Free financial advice for women from Savvy Ladies

- Why would you stay in a relationship with someone who uses words that should never be spoken about you, someone who hits you, someone who degrades you, someone who does that in front of other people?

When Stacy Francis was a sophomore in college, she finally had the courage to ask her beloved grandmother these terrifying questions. The reason she stayed, her grandmother said, was because of money. From that moment on, Stacy committed her life to learning about finances and helping other women do the same.

In 2003, she formed Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit in New York that offers women everywhere free financial education. It's only fitting that their offices are just a block away from the Fearless Girl and the Charging Bull statues near Wall Street.

Savvy Ladies Executive Director Lisa Ernst says they have a mission to help women understand their money. They run programs year-round both on the web and on the ground in New York City and no financial question is too small. Savvy Ladies has a helpline that connects women to a certified financial planner or financial expert who can answer specific questions.

Lisa says a lot of women ask about budgeting and savings, how to get out of debt, and starting over after a divorce because that is the first time they have to manage their own family finances.

That's what happened to Laura Lifshitz, Savvy Lady of the Year in 2015, who found herself in need of help when she got divorced and lost her home. Laura says she had just started a full-time job, had a 4-year-old girl, and was told she was going to lose her home in 70 days. She initially went to Savvy Ladies for help budgeting. Laura says she knew she needed to write down her projected expenses and income, but wasn't thinking about some of the more practical things, like paying for haircuts.

Savvy Ladies helped her think about everything she'd need to pay for on her own. Laura is now working as a writer and is making ends meet, but still goes to Savvy Ladies with financial questions. Now she is worried about saving for retirement even though she doesn't have a lot to put away. She is also trying to figure out whether she is better off freelancing or working full time. Laura is thankful for the help, but is afraid most women don't have someone to talk to about their finances.

Stacy Francis wishes they did and says no woman should be trapped in a marriage, career, or neighborhood simply because she doesn't know about money.

To date, Savvy Ladies has helped more than 15,000 women get free financial advice and hope to help thousands more.

www.savvyladies.org

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