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The Path to Financial Independence

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Camille Gaines shares two life-changing tips for reclaiming your finances.

By Elizabeth Ucles, Photo by Korey Howell

Camille Gaines

Born to Great Depression-era parents in Tupelo, Miss., Camille Gaines expressed an interest in finance from a young age. Her mother’s painstakingly focused budget and father’s propensity for investing showed her the importance of financial responsibility and how to eventually gain financial freedom for herself.

Fast-forward to 2007, and Gaines started her own online business, Financial Woman, a career move that allowed her to utilize her passion for finance and share her knowledge with other women. Financial Woman aims to meet women where they are, taking their income and wealth accumulation into consideration. During the last decade, Gaines says her financial life has evolved as well. When she learns something new, she creates videos for her YouTube channel.

“The mission is still really to create financial independence, though I feel like it comes from having some sort of skill-based income stream that enhances the accumulation of wealth both now and later,” Gaines says. “So, it’s helping people to see that and think bigger and to make things happen instead of having that mentality of ‘If I work really hard at this job and I save a whole bunch of money and I cut back my expenses when I retire, then I’ll be able to pay my bills.’ ”  

Gaines says Financial Woman works to shift the mentality of saving and cutting back and instead promotes creating income streams that are skill- and passion-based, especially as interest rates are at an all-time low.

While growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Gaines was surrounded by a culture that was less than welcoming to women in finance. With Financial Woman, she hopes to make up for what women have historically lacked.

“The bill paying, the spending, the budgeting: I think women have got that; they’re brilliant with that,” Gaines says. “But as far as really having a passion for investing and really embracing that heart of the financial sect of their life, I hold strongly that…I can make a difference by just writing about my experience with it.”

Since buying her first mutual fund at 22 years old, Gaines has used her years of experience to change the narrative. Here are her top tips for reaching financial independence.

Schedule time.

Whether it’s an hour a week or an hour a month, Gaines says scheduling creates accountability.

“During that time, plan to track your money. How much are you making? How much are you spending? And also, what’s your net worth? Challenge yourself,” she says. “Look at what’s working around all those numbers and what’s not working and brainstorm how you can do better.”

Gaines say more often than not, women get caught up in what they have to do and miss the brainstorming piece that promotes growth.

Create an additional income stream.

“It’s important for people to do that when they can because it grows over time and then it’s there and it helps you not only while you’re working, but also after you stop working,” Gaines says. “You’ve got that income stream and you’ve got that asset.”

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