Introduction

There's something you should know about the book you have in your hands: I fought really hard to get it to you. In fact, the process from the moment I created my book proposal to when I actually got a yes from a publisher took 4.5 years and 27 rejections. There were many times I wanted to give up and quit, but I kept thinking about you.

Yes, you.

I felt like if I quit on my idea, then I'd be quitting on you too. If I didn't try again after the fourteenth publisher said no or after the twentieth one said no, then you wouldn't get to meet me on these pages, and I wouldn't be able to encourage you to become a boss with your money.

So, I kept trying.

I don't want to make it sound like a movie with inspirational music playing in the background as I braved the world of rejection in publishing with strength against all odds. There were lots of doubts and an incalculable amount of tears along the way. I even took a four‐month break in there when I didn't pitch this book at all because I needed a minute to regroup.

And yet, here we are.

That's something you'll come to know about me. I don't give up easily. And here's the best part: I won't let you give up on yourself either.

It doesn't matter how many times you've overspent. It doesn't matter how much debt you're in. I don't care if you've tried budgeting a thousand times and failed. I believe in you, and I know you can win.

I know you're overwhelmed with everything you have to manage on a day‐to‐day basis as a mom. But, you and I are not quitters. Through this book, I'm going to encourage you to keep going. It's never too late to get your money right and it's never too late to learn something new. I really believe that, and I'm so glad you're here so we can get started on the journey—together.

There's something else I want you to know. I wrote this book during the Covid‐19 quarantine. In fact, I had my first call with my publisher on March 11, 2020 to discuss the process, and on March 13, 2020, I picked up my twins from kindergarten not knowing I wouldn't bring them back to school for more than six months.

I had grand visions of writing this book in darling coffee shops while I sipped a latte. My plan was to write half of it by the time my kids finished kindergarten. Then, I'd put the finishing touches on it while they had fun in camp over the summer. But then, the world closed. Schools closed. Coffee shops closed. And then camps closed.

My husband, who was a physician in residency training when I got my book deal, spent long hours at the hospital working the front lines of the pandemic. Then, he graduated from residency in July 2020 and moved four hours away to complete a one‐year fellowship. It was always the plan for him to go away for a year of extra training, but we made that plan when I thought I'd have access to school, babysitters, camp, and my gym (with the super‐fun childcare area).

Suffice to say, I faced many challenges when it came to writing this book, and I'm sure you can relate, because the world completely changed for every single one of us. Maybe you were home with your spouse during the quarantine. Maybe you were an essential worker and wished you could be home with your kids. Maybe you are a single mom and had childcare constraints as you tried to navigate the seemingly endless days. As for me, I ended up writing this book in little pockets of the day between kindergarten Zoom calls and using lots of bribery and too much iPad time to accomplish my mission.

At night, I'd be so exhausted I would use the voice‐to‐text function on my computer to write. Then, inevitably, one of my kids would need something in the night, and I'd wake up to find words like “Mama, Mama, Mama” inside my book because I'd abandoned my computer but left voice‐to‐text on. One time, I came back to my computer to find an entire paragraph about opening popsicles that voice‐to‐text recorded. I tell you this because although this book will go through rigorous editing, if you find a random “Mama” in the paragraphs, that's why.

Writing during a pandemic also fundamentally changed some of my beliefs about money, especially concerning emergency funds. There were also certain stories in the book that didn't seem to fit anymore once I started to hear from people who were suffering. Some stories I initially shared seemed too happy, too inconsequential, or too tone‐deaf during a global emergency. I got email after email from people struggling, people losing their jobs, and moms who were deeply unhappy because they were managing the brunt of the labor at home. I've done my best to find some balance, to be empathetic but also offer a little encouraging push in case you need one. I think mindset is everything, and I know that stepping into a boss mindset and taking control of your finances—even if you've been knocked to the ground during the pandemic—is the first step to recovery.

That said, I am not a financial planner (or a therapist). I became a part of the finance world when I started writing a blog about my life on a very tight graduate school budget in 2010. That budgeting blog blossomed into a freelance writing business when I started writing financial articles for other blogs and financial companies. Eventually, my business grew to include scriptwriting, video content, influencer work, speaking, and now—writing a book.

(Disclaimer: Although I've worked with dozens of financial companies through my business, some of which I mention in this book, none of them paid me to be mentioned here. I've also included studies and information from companies I haven't worked with in this book.)

Even though I didn't go to school for finance, I think the reason my budgeting blog and eventual financial writing business grew is because of how I write about money. I usually include relatable stories in my work, and because I'm not writing from some high‐up place on Wall Street, I think it helps my readers easily understand some money concepts. I hope that's the case for you too.

