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5 Steps to Financial Security from HerMoney Founder
To say that Jean Chatzky is passionate about helping women build financial independence would be an understatement. She’s spent three decades reporting on personal finance, won countless awards for her writing, and co-founded HerMoney Media to carve out room for discussions specific to the women and money.
“When I set out to create her money, I wanted to create a safe space,” she tells Women on the Move host Sam Saperstein. “I wanted to create an environment where women feel like we can ask all of our questions because nobody's going to judge us, and we can put forward the things that we feel that we're doing wrong, as well as the things that we feel that we're doing right. A place where we can really dig in and help each other.”
Jean has built HerMoney Media into a wildly successful endeavor that supports many projects including the HerMoney podcast and Jean’s own writings. In her most recent book, Women With Money, she shares an accessible and simple five-step money philosophy that she designed to help women build sustainable wealth and financial security. Speaking with Sam, she describes the basics of each step—including building a sizable cash emergency fund and embracing your inner investor—emphasizing that her model only works if it’s followed consistently and over the long term. (Tough love, but so true!)
To research the book, Jean hosted dozens of HerMoney Happy Hours during which she invited women to gather and discuss their money worries and insights. She did this knowing that most women are deeply uncomfortable chatting about their finances, and that they were more likely to open up in a friendly group discussion.
“I created a deck of cards that have leading questions about money,” she explains. “We have since created a HerMoney Happy Hour kit that works pretty well on Zoom, and I know a lot of financial advisors who have adopted this format and do it with their clients!”
In this frank and revealing conversation, Jean dives into the fiscal issues facing women during the COVID-19 crisis, including feeling pressure to drop out of the workforce to support their families at home. She points out that when families have to hunker down and recalibrate, many revert to outdated gender roles where women are caretakers, cooks, cleaners, and homemakers. This works for many women, but others worry about how putting their careers on pause will impact their long-term goals. Jean agrees that COVID-19 related work sabbaticals may have real risks for women.
“When you leave a job, you are leaving the opportunity to earn additional seniority,” she says. “You're leaving the opportunity to earn additional social security credits. And when you go back in, you're often doing it at a level that is asking you to take a step back.”
That said, she’s still hopeful for working women everywhere. She urges us all to practice asking for the salaries we deserve, set solid fiscal goals, and never be afraid to ask for help with our money concerns. After all, if we don’t ask, how can we learn?
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