Clever Girl Finance Review: Comparing Financial Literacy Tools for Women
Is there really anything more powerful and motivational than being part of a vibrant community?
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About a year ago, Think Save Retire added new voices. And today, more than half of our team is female, bringing a new perspective to the entire mission of the site. We love to see what Clever Girl Finance is doing, because they are really focusing on groups who have been historically left out of finance advice. Let's take a deeper look into what CGF provides and what we found the most useful.
Is there really anything more powerful and motivational than being part of a vibrant community? Being able to learn from others who are willing to share from their own experiences, connecting with other like-minded people, and feeling valued and respected as a part of the community can help you to achieve things that you wouldn’t be able to achieve on your own. That’s part of what we do here at Think Save Retire, and part of that mission is sharing with our audience other like minded people in the game that are doing the WORK. Personal finance blogs like Clever Girl Finance prove that in the world of finance, every voice matters. After all, we all have finances, right?
When it comes to personal finance, many of us would like to improve the direction of our own finances, but it can be challenging if you’re trying to do it by yourself. Plus, has anyone else noticed how masculine so many personal finance blogs can be? In my opinion, financial literacy has no gender. However, how many personal finance sites have you been to where it felt distinctly manly and kind of discouraging toward women in finance?
Thankfully, women who want to take control of their finances have incredible resources available through Clever Girl Finance (CGF). Obviously, men can use these tools and resources as well, but the way that this blog provides a space for women in personal finance is wonderful.
What is Clever Girl Finance?
CGF is all about “empowering women to ditch debt, save money and build real wealth!” It is a mission-driven platform that is equally fun, educational, and empowering.
Clever Girl Finance was founded in 2015 by Bola Sokunbi. Although there are countless personal finance websites out there, Clever Girl Finance stands out because it is much more than just a website. As one of the best and most popular financial platforms especially for women, CGF has developed an incredible community that truly makes it special.
The core values listed on CGF’s About page are:
- The belief that you have what it takes.
- To support you on your journey via our incredible community.
- To provide motivation - every single day.
- To provide sound financial education.
As you visit the Clever Girl Finance website and start to get familiar with the platform, you’ll quickly see this is a very welcoming community that is encouraging and uplifting. It’s a safe space with “no shame and no judgment”.
If your financial situation isn’t quite where you want it to be, you might feel disappointed in yourself. Learning about finance for the first time can be intimidating and it’s easy to beat yourself up over past mistakes. But CGF seeks to build you up rather than tear you down. You don’t need to worry that you’ve got some bad financial habits or that you’re a long way from perfection.
The CGF community recognizes that we all need to start somewhere, and this a helpful, encouraging platform that will make it possible for you to see a real difference in your life. You won’t find snark or a bunch of dudebros talking down to you for not maxing out your Roth IRA this year, which is a real dream come true.
About Bola Sokunbi
The founder and CEO of Clever Girl Finance has quite an impressive resume and background. Bola grew up in Nigeria and attended college in the U.S., thanks to hard work and sacrifices made by her parents. I love to see ladies succeed and acknowledge the help they got in order to grow. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants, trying to achieve even more!
After college, Bola was able to save her first $100,000 in about 3 years. She accomplished this by having modest living expenses, consistent saving, and a successful side hustle (a photography business).
Despite that early success, Bola also made some money mistakes, including maxing out a high-interest credit card and growing a collection of expensive designer handbags that she rarely used.
In 2015, Bola launched Clever Girl Finance to support and encourage women to get more actively involved in their own financial wellness.
Bola Sokunbi is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and through her work with CGF she has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC News, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and has been featured in articles published in Fortune Magazine, the New York Times, Essence, Forbes, and many others.
What Does Clever Girl Finance Offer?
When you first arrive at Clever Girl Finance, you’ll see a clean layout and design that puts the emphasis on some of the recent and most popular content on the site. It’s bright, it’s simple, and it’s distinctly welcoming in a way that some finance blogs aren’t. What you might not realize right away is just how much content is available here.
