Yes, adulting is hard. Graduating from high school is a major milestone for teenagers and an unofficial entry into adulthood. Whether going off to college, beginning a new job, or taking a gap year, the world opens up in a new, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming way. Luckily, Elise Williams and Meleah Bowles are here to help new adults plan for the future (while still having some fun along the way) with their two upcoming planners: You Goal, Girl: A Goal-Setting Workbook and Common Cents: A Budget Planner. In these two books, Meleah and Elise help walk millennials through setting goals and organizing the steps to reach them, all with the wit and honesty of your two best girlfriends. YEM spoke with the girls about how to make adulting easier.
Young Entertainment Mag: You’re such a dynamic duo. What made you decide to team up and write together?
Elise and Meleah: In 2014, we started our careers as editors at the same company. Basically we learned that we knew nothing about the things we were publishing—namely business and finance advice.
So as we millennials do, we researched until we became experts. But we quickly discovered that there’s tons of advice out there for people who are already climbing the corporate ladder. But not much for those of us on the bottom with no clue where to start. Our boss basically said, “why don’t you do something about that?” and gave us some leeway in our work schedules to start building what is now Earn Spend Live.
When we sat down to do the research, we confirmed that there was a huge demographic being neglected by the finance and career resources out there: our demographic. Single 20-somethings who don’t live in a $3,000 closet or have $100 to drop on a single throw pillow or $30 for fancy napkins. Think Carrie Bradshaw living and freelance writing in Arkansas pre-SATC.
YEM: You have two new works coming out. You Goal, Girl and Common Cents being released on December 11 and January 8, respectively. What can you share about those?
Elise and Meleah: Now that they’re off to the printers, we’re open books (pun intended)! The short version is that Common Cents and You Goal Girl are workbooks that will take you through two of the hardest parts of “adulting”:
Often, without even realizing it, we set really unachievable goals without also setting specific daily, weekly, and monthly steps. Then we get frustrated halfway through, give up, and it becomes a really vicious cycle. You Goal, Girl is all about setting realistic goals and providing readers with the tools they need to actually achieve them. In addition to walking through the goal-setting process down step by step, there’s also monthly and yearly gratitude logs, habit trackers, and reflection pages to help you stay on track with your goals.
You Goal Girl releases 12/11/2018 and is $19.99.
We obviously think you should buy both of our workbooks. But if you can only buy one—whether for yourself or for a young adult in your life—Common Cents will set you up with the tools you need to improve your finances, which is so, so, so important. We break down setting up a budget and tracking your expenses, creating a debt repayment plan, building up a savings account (and emergency fund), and setting financial goals. It’s the perfect tool for both budgeting beginners and pros, and the budgeting templates are customizable for any lifestyle.
Common Cents releases 1/8/2018 and is $19.99.
YEM: You manage to give great advice in a witty manner. How did you develop your writing style?
Elise and Meleah: As vain millennials who aim to stay true to their authentic selves and their “brand,” we write exactly the way we talk IRL. And we’re around each other so much that we’ve morphed into one; we talk and write the same way. Even on our podcast, EVEsdropping, it can be difficult to differentiate between our voices. How else could we write a book together without killing each other?
All jokes about our authentic selves aside, writing in such a casual style was a deliberate choice when we created Earn Spend Live. We were really bored with all the bougie-sounding business and finance advice out there. And we wanted to write in a way that would actually speak to our audience. The two of us wanted the conversation to feel like we’re the reader’s big sisters. Instead of feeling like their dad’s financial advisor or some self-righteous troll hiding behind a screen. We write the way we do to make budgeting and goal setting fun.
YEM: What made you decide to make millennials your target audience?
Elise and Meleah: The saying goes, “write what you know.” Well, we’re millennials. Who occasionally struggle with staying on-budget and not putting that $200 pair of shoes on a credit card. We also know that millennials have a different approach to money management and goal setting than our friends in the previous generations. We witnessed the effect of a great economy followed by a crash. So we know how important it is to always be prepared for an emergency. Plus a lot of us were under-employed out of college, so money is a whole “thing” for us.
YEM: Did your own experiences influence the advice you give?
Elise and Meleah: Our experiences define the advice that we give. Our goal is for Earn Spend Live to be a community of women helping each other. And we think that transparency is a huge help to our fellow women. If you see someone buying a house when they’re barely out of college and you compare yourself to them, you might feel bad. But if you know that they were able to buy the house because they inherited some savings, or they took advantage of a special financing, then you can act accordingly. Sharing is caring.
Plus, life has made us very practical and also straightforward (less-flatteringly called “blunt”) so that’s what our advice is like.
YEM: If you could go back and tell your younger selves one thing, what would it be?
Elise and Meleah: We could answer this one all day. But ultimately, it comes down to, “You’re worrying about the wrong things.” Don’t sweat every single minute of your day. You’re never going to do every single thing perfectly. It doesn’t matter, really, whether you’re the most talented or the prettiest. What does matter is that you work hard, know your worth, and put yourself out there.