Refresh your finances with the Stocks and Stilettos Society

by Theresa Horton, Contributing Writer

One day Cassandra created a Facebook group called Stocks and Stilettos Society. She created this group after working as Financial Advisor and not seeing clients that looked like her. Cassandra Cummings from Oakland, California, has over 20 years of experience in Finance. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. Cassandra worked at some of the largest financial institutions, including AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Bank of America. Cassandra did not feel fulfilled in corporate America, so she decided to open a private firm. She quickly realized the private firm was not fulfilling either.

This Stocks and Stilettos Society Facebook group is a safe space to learn about investing. The Stocks and Stilettos community have investors at all levels, but the majority are beginner investors who empower and educate each other.  Cassandra’s first engagement with the group was during the Stock market challenge in January 2016. This challenge produced such an enormous response, that it became an annual event. There are over 100,000 women that are a part of the Stocks and Stilettos Society. Cassandra stays motivated by being comfortable knowing the market cycles. She has been through a couple of recessions, which is part of the market cycle. According to Cassandra, this is the best opportunity for us to amass wealth. She encourages people by sharing her experiences and encouraging them to invest at a discount. This community allows the women to crush their financial goals and learn from each other. Over the last few years, this has become the fastest-growing community of women investors online.

At the beginning of the pandemic, several women lost their jobs and started looking for ways to pivot. The hardest hit by the pandemic were service workers and wait staff which are industries with a predominately female workforce.  Women were looking for alternate streams of income. The time period in which many women who lost their jobs, became known as the “She-session.”  The ladies learned to look at investing as a new source of income.  Unfortunately, the economy became very unstable as the “She-session” intersected with the “Great Resignation.”  As a result of the pandemic, the Stocks and Stilettos Society grew exponentially during this time.  It became like a financial sorority, where the ladies felt more comfortable asking questions, and everyone banned together. The global pandemic revealed that everyone was willing to collaborate within the Stocks and Stilettos community and create a sisterhood around the stock market.

Some women say they do not have time to invest, but time is essential to learning about investing. We cannot ignore the need to invest and diversify our steams of income. Cassandra encountered plenty of women during her career who retired in poverty. They did not take the time to learn or start investing. Many women rely on Social Security funds and minimum to no savings. The African American community tends to fear money, which stops us from getting to the bag. We need to be financially educated and become more assertive about saving and investing because living costs have gone up. Unfortunately, inflation spiked and surged in a short time period. Hence, we need to make more money in a short time frame to keep up.

Financial education is so important, especially in these uncertain times. Education is essential as you embark on your investment journey to know what is happening at the basic level. It is helpful to arm yourself with the correct information to ask insightful questions.  In the beginning, join the Stocks & Stilettos community, find a money mentor, and invest a small amount of money.  Cassandra advocates for financial advisors down the line, but it is not essential in the beginning. Introducing a financial advisor too early can alter your expectations and results.  Here are a few tips to refresh your finances.

Tips to refresh your finances:

*Plan – Create a plan and adjust as you encounter life events; remember to keep your plan flexible.

*Save – Setup your savings accounts and automate the deposits.  You should save at least 10 to 20% of your monthly income.

*Invest – Find a minimum, low-cost index fund as a starting point.

For more information about the Stocks & Stilettos Society check out www. https://stocksandstilettos.co.  Cassandra Cummings, the founder also has a book coming out called “Fearless Finances: A Timeless Guide to Wealth.

Theresa Horton is a contributing writer for the Chicago Defender. Find her on social media @passionateresources.

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