Free Financial Courses
One of the standout offerings at CGF is a collection of online financial courses that are available for free. In the past, several of these courses required a purchase, but they have moved to offer the courses permanently for free (Yes accessibility!).
These courses are legitimately free. There are no hoops that you have to jump through or special circumstances that might allow you to get free access. They are free for anyone and you can get access by simply creating an account.
Clever Girl Finance’s courses cover topics like budgeting, saving, paying off debt, creating financial goals, investing, building a business, and more. If you see a course that you’d like to take, all you need to do is create a free account (name, email, and password is all you need to provide) and you’ll be able to access the course immediately. Once you have an account, you can simply select any other courses that you’d like to enroll in.
The CGF courses are managed through the popular online course platform Teachable. If you’ve taken other online courses, you’re likely already familiar with Teachable and how it works. With the CGF courses, you’ll get instant access to the content (text and video) and you’ll be able work through the material at your own pace and when it’s convenient for you.
These courses may be free, but they are certainly valuable. If you’re looking to improve your own financial situation, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this free content.
Of course I would never neglect to mention their killer blog! Clever Girl Finance includes a blog where their talented team of writers regularly publishes articles related to all aspects of personal finance. Whether you’re looking to gain control over your finances, save more money, pay off debt, invest wisely, or increase your income, you’ll find plenty of helpful articles on the blog.
You can browse the most popular articles, most recent articles, or view articles by category.
Another major section of the site is Clever Girl Finance TV. While the blog provides constant updates with new text-based content, CGF TV does the same with video content. The videos can be accessed directly from the website or on YouTube. The YouTube channel has more than 40,000 subscribers who want to receive updates whenever a new video is published.
The videos feature Bola Sokunbi, and many of them involve an interview with an expert on a particular topic. These interview videos allow you to learn powerful financial lessons from successful women. As someone who has “starred” in her fair share of video content, I have to give Bola some MAJOR props here. She is running an entire media empire, and making it look easy. Not to be corny but she’s living and breathing girl power and I love to see it.
Like the blog, the video channel provides content on a wide variety of financial topics from budgeting, to saving money, to investing, to side hustles. Regardless of what you’re looking to learn or improve in your own financial life, there is probably an existing video that can help. New videos are added roughly once per week, so there’s always something new just around the corner.
So far we’ve talked about written content and video content, but CGF also features a podcast for those who prefer to consume content in audio format.
The Clever Girls Know podcast features Bola Sokunbi. Many episodes include a discussion with a guest who is an expert in some aspect of personal finance or someone who has an interesting and inspiring story to tell.
The podcast is perfect for when you’re commuting to work, exercising, or doing simple tasks that don’t require your full attention. You can listen to podcast episodes while you’re doing something else and make your time even more valuable. As of October of 2020, there are more than 140 episodes with a new one coming about once per week, so you have plenty of content to binge!
With so many different financial courses on the site, it’s no surprise that many different worksheets are used throughout the Clever Girl Finance courses. In case you’re counting, CGF offers four different ways to get your finance content in. Ladies getting things done.
While you can get access to worksheets in their respective courses, CGF has also set up a Worksheet Library that includes all of the worksheets in one easy-to-access location, and just like the courses, it’s free!
The Worksheet Library includes printable PDFs and Excel spreadsheets that cover topics like budgeting, investing, insurance, real estate, business & side hustles, wedding planning, and more. You’ll also find some really handy financial calculators that will help you to calculate things like debt repayment, compound interest, the amount you need to save to reach your savings goals, and much more.
Clever Girl Finance Book
Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money and Build Real Wealth was written by Bola Sokunbi and published in 2019. That’s right, she literally wrote the (or a) book on finance.
This book is available as a paperback, audiobook, or in Kindle format as an ebook. While there is a huge amount of content already available through the CGF blog posts, podcasts, and videos, sometimes the sheer volume of content can become overwhelming. The book helps by condensing the content and by putting it into one cohesive volume. It’s a great resource for any woman who is looking to get more proactive with her own finances.
While Bola shares plenty of her own wisdom in the book, it also features the stories of everyday women who have achieved financial independence. There’s nothing more inspiring than being able to learn about someone who has accomplished the same things that you want to accomplish in your own life.
