6 Female Finance Influencers Changing the Way We Think About Money

Female financial experts are rapidly changing the way women approach money conversations — and it’s about time.

Social media is transforming how younger generations learn about financial topics, with trends like loud budgeting encouraging us to set financial goals and make realistic plans to reach them. Normalizing talking about money is important, especially since women are still less likely than men to open up about taboo money topics, like debt, according to a 2024 study.

Whether it’s sharing debt payoff strategies, sharing personal stories about kickstarting savings goals or explaining how to start investing, these six female personal finance leaders are helping women take control of their finances in a safe and relatable way.

Our CNET Money writers and editors have been covering personal finance for a combined 60 years. We regularly work with these female money experts and love their realistic approaches to complicated money struggles. If you’re not already following them on social media, you’re missing out.

Rita-Soledad Fernandez Paulino

Founder and CEO of Wealth Para Todos 

“I grew up in a hardcore Catholic, Mexican-American family that didn’t talk much about money unless we didn’t have it,” said Fernandez Paulino, who goes by Soledad. “If we didn’t have enough money to buy certain grocery items or school items, that’s when my family talked about money.”

Soledad saw how talking about money made her mother feel stressed and overwhelmed. She spent 32 years avoiding talking about finances because she didn’t want to inflict stress on anyone else. Now as a money coach, Soledad is the representation she once craved. 

“For a long time, I didn’t believe that somebody with my identities or lived experiences could establish financial security,” said Soledad. “I didn’t see Mexican-Americans or queer people talking about retiring early.”

Helping other women and non-binary people of all ethnicities find a safe space to talk about money is what fuels Soledad. 

“I hope to support and empower women in managing their money effectively so that they can work because they want to — not because they have to.”

What sets Soledad apart is her empathetic and realistic approach to personal finance. She helps people reach their financial goals without feelings of shame or needing to sacrifice elements of their lifestyles that bring them the most joy.

Katherine Watt

You can follow Soledad on Instagram to learn more.

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Bernadette Joy

Founder and CEO of Crush My Goals

Bernadette Joy is a first-generation Filipino American who doesn’t recall her family talking often about money when she was growing up.

Instead, her family focused on achieving the American dream — getting good grades, going to a good college, getting a job at a stable company, and working there as long as you can. But her father wasn’t great at managing money personally, she said. “He tended to spend money as he had it come in and carried a lot of debt personally.”

She started learning about money management when she was faced with $72,000 in student loans following her master’s degree. “I generally had a pretty negative relationship with money — it felt scarce and hard to come by, and the only way I knew I could improve my finances was to ‘work hard,’” she said.

Now Joy supports and empowers women to actively manage their money, regardless of where they are in their financial journeys. She creates free educational content on topics including taxes, debt, investing and saving. Joy also owns Crush Your Money Goals, an educational media company that provides classes, workshops and a 60-day boot camp for women to organize their finances and heal their relationship with money. 

“I am inspired by the everyday people that have taken my content and turned it into tangible action to move forward in their finances instead of getting stuck,” said Joy. Especially women who have faced many challenges and are choosing to try to better their finances despite their journey.

Bernadette doesn’t pretend to understand what it means to find financial independence after feeling like you missed the money memo — her lived experience speaks for itself. We all have something to learn from her.

Liliana Hall
Associate Writer

You can follow Bernadette on Instagram and TikTok to learn more.

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Alaina Fingal

Founder and CEO of The Organized Money

Alaina Fingal grew up in a two-parent home that taught her the values of budgeting and saving.

“We would sit at the dinner table, and they taught me the main principles of working hard to make money, saving for emergencies, and spending what was left,” she said. But she didn’t learn much about investing and debt beyond one rule of thumb.

“We were taught that debt was bad and to avoid it at all costs. As I got older I realized how it was difficult to avoid debt altogether and I could leverage it to make bigger financial moves within my life and business,” Fingal said.

Now, she strives to help women shift their money mindset to become comfortable talking about money and strategizing with them so they can reach their goals. She gives professional financial advice on how to build an emergency fund and negotiate their salaries.

“I am inspired each time I am coaching a woman, and I am able to encourage her through a financial mistake and build her financial confidence,” said Fingal. “Helping women find their voice, learn how to advocate for themselves, and make smart informed financial decisions is something that I am honored to do every day.”

Alaina doesn’t shy away from money problems that people face. She acknowledges that even as a personal finance expert, she’s been there. I love how open and honest she is about her money journey.

