“I set specific targets. Because I’ve noticed, if my financial wellness is out of whack in any way, then my overall mental and spiritual wellbeing, is off as well. So, I’ve learned to give that its own category and goals,” said Chinwe Esimai, Author, Attorney and Financial Services Leader.
What conditions do you need to pursue your brilliant ideas? We’re often encouraged to follow our ambition. Yet discouraged from speaking about money. But the big ideas require investment. And the gendered wealth gap means not only do most women have less to fund their dreams. They’re more vulnerable through job loss, leaves and retirement. So, how do we improve our options? For many of us, living fully is about more than self-confidence. It’s having the financial stability to self-invest.
Financial Wellbeing = Wellbeing
As Chinwe prepared to launch her book, Brilliance Beyond Borders, she set a theme word for the year, “Bolder! Given how things continue to shift, I want to be courageous enough to navigate all of it!” She assesses her wellbeing along seven different dimensions. Including financial wellness. Why is this important topic so rarely discussed topic among women?
It Buffers Life’s Uncertainty
Let’s face it, most of us are beyond busy managing work, parenting and the pandemic. Which contributes to the massive wealth gap. It’s an amalgam of many things, including the wage and leadership gaps for women. But to channel boldness, especially in your career, life’s other puzzle pieces need to feel stable.
And in our pandemic study, only 3% of Moms feel comfortable asking their manager for what they really need. Like work flexibility, childcare or better benefits. So, if the psychological safety isn’t there to negotiate for it, then financial wellness can help you with new options.
And Helps You Set Limits at Work
Well, it’s one thing to feel enraged by the toxic boss, who asks you to meet another unreasonable deadline. But it’s an entirely different matter to share your concerns and try to rewrite the rules. Because if you don’t know whether that manager will support or undermine you, it feels impossible to take risks.
Like setting healthy boundaries, pursuing strategic opportunities or investing in growth. So, here’s where financial wellness fits. It can help you feel less dependent on your job. And empowered, on the inside, even if your environment hasn’t quite caught up yet.
So, Begin With your Mindset
Chinwe said, “Although everyone’s definition of financial freedom and financial security differ, we all have to pay attention to it. Because just existing requires a certain degree of that stability.” Yes!
She added, “So, it’s about being thoughtful and living with intention. We may think, ‘I can ignore it’ or worry, ‘I’m not good with money.’ Or whatever the story we decide to tell ourselves is. But know as leaders and as adults, it’s a critical piece of who we are. So, we need to be thoughtful about what’s important to us.”
Then, Get Your Financial House in Order
How much runway do you have? In startup terms, that means the number of months’ worth of expenses you can afford. Based on your current income and available savings. It can be incredibly helpful to think that way in your personal life too. Because there is nothing like having money in the bank or investments humming along, to reduce the fear of forced career transitions. And inspire better choices.
And Revisit Your Financial Health, Often
Make checking in on your finances a regular occurrence. Just like checking in on your physical and emotional health. Ok, if you don’t do any of that yet, it’s okay. Aspire to make that commitment to yourself, to proactively manage your wellbeing.
Because Wealth and Income are not the Same Thing
If want as many choices as possible, through unforeseen events, like global pandemics. Then you need to build in financial stability. Most wealth is not generated from working in a traditional job. It comes from investments, like real estate or stock.
And even if you don’t have the time or money to make a major investment yet. You can begin to add income to bolster your personal safety net. Although it’s wildly busy, you’re probably alreading paying some attention to your personal brand. Because for many of us, it’s part of career management. And there are many opportunities to amplify your thought leadership. Whether it’s through public speaking, writing or consulting.
So, Consider Building Alternate Revenue Streams
Yes, have extra sources of income. If you work in corporate America, unfortunately one will tell you to do this. Even though most of the leaders in corporate America, absolutely do this. Whether it’s board service, consulting, books or other sidelines, most leaders have several interests.
There are fields, like medicine and law, with detailed guidelines about what’s possible. But the need to ask for permission from your employer is rare. And, with the rise in everything from podcasting to freelancing, we are living through an era of multi-hyphenated success.
Many thanks to the talented Chinwe Esimai!
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Chinwe Esimai is an award-winning lawyer, trailblazing corporate executive, writer, and speaker who is passionate about inspiring generations of women leaders. She is the author of the upcoming book, Brilliance Beyond Borders: Remarkable Women Leaders Share the Power of Immigrace and host of the Brilliance Beyond Borders Podcast.
She is Managing Director and Chief Anti-Bribery Officer at Citigroup, Inc. She is the first person to hold this title in the bank’s history. Prior to Citi, she spent a combined five years at Goldman Sachs in various regulatory risk management roles. She served as a law professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. She began her career as a corporate associate at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, LLP. She obtained a B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the City College of NY, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children.
Tags: Career Development for Moms, financial wellness, wealth building for Moms, wealth building for women