By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor
Jim Collins is an author, teacher and researcher. He is an expert on the topic of leadership, discipline and management skills as they relate to entrepreneurs and corporations. I decided I wanted to try to apply Collins’ expertise as it relates to women. More specifically, I wanted to apply his ideas with how it relates to a woman’s job, their place in their household and their own personal financial situation. Collins is known for his quote “good is the enemy of greatness.” I think the take away from Collins’ signature quote is that one should not simply accept being content. Why is good sometimes worse than bad? The answer is because good is comfortable and you may choose to live in a good environment, whereas if you were living in bad one you would feel more compelled to make a change for the better. Why settle for a slice when you can have the whole pizza?
I’ve had several very satisfying jobs in my lifetime. If I had never made a change, I probably would have had a good career, pay, and benefits. I would not have had anything necessarily to complain about. When my business partner and I decided to start Armstrong Purselley, we were in successful positions at our previous firm but there was something missing. We were searching for excellence. We both had a strong desire to “level up.” As a woman, I feel that we sometimes accept good in our careers because we think we can’t have it all. We as women believe that if we are mothers and wives, we must somehow sacrifice excellence in our career.
Don’t get me wrong. A strong career path is difficult when a woman is raising children and does not have a supportive spouse (or maybe any spouse at all). Career excellence doesn’t necessarily mean working 60 hours a week to get ahead professionally. Maybe it just means finding an employer that provides growth, flexibility, education and competitive pay in addition to a beneficial career path. I also want to remind women to find that team that supports females in the work force. Look for a firm that respects your intelligence, listens to your ideas and innovations and provides you with a seat at the table. When I started in the financial services industry, women were minority in the profession. Today, we are still a minority but we have made great strides. There are many industry leaders that value the women in my profession and those are the ones I chose to collaborate with. I’ve learned that I never need to sit at a table where respect is not being served, and neither do you!
When it comes to your household it’s easy to put yourself on auto pilot, especially when there is nothing actually wrong. I notice in my practice that some women will allow spouses to control the narrative of the whole household. This practice can make life easy for you, always having everything done and planned for you. However, it can lead to contempt, lackluster feelings, and often times spouses can begin to resent each other. Get involved in planning vacations, making large purchases, children’s education, and where you decide to live (just to name a few family decisions).
I had a conversation with a woman many years ago that had always allowed her husband to handle their tax return. He was a sole proprietor and she worked for a large corporation. When he became sick and later passed away, she learned he had not been paying their taxes, had not filed their tax returns in several years, and the IRS was in the process of seizing their(her) assets, even threatening to take her home. My heart hurt for her and it reminded me to always encourage my female clients get involved in their household.
Be sure you as a female are getting involved in not only knowing about your family finances and portfolio but that you are actively participating in them. If you are married and your husband is contributing to retirement plans, you should do the same. While it’s great that he is building the family assets, you should build them as well. If you are single then it goes without saying to make sure you are contributing to a retirement plan for yourself. You are the captain of your portfolio and must ensure you provide for yourself. Be sure you are reviewing and understanding your tax return, where your assets are and what debt you and your spouse owe.
Are you interested in taking the first step in moving out of good enough and headed for great? Give me a call and let’s get the conversation and plan started.! Wishing you all the best and the greatest that life has to offer.