As you may or may not know, March is National Women’s History Month. This month we have celebrated the marks that women have left on our history, and there are so many of them to celebrate!
It’s no secret that the financial industry has traditional been a male dominated industry. As a young female CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I have learned so much from each and every mentor, both male and female, I’ve had along my career’s journey. I’ve built my career on the lessons I’ve learned, and the desire to make my own mark on the financial futures of families I work with.
Today, I’d like to share and celebrate the 5 women that have made a large impact on my financial knowledge and helped me shape my own financial future.
My Mother Taught Me to Put in the Hard Work
It should not be a surprise that the first woman on my list is my mother, Melinda Cox. After all, we all build our financial skills by mimicking those closest to us! Mom taught me to work hard in order to afford the things in life I desire. As a registered Nurse, she preferred to work the night shifts at Parkland and Methodist Hospitals, in order to spend time with my sister and I during the day.
With the instant gratification of the digital age, its easy to lose sight of the fact that hard work has its rewards. However, my mother believed that this was an important staple in life and it would always pay off in the long run.
Mom’s dedication to her work, her patients, and her family allowed us to enjoy our childhood to the fullest. Want a new car, or new clothes? Work hard and it will be yours.
My Grandmother Taught Me Compassion and Philanthropy
My Grandmother, Marjorie Carlson Semmes, was born to the Swedish American Miniature Painter Edward Carlson and Eva Dorchester. Marjorie learned American Sign language early due to both Edward and Eva being nonverbal and unable to hear. Marjorie lost both of her parents by the age of 18 and grew up living with family members in Sherman Texas. She eventually met and married my grandfather and raised her family with the traditional values that she held close to her heart.
My Grandmother was active in her local church and taught me the importance of giving back to others through compassion and philanthropy. She knew no stranger and often took in friends that needed care. She showed compassion for all and made one mean homestyle fried chicken!
It’s through her lessons of giving that I have dedicated to help others and support those in need.
A Mentor Taught Me to Save for My Future
During my college experience, I worked full time as an evening receptionist for an international law firm. It was a great job that allowed me to study when there wasn’t too much going on. This period of time was also the beginning of the online shopping era, and from time to time I would have packages delivered to work.
There was one female managing partner that I truly admired. Mary Korby, exuded confidence, and grace. She was the one person at the firm I wanted to impress the most and was always careful not to disappoint. Mary confirmed the lessons taught to me by my mother, in which you work hard for things you want. After all you simply do not become a managing partner without putting in the necessary mileage.
One evening Mary had passed by the reception desk, just as I was opening a package of clothing. She stopped in her tracks and watched me. Then said, “You should save your money for the future.” Truth be told it was not the first time I had heard the advice. As a teenager and young adult, you tend to hear that advice constantly from family members. But… the advice is different when coming from someone you hold in high esteem.
A Stranger Taught Me the Importance of Being Prepared
There are many topics that we as humans prefer to “kick down the road”, because the thoughts, feelings and emotions that come with those topics are highly unpleasant. After all, there will always be time… Until there is not.
As a Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor Representative we are trained to talk at our clients about life planning. (The use of AT in the previous sentence is intentional and is very different from talking with clients!) Has your estate planning done? Yes? Check…. Next topic.
As you know life loves to throw curve balls. Sure, we all have time, until we don’t. This lesson was cemented for me with a casual conversation with a complete stranger, and has changed the way I talk with clients about their finances and their legacy life planning.
This stranger had met and married a man in a fairy-tale romance. She recalled their blissful relationship, and the tragic ending with an unfortunate early demise of her beloved. She had explained to me that he had passed without an updated will or estate paperwork, which made transferring assets difficult since the ex-spouse was still the beneficiary of most of his accounts.
From that point forward, I understood the importance of having hard conversations with family member, friends, and clients. We do not know what is in our proverbial cards, but there not a soul that will escape mortality.
My Children Remind Me to Maintain a Healthy Work Life Balance
There is no greater gift than the love of a child. Becoming a parent to my girls has been a challenge that many can relate to, and while they are both very young… they have made a big impact on my life.
I’ve molded my financial planning practice to encompass all the life lessons I’ve learned. But there is one lesson that has shaped my financial future beyond all others - Learning a healthy work life balance. One can work hard, save for the future, support others to the best of their ability, and be prepared for the future. Being able to pull it all together is the ultimate flex.
Peyton and Evalyn have taught me that it’s important to have a little fun and enjoy life. There is nothing better than the smiles and giggles when you get to put a small amount of your hard-earned savings towards a little joy. I can only imagine the bliss my mother must have experienced watching us enjoy the same smiles and giggles.
Life Lessons Are Everywhere
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I believe in educating and empowering other about their financial futures. I'm honored to have so many strong women in my life and I'm grateful for each lesson I've learned along the way.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about personal finance or how to prepare for possible economic hardships, please call or email to schedule an appointment with me. I'll work with you to create a financial plan that's optimized for you.
Until next time...this is Melissa Making Cents!
Melissa Anne Cox, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, is also a College Planning and Student Loan Advisor and Financial Coach in Dallas, Texas.