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Documentary encourages women to take control of personal finances

Written on Sep 30, 2021

Talking about money in a personal setting can be especially uncomfortable for women, but the documentary “$avvy” looks to empower them through a better understanding of personal finances.

“We want to ensure that all women are empowered with their finances and have an understanding that everybody is taking care of themselves,” said Michal Marcus, executive director of HFLA of Northeast Ohio, which provides interest-free loans to promote economic self-sufficiency and growth. “Part of being healthy is also knowing how to live and live within your finances.”

HFLA on Oct. 10 will hold a screening of “$avvy,” followed Oct. 11 by a virtual discussion with Robin Hauser, the film’s director; Margaret Mitchell, President & CEO of the YWCA Cleveland; and Heather Ettinger, Founder & CEO of Luma Wealth Advisors.

Marcus said the documentary resonated with their effort to have more women understand their finances. She estimated that 65% of their lending goes to women in the community, many of whom are single mothers.

“It was important to get as many women as possible to see this,” Marcus said. “Also, to ensure all young adults – but women in particular – are learning to take care of their finances and for them to understand some of the challenges that are out there.”

Not having a grasp on finances can be detrimental later on, said Carrie Miller, assistant director at HFLA, and that impacts women as they make major life decisions. Money is often a taboo topic to discuss, Miller said, but as the documentary points out, some women never deal with finances in a relationship and don’t even know what their partners make.

“What this movie highlights is that women don't receive the same financial education as men, and are therefore less confident in financial decisions, whether it is about their own finances, or their shared finances,” Miller said. “And so having that confidence really helps to prepare women and prepare them for those conversations.”

Some women might feel shame in admitting they don’t know very much about money, but Miller said it’s vital to push past this feeling. Sometimes this is even generational, she said, as women have been taught in their families that men are the ones who will handle the money.

“It's okay to ask the questions,” Miller said. “And it's important to ask the questions. Whenever someone's struggling, sometimes it's a lot easier to bury your head in the sand and ignore it. But unfortunately, that doesn't make you go away, so the more knowledgeable people are the easier it'll be for the long term.”

Register to watch $avvy and attend the virtual discussion here.