In today's current economic climate, it is increasingly common to hear young people, and especially young women, fret about their finances. Student loans, high costs of living, and uncertainty of how to manage money in general are worries that pervade the lives of young women.

Enter Shannon Simmons, a CFP and CIM who left her high-rolling job at a wealth management firm to pursue a higher calling: helping out young women in dire need of financial advice. The icing on the cake? Ms. Simmons does not charge "astronomical fees" for her services; she prefers to barter.

The idea for this year-long undertaking, the Barter Babes project, came about after Simmons overheard two twenty-somethings at a bar discussing the impossible financial situation they found themselves in. The financial guru gave them some financial words of wisdom, and was rewarded with a drink. From that point on, Simmons has been bartering with young ladies all across the GTA in exchange for financial advice.

It's not uncommon to hear about young women struggling financially, but it is uncommon to hear women express confidence in their money management. Simmons says, "I think that it's a lack of confidence…it's not that we struggle with the actual financial plans themselves, we lack the confidence that we're doing it correctly." The Barter Babes' Money Map is "…a tool for life" that includes an in-depth analysis and "in-person meeting with every, single girl".

Simmons emphasizes the point that these advice-seeking ladies are responsible for putting their financial plan into place: "They have to be motivated to actually take action, so it has to be something that they agree to, not just me preaching."

How does Simmons decide whether or not the bartering item is a fair price for her financial services? "I don't really care", she says, in reference to valuing the bartered item in respect to her advice. "It's more about giving the opportunity for a person to put in their time and effort -- that's all I care about."

Eager to highlight the benefits she has reaped from her bartering system, Simmons describes the perks on her Barter Babes blog. Apart from offerings of amazing brownies and lasagna, Simmons has been provided with circus lessons, a private guided tour of the AGO by a Barter Babe who works at the gallery, and a philosophy salon in her own home.

As for students who might be in need of financial advice, but feel they have nothing to offer, Simmons shares this thought: "Anything that can help to decrease my cost of living." So for all the female student bakers, cooks, dog-walkers and circus performers out there, put your skills to good use while educating yourself about your finances, all without added financial stress.

Additional Info

  • Subtitle: A neat alternative to obtain financial advice
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