Women: We Rock The Financial World

I think the statement in the title line – Women: We Rock the Financial World is so accurate! Women have come a long way in the financial sector. I know this from observation and experience.  We are still making progress in what was traditionally an all male establishment.  The article referenced discusses studies showing why women money managers and women financial advisors can perform better than men.

I’m celebrating 36 years in business this year and I have spent time looking at both my future and my past.  What a rewarding and exciting career!  I have no retirement plans, that’s one beauty of my field.  I entered this industry, in 1979, when most women were  someone’s assistant or secretary.  There was prejudice for a long time toward women being a professional financial advisor.  My Mom raised an independent daughter.  I dared to be more and I soared. The company I worked for transferred me to Charlotte from the West Coast to open their office. Waddell & Reed was at the time one of two national firms focusing on a relatively new field, Financial Planning.  I hired a team of mostly great people, taught classes at the malls, in companies and gained clients who are still with me. Yes!  I still have my very first client from 1980.  I expanded my reach to four registered branch offices in North and South Carolina.  It was an exciting time in the industry and I just never looked back.  Sure it was scary to move to a new city where I knew no one; but I’m a person who espoused the belief that failure was never an option.  Looking back through more experienced eyes now, I see what a great feat I accomplished!  I’m proud of that.

I loved helping my clients build a future that was financially secure. I still do and now enjoy seeing the benefits and successes of those plans put in place years ago.  Even though I excelled at my profession there was jealously from some of the men who were my superiors.  They must have felt threatened?  Mostly I ignored them and focused on the positives; all the things I was learning and the impact I was having on individuals, families and businesses I brought on as clients.  I am a great advisor. I ignored these prejudicial comments and attitudes because I knew there were bigger things I had to focus on. During this time I met and hired the man who would become my husband and the father of my two children. We became a team at Waddell & Reed.  After getting married and becoming pregnant with my first child my superior became more critical of me and my work.  He had a favorite guy who I had hired and the regional manager treated him more like a son than an employee.  Working relationships with the manager became more strained.

The time came when he fired my husband and later me. Scary right? My husband and I were no longer in management and our first child was on the way. Being fired messed with my psyche.  In retrospect, I think we all probably get fired, downsized or outplaced from some job in our life.  I know many of my clients have experienced this over the years no matter what their job status or success.  At the time I couldn’t figure out why I was fired.  I even filed a complaint with the Employment Security Commission.  Today, looking back, I believe I was fired because 1) I was a woman , 2) I was pregnant, and 3) I was successful and had built something many men at the company hadn’t. This manager couldn’t place his favorite son in my position if I was still there.  I thank him now for his inferiority complex!

My husband and I moved on and decided to start our own company. We should have done it sooner, but change can be a scary thing.  We built our business from the ground up with the clients who followed us from Waddell & Reed. During this time I met many women who were either starting in the financial world or had been looking to enter the financial world. We created beneficial partnerships and friendships. These partnerships and friendships have continued to grow and new ones have been made.   I’ve known many of these women for over 25 years.  I think these women gravitated to me and sought out my advice on how to be successful in this industry; they didn’t have any female role models earlier in their careers.  I never had a female role model.  I’m fortunate today to be a mentor to other newer advisors on a national basis.  This is a great way to give back to them and to the industry.

Life happens and you to start a new chapter.  This happened to me.  My marriage was failing and I knew I needed to make a change.  What to do? Well, I pulled up my big girl britches and re-branded my company and continued pushing forward. Luckily my clients stayed with me and I also gained new clients. Today I continue to have an amazing business, attracting new clients, enjoying a huge family of wonderful people I never would have met had it not been for financial planning.  Perspective is priceless and provides a wealth of knowledge you can not buy.  So many tell me I should write a book about my career.  Maybe I will one of these days.

I share some of my story with you because I came upon this article covering 7 Reasons Women Make Better Money Managers Than Men. It’s a great article, but I think there are many more reasons why this is true. My past experience is one. I have fought to be successful, a leader and advocate for women in this industry.  Most women in the industry that are around my age all broke through the barrier like I did. Now it really is an industry that doesn’t suffer from a glass ceiling.  We have a wealth of knowledge many men do not have. Women in the financial world are a tight group and empower each other.  We view things differently and bring a perspective that does seem to resonate with our male and female clients alike.  I have a couple big files in my office full of ‘love letters’ from clients.  They are so wonderful to read.  I am humbled by their comments.

I’d love to hear your feedback.  Sharing our experiences can help others develop a strong Financial Strategy for Life.

 

About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and she's been a trusted financial advisor to her clients for over 30 years. Have a financial question?ASK SARA!

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