Last week I published a minimalist blog post the day after the presidential election giving the standard (and sensible) financial advisor advice:
Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There. Don’t touch your investments. Don’t buy (or sell) your house. Don’t move to Canada. (I’m only half an hour away from the border, so when I say that, it reflects a thorough consideration!)
Preparing to write this week’s blog post, I couldn’t bear to write a “normal” piece about financial considerations for women in tech. This election has many of us thinking Bigger.
Why Your Finances Are a Responsibility, Not a Luxury
Financial advisors usually prepare for the onslaught of client calls when chaos erupts in the country. Clients nervously ask, “What’s going to happen to my investments? What should I do differently with my portfolio?”
Late last week, a client of mine, a woman in tech, emailed me and said, “I’d like to make sure that giving is part of my plan.” and asked for advice on how best to give. If she’d been sitting next to me, I would have kissed her.
Her question illustrates a powerful opportunity for women in tech: you have the potential to make significant change. And the more you take control of your finances, the greater that potential becomes.
This is not a luxury. It is a responsibility, to yourself, your family, and your community.
How Your Finances Give You Power
As you know, I run my own financial planning practice. (And if you don’t know, take a look around! Enjoy!) I run it in part to put food on my family’s table and a roof over my head. Just like you do your job.
I also run it because I think women in tech deserve support when grappling with the financial and professional inequities they face, and to simultaneously make the most out of the impressive financial opportunities this industry offers.
If you play those opportunities right, you will gain money and influence. And money and influence give you power. And who wouldn’t have liked a bit more of that recently?
If you have enough money in the right places, and if you properly manage your risks, you can make decisions from a position of power, not fear.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make these decisions based on what you want, not on your financial constraints?
- Take this job or that one?
- Leave this job or endure?
- Start my own company or remain an employee?
- Stay in tech or pursue another passion?
- Remain in my current community or move?
- Stay in this relationship or not?
- Keep this roommate or move out?
And in your community, you’d be more able to:
- Donate money to causes you care about. Consistently. Not just in moments of crisis.
- Change careers to one you think could more effectively help people
- Support politicians who espouse your beliefs.
- Take time off from work to work for a cause.
- You tell me?
The Unabashed Pursuit of Money, Influence, and Power
So, I encourage you:
Be not ashamed of the pursuit of money, power, and influence.
The pursuit is not bad, just like money is not bad. What you do with it is what matters. And I can practically guarantee, men aren’t ashamed, and that’s one of the things holding us back.
So, what should you actually do?
Cultivate a network. A network of women (and men) who can support, advise, and educate you. Who can provide a sanity check when something happens to you. People you can help, who can help you, your professional peers, your professional superiors, and people in complementary professions. A business coach, a stock option lawyer, an accountant, an intellectual property attorney. What do you need to get ahead and bring others with you?
Myself, I am a member of two Facebook forums for women in tech, including the Tech Ladies forum (Facebook group for Hire Tech Ladies), and the Women in Tech group for my local tech industry organization. I know there are many other groups out there. I’ve used these groups not only to learn more about the industry but also to connect with professionals of different stripes in the industry. So should you.
Negotiate. As I’ve written about before, women aren’t very good at negotiating, in part because we’re uncomfortable advocating for ourselves. We tend to focus on “what can we get by on?” instead of “what do we deserve?”
Using this new “money and influence” filter, try asking yourself this instead: Who or what could I help if I got more? Don’t advocate just for yourself; advocate for the causes you care about.
Making the most of the financial opportunities available to you. Should I exercise these stock options? Is my cash cushion big enough? Can I take a pay cut in order to take this more promising position? How should I invest my 401(k)? Should I buy a home or continue renting?
If you are successful in networking and negotiating, you will have more and bigger financial decisions to make. And if you make them right, you become ever more powerful.
I know you all were passionate about your careers before. Maybe now we’re all a little more aware of the potential power they give us. So go forth and work it even harder.
Question: What opportunities do you see in your career to increase your financial power? You can leave a comment below.
Do you want to maximize your financial resources in order to make a bigger difference in your life as well as for the causes and people you care about? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
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Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner and/or an accountant for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Meg Bartelt, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.