“Off the Wall” Podcast

Think Like a Breadwinner | A Wealth-Building Manifesto for Women

Jun 16, 2021 Wealth Building for Women

Let’s take a look at the evolution of the relationship between women and finances…and how women can make sure they’re thinking “like a breadwinner”.

In episode 7 of Monument Wealth Management’s “Off the Wall” Podcast, Jessica and Dave talk with Jennifer Barrett, Head of Content at Fidelity and author of “Think Like a Breadwinner: A wealth-building manifesto for women who want to earn more (and worry less).”

Connect with Jennifer: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferbarrett1/ 

Are you looking for clarity, conviction and unfiltered advice about your wealth?

You’ve come to the right place.

Transcript:

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:00:42] So Dave, I’m so excited for today’s episode. Are you excited?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:00:46] I’m totally excited because it’s just fascinating to me when we get to meet, let alone interview somebody who’s actually written a book.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:00:53] Yes.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:00:54] I’m lucky to read a couple a year and she’s written one.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:00:58] I know, and this is absolutely one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time. I’m really excited. So, you know, just a little bit of background, I think despite all of our best efforts, right, society and corporate America are still largely designating dad as the primary breadwinner provider. And mom is the main caretaker. And I think, you know, our policies, our practices, and even our internal biases tend to reinforce that. And our guest today is Jennifer Barrett. She has written an amazing book that’s called Think Like a Breadwinner, a wealth building manifesto for women who want to earn more and worry less. And part of the reason I love this book so much is that word breadwinner, right? I think our minds tend to immediately think of breadwinner. Oh, that’s the person who’s providing for the family. And I love how she reframes the word breadwinner to more mean claiming financial responsibility for yourself and your future so that you have more power and more agency over your life.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:02:05] And I also like the term where she talks about. And we’re going to let her talk. But part three, in her book where she talks about the breadwinner mindset, I mean, that’s that’s taking the word breadwinner and like putting another really powerful word behind it, too. So I’m excited to well, I’m excited to let Jennifer start talking.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:02:24] Yeah. So with that welcome Jennifer Barrett to the podcast.

Jennifer Barrett [00:02:28] Thanks so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here. And thank you for the introduction. Like, you’ve done a better job than I have of summarizing my book.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:02:37] That’s great. Well thank you. Yeah. I enthusiastically read it from cover to cover. So tell us, first off, why you wanted to write this book. You know, it’s so interesting to hear about your backstory and what informs you to want to first off, write this book, but also do all the research and the interviews with hundreds of women across the country to find out about their stories and their experiences, and have that inform some of the information you share in the book.

Jennifer Barrett [00:03:03] Yeah, I mean, I wrote this book for some of the reasons that you kind of alluded to earlier, which is because I realized after my own wake up call that even though there’s been this paradigm shift happening in the breadwinning model, with a record number of women moving into this main provider role, many of us are still not being raised to think like a breadwinner. So we’re still not really being set up for success in that role, or really to feel true agency over our lives, whether we end up being the main earner or not. So, for example, we’re not encouraged to plan our careers or job paths strategically in order to ensure we can support all the things that we want in our lives. We’re not necessarily taught how to build good credit, so we can build a or buy a home one day. And many women are not taught how to invest and build wealth. And more significantly, most of us are not even taught the importance of doing so, especially outside of a retirement account. So there’s a real gap here. And I realized, like, the way that many of us as women were brought up to think about money and our own financial capabilities really leaves us at a disadvantage. And feeling unprepared if we do end up in the breadwinner role, which more of us are these days, and then we often aren’t even conscious of some of this cultural conditioning that can really hold us back. So I wanted to bring awareness to that, and also to share the benefits of adopting a breadwinning mindset, which you which you mentioned earlier, because I’ve experienced that myself over the last 12 years since I started to think this way. And it’s not just that my finances improve though, they have significantly, but so is my confidence and my sense of security. And as you mentioned, I interviewed, you know, over 100 women across the country and more than that over the last ten years. But formally, for the book, I sat down with over 100 women, and I really had the chance to see how having this mindset or not having this mindset could really inform the way you approach your finances and your life. And it is a very distinct difference. So I really wanted to bring awareness of that to women and have a start thinking of breadwinning not as something that’s a burden or that something that a man does, but really understanding the power of thinking that way so that we have real agency over our lives.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:05:13] That’s awesome. So you kind of alluded to this, and I mentioned to this idea that women or I should say girls, you know, it even starts in childhood as you talk about in the book, girls receive really different messages from boys and women receive different messages from men when it comes to talking about money.

