WHO I AM & WHY I BLOG: My name is Ginger and I started this site in 2003 and have since been highlighted and syndicated in several print and web publications for finance content that explores the intersection of women and personal finance. The media ready version: Girls Just Wanna Have Funds explores money management basics, debt reduction, budgeting and other personal finance issues, specific to women. What makes this site interesting: The acknowledgement that some women have a tacit resistance as it relates to making and managing their money. We explore those issues. My own money issues as well. For example, being recently divorced, dealing with a parent’s illness while managing a private practice (+ this blog!) and struggling with the emotional and financial ramifications of these major life events which snowballed my life. Both good and bad decisions were made. However, I share those experiences here because I am no a financial expert, however, I hope to show you why personal finance is just that – personal.
FAMILY: Single. No children.
BRAGGING RIGHTS: Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is one of the top personal finance blog for women and personal finance. Google me<–click.
MEDIA: The media has been nice (Business Insider, Lifehacker, Consumerist, MSNBC, DC Fox News, Essence, Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, Hope For Women Magazine, Madame Noire and the MSN The Invested Life Web Series). Though, some think that I teach women how to sell themselves for money while others understand the mission to empower women to take control of and make their own money. Reading is fundamental.
TRADEMARKS: ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Funds’ is trademarked. If you are found in violation, you will receive a cease and desist letter from my attorney as we are vigilant in defending the brand we have built here. No one wants to end up in court, right? Good, neither do I. However, we will do what is necessary to vigorously defend our established trademark. For licensing, permission and other issues related to the use of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Funds’, please inquire within.
ADVERTISE: I accept advertising. You must pay me. I don’t accept link exchanges and rarely accept guest posts unless you are a personal finance blogger or legit finance outfit.
HIRE ME: I’ve written for Hope For Women Magazine, Madame Noire, Go Banking Rates, Avon, Divine Caroline while featured in several local, national, web and print publications. You can also hire me for ad campaigns, social media promotions etc. Inquire within.
SPAM KILLS: I don’t do blog giveaways (anymore) because I generally don’t find them useful to my readers.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Read my interview Founder Tips below.
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Ginger is the founder of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, the #1 destination for women who want to take control and dominate their finances, which was featured on Business Insider, Lifehacker, Consumerist, MSNBC, DC Fox News, Essence, Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America and the MSN Project Engage Web Series.
Ginger, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, like what is your background and what do you do in life besides blogging?
Let’s see, I work as a licensed psychotherapist by day. Outside of that I am working on other entrepreneurial projects that include a startup, new web properties, real estate investing as well as a private practice.
You’re one of the most famous blogger in the personal finance for women niche. Why did you start a personal finance blog for women in the first place? Did you consider any other topics, or did you know that this was the only topic you want to write about?
Wow, thanks! The primary reason why I started a personal finance blog for women because I think it’s important that we raise our level of education and awareness around money management. I won’t bore you with the stats about women and poverty but I will leave with this-the fact that women learning about and becoming empowered in personal finance continues to be a novel idea, sites like mine are needed. You’ll never hear the question, wow, why do a sites like Kiplinger, Motley Fool or Smart Money would focus on men and money. That’s a given.
Socially, women are taught to get an education but marry a man that can take care of her financially for the rest of her life while she gives up the best years of her earning potential to raise their children. On the other hand, men are socialized to become long term planners, investors and providers for their families. I think the latter is great, but women are rarely presented with images of how to be self-sufficient. That is my goal – to teach women how to manage and make more money while being self sufficient regardless of whether or not they have a partner.
The second reason is that I wanted to highlight some of the issues that we face today like salary negotiations, maternity leave and contending with choosing when to have a career vs planning a family. Furthermore, when I started blogging, the personal finance blogosphere was a veritable sausage fest, so I thought it would be nice to spice the place up a bit
The personal finance for women niche is a tricky one: personal finance in general is a boring and/or unpleasant subject for most people and many women rely on their husbands to handle their finances anyway (sad, but still true!). What made you think that you can get women interested in personal finance? What approach did you use to make this topic more appealing to your target audience?
Many women want to be empowered in this area but weren’t taught to care much about it until they are forced to do so. Blogging from a woman’s perspective without the lipstick fluff gets women interested. Other sites tend to litter finance content targeted towards women with references to makeup and shopping with budgeting tips that rarely leave them wanting to take action. It’s one thing to talk about women and money but it’s quite another to inspire women to do something about their money. I wanted to create something that would leave my readers wanting to log off and do something about their finances. Hopefully, I am succeeding in doing that, though I think I have some ways to go.
My approach is simply to be honest while challenging some of the notions that a man is a financial plan. Sometimes I think Stay At Home Moms hate my “message” because I do challenge them to have a plan in any event. It’s an uncomfortable subject, yes, but I just want women to be prepared for anything.
I get many many emails from women who don’t have access to the money in their marriages or relationships and feel stuck as they have not worked in years and don’t know how they would start over or jump back into the workplace. The other side of that are the men who become resentful because their wives have dreamed of becoming a stay at home moms and can’t afford their lifestyle on one income. So women continue to dream about the stay at home life after the baby with no financial plan while some husbands continue to resent it. But no one talks about that. I’d like to open up the dialogue about how to do all of that without the resentment and lack of a financial plan.
