“Maybe I can barter with people. They can pay me in meatballs.”

And that’s exactly what Shannon Simmons is doing.

Toronto – Ask financial advisor Shannon Simmons what young women are thinking about and she’ll tell you one thing: money. Forget the idea that young people are apathetic when it comes to finances – “Money is on our minds ALL THE TIME – especially women. The topic comes up at parties, dinners, even the gym!” Being 25 herself, she certainly understands. “Women starting out can’t afford professional advice, so we’re forced into a DIY financial planning situation. Naturally, we doubt every choice we make, which only adds to the stress and can lead to a binge/purge relationship with money.”

Simmons wanted to help, but unfortunately, there is a reason no one was doing just that – if she charged a fee that young people could afford, she would need at least “1000 clients a year and a 90 hour work week to make ends meet”. If she charged a living wage, then no one would be able to afford her services. Simmons had often joked that she was just going to have to “live in a box and give financial advice for free” in order to help women the way she wanted to.

Frustrated but determined to find a way around the problem, Simmons was in line at a pub one evening when an idea was born. Two young women ahead of her were bemoaning the $10.00 cover charge for a popular bar they were planning to go to that night, and sure enough, within a minute, the conversation switched from bars to finance. “I’ll never be able to move out of my parents’ house,” one lamented. “And what the hell is a TFSA, anyway?” asked the other.

Simmons couldn’t resist. “It’s a Tax Free Savings Account,” she told them, and when they posed another question, she was happy to answer that too. They kept talking for several minutes. To Simmons’ surprise, they dropped off a drink later on to thank her for her help and said that “a pint is the least they could do for financial help.” That was when Simmons knew she had hit upon the solution.

“Maybe I can barter with people,” she said to her partner. “They can pay me in meatballs!” And with that, The Barter Babes Project was born.

Within months, Simmons had left her “high-rollin’” job and the responsible world of steady employment with a top wealth management firm to launch The Barter Babes Project. With a timeline of one year, Simmons has set out to barter with 300 women for any item(s) that can help decrease her living expenses. She will be blogging on her website, www.barterbabesproject.com, about her experiences helping women gain financial confidence while living off of bartered goods. “Who knows what women will barter – that’s the exciting part!”

The Barter Babes Project officially launches in Toronto on November 18th with a soiree at Brennen Demelo Studio on Adelaide Street West. The launch will include complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres as well as a silent auction with proceeds going to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Members of the media who would like to attend the launch party may RSVP to shannon@barterbabesproject.com (please include your press affiliation and number of attendees).

Press inquiries and interview requests can be directed to Erin Pepler at Elite Editorial Services: erin.pepler@gmail.com.

Barter On, Babes!

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