Females & Finances: Project Teen Money 2018 Winner Bridget Thompson
In our Females & Finances blog series, inspirational women leaders from Madison and Milwaukee share their words of wisdom for women who are trying to manage their finances and own it in their everyday lives. Know someone who has a great story to share? Send nominations to email@example.com.
This month, our Project Teen Money winner Bridget discusses the financial lessons she’s learned from her first job and her tips for planning for the future.
1. What does “owning it” mean to you?
To me, “owning it” is a form of confidence that has the ability to really show who you are as a person. When I think of how I can really “own” something, I think of how I can do my absolute best and be happy with it, and be able to back it up if I need to. For me, it’s walking into a room full of strangers and not being intimidated, or presenting a project for a class and not being concerned whether other classmates’ projects are better than mine. I think that if you can really “own” something, it has the power to set you apart from other people and lets others know that you are confident with yourself as a person.
2. Tell us how you got to where you are today.
I got to where I am today through the power of hard work. Hard work is something I learned the beauty of at a very young age, and it has carried me far in my 17 years. For example, I started Irish dancing at the age of 5, and during my dancing career I competed at the World Championships a total of five times. Qualifying for the Worlds was a huge goal of mine and not an easy task, but I knew that from the beginning I would do everything I could to reach my goal, which included driving to Milwaukee for practice and private lessons on a weekly basis, even on school nights. The hard work that I put into dance really spread into every other aspect of my life. If I have a goal that I really want to accomplish, I will do everything in my power to put myself in the best position to reach that goal, even if it isn’t easy.
3. What would you say are your most important lessons about finances?
I am only 17, and I work at a fast food restaurant, but making my own money has definitely taught me a lot of lessons that I didn’t need to know before, when my parents paid for everything. I can definitely say I have learned the value of a dollar and the importance of saving my money. Paying for my own gas and other expenses has forced me to step back and evaluate my “needs vs. wants.” While I used to be careless and impulsive with my money, I can now say that I am more conscious of what I am putting my money toward, and I am continuously adding to my savings account that I opened for college.
4. What’s your favorite current educational resource?
When I was in the process of competing for Summit Credit Union’s Project Teen Money scholarship, I took a few of the online financial education classes provided by FoolProof. The classes had really informational videos about things that were new to me, such as credit scores. The Project Teen Money videos are also a great educational resource, as they are meant to educate teens about important financial topics! I really enjoyed going through and watching some of the videos that were submitted in the past, and I learned a lot from them!