“Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. Women are nearly half of our Nation’s workers, and they are increasingly among the most skilled. At the same time, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force. This increasing participation of women in our workforce has bolstered our economy and strengthened our families, and it has demonstrated that the policies that benefit women and working families benefit all of us.” – President Barack Obama
It is exciting that women are making an increasing impact in the workforce, the economy, and the world of finance as well. Who are some of the women leading the way in the finance industry? Today’s post highlights four women who have made significant impacts in the world of finance to a range of wealth classes.
These women have received many awards and recognitions for their hard work and dedication to helping solve money problems both large and small. Their support of gender equality in the workplace, guidance to both men and women on how to grow wealth, financial advice on how to become financially independent, and their beliefs in preparing for retirement, has improved the lives of many. Here is a look into their history, accomplishments, and philosophies on money.
“In a way, managing your finances is like managing your weight. It’s never too late to take care of yourself. You just have to be ready to do it.”1 – Candace Bahr
Candace Bahr is a well-respected financial coach, author, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. She cofounded the Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE) about 25 years ago with Ginita Wall. WIFE is the oldest non-profit organization specifically focused on educating women on financial independence with the motto “a man is not a financial plan.”
Bahr is also a co-founder of a wealth management firm that aims to help women build and protect their assets during, or following divorce, or after the death of a spouse. She’s led corporate seminars at Hewlett Packard and Nordstrom, given speeches at various foundations and charity groups, appeared on CNBC and MSNBC, and has been quoted in many publications such as Money Magazine, The New York Times, and Fortune.2
Candace Bahr encourages both men and women to make saving for retirement automatic. By having money automatically deposited into retirement accounts, you don’t have to think about it or worry about the temptations of spending that money on something else, and those investments can end up accumulating quite significantly over time. She also encourages people to “practice retirement before retirement.”3
For example, let’s say you have a goal to live off of 80% of your income in retirement. If you’re currently in your 50s or 60s and are living off of 120% of your income, don’t assume that as soon as you turn 65 you can suddenly switch gears and live off of only 80%. If you try reducing your expenses before retirement, you have the chance to see how it feels to live off of less to better prepare yourself for a lifestyle adjustment later on. And reducing your expenses before retirement also opens up more possibilities to free up more money now that you can invest for your future as well.
“Why is saving specifically for something so crucial? Because humans are way too focused on the short term to the detriment of the long. By definition, saving – for anything – requires us to not get things now so that we can get bigger ones later. That’s hard. Our brains are hard wired to prefer the here and now. But it can be done, and it’s much, much easier when you know specifically what those down-the-road items happen to be. In fact, it’s easier yet, when you can see them.”4 – Jean Chatzky
Jean Chatzky is a popular financial journalist, motivational speaker, and author. She is the Finance Ambassador for AARP, financial editor of the Today show on NBC, RLTV host of Money Matters with Jean Chatzky, and author of eight books. She’s had appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and often writes articles on personal finance in Redbook, Glamour, Women’s Health, Prevention, and USA Weekend.5
Chatzky encourages people to have fun while saving because having financial goals is not just about fulfilling needs. Working hard is also about finding ways to incorporate enjoyable things we want too, in moderation of course. She also suggests having specific reasons for saving and to visualize goals by putting up pictures of what you’re saving for as encouragement and motivation.
Perhaps a picture of a condo on the beach for retirement or your child in a graduation cap on your desk may inspire you to stay on track with your savings goals. Having specific reasons for saving such as an emergency fund for healthcare expenses or a retirement in Costa Rica may also bring more meaning to your financial goals.6
Mary Callahan Erdoes
“Women can do whatever they want in the workplace equal to men. … It’s how we position ourselves and the poise that we have. … That’s often the thing that we don’t train people enough on.”7 – Mary Callahan Erdoes
“There is no substitute for hard work. There is a little luck along the way, but there is no substitute for really super-hard work, first in, last out.”8 – Mary Callahan Erdoes
Highlighted by Forbes in 2013 as one of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, Mary Callahan Erdoes is CEO of JPMorgan Chase Asset Management where she oversees more than $2.3 trillion in client assets. She advocates improving work environments for women and addressing gender imbalances in senior positions and was named the World’s Most Influential Money Manager by Bloomberg Markets magazine in 2013.9
Erdoes created a ReEntry program at JPMorgan that helps women come back into the asset management workforce after long periods of absence for reasons such as raising a family or working in a different industry. She recognizes the challenges of coming back into asset management after an extended gap period and the intensive ReEntry program helps prospective returnees sharpen their skills over 14 weeks and prepare for new employment.10
“People first, then money, then things.” – Suze Orman
“In all realms of life it takes courage to stretch your limits, express your power, and fulfill your potential… it’s no different in the financial realm.”11 – Suze Orman
USA Today describes Suze Orman as a “one-woman financial advice powerhouse.” She is an instantly recognizable TV host, motivational speaker, best selling author, and financial advisor.
Orman began her career in finance at Merrill Lynch and then Prudential. After leaving Prudential in 1987, she founded the Suze Orman Financial Group and went on to write nine books as well as produce multiple CDs, DVDs, and downloadable kits to help people with their finances.
She has appeared on multiple episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show and is the contributing editor for O magazine. Orman held her own TV show The Suze Orman Show for about 13 years, and is currently developing a new series with Telepictures Productions called Suze Orman’s Money Wars.12
Some of the highlights of her many accomplishments13 are below:
• Two-time Emmy Award-winning television host.
• Most successful fundraiser for Public Television.
• Winner of eight Gracie awards for her contributions on TV and radio for women.
• Top 10 winner on Forbes magazine’s 2013 most influential celebrities list
• Recognized in 2010 by Forbes as one of the “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”
• Two-time winner in the TIME 100, The World’s Most Influential People in 2008 and 2009.
• Named one of the top ten motivational speakers worldwide by Business Week in 2007.
A few of Suze Orman’s philosophies are encouraging people to get a grip on reality and learn how to differentiate between wants versus needs and to avoid making mistakes with overspending. She also believes that saving for retirement is a top priority, even higher than paying bills, in order to maximize company matching.
Other priorities that she emphasizes are paying mortgage and rent expenses, student loan debt, utilities, and basic groceries all before paying off credit card bills. Additionally, she encourages people to create a separate savings account specifically for emergencies and not to use retirement accounts or checking accounts in this manner.
PRIORITIZE, SET GOALS, SAVE, INVEST, REPEAT
These four women have years of experience and a wealth of financial advice that has filled thousands of pages of books, articles, and airwaves. Common themes include prioritizing saving for retirement, investing early and for the long term, separating needs from wants, encouraging both men and women to take control of their finances, and creating specific financial goals.
Ready to set your own goals and start investing for your future? Motif Investing offers flexible investment products and services to help you prepare for retirement and build your wealth. Select motifs that suit your investment needs and let Motif Investing help you work to achieve your financial goals.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/financialtimes/15751018974
7American Banker, http://www.americanbanker.com/magazine/123_10/jpmorgan-chases-mary-callahan-erdoes-the-most-powerful-woman-in-finance-1062071-1.html?zkPrintable=1&nopagination=1
10American Banker, http://www.americanbanker.com/news/miscellaneous/jpmorgan-chases-mary-callahan-erdoes-the-no-1-woman-in-finance-for-2014-1070012-1.html