It’s the start of a new decade — a chance to think and dream big for 2020 and beyond. We asked savvy women from a variety of industries and backgrounds to share their aspirations for the year ahead. Here are their plans:
“Learn to enjoy spending instead of always saving.”
If you ask Manisha Thakor, CFA, CFP, the vice-president of financial wellbeing at Brighton Jones, there are two types of people: Spenders and savers. Thakor falls into the saver camp, or, as she puts it, “borderline hoarder.” Though there are positive things about her saver tendencies, she says it also limits her ability to live a full, happy — and spontaneous! — life.
Thakor will turn the big 5-0 in 2020 and she wants to interrupt her cycle of working-saving-working-saving to align the way she spends her money with what matters most to her at this stage of life.
“In my 20s, 30s, and 40s, my goal was allocating my time and money with accumulating a nest egg. Now I need to learn to actually enjoy it,” she says. While it may be tough to believe it’s difficult to swipe a credit card, Thakor says self-identifying savers are often terrified of forking over cash for things that feel like “wants” rather than “needs.” Her advice for others who want to get past this hurdle: Create a budget that identifies needs, savings, and then, all of the fun stuff. “When you do this, you can see clearly where you have wiggle room to up your spending in certain areas,” she says.
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“Find ways to give more back to the community.”
As every entrepreneur or leader understands, there is a difference between “growing” and becoming profitable. For Brittany Merrill Yeng, the co-founder of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, 2019 was a period of upward mobility. Through hard work, grit and investing much of her resources, her company was able to make their payments, and make it work. Unfortunately though, it left little room to give back to the community and charities they believe in.
Since Yeng and her husband left their cushy corporate gigs to make a difference, this year her goal is to make enough to pay it forward. “We have both come from extremely humble beginnings and we’ll never forget how the smallest acts of kindness or the simplest community events made the biggest impact,” she says. “So, we’re setting up more structures to allow for more donations and making it more interactive.”
Being able to share success with those who need an extra hand is not only a healthy, kind and helpful mentality, but it motivates us to keep going through difficult times. After all, when someone depends on us to move forward in life, it’s more inspiring to stay the course.
If you’re not in a financial place to donate money, Yeng recommends contributing in other ways. “You can give your time, your resources, and your talent and more. Engagement is often times needed more than money. This often leads to connections and other benefits to yourself and your company, which allows you to do more,” she says.
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“Direct half my profits toward retirement savings.”
Jen Bearson isn’t packing up her business tomorrow, but she has her eyes on retirement. As the founder and president of her own public relations agency, Jeneration PR, she’s doubling-down on her investment efforts in 2020 to make the dream of spending her golden years in in Santa Barbara, California a reality one day.
Bearson’s plan is to start by saving and investing half of her profits in a retirement account in 2020. The year officially marks one decade until she and her husband will be empty nesters. To ensure she stays focused, she’s paying herself first, and acting as if the money she’s stowing away never existed.
Her approach is ideal for anyone saving for retirement: “Instead of investing whatever happens to be left over after your living expenses and personal spending, work backwards from the goal and invest first,” she recommends. “Then you guarantee you are putting away enough savings for your future, and you are making investments that are building wealth over time.”
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“Broaden my investing horizons.”
As a 30-year-old business professional, Ellese Symons has found that her most significant personal and financial successes have occured when she steps out of her comfort zone. In 2020 the vice president of marketing at Balanced Health Botanicals wants to continue to foster this mentality… to find short- and long-term investments that boost her returns. Along the way she hopes to learn a thing or two that will help her accelerate her career growth, too.
“There is a difference between reckless and smart investment opportunities, and one of the best ways to mitigate your losses is by doing your due diligence,” she says. Doing the research has broadened her horizons and beefed up her knowledge base. “Rather than being a passive investor, sink your teeth into the operations, logistics, and financials to become a student of the business,” Symons says. Then take that knowledge and use it to find worthy investments.
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“Start guarding my most precious resource: Time.”
“Time is money” is a mantra every leader has to repeat, and yet it’s often forgotten in the hustle-and-bustle of meeting deadlines, responding to emails and staying above water. As difficult as it is to hit pause and say “no,” doing so can lead to a positive difference in the bottom line. That’s what the CEO of The Pink Ceiling, Cindy Eckert, is aiming for this year
Eckert says she’s a fan of saying “yes” far too much. As she puts it, she’s likely to agree to interesting challenges, helping others, running a marathon and so on, but it comes with a financial cost. “When you start to consider the value of your time, you invest it differently. Going into a New Year of possibilities, my goal is to audit accordingly,” she explains.
To figure out if an “I’m in!” is worth her effort, she’s vowing to consistently track her returns. It’s a tactic she recommends for anyone who needs to cut back on their energy output. “If an investment didn’t pay dividends, would I load more resources in? Nope,” she says. “Grading how I spent my time through the lens of what it produced is a practice will set me up for long term gains.”
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“Allocate a larger percentage of my budget to self-care.”
This year, Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, the CEO of EnrichHER, is reinvesting in her wellbeing. Before becoming a founder, she would make space in her budget for items or experiences that empowered her health and happiness. As business grew, those resources depleted, along with her energy.
“When I started a new company, I reduced the amount of money I spent on healthy foods, mindfulness retreats and being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs. I find that this has decreased my quality of life,” she admits. “I’m grateful that I know how to have a high level of self care since I maintained a self-care focused life for several years. Just like any other goal, self care is something to commit to and this goal improves everything in your entire life.”
Whether this is stocking up your fridge with good-for-you foods, reserving time in your calendar for a weekly yoga class, or something else entirely, money isn’t only meant to be saved and invested. Remember to set aside funds to spend on the necessary routines that makes you stronger and fulfilled.
MORE ON HERMONEY: When Does Self Care Turn Into Splurging?
“Separate my self-worth from my net-worth.”
Most of the time, when we’re asked to introduce ourselves to new people, we begin with our name, followed quickly by our profession. Intertwining your identify with your compensation creates a really shaky foundation, says Lauren McGoodwin, founder and CEO of The Career Contessa. “If you have a high salary, you might think it also means you have a higher status. And if your salary is lower than someone in your circle, like a spouse, you might think you need to compensate in other ways because you feel inadequate,” she says.
Starting in 2020 McGoodwin’s goal is to separate how she values herself with her income. It’s a goal worth considering, especially if you’re an entrepreneur with a salary that fluctuates (sometimes dramatically) every week, month, quarter and year.
To cut this habit, McGoodwin suggest finding examples in your life when you feel good about yourself that aren’t tied to money. And then, discover ways to invest your efforts into activities that enrich those experiences, through volunteering, taking classes, or other avenues.
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