Skip to Content
background texture image

Little Miss Finance Cultivates Connections and Financial Education

March 15, 2024 | Economic Development & Workforce, Member Stories

Malia Gudenkauf

Malia Gudenkauf, Founder of Little Miss Finance, came across her calling to become a financial educator after she graduated from college. “I had a great job lined up at Collins Aerospace, so before I graduated from UNI I took advantage of some free Personal Finance classes that were being offered on the UNI campus. I became obsessed with learning more about saving, paying off debt, investing, and more. These are important topics that I hadn’t really talked about to anyone in my life – not with my family or my friends. I was learning so much and I wanted to share what I was learning with other people.”

“I started a blog to share what I had learned during my journey of paying off all $20k of my student debt in 10 months. I tried to be very transparent about my situation, and what I was learning along the way, in hopes that it might help or inspire others to better their lives. My blog turned into a lot of young women asking if I could help them with their situation from paying off debt to getting started investing. It started to snowball, and I realized I could take this from a hobby to creating an actual business for myself.”

Little Miss Finance

After she left her job to pursue her passion of helping educate others on personal finance full time, she knew she needed ways to connect to build her business. “I spent a lot of my time online but I was trying to find ways to network as a consultant and a speaker. I was looking for ways to meet other business owners and other people in the community. After going to 1 million cups and other free community events, I learned a lot more about the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. I knew that joining was the bridge that I needed to learn, connect and grow.”

Once she became a member, she proactively went to the Economic Alliance calendar of events and put them in her calendar. “The events they offer are a great benefit of my membership. I try to take advantage of everything I can. I’ve been to several BizMix events and I’ve met a lot of individuals who have connected me with others, and my network started to quickly grow, opening doors for new opportunities. Within the Economic Alliance I’ve also enjoyed other events like speed networking and getting involved with ImpactCR.”

“I consider myself a financial educator. I don’t offer investment advice. I want my clients to know that their finances don’t have to be scary, and it’s my goal to help them feel more comfortable and confident with their money. I want to create a safe space to better their lives by trying to destigmatize and demystify the financial world.”

“As many of us have learned, it’s often who you know, and being at the right places at the right time that opens new doors. The EA cultivates those opportunities for those relationships to develop. I truly think there is something for everyone who chooses to become a member of the Economic Alliance!”