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Holistic Wealth: Five Reasons All Women Should Develop Their Own Financial Identity

4min read
Finance

Holistic wealth is about creating the circumstances in your life that allows you to be resilient and resourceful. I love these two words – because they embody what I want for all women – the ability to bounce back from life-altering setbacks and the ability to create and leverage resources to be financially independent. In my new book Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, there's a whole section of the book filled with advice on how to achieve financial freedom.


Financial independence is one of the core concepts of living a holistically wealthy life. There are several strategies to get you to a place where you have enough income to pay your living expenses for the rest of your life without having to work full time. Whether this means retiring by the age of 40, or taking a more traditional route, building your financial portfolio depends on your financial identity. Here's an excerpt from the book:

A well-planned future also starts with developing your own financial identity. One way to do this is through financial literacy. Improving your financial literacy is also the greatest stimulant of wealth. Many of us make our first large purchase with a spouse or significant other. The first house, the first car, the wedding and honeymoon — these are all expenses tied to our expansionary years. We therefore transition into adulthood not having gained a full sense of our own personal financial identity. For instance, what is my investment identity? What are the things I will splurge on versus save on? This can also be tied to our values and mission in life. It is highly individual.

Each of us should have a financial identity — one that is distinct and separate from our spouse's or parents'. If you find yourself always wondering what your friends or parents think about the way you spend or invest, then it's an indication that you haven't fully figured out your financial identity. It's impossible to design a well-planned future without a proper financial identity—we end up living our lives in the footsteps of others—and possibly making the same money mistakes.

Excerpt from Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness. Copyright @Keisha Blair.

Holistic Wealth Book coverPhoto Courtesy of Keisha Blair

There are a few things you should be doing today that can help you rebound from setbacks in your future. Get a life insurance policy, plan for your retirement, and build an emergency fund, for starters. But your well-planned future also depends on developing your own financial identity. Here are five reasons why all women should develop their own financial identity:

It Relieves Worry and Stress

When you have your own financial identity you don't have to second guess every money move you make and you are confident that you are on the right track. Your own savings philosophy and investment philosophy that's tied to your personal values and mission is a key piece of becoming financially independent. It allows you to assess your goals and your money moves to ensure you're on the path to success.

It Leads to: A Life, Well Lived

This is the title to the opening chapter of my book. Its aptly named for the first chapter, because its hard to have a life well lived, without having your own financial identity. When your money and spending decisions are constantly influenced by someone else – your family and friends, a business partner you are on slippery turf. Not only does that railroad your dreams it puts your future in a precarious position.

It Fosters Taking Measured Risks

Taking measured risks is key to achieving a life, well-lived. It is important to take measured risks to achieve certain goals. For instance, the decision to buy that first home or investment property, or even starting that business you've always dreamed of, requires taking measured risks. Achieving your goals also rests on the realization that not taking measured risks, or simply not taking action at all, is detrimental to achieving holistic wealth. Yet in taking measured risks, we look for validation from others to do so. When we don't have a financial identity but look to the crowd for approval – then taking measured risks becomes less likely, and we bow to the pressure of doing what everyone else is doing – and not charting an individualized path forward.

It Allows for a Well-planned Future

Planning well means ensuring you have life insurance, adequate emergency savings to last for at least six months, and investments that can yield enough to enable financial resilience.

Everyone should have a good hold on their spending. Developing a budget and building an emergency fund is paramount. Make sure you have life insurance in place. Focus on addressing debt. After that develop a savings plan (both short and long term) and stick to it.

It Prevents A Never-Ending Cycle of Money Mistakes

When you haven't developed your own financial identity you risk making the same money mistakes over and over again. In addition, we end up living our lives in the footsteps of others—and possibly making the same money mistakes. We get stuck in two-step cycle: We make our own money mistakes repeatedly – like getting into unnecessary debt, accumulating things we don't need – and making the money mistakes others make – spending too much on entertainment or too many night out with friends.

In summary, having your own financial identity can save you from a lifetime of disappointment and frustration. It can make the difference between having a fulfilling happy life and constantly living in fear and anxiety about money issues. Most important of all, it can enable you to be financially resilient, and better able to weather the inevitable storms and setbacks that life brings.

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From $0 to $3Billion In Sales: Serial Inventor Joy Mangano Shares Her Entrepreneurial Secrets

How many times have you looked at something and thought: I wish this did more? And how many times have you thought long and hard about what else you could make it do, if you had the resources, time, and a factory-load of people working for you?


