The language around finances currently carries heavy gender norms, expectations, subliminal meanings, and heavily excludes a significant portion of our population from understanding financial basics. We want to dispel all of these trappings so as a collective, we can look at money and finances as just the tools we have to live healthy, safe, secure, and ideal lives.
So, in this vein, we have created a financial dictionary that is more reflective of Us and the reality we live in. These words are included in all of our work on this blog. Enjoy and please feel free to add your words to the comments.
Money Management and Money Planning:
We prefer this language to budgeting because budgeting has a lot of negative connotations and restrictions attached to it. A budget also implies it’s stagnant. At Nav.it we advocate that money is just a tool to get you where you want to go, so managing it, i.e. looking at your money, planning with it, checking it, changing your goals about it, is a fluid and truly important activity that should never be stagnant or set in stone. Life happens, money happens, managing your money is the key to financial health.
Our financial dictionary is going to include the word income but we would like to note it’s synonymous with revenue. And REVENUE, from a business perspective, can be increased (or decreased) depending how much you sell or produce. Income, therefore, can also be increased (or decreased) depending on your personal level of effort. That means, either adding a side hustle, negotiating a higher salary, or taking the risk to change jobs if you want a different challenge and/or potentially more growth. Another truth is that your income is the only source of money that is guaranteed (unless you lose your job, but you still have the power to generate income even if that happens) in this life of ours. Partners can lose jobs, divorces can happen, inheritance money can be spent or not given to you, so paying attention to your income –and making sure you’re being paid a fair wage–is essential for building your financial health.
If you know anything about managing your personal finances you should know what compound interest is. It’s the thing that makes you MORE money when you invest and the thing that digs you DEEPER into debt when you don’t pay off your debt.
Here’s the simplified Nav.it explanation of compound interest in our financial dictionary: Let’s say you put $100 into an investment (they call this your principle). That investment makes 5% interest over a period of time (one year, for example) so now you have $105. In the next period, you make 5% on the $105 (instead of just $100), so you make $5.25 and now you have $110.25. You then get 5% on the $110.25. So you get interest on interest, and, in finance speak, that just keeps compounding*. Make sense?
*Don’t be fooled, banks also use compound interest on the balance on your credit cards/debt/student debt–the interest (say 3%) you owe them on the principle loan they give you compounds on itself and adds up pretty dang quickly.
This is a core value at Nav.it. We believe our culture trains us to look externally for validation and we are not always trained to trust our own ability to learn, reflect, analyze the world around us, act, fail, adjust and create a lifestyle and financial behavior that works for us. The problem is that being inpowered and going through this personal process is the only way to truly rock your finances –because every person is unique and has to adapt their finances to match their personal truths (see below). Inpowerment is a staple word in our financial dictionary
Personal goals, desired lifestyle, personal income, spending priorities, individual fears or confidence about money, saving habits, and the cost of living in the location a person lives.
That is the bank, association, credit card company or the federal government agency (think student debt) that lends or gives someone money. They are also the ones that set up the payment schedule, the fees, and charge you interest on that debt.
That’s you – you’re in Nav.it’s financial dictionary! The person borrowing the money from the lender and the one responsible for paying it back and paying the interest charged for borrowing that money (if you don’t pay it off in full).
Every financial advisor worth her salt will tell you three things about personal financial management. 1. Don’t spend more than you earn. 2. Save that money you don’t spend. 3. Invest some of that savings. There is a lot to unpack there and we attempt to through the articles on this blog, but one of the most important first steps to managing your personal finances #likeaboss is to be aware of what you spend your money on and how much you’re spending*.
We also think that being a conscious spender has ethical and moral implications–you can use your Wallet to ‘vote’ your morals. By being aware of who you are giving your money to- (i.e. where you buy things), you are essential endorsing their business ethics, how they treat their customers, employees, the environment and our political system.
Your morals are yours, no one else’s, and we are not here to judge. Our point is: having a Wallet Agenda is a personal decision you get to make once you start paying attention to your spending.
Yes, we have a lot of inpowerment language in here (that’s what our whole financial dictionary is about!), but I had to add this one to the mix because I want to be a Wealth Warrior. To me that means, standing up for myself and my finances, fighting to protect and grow what is mine, paying attention to the financial world that I live in, and leading the good fight to help others that may or may not have the same access and knowledge about finances as I do. What if we were all Wealth Warriors, sustaining ourselves and pushing to make this world a better place?!
If you have time and want a fun read on language and money, take a look at this piece by John Lanchester that really breaks down complicated concepts that actually started off as tangible ideas.