And her future depends on it.
I have the most unique relationship with my best friend. We met almost 18 years ago when I was living in Atlanta Georgia, working at an Irish pub. She was a regular, and with her confident Italian self, made friends with all the staff. Little did I know at the time, that was actually a strategy drinkers used to make sure they never waited too long to be served. Clearly, as a nondrinker, I knew nothing of such things !! Well, friends, we became and as it turns out, she is the reason I am still living in the U.S. almost 20 years after leaving my hometown in Ireland.
Unbeknownst to us, we had both applied for the same marketing position at Ogilvy. She had been called for an interview, I had not. I asked if she would mind if I followed up knowing that this would pit us against each other, with one of us potentially snagging the opportunity. Well, as it turns out, apparently having an accent is a good thing, especially in Marketing. Let it be known, I was brought on new business pitches because of my “British” accent and that the “Brits” just sound smarter when they talk. I am not sure what was more shocking, the fact that my team thought I was British OR that it wasn’t my education or point of view on matters of business that secured my position at the table. That’s another story for another day, and to be fair, I didn’t take offense at all.
So, unfortunately for my new friend, but fortunately for me, I got the job. My first real career position and the sliding door moment that essentially changed the course of my life. I was now on the hamster wheel, chasing the American dream.
Our friendship grew, so much so that we lived together for many years in Atlanta and then again in New York. We were interconnected in so many ways, sharing life’s highs and lows, struggles, and sadness. We both lost our Dads to Cancer within 3 years of each other. A devastating blow. We shared vacations, family holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and more. As I was an immigrant and had nowhere to go, her family welcomed me with open arms.
Call us Best Friends, Sisters, Thelma and Louise, Romy and Michelle — we were inseparable.
We shared advice on life, love, and friendships. We spoke of our jobs, our lack of balance and our hopes for the future.
Why then was it so difficult for my dearest Best Friend to take my advice on Money.
Did you know that 61% of women would rather talk about death than money?
During our 10+ years of living together, I started to really focus on my financial future. She saw this unfold. It started with my girl crush on Suze Orman, followed by my eye-opening read of, Rich Dad Poor Dad. And while still very committed to my job, I started investing in my future. Slowly but surely I started to build my wealth, knowing that someday, when faced with a choice, I would have the financial freedom to make the right one.
Real Estate, that was my investment strategy. After taking the leap of faith, I bought my first single-family home, then another, and another, and after a while amassed over 10 doors.
Time and time again.
I couldn’t understand why the actions I had taken and the results I was seeing, couldn’t convince her to do the same. It was killing me. Her money was burning a hole in her pocket. Literally and figuratively. I would beg her to rethink how she was managing her money. To realize that she is actually losing out by leaving her hard-earned cash in a standard bank account. Inflation, inflation, inflation.
To this day, I carry a feeling of disappointment. Disappointment in myself, that all those years ago, I couldn’t convince her to trust me. To jump on the bandwagon and ride the journey to our financial freedom together.
- I understand some people are more conservative than others.
- I understand not everyone is as comfortable with risk.
- I even understand that there are deep-rooted psychological reasons for why women fear money.
But. With all the knowledge and data that surrounds us;
- Women live longer than their male counterparts and therefore need more for retirement
- Women are likely to retire with $1MM less in savings than men.
- Women face gender pay disparity in the workforce earning up to 20% less than men
Why then is it so hard to shift the minds of;
41% of women, who say their greatest financial regret was not investing more of their money.
My best friend is a wonderful human, we will be close friends forever. It’s ok that we don’t always agree, that we don’t share the same outlook on many things.
What I don’t want, is for her to have to stay in the workforce because she doesn’t have a choice. To continue to burn out in an industry that is unforgiving. To face gender inequality and ageism as she moves through the next few years of her professional career.
I have used this saying before Earn Out Before You Burn Out.
It’s is absolutely NOT too late for my friend to get in the investment game. That I am sure of.
My goal, however, is to work harder to change the minds of young women.
To educate women in their 20’s,
And inspire them to act in their 30’s.
Their future depends on it.