Special to South Florida Times

Getting control of your finances can be challenging, the key is knowing your options and utilizing the right resources.

“Lola Retreat is a women and money event that serves to empower women with financial knowledge; so, they can go after whatever they want in their life,” says Melanie Lockert Cofounder of Lola Retreat. “We believe that if women get their finances right, they can go after whatever they want.”

Lockert said it’s something that is a big part of the women’s movement, and that it needs to be highlighted more.

Lola Retreat was founded by Melanie Lockert and Emma Pattee in 2017 after having multiple discussions about how women need to talk about money more. Both discussed how they could make a better impact regarding the subject of money, how to get people together and how to give women the knowledge they’re not getting.

“Emma and I are both personal finance bloggers, we don’t traditionally have a background in finance we both kind of came into finance in a different way,” says Lockert. “She is all about feminist finance, she’s a real estate investor so she’s really into the financial independence movement; it’s about retiring early and investing. I’m actually on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I started a blog called, “Dear Debt” and I chronicled my journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt.”

The first event was held in August of 2017 in Portland, Oregon and is heading to New York City.

It’s not just another conference.

“A big part of the retreat is having like-minded women connect and have those in person relationships, that’s something that we really value,” said Lockert. “We don’t want to have a conference type setting where people are getting talked at for twelve hours and then they’re too exhausted to do anything. We want to make sure we’re having some fun, some relationship building and networking as well.”

The 2017 retreat offered a love and money session taught by a couple’s counselor, a money mindset session taught by a financial therapist and a panel discussion on financial independence. The panel discussion was led by women that retired in their early 30’s or were on track to retirement.

The retreat also offered a session on how to pay off debt, how to get into real estate and investing.

“People really got the chance to connect with other women and learn about money,” said Lockert. “What we want is for women to create micro communities where they’re keeping each other accountable, they’re talking about money, they’re having a conversation.

“We’re having a similar format in New York,” says Lockert. “We plan to have Lola Retreats all over the country. We want to increase the amount of Lola Retreats that we do, but not necessarily increase the size. Typically, Lola Retreat will have between 60-80 attendees. Just so we can keep it nice and intimate; giving people the space to actually meet each other and build those in person connections.”

The next event will have a similar format offering different sessions.

“This time around we are offering a session on side hustles, how to earn more,” Lockert says. “A session that I’m really excited about and really passionate about is the panel discussion on the importance of “F*ck Off Funds” in the #MeToo generation. My colleague Paulette Perhach wrote this viral article two years ago, called, “A Story of a F*ck off Fund.”

Essentially, the f*ck off fund is you’re in a bad relationship, you’re in a bad job but you feel like you can’t leave, the f*ck off fund is a way out; your freedom to say I can get out of this situation. We think that concept is so important right now with everything that’s going on with #MeToo.

“Emma and I started talking and as much as we love blogging we really wanted to reach out to women in general,” says Lockert. “We really believe that having that face to face interaction is so powerful. I believe in the power of live events and having this special moment shared among women that can’t be replicated. When you’re in a room and something amazing happens and you know that it’s not recorded I think that’s really powerful.”