It Girls | THE SISTERPACK
By: Danae Edmonds
I knew I couldn't be the only person frustrated and confused about money... and when I say frustrated and confused I mean overthinking, getting overwhelmed, and ignoring the problem. I would look up finance articles, especially regarding student loans, and never felt like they were relatable... that is until I found The Sisterpack! These 4 sisters are tackling their finances head on and encourage you to do the same by following their journey at Mo' Money Mo Progress. Here's a look at the women behind Mo' Money Mo Progress as well as some advice on starting your financial journey.
Name: The Sisterpack
Ages: 26, 24, 23, 21
Job Titles/Companies: We’re all in either media/communications/advertising!
Education Backgrounds: We’ve got two Radio & Television Grads, One Journalism grad, and one (almost) Creative Advertising Grad.
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
Hello there! In a nutshell, we’re four sisters who are frustrated as f*ck about figuring out money: how to make more of it, how to manage it, and how to make more of it (oh wait, we mentioned that already). We are passionate about learning about finances and sharing it to our generation (Millennials and Gen Z). We are also all in different positions in life. One has a full time job, one is a freelancer, one just recently lost her job, and one’s an intern/student so we’re all in a unique position to discover all the money things!
2. What made you decide to start the journey toward financial empowerment?
Over the holidays in 2014, we hadn’t seen each other all together in months. We caught up on everything (from boys to birth control). But when the topic of money came up, it also got tense and awkward. And this happens every time. As we were leaving, Gwen (the old one ;) mentioned that we should do something about this money thing. Perhaps start a blog or podcast. And Gab (the youngest one) instantly came up with an idea for it called, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress.” That was our start and now we’re off to the races.
3. What do you find most frustrating about understanding money?
Feeling embarrassed that we should ‘know all of this already.’ No one taught us this in school, and yet we feel this immense pressure to ‘just know.’ It’s insane. It’s also frustrating that it feels awkward to talk about something so important to our entire life! We want to help make this conversation less awkward.
4. What was your financial wake up call?
GWEN: In one year I doubled my income; however, I was still feeling strapped for cash. It hit me that it didn’t matter how much money I made, if I didn’t understand money and have a financial foundation I would always feel like I’m trying to catch up.
MONIQUE: I travelled for a year while launching my freelance journalism career after graduating. I moved back to Ottawa, where I knew I wanted to be. When I got there, I wasn’t making the same income as I had before and my expenses unexpectedly skyrocketed with my move. I had to eventually defer some OSAP payments and remembered a moment during university when I wanted to use my student loan to go out to dinner with friends and I knew it wasn’t the best use of the money. For the first time, I thought, “Ah, Future Monique can deal with this. It’ll all work out.” Future Monique had some pretty choice words for Past Monique that day.
KARYN: When my job contract ended and I had no fallback plan, well it was a pretty huge wake up call. I was lucky enough that I had been saving money since high school, but it wasn’t sustainable in the long run. I had to find a way to budget myself and find some sort of income so I could pay rent, buy food and pay back my student loans.
GABRIELLE: My financial wake-up call happened around my high school years. All my sisters were going off to university and I remember my mom talking about OSAP and how it's "not your money." When I went off to college, I was spending money that technically wasn't mine. Still, to this day, I'm very uptight about money because I know I'll be paying back OSAP for years after I graduate. In many ways, thinking this way has helped me be aware of what I'm spending. My mom scared me into good money management.
5. What inspired you to share this journey with others?
Gwen forced us to. Hahaha kidding. This is one topic that we are all super interested in and eager to learn about. It’s only natural for us to share what we’ve learned!
6. What are your initial goals with your work?
We have to get financially fit personally (or at least on the path), before we can start giving advice. This is extremely motivating.
7. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
The go-to resource for Millennials and Gen Z to understand their money and learn how to make more! Our inspiration is to be DailyWorth Jr. We want to be the place students and recent grads go to start learning.