My ability to write comes from a lifetime of pursuing writing and reading as my greatest passions. I went to college and graduate school for history because I was captivated by people's stories. I love learning about why humans make the choices they do, which is why the behavioral finance aspect of money is so fascinating to me.

My training as a researcher and historian came in handy when my writing clients assigned me articles about topics like mortgages and investing. Even if I didn't know the answers at first, I knew exactly how to find them. And, it wouldn't be long before I went down a rabbit hole researching the history of various industries and companies.

The Greek word historia means “inquiry.” I always want to know why. Why are things the way they are? Why do people do what they do? Why are some people paid more than others? Why does money have such an impact? What can we learn from past choices? How can our past money choices empower and inform our future ones?

Think about it; money is this one singular object that has impacted history probably more than anything else. It's caused wars, death, shaped politics, and impacted populations for a lifetime. Money has also had life‐changing positive impacts on the world through charitable gifts, eradication of disease, and aid.

But, money is not equal. For centuries, certain sectors of the population—namely women and the Black community—have not had equal opportunities when it comes to banking, homeownership, access to business loans, and investing. The result is not only a wage gap but a wealth gap.

And yet, I keep seeing seeds of hope. Every day, I meet new members of the financial community working hard to inspire positive change. I see women encouraging other women to speak up, ask for raises, and so many of us are teaching one another what it means to invest and to create generational wealth.

As a financial educator, I work hard to make the language of money more accessible to all. I want to encourage moms like you to feel like bosses and become a powerful force, so you can fearlessly ask questions about budgeting, salaries, investments, fees, homeownership, and more. The tides are changing, and moms are perfectly prepared to lead the charge and help their families attain financial success.

At the end of the day, money is just currency. It's just some pieces of paper or numbers on a screen. The money itself means nothing. It's the person holding it who assigns it value and gives it life. You can make a choice when you hold your money in your hands. You can use it to better your family and win or you can stay the same. My goal is to help you be on the winning team. More than that, I want to show you that you, as the mom, are captain of the winning team. You get to use the knowledge in this book to bring the gold medal home.

Some parts of this book will be encouraging and some will be uncomfortable. I'm going to ask you to examine your habits, to think back to childhood lessons about money, and to wonder about the impact of the culture of money we operate within. I'm going to ask you to consider the hard questions. Why do people handle money so differently? Why are some people so disciplined with money and others aren't? Why are some people so generous and others aren't? How has the history of our culture impacted beliefs about money? What can I do to be an ally to others and to help others improve financially too?

Maybe now you can see why someone with a history background became a financial writer. For me, it's never really been about teaching people how to budget, although that is a part of what I do. It's more about helping people examine their own stories and their past as a way to enlighten them and help them make good choices in the future. It's about helping people face their demons and recognize their own strength to change their money stories. It's about showing moms that they are more than “just” moms, that they hold incredible power. It's about saying I understand. I've been there. Let's grow together.

So, I hope you don't mind that there won't be complicated calculations in this book. Instead, this book is going to be a mixture of personal finance, personal development, some too‐personal stories of my own journey with money, and hopefully some encouragement along the way. My goal is to walk with you, inspire you, and help you realize that you already possess all the skills necessary to be a boss with your money. You just have to look within yourself to find the answers, and I'll guide you on that path.

After reading Mom's Got Money, my hope is that you'll:

  • Understand your money history and your money mindset.
  • Effectively manage your money like a boss.
  • Work with your family in a budget meeting, whether your family is a spouse and several kids or just you and your teenager.
  • Ensure that you pay all your bills on time every time.
  • Think big when it comes to your future and the legacy you want to leave.
  • Surround yourself with friends who will be a positive influence on you, your children, and your financial goals.
  • Become an ally to other women and help them succeed on their money journey.
  • Learn the art and joy of giving and pass on that lesson to your children.

I will count this book as a success if you connect with just one story in here and it prompts you to take the next step and learn more. My wish is that this book becomes one of many personal finance books on your shelf. The more you read, the more you can craft a personal finance perspective and plan that fits you and your own goals.

Every financial writer has a unique story and personal experiences to bring to the table, and this is likely the only book you'll find by a historian turned financial writer turned mom and entrepreneur. And maybe that's exactly as it should be, because perhaps I'm meeting you at just the right time. You likely need a friend, someone who is a fellow mom and gets it, to help you along the way. And, hopefully, that person is me.

My goal is to help you master a few money lessons so you'll start to truly enjoy money. I would love to help you feel in control of your bills, caught up, and with room to spare. I hope to encourage you to advocate for yourself, improve, and most importantly—breathe.

Eventually, with enough practice, you can become the money boss you were always meant to be, and I'll be right here to help you get there. This is more about mindset than it is about money. And luckily, motherhood has perfectly prepared you to succeed with money. You just didn't know it—until now.

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