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Hey Finance Warrior!

Ellevate, the world's largest professional women's network, with 95,000 members, has selected its Playbook of Personal Finance Experts. I wanted to share some exciting news with you!

I am an active member of Ellevate and was invited to host a Jam Session early in the year, called 8 Ways To Create Financial Freedom in 2018. Jam sessions are 30-60 minute online webinars led by experts in the Ellevate community.

More than 250 women joined that Jam Session and I'm excited to announce I recently learned it was selected to be featured in Ellevate's Personal Finance Playbook!

Check out the Playbook here.

Ellevate Playbooks are curated resources to help community members accomplish specific goals, packed with valuable resources like blog posts, podcasts, and webinars. It's an honor to have been selected and featured among other incredible women doing amazing work in the finance community.

In addition to my Jam Session with Ellevate, I hosted this same webinar for my audience. How many of you joined?

I wanted to share the good news, and share a fantastic resource with you all…as well as encourage you to join some of my upcoming online events.

P.S Are you a member of my vibrant community, Wealthy Warrior Women? I share valuable articles and resources to help you on your financial journey. Click here to join.

The post Kelly Gushue featured in Ellevate’s Playbook of Personal Finance for Women appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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Tomorrow marks 10 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy filing in history.

This week, I celebrated Sallie Krawcheck on Warrior Wednesday. Currently the CEO of Ellevest, she was my boss during the Financial Crisis. She ran my division – Smith Barney Wealth Management – and advocated for clients. I was one of the few female Financial Advisors in the San Francisco office.

Sallie was one of a handful of female executives at the top 10 banks…she ended up losing her job at Citi for being an advocate for clients.

What is not well known is that Sallie was working on the expansion of Smith Barney to London and Asia two years before the Financial Crisis. I had raised my hand to be part of the expansion in Asia. I thought that was my future. Then the tremors in the financial markets started in 2007 followed by fear of risk contagion in 2008 that led to the Financial Crisis.

I was at Citi on that Friday in November when the CEO said to call our clients and tell them their assets are safe when Citi was on the cover of the news about potential bankruptcy.

That weekend, the US government provided one of the largest bailouts for Citi.

That Monday, I called all of my clients to let them know I was watching their accounts. I told my clients I would be there to monitor their accounts and keep them updated with events. I didn't lose a single client that fall.

10 years later, we are at the peak of the business cycle in 2018. As we move through the phases of the business cycle, I will be here for you as my audience.

Sallie shares her thoughts on the role of gender and risk related to the Financial Crisis in her article on Ellevest. I also created a video in my Wealthy Warrior Women private group here.

While there are dozens of men that come to mind with memories of the Crisis, three women come to mind: Sallie, Erin Callan (CFO at Lehman, woefully unqualified for the role) and Sheila Bair, the token female voice advocating for consumers as Chair of the FDIC. All three women – and just three to mention – were disgraced.

Sallie asks an important question we should all be thinking about, ten years after following the start of the financial crisis.

“Do you think the financial crisis would have been worse if the trading floors were 50% women, instead of 90%+ men?”

It's time we start prioritizing diversity in the finance sector.

Thank you for joining me in the conversation around women and money.

P.S Are you a member of my vibrant community, Wealthy Warrior Women? I share valuable articles and resources to help you on your financial journey. Click here to join.

The post Where were the women during the financial crisis? appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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Hey Finance Warrior!

This week marks 10 years since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy filing in history.

Where were you during the volatile month of September in 2008 when the world was unsure what was happening with the US Banking System?

I was a Financial Advisor at Citigroup – one of the banks deemed “Too Big to Fail.” I was there each day in Sept when the market had wild swings of 400, 500 & 600 point drops. My body still remembers those jaw-dropping, dramatic swings in the market. Our eyes were glued to Bloomberg screens as we watched fear sweep the markets.

I was there the morning of Sept. 15 with the shocking news that Lehman Brothers would go bankrupt.

I was there on the Friday when Citigroup was the name of the day dominating the headlines with questions about whether it would make it.

On that Friday, Citi's CEO held a conference call and asked us Financial Advisors on the front lines to call our clients and tell them their assets would be safe at Citi. Admittedly, I was not certain about that. Nevertheless, I knew I would be the client contact for my clients, whatever happened that weekend – a sale, a merger…or even bankruptcy.

Over the weekend, the government announced a bailout for Citi. Citi was one of the largest global banks. It was one of the lucky ones – it was saved.

