Last month, we were fortunate to have personal finance coach Jillian Todd on our webinar about financial empowerment. Todd is a personal finance coach for creative women specializing in helping people get money confident — that is, to save money, get out of debt, and change their lives for the better. We had the chance to sit down with her after the webinar to learn more.
Q: Can you tell us about your career so far, and what got you into this work?
A: After studying corporate finance and accounting at the University of Georgia, I started a small bookkeeping business focused on helping entrepreneurs really build wealth in their businesses. Eventually, I found myself teaching others in my spare time to manage their own personal finances as well.
Today, I focus on giving women the tools and strategies they need to achieve the next level of wealth and create a greater impact in their communities, both by managing their business and personal finances.
Q: How do you feel emotions and money are different for women vs men?
A: Women are taught we’re irresponsible with money, that when you’re young your family takes care of you and when you grow up men will take care of you. This kind of thinking being ingrained in us from such a young age, it can make women feel disempowered with money. We don’t take it seriously. Money and finance has always been for men and the rest of us are left to figure it out on our own.
Q: Looking at it intersectionality, how is it different for women of color?
A: As a POC, it’s not seeing [wealth] in our communities. You see your parents struggling, you yourself might do a little better and not need to live paycheck to paycheck, but you don’t see what is past that. Your head is in the sand, you pray the end of the month comes and hope that you still have money, but there’s no long term plan, no planning for retirement, your kids’ college, etc. You’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Q: When it comes to saving and investing what do you feel women struggle with the most?
A: I think women see their parents struggle and then hoard their own money, sitting on piles of cash. They’re afraid they’ll “invest wrong.” They feel guilt in investing in themselves, investing in the now. They do not feel empowered to make decisions for themselves financially.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to people who are just starting out on their journey to financial independence, what would it be?
A: I would say to focus on one thing!
Stop trying to do it all at once. Most try to save the money, pay off the debt, build their business, start investing, and save for their kids’ future all at the same time. This leads to a whole lot of stress and overwhelm that’s honestly not even necessary.
Instead, focus on a small but exciting goal to focus on first, and forget about the rest! It’s not about doing all the things perfectly, but figuring out how to do one thing well.
Once you’ve built a habit and momentum around your one thing, feel free to add on. But until you have momentum, give yourself grace and the space to take it one step at a time.
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