Jennifer Barrett [00:05:33] Yeah. So there’s research around this. And what the surveys find is that when parents talk about money at all with their kids, which we know doesn’t always happen, but when they do, they are more likely to talk to their girls about how to budget and how to shop smartly. And they are more likely to talk to their sons about how to build credit and invest to build wealth. And so that’s a two very different conversation. It’s good to have all of those skills, but there’s really a gap around wealth building for women. And so it’s more I think it kind of goes back to what the old traditional roles were in the household, which was, you know, the man was typically the breadwinner and in charge of earning the money and investing the money. And that woman was often where the, you know, the mother was often the caregiver and in charge of the household budget. And so I think we’re still sort of seeing parents teach their girls and boys those skills as if they are going to grow into those roles. But we know that that’s, you know, that’s not happening anymore, that this old breadwinner model really is starting to go away. And it’s very hard for any family at this point to rely on just one income. But we’re still sort of teaching these outdated lessons to women and assigning them these different roles. And that continues, as you mentioned, past childhood. So if you look at the media messages that we got, and I pulled a couple different studies that I mentioned in the book, in one they looked at, I think there were 1600 articles in popular women’s magazines, and this is just from a few years ago, and only five out of 1600 pages from these women’s magazines even offered any financial advice. And it was typically on how to pay down debt and how to budget, and how to save money for small splurges like a new pair of shoes or a girls getaway. And then Starling Bank, which is a bank that’s based in the U.K. they did a separate linguistic study of 300 articles across the board, so aimed at men and women. And they found that the vast majority of articles aimed at women were, again, about how to kind of cut back, spend less, you know, and save money for small things, small goals. And the vast majority of articles aimed at men were all about how to earn more, how to make more money through investing and how to build your wealth. So again, very different messaging for women. It’s very constrictive. It’s about pinching pennies and cutting back and small goals like saving for small goals versus, you know, instead of a pair of shoes. Why aren’t we encouraging women to save the money to buy the house that will have the closet that houses the shoes? You know, it’s very different. And for men, it’s much more expansive.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:08:10] Yeah. You quote this recent Fidelity survey in the book that as a financial planner, just hurt my heart to read this. It found that 8 in 10 women said they’ve refrained from talking about their finances with the people they’re close to, and that less than half of women surveyed said they wouldn’t even feel confident discussing money and investing with a financial professional on their own. And unfortunately, that’s something that I feel like Dave and I have seen to a certain extent with some of the people that we work with and that we meet with. It is really interesting to, you know, be in a meeting with husband and wife couple. And, you know, I wouldn’t say this is across the board, but sometimes some women, I do get the sense that they feel uncomfortable speaking up about, you know, their own personal goals or you know, what they want to accomplish with their family’s wealth. I don’t know if it’s a sense that just because they didn’t have a hand in, quote unquote, creating the wealth through example, you know, building and selling a business that they maybe feel like they don’t have as much of a say. But I could definitely argue that they absolutely had a hand in building that business because they were running their household while their spouse was building it. So. Absolutely. So it’s something that, you know, I think Dave and I have informally observed and it’s just sort of was disheartening to see it spelled out in that Fidelity study how women aren’t always actively participating in their family’s wealth and decisions. And as a result, you just tend to feel a lot less confident, which then makes you want to participate less, which then makes you feel like, I don’t want to look stupid so I’m not going to ask the question. And it’s just this perpetuating cycle.

Jennifer Barrett [00:09:57] That’s exactly right. And so I think even if you are not the one making the financial decisions, you absolutely need to be involved in some capacity. So you know where all the money is going and more importantly, why it’s going there. And I think, you know, some of it is kind of the traditional roles that that we may have become accustomed to. And watching, you know, how our own parents manage the money and who earned it and who managed it, and who manage the budget and who manage the investments and all of that, and kind of slipping into those roles ourselves, you know, often subconsciously, because that’s that’s what we saw growing up. But I think, you know, to your point, I do think a big part of it is this confidence gap. And it is kind of self-perpetuating, right, because it gets harder and harder, especially if you are successful professionally. I think you sort of reach a point where you are quite confident in your capabilities and other areas of your life. So now you feel as if you should know more in this area, and it becomes even harder to ask those questions, because I think we still have a lot of shame wrapped around that, that, you know, maybe we’re embarrassed that we don’t know more about the difference between a Roth and a traditional IRA. That’s a conversation I have with someone recently who’s incredibly successful professionally and has made a lot of money, but really never had those conversations and never, never learned about it and was really embarrassed to, you know, to admit that to me. And, and I said, there’s, you know, really there’s no embarrassment around this. We have to get over that because it’s your money, it’s your future. You know, no one cares about either of those things more than you do. And so you absolutely have to advocate for yourself and ask a lot of questions to make sure that you make the most informed choices with your money so that they serve you the best you know in the best way possible.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:11:48] So I love this book so much. I gave it to my mom who my mom read this and it was really interesting. One of the comments that she had when she finished reading it was she just kind of sighed and said, wow, it’s amazing that they’re writing about these same things about women and money, women and their role in the household, women and career that they were writing you know, when I was younger. And so do you have any insight into maybe why, as a society, we really haven’t evolved as much as I think we would hope?

