It’s Friday, so time for Let’s meet Financial Feminists. This week I have the pleasure of introducing Liz from Chief Mom Officer.
Liz has recently won the Plutus Award for her blog, Chief Mom Officer. I always find her blog relevant and super inspiring, despite not having children myself. I love how she is a breadwinning mom and her baking creations always look divine and so tasty.
Handing over to Liz from Chief Mom Officer
Please introduce yourself and your blog
Hello! My name is Liz, and I write at a site called Chief Mom Officer. My site is an award-winning blog in Family Finance, and talks all about money for women (and their kids), work, and reaching financial freedom while having frugal fun along the way. I’m the breadwinning mom of my family of five, and my husband stays at home with our three boys.
What sort of finance blog do you write?
I would classify my site as “general finance”. I write about all different kinds of money topics, like financial independence, paying off debt, investing, retirement, and teaching kids about money. I also write about increasing your income and finding meaning in your work, as well as saving money by smart spending.
How would you describe your current stage of life?
I’m in the “in-between” stage. I’m currently 38, so I’m approaching what you would call middle-aged. My oldest son is fifteen, and has less than three years until he heads off to college. I also have a three year old, so it will be quite a while before we’re a kid-free household. My parents, and my husbands parents, are starting to get up there in years. Being in this kind of in-between can at times make you feel squished, with demands for your time coming from both sides.
What are your dreams and plans for the future?
My dreams are to pay off my mortgage, finish saving for my three boys college, and from there start more after-tax investing for pre-59.5 retirement. I want to have retirement as an option as soon as possible, even though I’m unsure I’m going to actually retire. I’d love to continue to grow my site, reaching and helping as many women as possible.
Feminism & Society
What is your brand of feminism?
The brand that believes strongly in full equality for all women, everywhere, of every race, background, and situation. Women have come a long way over the years, which is wonderful (and to which we owe our foremothers a debt of gratitude) but we have a long way to go. I believe strongly that every woman should have the same opportunities as men do. I’m happy to be part of continuing the fight, so women of the next generation will hopefully one day look back and say “I’m glad things aren’t like that anymore!”
Do you identify as a specific type of feminist?
When I originally saw this question, I was stumped – I didn’t know there were different types of feminism. So, I did some research on the topic. I would say that I’m part of “mainstream feminism”, but at least according to Wikipedia, that’s often seen negatively. And I couldn’t find a good definition that I felt fit my beliefs. So I’ll describe what I believe, and perhaps Ms. Zi You or her readers can help me figure it out!
I believe in equality for all women, of all races, classes, and including those who identify as LGBTQIA+. I am well aware of the sad facts that while women as a whole make 80% of what men do, those numbers are much worse for non-white women. And I strongly believe the fight for equality needs to recognize that, and to help change it. Just check out the sad facts in the United States:
- Black women make 67.7% of white men
- Hispanic women make 62.1% of white men
- Earnings of female transgender workers falls by a third following their transition
I strongly believe equal means equal for all.
Ms ZiYou Note: I agree you fit well into mainstream feminism.
Do you have feminist in your twitter bio?
(Checks) no I don’t, but I always have trouble fitting in all the information I want to say into that bio! It’s so short.
Is the patriarchy real?
In society as a whole, most certainly – even when it’s unintentional on the part of specific men. I don’t think there are many men (at least nowadays, or that would say publically) that set out specifically to dominate social systems and keep women out of them. But that’s the impact in many situations.
Please recommend us some good feminist books
I of course need to recommend the Financial Feminist Handbook, the new book by Brynne Conroy. Other than that specific book, I’ve read many books about women that don’t label themselves as feminist. Of those I’ve enjoyed Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, Lean In, Millionaire Women Next Door. I also own and have read The Feminine Mystique, which is an excellent book for peering into the past and understanding how far we’ve come.
