Imagine you had the chance to sit down for lunch with a group of successful and wealthy women, and you could talk about anything. What questions would you ask? If there was no judgement, no taboo too touchy, and no risk of reprieve. I’m pretty sure that most women would want to ask them to reveal some of their best financial advice.
Why? Because we don’t talk about money enough in American culture, especially as women. So at a table of wealthy women, with carte blanche to discuss anything, the best questions to ask would be the ones you wouldn’t ordinarily feel comfortable voicing.
It’s a sad truth that needs to be reframed. Because the best financial advice shouldn’t remain a secret – it should be accessible to everyone, and made easy for you to implement into your own financial story so that you too can feel empowered to make your money work for you.
Changing the Way Women Talk About Money
Despite the fact that many women are successfully running their households and making most if not all day-to-day purchases and budgeting decisions, they still feel uncomfortable discussing financial matters. It’s a longstanding taboo with a firm grip over our society, and we need to work to loosen it.
An astounding 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, be that through remaining single, experiencing divorce or simply living longer than men. Despite this, 61% of women would rather talk about their death than money.
So in lieu of our imaginary lunch date, I am going to break down some of the best financial advice secrets that will help you overcome your financial fears and societal blockages, and start to talk more openly about your financial challenges and successes.
The Best Financial Advice "Secrets" Revealed
These "secrets" have all been shared by real women on the binge-worthy podcast Secrets of Wealthy Women from The Wall Street Journal. It is aimed at helping women empower themselves financially, and each episode features a money-savvy woman with a wealth of financial knowledge (and well, wealth too).
These women have taken ownership of every aspect of their lives with confidence – not just their money. They are living boldly, and using their financial empowerment to elevate their choices. I hope they will help you feel inspired to break the taboo and talk about the best financial advice you have to offer with your own friends and family.
#1: Earning Money vs Preserving It
People can be shrewd at their profession, but naive about investing. Wealthy women understand that a high income does not automatically make you good with money. This is especially true if they do not have the time, desire or discipline to keep on track with a financial plan.
Sitting down and taking an honest look at your entire financial situation and the behavior patterns you have around money can be life changing. As You are a Badass author Jen Sincero puts it, “Awareness is the key to transformation”. It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep and how hard it works for you.
#2: Failure is Not Defeat
You will make mistakes in life and with money. The only failure is not learning from them, or giving up because you don’t have all the answers (or because you are ashamed).
When entrepreneur Kendra Scott’s hat store closed about 20 years ago, she was devastated. Even though her family and friends were supportive, she felt embarrassed. She also worried about her professional and financial future.
When former customers started contacting her to buy the jewelry she created and sold in the store, she sensed a new opportunity. With only $500, the then-single mother launched a jewelry line now worn by celebrities across the world. Her secret? If you get knocked down 7 times, get up 8.
#3: Get Comfortable with Trade-Offs
Sarah LaFleur, founder of clothing brand M.M.LaFleur, knows how challenging it can be for women to have both a thriving career and personal life. The long hours required can be an obstacle to motherhood.
Sarah has struggled with infertility and depression as she builds a company she hopes will become a household name for working women. “I think women, more so than men, are having to constantly figure out how much of themselves to put into their career versus other parts of their lives”.
This one really hit home, because I see up close how friends and clients (and me!) struggle with the trade-offs required to “have it all”. Katia Beauchamp, the co-founder of Birchbox, says the key for many is forgoing the mythical idea of work-life balance. Accept and be proud of what you do, however you decide to prioritize your life.
#4: Invest in Yourself
It is likely obvious wealthy women “pay themselves first” by saving a percentage of their income, as Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and founder of Ellevest emphasizes. Less obvious is their willingness to spend money on experiences, education and services that make them smarter, especially about money.
Subha Barry, president of Working Mother Media contends that women, who typically manage their family’s budget, are more than capable of learning about more complex topics like stocks and bonds. She encourages those just starting out to learn a little bit each day and work with a financial adviser who is willing to answer their questions.
Veronica Dagher, host of the Secrets of Wealthy Women podcast believes there is a misconception that you need to be good at math to be a good investor. But it is not that complicated. Her top piece of advice? “If you can understand your ATM transactions, then you can be a good investor”. Find ways to get smarter and more confident about money issues, and ask for help when needed.
#5: Live a Life You Love, On Purpose
Wealthy woman and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem points out that if you are doing what you love, you are likely to excel at it. You will be rewarded in a way that is not monetary – and have the best chance of creating wealth if you do.
The truth? None of these secrets are going to make you rich. Being rich is having money. Being wealthy is using money to enable a life you love. As Maya Angelou says, “Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
Want to Learn More Secrets of Wealthy Women?
I’d welcome the chance to share some of the wisdom and expertise I’ve gained in my experience as a financial advisor, and make it more accessible for you to talk freely about your money. Because it’s an important part of your story, and you need to own it with confidence.