Jennifer Barrett [00:12:28] Yeah. And in fact, you know, after I had my own wake up call and, you know, just to condense the story, I mean, I was a young mom and thought I was doing a lot right financially, but realized that I had been sort of subconsciously depending on my husband to take the lead, sort of. Make sure we could afford to have another child, and make sure, we could afford to buy a place. All of these things, I’d sort of left to him unconsciously. And then he was working at a startup, and the startup went under and he was getting back on his feet financially. And I suddenly realized how vulnerable, you know, I’d left myself by depending on somebody else for the things that were most important for me. So that’s what really started my own journey. And initially I thought, wow, this is I thought I was alone. I thought, oh no. But I started talking to other women, and I realized that my feelings were not uncommon. And I thought initially that, you know, women who are younger millennials, women in their 20s would be thinking differently. And I think we have evolved a little bit there, but not nearly as much as you might think. So when you actually start looking at the data and you pointed to that study from fidelity, for example, that’s not unusual. When women and men are surveyed about money, men inevitably are more comfortable talking about it, managing it and growing it, even though there’s plenty of data to show that women are as good at investing as men are, maybe better, and depending on which research you look at. But there’s a huge confidence gap there. And then on top of that, you layer on this cultural conditioning, which sort of says that women’s income is not as important. You know, that women are not going to be responsible for themselves financially for life. Probably they’ll find a partner. And that’s just not true for some people, first of all. But second of all, it’s really disempowering to sort of give the message to someone that your income is not as critical. You know, wealth building is not for you necessarily. You know, just make sure you save enough for a rainy day and for retirement. And that’s really inadequate to support the things that so many of us want in our lives. But I think culturally, we just haven’t caught up to the reality that is most households today, most families are two income households. That is the norm. And increasingly, you know, women earning more than men is becoming the norm. I think we’ve taken some steps back with the pandemic, but we were certainly moving in that direction. And regardless, you cannot say that women’s income is not critical anymore. It is absolutely critical for the majority of households in this country right now, but culturally, we have not quite caught up to that. I’m not sure why. I mean, I think there are I have some hypotheses around it. I do think that there is this idea, certainly in my generation, that the hard work had already been done for women, that now we had all the opportunities available to us, and it was really on us. Right, because we got this message growing up that we could do anything we wanted to do in our careers. But the piece that was really missing for so many of us was the financial piece. You know, I think professionally, we’ve made, you know, a lot of progress, and you have women moving into roles that were probably unimaginable, you know, 50 or 60 years ago. But that financial piece, we just we never really addressed that. And so you see this kind of stagnant gender wage gap, it’s stubbornly stayed around 18, 20%. And then even more worrisome is the gender wealth gap, which is 68% when you’re looking at single men versus single women, you know, so $0.32 of wealth for single women, for every dollar of wealth a man has, that is incredible in 2021 that we are still talking about this and yet we are. And so I think we really need to become aware of this and need to address this in a way that we we really haven’t been doing. I think it was sort of like, well, everything’s fine. Women are doing fine. They’re graduating in bigger numbers than men are from college. They’ll be fine. But if you actually look at the data and know there’s still a gap there, and we really need to address some of both the external barriers that are holding women back, and then really talking about some of these beliefs and cultural assumptions that are holding us back as well.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:16:35] Yeah. I wonder if let’s just say there was no awareness of this issue whatsoever, what would be happening to us as a society? Because I look back on a movie like Pleasantville or something, where they talk about them, and I don’t think households are like that at all. So their to me, and this is anecdotal, but I’m surrounded by incredibly smart, powerful, assertive women. So sometimes I hear this, I think myself, gosh, where, you know, everybody I know is isn’t like this at all. If there was no awareness over this issue at all, would it advance or would it stay the way it is? Because I look at YouTube and think, there’s no way either one of you would tolerate that sort of passive assumption over wealth between men and women, or the wage gap or something like that. So has this been fixing itself, and is the awareness only going to exponentially increase this getting fixed? Is it all about awareness?

