by Michelle Matthews
As much as we all love user experience and making the lives of users simpler and easier to navigate through, let’s face it: there’s one very tangible reason we all go to work every day and that is money. Point blank, we cannot survive in this world without it and neither can the businesses we work for. With the new year approaching, many of us are thinking about our resolutions and money is at the top of our minds.
Fortunately, user experience is a well-paid profession with opportunities to make a very comfortable living. But making money alone isn’t enough. Not only do we need to negotiate a fair salary, but how do we smartly handle it once we get it? What do we do when we are in a position to handle someone else’s money, such as when we are setting budgets at work? Maybe “financial literacy” isn’t a bullet point on your job description, but you’d be wise to prepare for it like it were.
Money in Your Personal Life
Financial literacy is the knowledge to make financially responsible decisions; it’s everything from balancing our checkbook to understanding how credit cards work to avoiding debt. A lack of financial literacy is becoming increasingly more of a problem globally. According to Investopedia, some of the reasons for that include a higher burden on consumers to make sound financial decisions for themselves (401(k) plans versus traditional pension plans, for example), longer life spans, a dramatic increase in options and a financial environment that is rapidly changing and less predictable than in the past. As UX practitioners, it’s a conundrum we are all familiar with—too many options, not enough guidance.
But most importantly, as UXers, we know it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a way to make sense of these systems and navigate our way through them. As we look forward to the new year, improving your financial literacy would be a wise resolution. Here’s 3 tools to help you get started:
NerdWallet has several tools that will help you understand your options and make more informed decisions. They have a ton of information on several financial literacy topics, including selecting the perfect credit card for your situation, comparing and calculating mortgage rates and more.
The Financial Literacy and Education Commission created this resource to help you manage and grow your money. It offers information on making choices around life events, spending, earning, borrowing and more. Find budget worksheets and other tools.
Created by the American Institute of CPAs (certified public accountants), this is a guided tool to help you understand your personal finances through life stages. It includes many calculators and an advice section from The Money Doctor to answer some of your pressing financial questions.
Money at Work
In addition to getting your personal money ducks in a row, there’s the added pressure of salary negotiations, project budgets and being money experts for our team. As we climb the corporate ladder, it’s not just wireframes and sitemaps anymore. Do you understand how much a making a prototype for that feature costs? How much time you might need for a resource to put together that wireframe or sitemap? Can you quantify the value that deliverable or feature will deliver to product and can communicate that to your stakeholders?
Depending on your role, you may not realize how budget and financials influence your product requirements. Being financially literate in your design process can offer a huge pay off. How many of us have been met with the dreaded “We don’t have the budget for user research” line? If we can learn to advocate for our budgetary needs and effectively communicate the ROI of UX, our products can only be more successful from that effort.
That’s where we can help.
Get a head start with the Ladies that UX LA chapter as we host Money Matters on November 30, an enriching evening with talks from business and product leaders followed by a panel discussion with LA UX and design experts as they share how they make choices for staffing, budgeting, and investing for growth.
Join us at General Assembly’s DTLA campus. This event is open to both women and men! RSVP today: https://generalassemb.ly/education/ladies-that-ux-money-matters/los-angeles/31289