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest and Chair of Ellevate Network, was the head of my division a Citi during that time. She ran Smith Barney as the head of Wealth Management. In 2007, she was working on the international expansion of my division to Europe and Asia. I had raised my hand for the expansion to Asia. It's funny to think about that today. Then the market tremors began in 2007 followed by dramatic market events in 2008.

Forget about expansion, it was about survival for Citi in the fall of 2008.

In October of 2008, I finished my application to Chicago Booth. It was one of the most volatile times in financial markets history. I applied to Chicago Booth to pursue an MBA so I could learn all about the Financial Crisis. I wanted to learn about what problems lead to the Crisis so that they would not be repeated. Chicago Booth was home to many thought leaders who focused on Banking, Regulation and Central Banks. Several professors became Advisors to the government throughout the Financial Crisis.

I often refer to my acceptance at Chicago Booth as receiving the golden ticket, just like Charlie in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I had read Raghu Rajan's book Fault Lines and wanted to learn from him. (I loved his class!) Anil Kashyap wrote the first MBA course on the Financial Crisis. He created the class each week as the events unfolded. That was my favorite class! Doug Diamond, a Bank expert, wrote the model explaining how bank runs occur (yes, like in the movie It's a Wonderful Life). I didn't even get credit for his class – I audited it to learn directly from him. Diamond will win a Nobel Prize for his work.

Notably, one of the members of the Fed – Randy Kroszner, a Central Bank expert – was one of the five members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors during the Financial Crisis. As my professor, he shared first-hand accounts of what it was like to be in the room during the tense discussions about what to do with each crisis situation during the fall of 2008. In the fall of 2008, the US banking system was truly in danger.

This was my experience at Chicago Booth – and I LOVED it! I had a deep dive in learning about the moving parts of the financial crisis.

Ten years later, where do we stand?

While financial markets continue to rise (+82% after recovering from the decline), people remain on the sidelines and are not investing in stocks.

For the age group, 18-29, just 31% own stocks (!). This generation was hit hardest by the Financial Crisis related to unemployment, student debt, and stock market losses. Nevertheless, this is the generation that has the most time to benefit from time in the stock market.

Barron's refers to this group as the “Lost Generation.” Are you part of this group? We need to do a better job to educate and encourage this group to invest in equities with a long-term time horizon.

The second hardest hit group is age 30-49. Just 62% are invested in stocks. This number also needs to increase as they also have decades of time to benefit from upward moves in the stock market. This group is my target market. I want YOU to take control of your finances and invest as you have the most to benefit!

As a gentle reminder, the US stock market has generated a 9-10% annual return over the last 100 years. Although there is concern this level of return is not sustainable, I have a different view. I am bullish with the amount of tech innovation driving the US market. If the last decade has been any indicator of the pace of tech change, my money is on (and in) the stock market.

Another major change in the market over the last ten years is the number of people invested in Target Date Funds. Do you own a Target Date Fund in your retirement plan? These Funds are groups of mutual funds/index funds with an allocation to stock and bonds that changes related to how close your age is to retirement. Nearly 50% of individuals are in Target Date Funds – compared to just 14% in 2008.

I talk about Retirement at the age of 100 in my 8-week online course (my next one starts in October). If you are under the age of 50, retirement at 65 is now an outdated concept. You will live to the age of 95 – that's 30 years! Let's make those years productive of LIVING and INVESTING.

What have we learned in 10 years? The stock market continues to be a mechanism that allocates capital to growing companies. While we are near the peak of the business cycle with strong economic growth (3.5%) and low unemployment (3.9%), the stock market will go up and down.

I encourage my audience to be long-term investors. We cannot let fear keep us from investing. If you arm yourself with the tools of a Finance Warrior, you will be equipped to weather the highs and lows of the stock market.

P.S Are you a member of my vibrant community, Wealthy Warrior Women? I share valuable articles and resources to help you on your financial journey. Click here to join.

The post Are you part of the “Lost Generation” after the Financial Crisis? appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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Do you know how much you’ve spent to attend a wedding?

It’s August, and we’re right in the middle of wedding season.

I recently learned that the average amount that a person spends on a wedding is $628.

Most people get invited to between 4-6 weddings per year.

So if you happen to get invited to four weddings this year, you’ll be spending well over $2,000!

Let’s break this number down. The costs factored in are:

  • Travel associated to get there
  • Hotel room

This number DOES not include if you want to buy a fancy new dress or shoes.

You then must factor in the wedding shower and the gift you give, or possibly even the cost of a big night out if you’re also invited to the bachelorette party.

And my favourite (which is a tradition I didn’t really grow up with) is the engagement party! If you’re invited to celebrate the big announcement, you are also usually expected to bring a gift.

