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Networking for Women: It’s Important, Ladies

By Amber Colvin, Office Administrator at Fish & Associates and Basset Hound enthusiast. 

Networking has, over the past couple of decades, become something of a buzzword. It’s schmoozing with less emphasis on selling something, and it’s socializing with a professional slant. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s painful. But it’s always important – even more so for women.

Why?

Often women take time off from careers to care for children or family. Women sometimes make less over their careers for a variety of reasons. Knowing people in your field – or even in your community, no matter the field – can be crucial for getting back into the workforce, moving up in your career, switching careers, and finding out about opportunities that are more “word of mouth” than a normal job ad or event listing.

Here are four of our top networking tips – because if you’re going to talk to strangers, you should definitely have a plan!

Network with Intention

Meeting lots of new people is great, but if you’re networking with a specific goal in mind – new job, new volunteer opportunities, moving to a new city – it can be overwhelming. Focus on what you want and set goals for yourself, like making 10 new LinkedIn connections a week. And always carry a card – you never know when you’ll be in the grocery store line next to a potential connection and have a conversation about avocados that leads to a job offer (true story)!

Have an “elevator speech”

This doesn’t mean you have to have a canned sales pitch, but a good 2-3 sentence description of your work, who you are, what you’re looking for, and why you’re at an event or connecting with someone on an individual basis takes a lot of the stress of meeting new people away and gives you an instant connection you can build on in the conversation.

Follow up

My grandmother told me that you should never leave a party without sneaking off to the restroom at some point in the evening, writing a personalized thank you card, and dropping it in the host’s mailbox on the way out. That may be a bit excessive at a networking event, but a follow up note or email to anyone whose card you collected is a great way to develop and maintain relationships – plus, it’s easy to throw in a personal touch. “Hello Ms. Awesomelady, this is Amber. We met at Thatawesomeevent last night, and I wanted to say how lovely it was to meet you and see the pictures of your 7 Basset Hounds. I’d love to talk more to you about thatawesomethingyoutalkedabout – and maybe a doggie playdate soon!”

Attend networking events that appeal to you personally and professionally

It’s a lot easier to network with people you like and have a good time while doing it at events that are appealing to you professionally – whether they’re industry specific events or events for a large group of people, like women’s events – and personally. You wouldn’t go to a snake petting networking event for zookeepers if you were a real estate agent and afraid of snakes, right? Go back to #1 and apply that to events. Attend events with intention – the intention to have a good time while making some great connections!

Fish and Associates is hosting a networking event on June 8th with Wise Women (net)Working – a group for professional women in Memphis in any field or industry – called “Choose Your Own Adventure: Your Money, Your Life.” It’s like a giant game of Life meets R.L. Stine (except that one at the carnival no thank you do not want) with wine! Check out Wise Women (net)Working on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and we hope to see you at this event!

(We don’t have a mailbox, but we’d love to hear from you the next day too to set up all those doggie play dates!)

From Bud to Blossom

Bud-to-Blossom-Flower-and-Flour“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

         I am going to switch gears for the next few blogs and shift my attention from the external resources that are available to help live a more mindful focused financially secure life to some of the internal factors.
         Many women rely on someone else for their financial security, their happiness, and the direction they take with their life. Women often stay in relationships that are destructive or abusive because they don’t feel empowered to take control and make the changes necessary to live a meaningful life outside of a relationship. It can be painful to think about how to make your own way, to make financial decisions, go back to work, enroll in school to learn a new skill or be employable, but death occurs and divorce happens. We must learn to deal with what life gives us.
         Women have the same choices offered in this life that a man does. She may not perceive it that way. She may think that because of a choice that was made early in life to marry or start a family, or exit a career – that she is now a victim of her choices or that it is too late to change.
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Let me share an inspiring story….
         Mary found herself divorced at age 49. She had raised three children, been out of the work force for almost 30 years, had never completed college, and found herself “suddenly single”. Mary received half of the financial assets from her 30 plus year marriage, but it was not enough to live off of for the rest of her life.
         This was a critical crossroad for Mary. Would she become a “victim” of her own circumstances and spend her time wallowing in self pity or looking for another man to take care of her? Or would she use this energy in a positive way to “blossom”. Mary went back to school and received her degree. She found a job that paid her well, offered good benefits and rewarding work. She ultimately left at age 65 with a 401(K) and a substantial amount of assets that she invested for her future from the divorce settlement. She is now in her seventies living a comfortable, joyful and fulfilling life. She is a great example of the power we all posses to bring about change to transform our lives.
         Mary made some difficult choices. She made the choice to invest her settlement rather than spend it. She chose to persevere through college, to earn her degree, and to be persistent in looking for employment as a 50 plus year old college graduate. Her friends pitied her “misfortune “and unexpected divorce at a time in life when most people are entering a more comfortable period, personally and financially. Mary is an inspiring example of the resilience we all possess.      resilienceIf you know someone in this position, please share this blog. If you are in this position yourself, I hope this story inspires you. Referring back to the opening quote, do what comes naturally to a plant. Use the energy and take the risk to transform from a tightly closed bud to blossom into a beautiful flower.