If you enjoy reading personal finance books, you should consider joining the Clever Girls Finance Book Club. Like the CGF courses, the book club is managed on the Teachable platform. Signing up for the book club is just like enrolling in any of the courses, and it’s also free (aside from the cost of the books that you’ll purchase).
Once you’re enrolled in the book club you can read along with the recommended books and join in the conversation. You can even invite friends to join you and make it more fun. Wine is optional but I have always found it to be an excellent companion to finance and friends… and book club.
There is a new book recommended each month. Of course, you can participate in the current and future conversations, and you can also go through the foundational books that CGF recommends or browse through the books of each month in the past. While these books may not be the current subject of discussion, you may find some great books that are perfect for your own situation or goals.
If you’re an active Facebook user, you’ll love the Clever Girl Finance Community Facebook Group. This is a private group with more than 3,000 members and plenty of active discussions. Facebook Groups are perfect for connecting with others who share your interests and getting to know other people who are on the same journey. You’ll also be able to get help and encouragement from the group’s moderators and members. It’s really nice to have a chance to connect with other women who are interested in finance. In case you can’t tell by my repeated comments on this: there is so much space for women to take on an active role in the world of personal finance, and finding routes to connection and education seriously lights my fire.
Community Coaching Calls
I mentioned earlier in this article that the community aspect is what really sets Clever Girl Finance apart from other personal finance websites. One of the ways that you can get involved in the community is through coaching calls. These video calls are free and you can interact with other women in the CGF community.
This isn’t some kind of bossbabe MLM “coaching” though. The calls cover all kinds of personal finance topics and you can even get answers to your own pressing questions. With free enrollment, you can get access to the archives of past video coaching calls and you’ll also be notified by email of the dates and times of upcoming calls.
With so much going on at one website, staying on top of everything can be quite challenging. Clever Girl Finance offers a weekly email newsletter and this can be a great resource if you’d like to stay on top of new updates and new content being added to the site. (PS - ThinkSaveRetire also has a newsletter to help you keep on top of the latest in personal finance. Shameless plug!)
While CGF offers a wealth of content and resources for free, there are plenty of times and situations when you would benefit from some one-on-one help. Bola Sokunbi offers one-on-one business coaching and personal finance coaching. The current prices as of October 2020 are:
- Business Coaching: $595 for a 90-minute session
- Personal Finance Coaching: $395 for a 90-minute session
What Makes Clever Girl Finance Unique?
With thousands of personal finance websites and blogs out there, Clever Girl Finance stands out in several different ways. Aside from bringing more variance to the voices in the personal finance space, they also offer a borderline-insane amount of free stuff on their site.
For Women, By Women
Clever Girl Finance is exclusively focused on helping women achieve more success in personal finance. Bola Sokunbi founded CGF with the clear purpose and mission of helping women. You can learn from Bola and other successful and accomplished women who provide plenty of motivation and inspiration.
The CGF Community
Since it was launched in 2015, Clever Girl Finance has attracted a thriving community of women who are dedicated to improving their own finances and helping others who are on the same journey.
Whether you’re connecting with 3,000+ members in the Facebook group or interacting with more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, the community aspect is one of the most important strengths of CGF. And seriously, who wouldn’t want to be a part of an awesome community of financially savvy, uplifting women?
Multiple Formats for Learning
Clever Girl Finance is unique because you can access content in the format that works best for you. There are blog posts that you can read, podcast audios that you can listen to, videos that you can watch, and online courses that will guide you through the process of applying the things that you’re learning.
Not only is there a lot of content and options to consume content in multiple different formats, but almost everything at Clever Girl Finance is completely free. I mean, where else can you get access to a variety of personal finance courses with no cost, no strings attached, and no obligations?
Clever Girl Finance is easily one of the best resources for those who want to take control over their own finances and improve their lives. If you’re not sure where to start, the course Transform Your Money Mindset is a great option that will help to set up for success as you move forward.
Are you a fan of Clever Girl Finance? What are some of your favorite topics they’ve covered?