So that’s four separate (costly) occasions, for the same couple!

Now so far we’ve only been talking about (relatively) local weddings.

But what if you get invited to a destination wedding?

It’s your decision if you’d like to attend, and in a way you’re really lucky to get invited to a destination wedding.

I remember getting invited to a destination wedding in Cabo that I really wanted to go to. But (you know me!) I decided to calculate the total amount it would cost and ended up realizing it would cost me $1,200.

For a 3-day weekend.

At that time, $1,200 was a lot for me, and being the savvy traveler I was, that amount would have been my budget for a ten-day overseas vacation.

It was a tough call to make, but I had to decline the invitation.

There was another special invite I got for a couple getting married in Yosemite National Park. The lodging was going to cost $500 a night. I managed to crunch some numbers with shared accomodation to get my total down to $900, but it was another one I decided I needed to forgo. There’s still a part of me that wishes I could have witnessed this novelty celebration, but as a fresh out-of-college grad, it was too much to swallow. I put that $900 towards my student loans, and I know that a big part of why I was able to pay my debt off in two years was making decisions like these.

I ask you: How much are you spending on weddings?

In my online course, a big topic we cover is budgets. Weddings are one of those things that so many people fail to include in their budgets. With all the different components spread out over categories (like transportation, gifts and clothes) many fail to realize why they are missing money.

It’s important to think about big ticket items and events that may derail your budget. Weddings are one of the most common ones that people often don’t think about!

Obviously, there are limitations when being choosy with weddings. It’s certain you will want to go and make your family’s weddings a priority. Although you should realize – being IN the wedding tacks on an additional $200 to that $628 figure. When it comes to weddings for friends, it’s important to be conscious of the high costs associated with attending. Especially if you are invited to a destination wedding, then you will have to seriously consider if it is worth it to you, and perhaps treat the event like your yearly vacation (as these weddings can be up to $2,000).

If one of your best friends is getting married it’s understandable you will want to share the day with them. My best friend actually lives in Sydney and I remember saving up AirMiles and money as I knew her wedding was going to be my big ticket item for the year. I kept trying to get her to guess the date so I could plan my big holiday and yearly budget! It was absolutely fantastic to make the mindful decision to go and celebrate with her!

I’m not sharing all this information with you to be a downer talking about the expenses for all these events. I’m here to be the reality check.

So many of my clients tell me about their struggles with money, like paying off credit card debt or lots of student loans. It might not be fun to say no to a wedding, but $628 towards your big financials goals is no small number. You need to think about the best use of your money.

A lot of people tell me things like “Kelly, you made the decision not to go…but I can’t do that with my friends!”. But really, it just becomes a personal decision. It has nothing to do with others, it has everything to do with how savvy you want to be when it comes to your own personal finances.

And if you do decide to attend a costly wedding, try to think of other ways you could save. Could you share a hotel room? Carpool? Borrow a dress from a friend instead of buying a new one?

Overall, the goal of sharing this information with you is to think about that big ticket item, being the wedding itself. Do you need it? Could you live without going? How close are you with the bride and groom? At the end of the day, the cost of the wedding as a whole is what will end up setting us back financially.

So the next time a wedding invitation arrives in the mailbox, I’m not asking you to give it a hard no. I will ask you to calculate the costs involved, evaluate if it is possible for you financially and make the mindful decision about your attendance.

P.S Are you a member of my vibrant community, Wealthy Warrior Women? I share valuable articles and resources to help you on your financial journey. Click here to join.

The post Do you know much you’ve spent to attend a wedding? appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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Today I want to to discuss a topic that rarely gets talked about but has a huge impact on women’s income potential – the cost of motherhood.

When I was completing my MBA at Chicago Booth, I took part in a women's group that regularly held Lunch and Learns. We held a quarterly event where we often invited guest speakers.

This time around, we were welcoming Professor Marianne Bertrand to come and  speak about her research concerning the costs of motherhood. She talked about a data set she had collected, where alumni (both men and women) filled out their earnings over a 20-year period.

Spoiler alert: She didn’t have good news for us.

She shared that over time there’s a huge earnings gap with women who take time off work to stay home and raise their children. Unfortunately, most women are not aware of the extent of this earnings gap.

The data shows that is gap is approximately $100,000 a year for women who take more than two years off.

Yes, $100,000.

I do want to point out that this data set is following alumni with MBAs, so they’re going to start off with a higher salary and then accelerate from there. The average earnings for MBAs can reach about $300-400,00, but women seem to be capped at about the $200,000 mark. This creates a difference over time that is $100,000 a year. And that is a significant gap.

