Each year I ponder a word that I want to represent my goal for the year. This year it’s transparency. This has been scary for me because I have been fighting the imposter syndrome for years. Questioning if who I am, an African-American woman financial planner, and what I represent is enough to succeed. When I got into the financial advisory business, I was told “Fake it ‘till you make it.” You are in the money business and you need to look like you come from money. Your appearance and financial conversation needs to reflect a certain caliber.
At the heart of it all, I wasn’t being true to me. I didn’t grow up surrounded by wealth. I didn’t go to a private school, have rich friends, or attend an Ivy League college. How can I act like or represent something I wasn’t. However, what I did value was quality over quantity and gaining knowledge versus being financially illiterate.
In fact my grandmother, my guardian, struggled around money. As the primary breadwinner, she stressed over her ability to successfully pay all the bills on time. I witnessed her financial turmoil. It’s why still today, I have undue stress around money. I feel it’s what unknowingly attracted me to the industry. Wanting to conquer my financial past and create a better life without the stress of money issues. Now that I’m older what I’ve learned is that no matter what level of wealth you have, you still can have stress around money. But an important element, that I appreciate, is it affords you more choices.
This year is about coming to grips with my fears around money and being transparent about them. Because as I’ve found, we all have them. The important part of learning how to effectively handle your fears is embrace gaining knowledge and seeking guidance. Taking my own advice, I guess I’ve become a life-long learner of all things finance. That’s what drives my passion in my practice, wanting to work with clients who value my knowledge. Are you willing to be transparent with me?
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