Learn to Take Care of Yourself … Even if You’re Married

 

Yoga-for-the-HeartI have told you that I am a certified yoga instructor.  My yoga practice has been a journey of discovery that has mirrored my journey of self-reliance.  It is about reaching into your mind and body to find your highest potential physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Yoga teaches you to understand that the mind and body are joined in union with each other.  You learn to take care of both your body your mind, and your spirit and so become responsible for yourself.  There is a great strength that comes from being in control of the only things we can control, our thoughts and our actions.

That statement is true whether you are married, single, divorced or widowed.  Being with a partner does not allow you to abdicate your responsibility to yourself and your future.  I cannot tell you the number of times I have met with a recently widowed woman who assumed that her late husband had taken care of everything only to find out that his plans were not in the best financial order and now she was not as financially secure as she thought. 

It happens because she thought her husband (who was kind and loving and generous) knew what he was doing and she didn’t have to bother with their finances.  After all he was the man, right?  Here’s a newsflash – not all men are financially savvy, but they won’t admit it to themselves and they won’t admit it to you.  So, they “go along” with what they are told by friends or advisors, never asking their questions and since you don’t question their decisions, bad things can happen when something goes wrong or they die.

If you are a married woman, think of that marriage as a business partnership in your life.  Whether you are working or you are able to stay at home with your children, be an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT in your financial life as a couple and a family. 

As a couple you should:

  • Clearly understand your total income
  • Decide on goals together – not just retirement goals but vacations, schools, types of houses, etc.
  • Set a realistic strategy to reach each of those goals
  • Re-think that strategy as life happens around you
  • If you have a financial advisor, go together and make sure he/she knows you are a team.
  • Discuss what you want to happen if either one of you died prematurely. One of the questions that is often asked at a funeral is, “I wonder if he had any life insurance?” I have been asked several times over my years as a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, by the wife, “Am I going to be okay?” The time to ask these questions of your spouse is now, not after they are gone.

You know, in this country money is still the last taboo, we would rather spill the beans to our friends about our sex lives, than speak about our money situation.  I’m not sure if this is a holdover from the days when to speak about money was rude and unmannered or if we are just so embarrassed about how little we actually know about our money. The effect is the same; we put our heads in the sand and cling to our ignorance.

Don’t be the wife I was in my first marriage. Dumping all that responsibility for your happiness and well being on even the best of men is not fair. Think of life as a little red wagon that you should both be pulling forward.

The truth is that marriage is not forever; death happens and so does divorce. When the unthinkable has never been spoken about, our future becomes precarious.

If you haven’t been an active participant, start now! Come back to this site, pass it along to your friends and we can all help each other find our strength.

Note: Due to industry regulations on communication, we are unable to allow for public comments on this blog. Please feel free to email me your questions and/or comments to kathy@fishandassociates.com. Thank you. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. NFP Securities, Inc. is not affiliated with Fish & Associates.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS are not affiliated with Fish and Associates. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.


This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered representatives of Kestra IS and Investment Advisor Representatives of Kestra AS may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed. For additional information, please contact the Kestra IS compliance Department at 512-697-6000.


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