The importance of intersectionality – discuss
I had to look this up after getting this interview. Although I’ve seen the word intersectionality around, I never really understood what it meant. So, if you’re like I was, here’s the definition:
It’s used to refer to the complex and cumulative way that the effects of different forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, and yes, intersect—especially in the experiences of marginalized people or groups.
Do I believe it’s important to recognize these facts, and work to address them as part of the fight for equality? Most certainly. Similar to the way your money will compound via compound interest, discrimination compounds as well. The more forces you have working against you, the harder you’ll find it to break out of those forces and find success. As a group, we should all be fighting to help those who are disadvantaged, especially those with multiple factors working against them, to succeed.
How do you feel about privilege
I feel that privilege is a real thing. We’re all dealt a specific hand at birth, and in life. I’m privileged to be born a white, straight woman in the middle class, specifically in the United States in the late 20th century. As Warren Buffett himself says, I’ve already won the “ovarian lottery”. Were I born in a different place, a different time, or of a different race/orientation/class, my life would be totally different.
What people sometimes miss about privilege is that recognizing it doesn’t guarantee success, and it doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard for what you’ve achieved. There are lots of people born with the same privileges who squander them, or who don’t work hard. Recognizing privilege doesn’t detract from your accomplishments. It simply recognizes that there are certain advantages that some of us are dealt, and others are not.
What is the role of men in feminism?
I feel that men have a very key role to play in feminism – specifically in equality. All my significant mentors and champions of my career have been men, mostly because it’s largely men who are in power where I work. Men have been instrumental in teaching me about money over the years, as in my 20’s I found a limited number of female money role models (luckily that has changed over time). In my life, men have played a key role in helping me personally on my equality journey. And I think they can help all women in a similar way.
Men have a responsibility to be aware of the fact that others need opportunities, champions, and advocates that are in power. They also have a responsibility to speak up when they hear discussions, or see situations, that detract from the goal of equality. As Spiderman always says, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Do you consider yourself an activist?
Yes? No? I’m not sure. I’m not an activist in the sense of attending protests or rallies, or participating in organized campaigns. I am an activist in the sense that I use my platform online specifically to help all women. I also make it a point specifically to share success stories of women from all different backgrounds and races, with the goal of inspiring someone who finds a woman just like themselves.
How do you get your news?
I get my news all online – mainly through CNN.com, Twitter, and Facebook. I don’t have cable, and I don’t watch TV, so I don’t watch the news. I’ll also sometimes listen to NPR, National Public Radio here in the US.
What are your thoughts on the mainstream media?
I think the mainstream media is…not the best. In the name of soundbites and click bait, many mainstream media outlets go for quick stories or hit and run journalism rather than thoughtful, balanced content. The mainstream media can also be responsible for setting up stereotypes, like the one that people in the Financial Independence community are all white, male engineers. Those of us who would beg to differ don’t have access to those kinds of large media outlets to dispel the myths.
Is talking about money feminist?
I think it shouldn’t be – it should be a normal thing! – but it is. Money is genderless, as I like to say. It doesn’t care about your gender, race, class, or anything else about you. Getting that money, though, certainly is not a genderless activity. And women are sadly less likely to be taught about money compared with men. So it is a feminist activity, but hopefully one day will not be.
What is one awesome thing in your life now?
My amazing husband and three boys, my work, and the awesome personal finance community. I know that’s more than one, but I put it in one sentence, so it counts!
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you so much for inviting me to do this interview, and I’m looking forward to reading the series!
Who else should I interview for this series?
I’d love to see Jamila Souffrant from Journey to Launch on here.
How can people connect with you?
Ms ZiYou Back here
Thank you Liz for sharing your #financialfeminist profile. I just love Liz’s story and how her blog Chief Mom Officer is fun to read for everyone. Moreover, I’m very impressed with all the work she does to highlight other women such as her Breadwinning Moms and Women on FIRE series. Not forgetting her advocating the normalising of Stay at Home Dads – a very important part of feminism in my view.
If you identify as a feminist – female or male – and would like to be featured on Let’s meet Financial Feminists – please get in contact.