I have a masters degree in finance. When I tell people that, they automatically assume I’m great at investing.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
I fell into my degree by chance. I already had a business degree, so my advisor said an MBA was redundant. I liked a couple of the finance classes, so I chose that specialization “just because.”
But I really didn’t understand it all. I didn’t use it in my job. I didn’t use it in my personal life.
Did some of what I learned help me develop businesses? You bet. I don’t think I would be where I am without taking some of the things I learned to heart.
But I’ve always been a small business owner. And I’ve worked hard for the money I’ve made. And if I’m being honest, I haven’t always been the best money manager. Credit cards were our friends during the go-go years of the 90s. We funded our first business strictly with high interest credit cards, and it took its toll on our financial health.
Add in a couple of bad guesses on business opportunities. A wild and crazy ride on the stock market. Even a couple of bad decisions on real estate. Let’s just say I’m NOT the millionaire next door.
So when my husband and I changed our lives by selling off our forever home and moving to the west coast to slow travel for the rest of our lives, we set up a plan. We called it our “50 to 60” plan.
He was turning 50, I was shortly behind him. We gave ourselves 10 years to clean up our financial lives, develop successful side hustles we can work from anywhere in the world, and use those side hustles to fund our retirement until the day we die.
I know Social Security won’t be there for me. As one of the first years of Generation X, the writing is already on the wall. And I’m not counting on one cent ever coming to me from that fund.
I also know my self-funded retirement accounts aren’t anywhere close to where they should be. I’m a small business owner through and through. I know the importance of running a business the correct way … including setting up retirement accounts. But funding my daughter’s school took priority. LIFE took priority. And there where many times we funded everything but the retirement accounts the way we could have.
I’m Comfortable In A Man’s World
When I was building my photography business, and then when I developed my online coaching business, all of my mentors were male. Not good, not bad, it just was. In many, many meetings I attended, it was me and the guys.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without those men, and I cherish all of the memories I have with them. I am who I am because of them.
But it always made me laugh inside just a bit when we veered off into our personal lives. Our differences shined through.
For example, my mentors would often talk about working 24 hours at a time. They’d stay at the office, line up Mountain Dew cans like prizes, proving who could outdo each other while being sleep deprived.
I’d ask, on occasion: What about your kids? The blank looks were priceless.
Of course, the wives handled it all.
That was the difference. They were building great big businesses. And to them, they could put the eye on the prize and let nothing stand in their way. Because the wife was at home controlling their lives.
But I was the wife, and that changed things. I had to do it all AND get home to find out how my daughter did in school. And bake cupcakes for the bake sale. And take her to soccer practice. And so on.
My husband stepped up to the plate. He did it all and I’m grateful for a man that was an equal parent in every way.
But I was a mom. And I wasn’t going to deprive my “mom” experience for the sake of the “prize.” There had to be a way to have both. And so I was left out in many cases. I had to figure things out in my own way.
And I did it.
I’ve grown several successful companies. I’ve built and sold a successful website. I’ve written more than a dozen books.
I’ve followed all of my mentors’ advice. And I’ve succeeded in big ways.
But years ago, something inside told me to start mentoring myself. Because I learned all of those wonderful things from my male mentors, and I’ve turned a lot of it around and morphed it into different, more feminine ideals. Why not give back?
That’s Why I Coach
That’s why I’ve coached for years. That’s why I created my first coaching business for photographers – to help them develop six figure business models.
That’s why I’ve started several online businesses, including writing books and creating infoproducts.
And when we decided to put together our “50 to 60” plan, I knew coaching and mentoring would be there once more.
That’s where VisionOfSuccess truly came from. I was reinventing my life, and I wanted to share my ideas and resources with others in midlife, reinventing their lives too.
We’re well into our 50 to 60 plan. And it’s going quite nicely, I might add.
We’re a couple. Very much so. Same checking accounts. Same savings accounts. Same investment funds. Because we got married so young, everything we do is together. It’s how we function, and I’ve never doubted or regretted it.
Still, something came across my desk a while back that showed me how important it is to take charge of your own retirement as a woman. Did you know:
- One in four women work part time, and are therefore much less likely to have retirement benefits.
- Women are far less likely to put money into a 401(k) plan at their jobs.
- Women tend to “guess” more than men at what they’ll truly need in retirement, and because they live longer, their “guess” is typically wrong.
And let’s face facts; women still had trouble signing up for their own credit cards as late as the 1970s, and we couldn’t take out business loans on our own until the 1980s. That means every one of us now approaching our 50s and 60s have been impacted by societies views of what we as women can and can’t do with money.
This makes me angry. My mentor skills kicked into high gear.
Part of VisionOfSuccess is about reinvention – how you answer What’s Next?
The other part is mentoring. I want to give you tips and resources you can use in midlife, to fund your second phase no matter what you decide to do.
So I have a resource for you.
[A little legal mumbo-jumbo first. I’m not offering financial advice. I’m not making recommendations – you have to do your own due diligence. But I do business with people and companies I resonate with. And I like what Ellevest has to say.]
A couple of months ago, a new investment company came to my attention. Ellevest was started by Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO and industry veteran. When I saw this message on their homepage, I knew I was looking at something different.
Investing by women. Investing in women. Their portfolios help you reach your goals by investing in companies that power positive social change by advancing women.
And that’s very important to me.
I also like the fact that Ellevest offers different levels of opportunity – something to fit every woman’s lifestyle. Whether you start small month by month, or have enough for private investment advice, there’s an option for you.
Of course, there are other options for investing. There are many different approaches. But as someone who’s mentored women for years, I like the concept of “for women, by women”. It’s how I practice and I appreciate that about Ellevest.
I love learning from men. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the men in my lives.
But we do things a bit differently as women. We face the world in our own ways. And investing can be intimidating.
We’ve lived differently. We’re facing our futures differently. And we need to invest like women.
Your action step right now is to take control over your future. Take charge of your own reinvention by investing in your future. Set up your investment accounts and start learning how to reach your goals. No matter what investment firm you trust and how you approach saving for your future, the most important part is understanding the process.
If an advisor can’t help you understand the process, it’s time to find a new advisor.