So what does this information mean for us?

I share with information with the point that when you decide to take time off, it should be a conscious decision. Often what I find with my peers, is that they’re managing a demanding career and a demanding household, and eventually they feel that something has to give.

In the New York Times article,The Costs of Motherhood Are Rising, and Catching Women Off Guard, it explores why the percentage of women who choose to stay home for childbearing has remained at the 15-18% level.

It questions why there are more women going to college, advancing in their careers and earning higher salaries, yet this percentage has continued to stay consistent.

A few of the reasons they list are:

1) Raising children is demanding.

Often women underestimate how demanding raising children can be, and that means that someone needs to take time off (and this responsibility usually falls on the woman).

2) Balance is hard.

Trying to manage a household and a demanding career can prove to be a difficult task. At a certain point, many women feel like something has to give and they end up committing full-time to their families.

3) It’s an economic luxury.

Many of my fellow students during my MBA married classmates who also possess graduate degrees. Some women have the capability to make the conscious choice to stay home with their children as their husband’s salary will be enough to support the family.

There’s no judgment – whatever your reason may be for making the choice to be a stay at home parent. I have many friends in all of these categories. I share this information with you so that whatever decision you make, it can be a conscious decision.  

I want to talk about this so we can create a different paradigm, where it doesn’t always have to be the woman who takes time off.

Something I often suggest to my clients is to split time off equally between partners. The data shows that the earnings gap is much less significant when the total time off is less than two years. If you and your partner make a mutual decision that you’d like to have a parent at home with the children, why not have the mother take one year off and the father take one off as well? In splitting up these two years, both partners are allowed to prioritize time off with their family while not significantly affecting their career trajectory or income potential.

It’s time we have a broader dialogue about what the economic impact is, especially for women, about taking time off. This is often one of those topics that aren’t discussed. These are the sort of reasons I created my online financial education platform, to share and talk about money topics that tend to get brushed to the side or not be discussed with transparency.

One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per year is no small amount. That economic impact is on us ladies. It’s time we become aware of it – so we can make more conscious decisions for our families, our career and our finances.

P.S Are you a member of my vibrant community, Wealthy Warrior Women? I share valuable articles and resources to help you on your financial journey. Click here to join.

The post The Cost of Motherhood appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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Abby Wambach, the legendary US professional soccer player with a 15-year career, admitted that she didn’t claim her financial power as a professional athlete. She was focused on winning World Cup titles and Olympic gold medals rather than making money in her business – which included corporate sponsorships and a long-term financial plan for investing her money. When ESPN recognized her on stage with other sports legends – Kobe Bryant in basketball and Peyton Manning in football – she realized the difference between them was that she still needed to work to earn a living.

Abby Wambach is a reminder for she-bosses that you need to have a long-term financial plan as you build your business. I created a research project called Money Mastery and interviewed 24 female experts in order to learn from top female leaders. These women share money lessons they wished they had learned earlier on their entrepreneurial journey. They shared money habits they use every day to scale their businesses.

Their five time-tested strategies can help you claim your financial power and explode your business. You can also further uplevel your relationship with money by joining the Money Mastery Expert Interview Series today.

#1: Understand your Money Mindset.

Do you check the financials in your business? Or do you bury your head in the sand around the money in your business? Are you aware of the importance of the money piece in your business and how ignoring it may be holding your business back? Dr. Monikah Ogando, Executive Business Coach and one of the featured Experts, believes money is a product of the way you view yourself with money. If you do not yet have a mindset of abundance, the good news is, you have the power to change it!

#2: Organize Your Money Accounts.

Are your accounts all over the place? Do you have multiple accounts such as a business account, Paypal account, savings account, credit cards  – that are disorganized? Quickbooks is a valuable software tool to help track of all your business accounts. You can also share access with your financial partners.

#3: Develop a Budget.

Do you understand how much you are spending and where your money is going? Expert Christine Furtado, a professional accountant, talks about monitoring the money in your business on a weekly basis. Often it is valuable to hire a bookkeeper to assist with tracking your money. They can act as a financial partner and provide some accountability. Shift your Friday morning coffee into a coffee & financials review session!

#4: Start a Retirement Plan.

As an entrepreneur, many women neglect to open a new retirement plan as a way to make your money work for you. Your profits increase from the tax benefits and your money will grow through compounding over time. A Solo 401k plan has many financial benefits for solo entrepreneurs, including the ability to contribute in the current year, plus the ability to allocate funds in advance for the next year. The benefit is extra tax savings and more money in your retirement! As you hire employees, there are additional options to involve your employees. Personal finance Expert Laura Adams, host of the popular Money Girl Podcast, talk about the different retirement options.

