This year’s Women of Power Summit included a session titled “CFO of You: Smart Money Moves Every Woman Needs to Master,” which empowered women with the knowledge, resources, and confidence they need in order to overcome their financial fears and make good financial decisions.
Hosted by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, three different financial experts shared their personal testimonies, struggles, and helpful nuggets about financial success. In addition to moderating the panel, Ashley Fox, a Black Enterprise contributor and the founder and CEO of Empify, also offered insight on how to make your money last while she was moderating the panel. “Our responsibilities and our money is our job,” she said stressing the importance of taking responsibility when it comes to self-educating oneself about money.
Here are a few of the gems that the speakers shared.
Jacquette Timmons, President and CEO of Sterling Investment Management Inc.:
- “You don’t manage money, you manage your choices around money.”
- Purchasing life insurance is important because it gives your family the ability to grieve without interruption. “Passing on wealth is not about death, it’s about love.”
- Get a prenup: You work really hard for what you build and you need to protect it.
- It’s important to recognize and understand the “sheconomy” or “the local spending power of women,” which is estimated to reach $18-20 trillion by 2020. This gives women the financial power to use [and] flex their collective dollars as a form of activism and support films, products, companies, and causes that support them.
(From left to right: Ashley Fox, Michelle Fisher, Jacquette Timmons, and Vania Laguerre)
Michelle Fisher, Founder & CEO of Blaze Mobile:
- You don’t spend what you don’t know that you have, which is important to “take advantage of your company’s 401(k).”
- Invest in your own products. “Become divas of your own products.” We have, historically, been able to do more with less. So, “if there is a trail, go ahead and blaze it.”
- Fisher, who currently owns 42 patents, emphasized the importance of protecting your ideas with copyrights and getting your inventions patented. Plus, patents can help you attract investors and make money if you license your patent. You “can’t underestimate the value of protecting your ideas.”
Vania Laguerre, Vice President and Sr. Resident Director, Global Wealth and Investment Management at Merrill Lynch:
- When facing a difficult situation, like a divorce or a major career change, it is important to “know yourself.” You have to find your strength within yourself.
- After sharing the tough lessons that she learned following her divorce, Laguerre advised the women to “become a little bit more selfish” when it comes to protecting your assets and interests.