We've all certainly been there. Whether we were 5 and inventing a flying Barbie, or futuristic football, or 35 and looking at the kitchen imagining a self-taught robot that would help with the nightly dinners. We've all come up with what we thought were million dollar ideas - but almost none of us follow through because we're already too busy, and somebody else has probably invented it already.

For one woman, this very sequence of events took place when she was just a teenager. Unimpressed with her dog's collar, she created a new one with florescent sides (making them more visible to cars at night) that would fit more comfortably on a dog or cat's neck. But because of her relative youth, the collar was never produced, and a year later was released and patented by another company.

The girl, Joy Mangano, vowed this would never happen again.

Fast forward to 1990. Single mother-of-three, Mangano has a bigger, bolder idea. This time, the Miracle Mop is born, launching her career as an entrepreneur and setting her up for a life in the spotlight with her product launch on QVC. Between then and now, Mangano has accrued 100 patents (for products like the Huggable Hanger and My Little Steamer) and her company, Ingenious Designs is worth over $50million.

This story was told in Hollywood by David O.Russell in 2015 with his Golden Globe winning movie, Joy. Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Mangano served to highlight the difficulty of entrepreneurship and instruct on the minefield of patent disputes.

Mangano's latest product is one she says she's been working on for her entire life: a journal, a manual and a self-help for entrepreneurs wrapped up in her book, Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave and Creative Life.

SWAAY spoke with Mangano about the necessity for this kind of book in this age of entrepreneurship, and how it will resonate with aspiring female inventors and change-makers.

Drawing on her success and the pains it took to get there, Mangano has penned a book that will no doubt be a bible for those looking to take their flying Barbies or futuristic footballs to market. "I️ believe it will be a resource for people they can keep coming back to," she remarks. "This book truly is a lesson for anybody - in their careers, no matter what age."

Her family have been crucial to the whole process of building her brand and expanding Ingenious Designs, for the last 17 years, and have informed many of the chapters in the book. "I️ am fortunate enough to work with my children, family and friends and they were completely integral (to the books production)," says Mangano. Her daughter Christie serves as SVP Brand Development, Merchandising & Marketing Strategy having worked with her mom for thirteen years. “She's my left brain," laughs Mangano. Both her son Bobby and other daughter Jackie have worked elsewhere before also coming under their mother's umbrella. Bobby currently serves as Executive Vice President of the company and Jackie is involved with the fashion side of the business, which is certainly no mean feat, as she is also involved in styling for the upcoming reboot of The Murder on the Orient Express.

"When you can do things in life - work and follow your passion with people you love - it makes it all that much more meaningful and pure happiness."

The launch of her book signals new territory for the serial inventor, who has her first opportunity to tour the country and speak to those whose homes she has appeared in for the past 15 years on QVC and HSN.

"This is really one of my dreams," she comments. "I️'ve always wanted to go around the country and meet all of my customers and this is one way to do that. It couldn't be better."

"95% of my customers are women so I️ can't help but be an advocate always."

While on tour, Mangano is destined to meet a host of people that will tell her of their inventions or start-up ideas, but none more so than the millennials, who are completely reinventing the notion of entrepreneurship. Mangano hopes that through the book aspiring female entrepreneurs will be able to take solace in the fact they don't have to do it all. "I️ truly believe - this is a generation I️ watch, a lot of them work for me and with me - today, more than ever, they think they have to do it all."

"Dressed beautifully and in a meeting, they'll say 'I've been up since 5. Dressed the kids. Fed the kids.' And then (after work) they'll come home, have quality time, bath time. And I️ say - you can miss a game." If there's one thing she would invent for millennial women, it's this very advice, she says.

Rather than a product, or an item, it's this advice that, contrary to the millennial mindset, you don't have to be five places at one time or working 20-hour days to get where you want to be. Instead, Mangano has sections of the book that will inform on how better to manage your time and your ideas - to employ her methods - so you can become successful with (a little) less stress.

When asked how social media and the digital age has influenced her real-world inventions (like mops, hangers, steamers and pillows), Mangano chuckles. Technology, rather than impairing the invention of real world application actually opens up a 'wider range' tells the inventor. “It opens up a direct - to - consumer feedback and enhances your platform."

"With Instagram and Facebook my customers communicate with me. That's critical for looking at what you do and for the future of what you do."

Out of the dozens of things she's invented, Mangano won't say what her favorite is. "What am I️ most proud of? That's hard to say - that's like asking what child do you love the most and I️ don't think I️ could be prouder of any of them."