Friday, August 19, 2011

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I told you I was on a journey. My journey started out a lot like many of yours, thinking that my man was my plan.

Turn back the clock over 20 years ago. I was just entering financial services as my second career. I was married, had a four-year old daughter and was under the impression that my husband was responsible for making sure we had a roof over our heads, money in the bank, a growing nest egg to retire very comfortably after he had paid for good private schools and college for our daughter. Plus, he had to make sure that if he died, I wouldn’t have to worry about the mortgage, the car, or the schools.

When I got nervous that we weren’t on track, I expected him to work harder. Not much to expect from the man, after all he was my plan.

There was just one little kink in my “plan”; these issues were important to me but not important to him.

I grew up in a family of eight kids, a stay-at-home mom and a dad that worked twelve hours a day. Even though I graduated in the 1970’s when feminism was breaking out all over the place, I still believed that men were here to take care of us – after all a “good” man would take care of you and make sure you never had to worry about all that stuff. That is what my father did for my mother. Right? I mean you could have a job, but it was your husband who was still responsible for “taking care” of the responsibility of the family finances.

So there I was in 1990, starting a career that promised a salary for six months (but not one that would support my lifestyle) but that had “unlimited potential”.

Then six months later my husband decided he didn’t want the “responsibility” of a family. He had a different plan.

Suddenly I was a single mother, $40,000 in debt (my first year’s salary was $18,000 before taxes), and responsible for me and my daughter. So much for my pursuit of financial security; a man, indeed, was not a plan.

Epiphany time! I sat and took stock and I realized that by ceding that power to someone else, I had hurt myself. I vowed never to be dependent on a man (or anyone else) for anything. Not my happiness, my security, my self-respect or my money.

Fast forward to 2011. I am a successful financial planner, I have two beautiful daughters, and I am remarried to a wonderful man. My small business manages over eighty million dollars as of August 1, 2011 of other people’s money, and I have met my goal of being one of my own top twenty clients.

It was not easy and there were many challenges but when I EMPOWERED MYSELF, when I took responsibility to meet the goals important to ME, not allowing others to influence me, I found nothing could stop me.

I am fully convinced that I would not have the family I have, the solid marriage or a business that allows me to do all the things I love, without that journey of self-empowerment and discovery.

You can do it too. More to come.

Note: I really want to hear from you, but because I am a financial planner and what we say and the things we write are highly regulated, I may not be able to fully reply to your comments or questions. I have to submit my responses through my compliance department, so I plan to respond to broad inquiries and comments rather than personal questions. Please email