Now that I look back on my investment journey, I realize that it was not an easy road. In fact, it was bumpy and wrought with financial ignorance and financial failure. Here are my most distinct money memories:
- There was that time that I nearly lost all of my money to a shady “financial advisor” when I was still in college and interning at an insurance company. I never asked about his background or his expertise. I was this close to giving him all of my money because he was in a fresh-to-death suit.
- There was that other time that I got swindled into buying the MOST expensive insurance policy and lost $17,000 in the process because I was pressed to say that I was “investing” even though I had no clue as to what I was doing and the salesman had no interest in educating me. I didn’t know how to read statements so I never opened them over the eight years I kept that money-leaching insurance policy active.
It wasn’t until a representative from Ellevest reached out to me to help them spread the word to my 99.9% black woman community about their free financial investment plan, (You can get it here, too) did those unpleasant money memories find their way to the front of my mind. As I relived those embarrassing money moments, feelings of resentment, shame, and confusion started to bubble up again. I felt so stupid and vulnerable.
Even though I’ve found a great financial advisor and accountant since then, both who are men, I really started to wonder what my financial life could have looked like if I had been dealing with women financial advisors from the beginning of my investment journey. Would there be more regular, everyday women like you and me investing earlier and with more confidence (instead of leaving our fortunes in stingy savings accounts)? Would conversations between girlfriends integrate around investments and dividends with as much fluidity as talks about pop culture, fashion, sex or tech?
Even though shady-cakes behavior is gender-blind, I can’t help but wonder if my gender (and age) worked against me when dealing with that insurance rep and the financial advisor. What were their gendered assumptions about my financial acumen when they approached me to take my money? Would the fake financial advisor have been so quick to ask me to hand over my whole life savings had I been a “Karl” instead of “Kara”? Would that insurance rep have returned my calls for clarification had I looked like him and not his mama? I’ll never know the answer to those specific questions, but it when it comes to investing your money, I think questions about a woman’s worth, a women’s financial common sense, or ability to make solid financial decisions that best serve her life goals should never be questions to be answered. The only question that a woman should be asked about her money is how wealthy does she want to be. Period.If you want to get started on your wealth journey, you can start by investing 10 minutes of your time (while at lunch, getting your pedi, under the dryer, before you go to work, while you sit in your car) to get a customized freeeeee financial plan so you can take control of your financial life today. Ellevest’s plans are as detailed as ones you’d pay $1,000 or more for with a traditional financial advisor. You’re never too financially “woke” not to learn about what else you could be doing to build wealth. Ellevest’s plans allow you to create goals that factor in all your financial priorities, including the cost of raising children, setting up goals for your business and more. Seeing how much money you should invest to help you achieve your goals can make you low-key gulp. Of course, it can be an emotional experience. And real-talk: it’s better to know what it will take to make your dreams come true than to always feel like your living in a fantasy. And that’s what money is for–to serve as a resource to help you say “yes” to more of what you want and “no,” to the things you don’t.
So let’s go.
Sidebar: Getting a free customized financial plan doesn’t mean you HAVE to invest in Ellevest. Seeing what your financial goals in black and white may be just what you need to help illuminate your next financial steps. Maybe it’s investing with Ellevest’s automated platform, maybe it’s seeking a financial advisor, or it may be a push to get you setting up weekly money dates with your bae.
Most importantly, above everything, is that it will get you “money woke” or “money woker.”
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Ellevest and I receive a commission off of referrals so I can continue to give our community what it needs. Only you can decide if a product or service is the right fit for you.[Tweet “Can you Imagine if all Financial Advisors were Women?”]