Bitchtastic Book Review: The Feminist Financial Handbook by Brynne Conroy

Bitchtastic Book Review: The Feminist Financial Handbook by Brynne Conroy

Gentle readers, it’s time we discussed the F-word.

It’s one we use often here on the blog, and it’s probably the most controversial part of Bitches Get Riches. It’s certainly the thing that brings us the most criticism crawling out of the woodwork of the Internet.

I’m talking, of course, about feminism. (What other F-word did you think I fucking meant?)

We firmly believe that personal finance has everything to do with feminism. This is partially because of super fun stuff like the wage gap, financial abuse, the opportunity gap, and other money inequities that have historically left women at an economic disadvantage.

But it’s also because feminism, at its core, is about equality. And one of the surest routes to equality—or at least equity—is by spreading around economic power to those for whom it’s been tantalizingly out of reach.

Enter the hot-off-the-presses book The Feminist Financial Handbook: A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Wealthy Life by Brynne Conroy.

The Feminist Financial Handbook

Let’s not play: Brynne Conroy runs one of our favorite personal finance blogs, Femme Frugality. It’s the tits. So when Conroy announced she was writing a book we very cordially asked if we could review it for BGR.

That’s not true at all. Readers? I had no chill. When I got my copy of The Feminist Financial Handbook, I lost any chill I had or will ever have.

Because this is it! The Holy Grail of personal finance handbooks! I no longer have any reason to complain about how books written by finance experts conveniently disregard the unique circumstances of marginalized people. Now I have one that gets it done. Seriously: what other book on making ends meet do you know of that begins with a brief glossary of terms like “kyriarchy”?

It’s a huge departure in the best way. Instead of simply describing how financial systems work, The Feminist Financial Handbook details how social systems work within a financial framework: how they’re broken, how they’re disproportionately built for certain kinds of people and not others, and how to work within and around the system to beat the game.

Refreshing-ass perspectives

Which are different than “refreshing ass perspectives.” Punctuation matters, people.

For example, Conroy has whole chapters on financial abuse, mental health, and disability. How does one recover from domestic abuse that includes financial abuse? How does one’s mental health affect finances? And how does a disabled person or the parent of a disabled child work to build savings while still accessing government disability benefits?

The women she interviews (and they’re all women, from the scholars whose books she cites to the average, everyday women whose personal stories she includes in the book) are wonderfully diverse: stay-at-home moms, single moms, transgender women, divorced women, elderly women, Muslim women, black women, Latina women, childfree women, mothers of disabled children, gay women, mentally ill women.

Conroy proves that money is not a one-size-fits-all establishment.

Our lives and circumstances are wonderfully varied, and as a result, so must be our approach to managing our money. Each chapter generally takes the format of “here’s a systemic problem”–>”here’s how it affects personal finance”–>”here are some practical solutions to overcome the economic difficulties presented by the systemic problem.”

Every chapter has actionable steps for things like applying for grants and scholarships, finding out if you’re eligible for Medicaid through the ACA, opening a special kind of savings account for people living with disability, and protecting yourself from financial ruin should you get divorced.

It’s the More importantly, it puts to rest the lie that personal finance is something reserved for the cobwebby minds of those born with a silver spoon in their mouths and a bishop wearing a turtleneck in their trousers. It reminds us that the game is defective, but that there are cheat codes for us all.

Why do we even need a handbook for feminist finance?

We bleeding-heart feminist libtard cucks are often accused of a “victim mentality,” of “complaining rather than doing.” (Never mind the fact that these criticisms are usually couched in the subconscious mindset of resisting any challenge to the status quo.) Books like The Feminist Financial Handbook prove those rude stereotypes wrong.

Here is an example of how to say “Something is wrong,” while simultaneously doing something about it. The whole premise of the book is “certain people are oppressed, but let’s help them find their power with the following financial tools.” It belies the feminist=victim simplification. For the author is definitely a feminist (who knew?), and she’s using her financial skills to lift up both her own life and the lives of others who find themselves in dire financial straits because of prejudice.

You should be informed about people whose lives are different your own. You should be infuriated by learning about the “asset tests” disabled people must go through. Oh, never heard of an asset test? It’s essentially a broken system wherein disabled people have to remain in poverty in order to receive disability benefits. They’re literally not allowed to save money lest they lose their benefits before they’re ready.

Understanding these ways in which the deck is stacked against some people is essential to bettering our financial system. For we can change it, but only if information like The Feminist Financial Handbook is out there.

Read this fucking book

There’s a theory that capitalism is inherently a sexist institution. For women overwhelmingly get the short end of the stick when it comes to labor inequities. So a book about “financial feminism” might seem like a contradiction in terms. And to be fair, Conroy doesn’t suggest rising up against our oppressors and overthrowing our capitalist shackles.

What she does is advocate a feminist approach to personal finance. The closest she comes to advocating a feminist approach to all financial and economic matters is to remind us all to fucking VOTE for widespread economic policy changes.

And I think she’s right: personal finance is certainly a feminist issue, and we can approach it through a feminist lens. But to do that, we must acknowledge the different ways in which many kinds of individuals suffer from economic inequality. And this book is a great primer on that topic.

So get thee to a fucking bookstore.

And while you’re at it, here are some more book recommendations from your humble Bitches!

7 thoughts to “Bitchtastic Book Review: The Feminist Financial Handbook by Brynne Conroy”

  1. Do you have any affiliate links or indie bookstore partnerships? Would love to support your blog and that book with one fell click!

    Also, speaking of feminist personal finance, have y’all reviewed companies like Ellevest? If so, what do you think?

    1. That is so sweet, but nope! No affiliate links here. That said, I think the author of the book gets a little kickback if you use the Amazon link on her website. I personally prefer to order from Indiebound though, and I’ll understand if you do too.

      No Ellevest review yet! But we’ve heard mixed reviews from our friends. Sounds like the fees are a little too high for what they offer.

  2. If anyone needs proof that personal finance is a feminist issue, consider that women are told to cut coupons and pinch pennies, and men are told to invest and build streams of passive income. Or the fact that almost all the underpaid low level “admin assistants” with nosebleeds from banging their heads on the glass ceiling in pursuit of an actual living wage are women.

    Oh and being a childfree woman makes everyone of both genders hate you. You can see the automatic loss of respect when a coworker asks you about kids to make small talk and you say you don’t want any.

  3. This sounds awesome. Do you think the advice/solutions offered are applicable across the board or are they very US-centric?

    1. Actually, the author takes the time to differentiate between Canada and the US. There are sections at the end of each chapter that point out the differences between the two countries. That said… it doesn’t really cover countries outside of North America. So if you live elsewhere, some of the practical advice might not apply to you.

      1. That’s good to know. I’m in Europe, but I might still check it out for everything else you’ve mentioned, as I’m definitely intrigued! Thanks so much for the reply.

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