Did you have any doubts about your own credibility to teach women about personal finance? Didn’t you worry that once you start blogging about money, people will start judging you because of your own spending (..by the way, did that actually happened?)?
I think my readers can relate to much of what I write about because I am in their shoes. I’ve been in debt, not knowing how to manage anything until I was forced to do so once I graduated college. I watched my mom struggle to figure things out when my dad passed away. Luckily she had an emergency fund that carried us through for 2 years when she later lost her job. Who I am not is a detached media personality that hawks a product while never understanding the personal side to – personal finance. I am also not a frugal blogger. I don’t drive 10 miles to save .15 cents on gas, nor do I spend 4 hours per week cutting coupons. I have a budget and I stick to it and occasionally I mess up. But that’s OK, I’m human and I show that side of who I am on the blog.
When you started Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, did you plan to turn your blog into a successful business or did it just happened? Did you have any business strategy to begin with?
No, not at all! I really just loved talking about women and money while helping friends make better financial decisions. Having bought the domain name while I was in college, back in 2001, this site has had varying incarnations which all center around the same thing- money. So, I had no business strategy and didn’t start thinking it as such until I went to Blogworld a few years ago and networked with other bloggers which changed my approach.
When you look back, what do you consider to be the most important turning points for your blog? What particular events helped your blog to take off? Was it hard work, luck, or both?
I’d say it was a combination of all of the above. The first few years I seemed to be getting media exposure from all angles-TV, online and print magazines etc due to the novelty of (heaven forbid) a woman talking about making/saving and not spending money! Now that the blog has grown into a brand that represents all things women and money, it’s about the hard work that’s gone into it from the inception up until this point.
“As seen on” section in your blog is very impressive: you and your blog gained a lot of media attention via NBC, ABC, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Essence and other well-known sources. Did you do anything to get that media attention or did it happen naturally as your blog grew more and more popular?
The media attention started pretty early and I didn’t do anything special at all to attract them other than write about personal finance issues from my perspective. I really think they were more so attracted to the name Girls Just Wanna Have Funds. It’s cute, catchy and reminds them of the song by Cyndi Lauper.
Talking about becoming popular, what were the biggest challenges that you experienced once your blog started growing fast? What difficulties bloggers can expect to encounter once their blogs take off?
Balancing home life and blog life is at the top of my list of difficulties. Social media plays a huge part in interacting with readers, social media marketers, advertisers, PR companies and other entities that play a role in the day to day life of the blog. So right now I do struggle with balancing everything and every once in a while I step away and give myself time to attend to my personal and professional life to make sure all engines are a go. On my planned days off I struggle not to schedule phone calls with PR companies interested in starting a new campaign or a publisher who wants to send me a few books to hand out at my Meetup.
Bloggers can expect to deal with those growing pains depending on their niche. It’s hard (for me) to just sit around and do nothing for any stretch of time. There’s always something to do! This can be tweaking my blog design, chatting up the staff writer (or conducting the search for one) for next week’s topics, cleaning up content or working on my other projects. Admittedly, I have my hand in several cookie jars but I’d have it no other way.
I’ve noticed that money is a very sensitive subject for many people. Not only you blog about money, you also express some controversial views such as “Smart women marry for money”. Do you get a lot of skeptics and haters and if so, how do you deal with them?
So you read my guest post on Consumerism Commentary? Ha! I still cringe at the comments on that post! I get a lot of men who are threatened by the idea of a woman being self-sufficient. Even the well meaning ones, because it shows that the base thought process is that we aren’t necessarily thought of in this light. The first reactions you’ll see from that post is that I am teaching women to whore themselves out for money which is far from the truth. Flexo wrote a follow up about it here which clarified the gist of the article nicely.
“Ginger, who wrote a guest article for Consumerism Commentary, argued that smart women should marry for money. Although the article was misunderstood by many readers, she was not saying that women should marry for quantity of money, but for their approach to money. A smart, independent woman shouldn’t need to take care of a husband as if she were his mother. The same may be true for men, though traditional sex roles tend to make the man-supporting-woman paradigm more acceptable.”
Haters aren’t a factor, so I don’t worry about them. You can’t shoot a moving target Generally, once readers who think I am asking women to sell themselves for money read the blog, they change their minds and I get the occasional email apologizing for going on a rant over at Consumerism Commentary which then continued on my site.
Ginger, would you be able to share with our readers what was the single most important lesson you’ve learned about blogging? If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is just starting out in blogosphere, what would it be?
Don’t be that blogger who goes into it for the sole purpose of making money. You will fail miserably. The hours are long and the commitment to success must remain high as it takes a while before you really start to make any money. I know bloggers not even 6 months in obsessed about metrics like PR, page views and advertising dollars. Write solid, actionable content littered with your passion and let the fruits of your labor take you where you want to go. I love writing and running this site, the money is nice as well but I would do this even money wasn’t a factor.
Thank you very much for sharing your insights with us, Ginger!