One of the recent assignments given in The Marketing Seminar was to go to a bookstore, pull a book off the shelf, and analyze it based on the design, typography, layout, etc.
We were then supposed to share things like what the book is, who it’s for, and what its promise is.
I was going to skip over the assignment originally. Then last minute, I decided that I could spend 10 minutes looking at books.
And I’m thrilled that I did.
I ended up blitzing the personal finance section at a big chain bookstore. I pulled out multiple books and photographed the front and back covers, a few pages inside, and the inner leaflet if there was one.
I made a point of pulling out books that had illustrative typography and bright colours that spoke to me as a Millennial. Their diagrams were design-y and there was plenty of white space on each page.
As I did this, I intentionally avoided the numerous books written by cisgender, heterosexual, white men.
The covers of those books fairly had “How to Continue to Benefit From the Patriarchy” scrolled across their covers in authoritative, serifed fonts with dark colour schemes. The writing was dense and the diagrams inside were utilitarian and complicated.
Of course financial success is simple when you are at the top of the systemic food chain of wealth. (Systemic being the key word here.)
I quickly had to check my privilege as a white, cisgender, queer woman, however, when I looked back over the books I had chosen to examine. While many of the authors of the books that I had picked were women, they were also all white.
Where were the personal finance books that stood out by People of Colour? By trans folx? By people with disabilities?
Where were the books that could speak to how to budget and get ahead financially as someone who is more likely to make less money doing the same work as a white, cisgender, able-bodied person?
Just like I felt alienated by the personal finance books directed towards men who had financial privileges that I do not, other people must feel alienated by books written by white, cisgender, and able-bodied people in general.
Of course, I am not the one to tackle this topic. I am one of those white people after all.
At the same time, there is one way I can help.
This week I am going to launch a scholarship program to help a female-identifying, non-binary, or trans Person of Colour grow their platform as a personal finance writer.
The premise is simple. I’ll pay for all start-up costs like website hosting and budgeting software. I’ll also help them build and write their website and make connections in the personal finance writing world so their voice can be amplified.
Finally, I support them with coaching so they can sharpen their soft skills and writing abilities in whatever way will help them sustain their professional practice as a writer.
This isn’t a “just do what I did” approach. It’s a “here are all the resources and support you need to make this work according to your specific circumstances” approach.
Until the pay gap has been closed, representation in personal finance writing matters. Economic justice is social justice after all.
We don’t all start out on a level financial playing field. So it’s essential that there are more non-white and unprivileged voices contributing to the conversation about how to effectively manage money.
(I’m also going to guess that it takes a certain amount of privilege to be able to write a book on personal finance in the first place.)
My hope is that this scholarship is one small way of giving someone the leg up they need to build a platform on personal finance that speaks to their unique circumstance as someone who feels underrepresented and, thus, is underserved.
Right now, I am only able to cover the startup costs of supporting one writer.
If, however, you’d like to sponsor a writer—everything will go towards them and their platform—please reach out and let me know. I’ll be setting up a way to donate money and will be 100% transparent as to where your generous donation is going.
I can take on up to three writers at one time. Any additional donations will go towards the next round of writers whom I work with.
Alternately, if you have connections in the writing world that you don’t mind sharing, please let me know.
Finally, if all you can do is share the information about this scholarship program when it goes live, that would also be very helpful.
And if you’re a female-identifying, non-binary, or trans Person of Colour writer who is frustrated that there aren’t more prominent personal finance resources available for people like you, please get in touch.
I’m here to help you change that.