Steph Wagner is the kind of inspirational person you need on your team. She’s easy to talk to about all things related to finance, she inspires you to be the best you can be because her personal story is amazing, she asks the right questions to help you get your finances in order.
Wagner is the CEO of WomenWealthyWise, a women’s financial coach and strategist. Her mission is to provide economic solutions to all women, through education and empowerment, that will transform nearly all aspects of a woman’s life. Recently I asked her to share her Sage Advice for entrepreneurs and women in business.
Steph found that there is an underserved population of women who harbor fear and shame about finances. “It doesn’t matter if you’re making 50 or 500 thousand. If you don’t know how to manage it, it doesn’t matter.”
Based on her experience, Steph developed a six-step plan to help women get on the right track with their money matters. The first step is to explore internally, followed by evaluating the reality, then engineer a plan, equip yourself with the right support team, educate yourself, execute a plan daily.
Her plan is a clearly defined road from fear to empowerment; one that is paved with information. According to Steph many of our emotions around finance starts with childhood. “When I grew up no one ever talked about money. Kids never have a chance to talk about money, and they don’t teach it in school. Then the topic becomes taboo. You think you’re the only one who doesn’t know what you’re talking about when the reality is so many people do not.”
“It’s the shame that goes around not knowing what to do with that money. And that makes you feel handicapped and feel that there is nowhere to turn.”
BINGO! Talking to Steph feels like talking to a smart longtime girlfriend who knows what you’re going through. And here’s the thing, she knows all this because she’s been there. Before launching WomenWealthyWise, she was a mother raising 3 kids, going through a painful divorce. The deal is that she is also financially educated with loads of experience. Before becoming a mother, she was Vice President of a private equity fund. You can’t get more financially literate than that! She has experienced the full gamut of financial situations. From managing wealth, to feeling insecure and alone financially, to rebuilding with a solid foundation and a plan for the future.
Something you can use to get started immediately? Take a lesson directly from Steph. She uses this two-part question to make strategic decisions around every expense:
1. Does this purchase fundamentally make my life better?
2. Is there a cost-effective alternative that provides the same benefit?
“20 years ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life. It wasn’t that I gave up being VP of an equity fund. I stopped paying attention to my financial well-being. It wasn’t that I stayed home with my children. I don’t regret that. I regret that I knew better. I was a finance person. It was a very painful journey to get to this place. Basically, I was living the fairy tale that so many women buy-into.”
That wake-up call was the moment Steph realized she wanted to create a business out of passion and help other female entrepreneurs who were juggling motherhood, work-life balance, and money matters.
“I had the tools in the tool box. And I realized that so many women don’t. What would the average woman do? I knew I wanted to do something with this story. I became passionate about using my knowledge and story to do something to help other women. Knowing that to be really successful as an entrepreneur it’s bigger than money–it’s about legacy. And then figuring out the business sense. Don’t get so entrenched in your vision that you lose sight of the viability of the business.”
Wagner recommends that women entrepreneurs stay focused on developing a purpose-driven company and they surrounded themselves with advisors.