8. Can you give us some tips on managing careers and side hustles?
Sleep = SO IMPORTANT. There’s no winning if you’re burnt out all the time. The email can wait. Get your sleep and try not to exist on a diet of coffee and bagels. Also – UNDERSTAND where your money is coming from and how to manage it! Follow us for tips!
9. What was the biggest obstacle you faced so far in the process of pursuing your dreams?
One of the biggest challenges for us will be working together. We’re four sisters with very different dreams and goals. And together we’re leading the company. We’ve already written the Sisterpack Code of Conduct to figure out how to deal with fightsdisagreements!
10. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
GWEN: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn
MONIQUE: At the end of the day, you’re the only person who truly knows how hard you worked, so make the effort for yourself, rather than outside approval.
KARYN: Don’t over-do it. There is such a thing as being too frugal and over-working. I’m the kind of person that will go without even if I don’t have to or I’ll get a second job because I think I need to. It’s all about moderation and creating strong guidelines so that you don’t go overboard (which I am VERY prone to do).
GABRIELLE: This one came from my friend Jayme: After obsessing about buying a $7 coffee or something insignificant, she said 'if you're constantly feeling guilty about spending money, you're going to ruin your fun.' Chill the f*ck out, essentially haha.
11. When do you get your best ideas?
GWEN: While going for a job jog listening to awesome jams! (*Must… go… running… more.)
MONIQUE: When I’m working on something else, about to fall asleep, or if I’m hungry. I guess being a bit hangry has its advantages at times. ;)
KARYN: Very late at night (or I guess very, very early in the morning). My brain goes into overdrive and starts spewing forth all of this neat stuff. I guess it pays to be a night owl.
GABRIELLE: In the shower or right as I'm drifting into sleep. This is really frustrating for me, because as an advertising gal, you can't just skip out on work to go shower or sleep in the hopes of finding that EUREKA moment!
12. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
GWEN: I tried to create two different companies and failed both times because I didn’t have clarity on how I’d get paid!
KARYN: When I lost my job. I had NEVER been jobless. At one point I was holding down 3 jobs, so going from always working to not at all made me feel so defeated.
GABRIELLE: One time I thought I had a job in the bag. The people loved me, my work was amazing… I was sure I was what they were looking for – I was on a total high. Later that day, I found out from a friend someone else got the job. I was devastated, but kept telling myself that if it was meant to be, I would be working there. My lesson was to let it go, move on and find something better. Now I work at an amazing agency with even more amazing people, and I couldn't be happier!
13. How do you unwind?
GWEN: It used to be a glass of wine. Now it’s calling my boyfriend to tell him everything. And wine.
MONIQUE: My Lilacs and Liquor iTunes playlist. I’m constantly updating it with chill or meaningful songs (and am always crowdsourcing for suggestions).
KARYN: I'm a kid at heart so watching all kinds of movies, reading comic books, binge-watching cartoons (my life is Netflix) etc
GABRIELLE: My girl Lana Del Rey always does the trick! Especially on the commute home.
14. What would you tell someone else who wants to commit to being financially responsible?
Start exactly where you are. Step 1: Look at your money. Find out exactly how much you owe to student loans, credit cards etc. and write those numbers down. Also write down what money is coming in. If it’s depressing to look at – please feel free to have a one night ‘pity party’ where you cry, eat decadent food, have a drank or whatever you need to do to set the emotions free. Then get researching to find financial advice and start moving in the right direction.
15. What do you hope people take away from your story?
You can do it. Finances can be such a boring topic, so find people who talk about it in a way that interests you! We need a generation of women who are confident about their finances.
16. What is your guilty pleasure to splurge on?
GWEN: Coffee! And beer. And nice dinners out. Uh oh.
MONIQUE: Coffee and cabs. One definitely happens more than the other but they make a similar dent in the ol’ pocketbook.
KARYN: Buying movies, comics, TV shows, going to see movies, going to comic book conventions, did I mention movies?
GABRIELLE: Ice Cream!!!! ...Uh oh is right.
17. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Follow the Sisterpack adventures on www.momoneymoprogress.com y’all!