#5: Create a Long-Term Financial Plan.

Do you have your money working for you? A financial planner or coach can help you identify your goals and develop a long-term financial plan. Especially as you scale your business, there are opportunities to consider investing in financial markets, real estate and leveraging your brand. A financial professional can help you think through various ways to make your money work while you sleep. Several speakers talk about the goal of creating a portfolio of real estate for passive income.

As Abby Wambach mentioned, it is critical to focus on the financial power inside your business and what you are doing to create wealth on a long-term basis. We can learn from Abby about how she wasn’t thinking about the financial piece. She was not engaged in the conversation about how to make her money work for her.

As an entrepreneur, you have opportunities to make your money work for you inside your business and in your personal life. Marketing Expert Pamela Dale shared, “When I developed confidence with managing the money inside my business, my business exploded.”

Listen to 24 experts with actionable ideas to engage with your money and expand your business today. You have nothing to lose and it may just be your best investment yet.

P.S Are you a member of my private Personal Finance Warrior CommunityClick here to join.

The post 5 Money Habits for She-Bosses to Explode Your Business appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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Have you seen Abby Wambach’s commencement speech?

Abby Wambach was part of the legendary women’s US soccer team, winner of 2 World Cups, most recently in 2015. She’s won three gold medals and is the team’s all-time highest goal scorer. She’s the definition of a legendary player.

I encourage women to claim their financial power and Abby Wambach shares in her speech how she didn’t claim her financial power. She gives us some amazing lessons to learn.

This topic gets me super fired up, so much so that I actually wrote an article when the US women’s soccer team sued the US Soccer Federation for equal pay.

In Abby’s speech, she shares how she was selected for an ESPY award. Along with Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Peyton Manning of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, Wambach was nominated for the icon award. She shares that she was so grateful to be sharing the stage with these legends and household names.

But when she walked off the stage, later that night, she realized one of the key differences between her and the other two athletes.

She noticed that while Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning were set for life, she still had to work.

While they earned more money in their respective sports, they took advantage of corporate sponsorships, business opportunities and invested their money through their career.

Abby shares how she was just grateful to be on the team. She was grateful that the teams she was on was continued to win, and that she was excelling in her field. She was less focused on how much money she was making and how to make her money work for her.

In short, she was not claiming her financial power.

And as a retired soccer player, she has to continue to work. She’s not going to be able to just ride into the sunset and be able to coach without thinking about how much money she’s going to make. And that’s one of the key differences that I love that she talks about. She acknowledges the pay difference. She acknowledges the amount of money that she didn’t think about, that she didn’t focus on, that so often women do. She was doing something that she loved, and that was all that mattered at the time.

And while it is important to acknowledge that professional basketball and football players have higher salaries than those of soccer, Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning also leveraged sports sponsorships to make themselves a fortune. And what Abby says is, she was less focused on that. This is why I think it is so important to focus more on the conversation about money with women.

Another key point that Abby brings up is that women are often taught to be grateful. We’re told to be like “Little Red Riding Hood” – to keep our head down, to stay on the path and to get our job done. She retells the story of how when little Red Riding hood stepped off the path she encountered the wolf, who terrified her and forced her to return to the path.

She says now is the time for us women to be wolves.

This spoke to me, especially since my high school mascot is the wolf pack, so near and dear to my heart. Ladies, we need to be the wolves! And really what means is – we need to ask. But we need to understand the game to ask. That’s why I’m here to share what I learned about the game, working in finance for 15 years and navigating business scenarios.

She powerfully states in her speech, “Give me the f’in ball. Give me f’in job. Give me the same pay that the guy next to me gets. Give me the promotion. Give me the microphone. Give me the Oval Office. Give me the respect I've earned”.

Abby, thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. For being an icon. You have the platform to share these important lessons for women and I’m here to share this with my audience.

I’m here to continue to bring up the conversation about money – how much you’re earning, how you can get the next promotion, how you can invest your money to make your money work for you. That is how you build wealth and create wealth in your own life.

Ladies, financial power equals power.

Men know this, and us women are catching on.

I want financial power to be a combination of feminine and masculine qualities. We need more women to bring those feminine aspects to the conversation about money.

Ladies, stand with me in this. We need to be the wolves. We need to continue to ask for and stand for ourselves. By standing together, we are united and stronger.

Are you a member of my private Personal Finance Warrior Community? Click here to join.

The post Are you like Little Red Riding Hood? appeared first on Personal Finance Warrior.

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