine

23 Money Lessons We Learned in 2023

By Ellevest Team

Here at Ellevest, we talk about money with each other. A lot. We freely share stats and headlines. We sound off regularly on hot takes and viral trends. But nothing beats a tip swap. To hear which money moves are worth it or not, firsthand, from another woman, is priceless. 

Why? Because this kind of money lesson rarely happens outside our work chat threads. Reports show (see, we can’t help but share) that women find it harder to talk about money than a lot of taboo topics, including their weight or sex life. Don’t jump to blame yourself for the urge to stay quiet. The culprit is a lifetime of conditioning from society — ‌specifically the financial services industry, which wasn't designed with women in mind. (A statement that 0% of women we surveyed disagree with, btw.)

As uncomfortable as it may be to talk about money, it’s also the antidote. We’re here to vouch for it. When our majority-women team compares our experiences with each other, we learn, we feel seen, we get inspired. Because when you hear real stories about real women using their financial power to build the life they want, you believe you can do it, too.

In a recent virtual hangout with some of the Ellevest team, we each revealed the most surprising money lessons we learned in 2023 that changed the way we think — from navigating parenthood and divorce to FSA accounts, and yes, even tinned fish. Here’s a list of our insights straight out of the group chat for you to read (and maybe even use as a springboard to talk about money with a friend, colleague, or partner).

  1. Give yourself permission to use money in a way that makes you feel good

  2. If you can, go to the dentist and the doctor. Beyond just the peace of mind that comes with taking care of your physical health, putting off these appointments could trigger a much bigger financial health burden in the future.

  3. Advocate for yourself — at ‌those doctor’s appointments, at work, at home. Everywhere. 

  4. Your name doesn’t need to be John to lead.

  5. You can say no to a wedding invite. People will understand. And if you do say yes, we’ve got some well-traveled advice to prep your money for a season of weddings. 

  6. Earnestness and ambition are here to stay. And if you find yourself needing a bit of positive affirmation that this is the case, just look to the women-led companies IPO-ing, the women filling the arenas, and the women leading the major news outlets.

  7. There’s so much stuff you can buy with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). In fact, there’s a store (!!). See us filling our carts with sunscreen, massage tools, foam rollers, and more. File under good to know: There’s a big difference between FSAs and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which Ellevest financial planner Sofia Figueroa covers here.

  8. Sometimes the best career advice isn’t career advice. *Double tap to subscribe to CEO Sallie Krawcheck’s LinkedIn newsletter.*

  9. The new moms of Ellevest enter the group chat with their wisdom: When they say "it takes a village," we didn't realize that nowadays, you often have to pay a lot for that village (postpartum care, child care help, etc), unless you're lucky enough to live by family who can and want to play a really integral role in that.

  10. Ultra-feminine everything is a form of joy and power. Bows. Pink. Mary Janes. As the Person of the Year put it, “Feminine ideas becoming lucrative means that more female art will get made. It’s extremely heartening.”

  11. Budgets. Are. Self. Care. You work hard for your money, and if it fits into your budget, you absolutely deserve that latte or that espresso machine. And it’s perfectly OK to be judicious with your money habits. You do you.

  12. Girl math. Girl dinner. There were a lot of girl trends that came and went. But it was the by-women-for-women economy that stole the show (and saved the US economy). Looking at you, Beyoncé, Taylor, and Barbie.

  13. Make no mistake: Climate change impacts women the most. And lifting women up from an economic standpoint can be a key part of the answer to climate change. Maybe THE answer to climate change.

  14. They’re just Ken. And yes, divorce happens, amongst celebrities we follow and amongst our friends.

  15. Weddings are the Wild West of finances. In fact, there are no rules when it comes to planning your own wedding. You don't need to buy into all of the traditions (it’s thrilling to say “yes” to that second-hand wedding dress). You don’t need a wedding planner (hello, Google Docs). And you might not need every add-on (pass on the $750 cheese station).

  16. Life is full of twists, flips, and roundabouts. It’s always a great idea to celebrate all of life’s stages. The trip to recognize the friend who earned their PhD in cell biology. The move across the country. The keys to your first home. Choosing to start a family (or not). Completing a no-spend week.

  17. You’re not “bad with money,” it’s just been a wild economic year. Even your well-off, financially prepared friends experienced financial hardships — the return of student loans, job layoffs, grocery and gas prices, surprise health care costs, a promotion that didn’t pan out.  

  18. You can buy a lot of things second-hand — clothes, books, bakeware, a bike — while also falling in love with your gorgeous new couch. 

  19. Never underestimate the ability of women-owned companies to make tinned fish (or any product for that matter) and quiet luxury more sustainable and very, very cool.

  20. We loved seeing women make comebacks this year, with new businesses, new ideas, and new ambitions.  

  21. Money is power. The power to create our very own personal ripple effect by shopping women-owned businesses, practicing intentional spending, and budgeting for donations.

  22. The realization that “Lean In” left out an essential chapter on investing.

  23. Investing makes women feel powerful. And you don’t need a certain amount of money (or expertise) to grow your wealth and own your financial future. 

Bonus: Money may not literally buy happiness, but it does buy security, options, and control — and those are pretty important to our well-being overall. ⁠And dare we say, make us happy.

What ‌lessons did *you* learn this year? We’d love to hear from you at questions@ellevest.com, or DM us on Instagram.

Disclosures

© 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. Ellevest fees and additional information can be found at www.ellevest.com.

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Ellevest Team

The Ellevest team is working to help women reach their financial goals.