Personal finance blogger and Midtown resident Lauren Bowling wants to help people live their best financial lives.
Conversations about money and personal finance are something many people avoid: They’re awkward and uncomfortable. But for personal finance blogger Lauren Bowling, it’s crucial to have “real talk” when bringing up these difficult subjects.
Originally an actor, running a personal finance blog was the last thing on Bowling’s mind. That is, until she racked up more than $10,000 in debt from a shopping addiction by the time she was 21. But the now 29-year-old self-proclaimed “debt-payoff ninja” figured out how to get herself out of the hole, and she wanted to share her knowledge with a wider audience.
And so, her blog, L.B. and the Money Tree, was born. “I got lucky with the timing,” she says. “Everyone blogs now, but I’m able to distinguish myself in the niche market of women’s personal finance. I love writing and connecting with my audience. I take more difficult concepts and make them easy to understand. People also like that I’ve been very candid about my mistakes and that I like nice things—I’m not a holier-than-thou frugalista.”
Bowling, who has no formal training in finance but has rather garnered her experience from personal financial woes, shares personal stories on her site (“How I Paid Off $8,000 in Debt in 90 Days” and “How to Increase Your Income by 60%”), as well as general advice for those looking for someone to speak to them about finance in terms they understand. She says that while “experts have their place, my perspective is very much that of an ‘every person.’ I believe you don’t have to be an expert to make smart money choices.”
“I want to make finance more fun and accessible so people have a basic understanding before they make a mistake,” says Bowling, whose own personal money missteps are laid bare on the site so others can benefit from her experience. Bowling says that people often don’t learn how to manage their money until they’ve made a big mistake with it, and if they find themselves financially unable to buy a house, go on vacation or simply treat themselves to a meal out, “It’s usually because their money isn’t right.” Her goal is to help reverse those situations.
She stresses that personal finance is not all about restricting your income. “Saving isn’t everything,” she says. “You also have to find ways to make money.” So Bowling speaks to her mostly female audience through her site, podcasts and her award winning web series entitled “Awkward Money Chat” about topics ranging from making automated deposits to a savings account to hustling on the side to make extra income (think: selling off rarely worn items in the back of your closet for extra cash). These ideas work, she says, and they cost less than paying to see financial planners, who often “cater to people who already have money.”
This month, Bowling unveils a new site, FinancialBestLife.com, which she says “will help change the way women shop for financial products. It’s based on the premise that in order to live your best life possible, you need to have your money figured out.” Indeed, that sounds like money in the bank.
For more information on Bowling and her services, go to financialbestlife.com.
STORY: Lauren Finney
PHOTO: Erik Meadows