Dashia Milden

You can follow Alaina on Instagram and TikTok to learn more.

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Bola Sokunbi

Certified Financial Education Instructor and founder of Clever Girl Finance

Bola Sokunbi learned the fundamentals of finance from her mum. 

“My dad worked really hard to be the main breadwinner, and my mum stayed at home to take care of us kids,” said Sokunbi. “But as time went by, my mum started to realize she didn’t have much say in our family’s finances because my dad handled everything.”

Sokunbi recalls her mum becoming a total powerhouse by getting her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, working various jobs and starting her own business. “She wanted to be able to stand on her own two feet financially, and she was determined to make it happen,” said Sokunbi. 

“One thing my mum taught me is that money gives you options and it gives you freedom,” she said. Her mother inspired her to do well financially, while her dad taught her to be penny-wise, meaning to be able to manage and spend money no matter how much she had.

Sokunbi now loves sharing her experience and the stories other women have faced with her community. Her finance platform, Clever Girl Finance, offers a judgment-free space for women to work on their goals. She hosts weekly podcasts and YouTube lives to motivate, inspire and educate women — regardless of their financial situation. 

She plans to continue to use her platform to educate women and create a more equitable financial space for women to have the resources to establish economic independence and security. 

“Hearing other women’s stories is empowering because it reminds you that when it comes to achieving financial wellness, you are not alone,” said Sokunbi. “There are also so many lessons and gems to be gained from hearing the stories of others.”

Bola knows the powerful effect sharing money stories can bring, and she’s cultivated a safe space for women to do just that. As an educator, she offers practical and realistic ways for women to take control of their money, no matter where they are in their financial journeys.

Courtney Johnston
Senior Editor

You can follow Bola on Instagram and TikTok to learn.

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Shang Saavedra

Founder and CEO of Save My Cents

Shang Saavedra considers herself lucky to have learned money skills at a young age. And she gives the credit to her family. 

“My parents and I immigrated to the US when I was 10 years old, and did not have a lot of money,” she said. Frugality, budgeting and negotiating bills were the norm in her household. 

“I saw my parents budgeting at the dinner table, and I learned from them that it was best to avoid credit card debt,” she said. “They also encouraged me to look at careers that pay a lot of money in order to secure my future.”

Saavedra now makes a point to show women that they’re just as capable as men when it comes to investing. 

“We already have all the tools we need to be able to manage money effectively,” said Saavedra. She encourages her followers to get into the mindset that they deserve wealth and can build it. “We can change our lives for the better, no matter what childhood we came from,” she added. 

However, she still works against the taboo that finance is an industry for men and that women shouldn’t talk about money. She regularly sees misinformation on social media, including “get rich quick” schemes and MLMs, which can often leave women in a worse place than where they started. But she still has hope, especially with the dialogue she’s seeing from Gen Z. 

“I’m really glad that, these days, money seems to be a more open topic among younger people,” she said. “It is my goal to help people realize that building wealth has always been simple and steady.”

Shang’s saving and spending strategies are simple and straightforward. She taps into money problems that people face and gives cost-effective strategies to keep more money in my pockets by changing the way I think about my spending and saving habits.

Dashia Milden

You can follow Shang on Instagram to learn more.

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Gerri Detweiler 

Credit card expert 

Gerri Detweiler doesn’t recall talking or learning about money growing up, either. “My dad was a school teacher and mom was a nurse. Money was often tight but we had what we needed,” she said. “It just wasn’t something we talked about a lot.”

It wasn’t until Detweiler landed a job post-college at a consumer advocacy organization that she learned about credit and personal finance. “I learned a lot both personally and professionally,” she said.

Over the past few years, she’s focused on financial topics that impact small business owners. “One of the things I enjoy most is elevating the expertise of female entrepreneurs and the advisors who are trying to level the playing field,” said Detweiler. 

But there’s a big difference from when Detweilier started her career, including the ability for women in personal finance to reach more people intentionally — whether it’s a story, message or approach to money.

“Through social media, websites, coaching and podcasts, there are so many women making a tremendous impact in very specific ways that other women can relate to,” said Detweilier. “It’s awe-inspiring to see the difference they are making.”

Her expertise shines through with every interaction. She provides excellent insights into all things credit cards and helps elevate our content.

Evan Zimmer
Staff Writer

Check out these experts’ money stories and the lessons they’ve learned along the way below.

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