Jennifer Barrett [00:17:32] That’s a great question. I think that’s a huge part of it. I mean, I did buy into this, and I was raised to be an independent woman and am very ambitious and yet subconsciously still carried around these assumptions that, number one, my income was not as important as my husband’s. That number two, she would be the one taking the lead, you know, when it came to financially planning for our future. So I do think that there is that gap still exists. And if you start talking and I did talk to a lot of women who were very successful professionally and yet found themselves kind of ceding the control of the finances to their partner, or not being as involved in the decisions around money as they wanted to be, because they weren’t comfortable around it. They weren’t just comfortable, they weren’t as confident. And to some degree, they didn’t think it was as important. So I do think it’s probably happening more than we may even realize, because this is what’s happening inside the home and we aren’t talking about it. Right? And so, you know, I would have instances where I talk to someone where her husband was managing the money and making investments, and she would ask him questions and he would say everything was fine. And then she found out that he lost a tremendous amount of money and had been lying to her for several years, and they were in a terrible financial position. And so and this is a woman who, very successful, earned a lot of money. So from the outside, probably seemed like one of these women who really was ambitious and wouldn’t take a, you know, second settle when it came to anything. And yet, you know, she kind of fell victim to this. And, you know, there are cases where, you know, one of my closest friends had not found a partner, you know, that she wanted to have a child with by the time she was 40 and had never prepared financially for that possibility. And so it’s heartbreaking having this conversation with her that she didn’t feel like she could financially afford to have a child on her own, even though she had always wanted to be a mother. So this is the kind of thing that I’m talking about where sometimes it’s it’s nuanced like that. It’s not, you know, to me that that’s pretty devastating where you miss out on something that’s really important to you just because you didn’t plan for that possibility, and you were sort of living on some assumptions that didn’t end up being true. And so I think that’s a big piece of it. And the other piece of it is we just we don’t have a solid financial education, really, for the majority of Americans in our country. Right. We’re not providing a good financial education. But often, you know, parents tend to fill that gap more with their sons still than they do with their daughters. And then their sons are being raised still to think like a breadwinner. So they’re coming out of school and they’re asking, what do I want in my life? What do I need to do to get it right? They’re very much in the driver’s seat and they’re saying, okay, what career can I get that will support the life that I want? How do I start building my credit so I can buy the home that I’ll one day want for myself and maybe a family? Women are not thinking that way. You know, for the most part, we are still not thinking that way. And so I think that’s that’s where the big gap is. It’s confidence. It’s a knowledge gap. And then there’s this cultural gap in the messaging that we’re still getting. And I think awareness is a huge part of that to your point. I think if we weren’t talking about this, it would perpetuate, because that’s what’s been happening even as we made so much progress, you know, 40, 50 years ago, we made huge progress in credit and in the workplace in all of these areas. And then it kind of stalled out, you know, in 2000 and on, we’ve seen it stall out on a leadership level on the gender, wealth, you know, wage and leadership gaps.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:21:10] So I mean, anecdotally on that idea of awareness, you know, I’m just as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking about myself and, you know, my own friends. Right? You were talking about wealth conversations with your friends. And, you know, I’m in my 30s and, you know, despite everything that I know and despite me even being in the wealth advice profession, I only have a small handful of friends that I can talk really openly about money with. I think that’s, you know, whereas you may say, oh, well, she’s confident. She knows about money. I you know, to your point, I don’t really think that it’s a conversation that every woman is comfortable having. And there still does seem to be this feeling of like, well, we don’t talk about that amongst ourselves. We can talk about a lot of things. We’re really close friends. But money, career, salary investing. These aren’t topics that, unfortunately, I can talk openly and comfortably about with a lot of my friends.

Jennifer Barrett [00:22:12] Yeah, I think that’s true. I was actually I was talking to a friend of mine earlier this week who read my book and then brought it to her book club and started talking about investing. And she said, I’ve known these women for years, and all of a sudden I got really uncomfortable. And I realized, we’ve never talked about this before, and I didn’t know where everyone stood on that and how they invested and where they, you know, would they feel embarrassed. And and she said it was it was a much more uncomfortable conversation than she’d anticipated. And I think you’re right. We’re not used to talking about money. On top of that, we’re told that it’s rude to talk about money. And I mentioned in the book, I remember this so clearly when I was in my 20s, I was at a party once with a lot of my colleagues at a newspaper I worked. And all the men, I remember this, the men were in one corner and they were all comparing like stock tips. Yeah. How much did your stock like, you know, just back and forth and all the women, we just looked at them and none of us said a word. And then we turned away and started talking about our weekend plans. And there’s something about that just stuck in my head. And I thought, we’re at such a disadvantage that we’re not talking about this. Which is not to say, you know, you’re not always getting the best stock tips either. But I think, you know, it’s very different when there’s there’s a level of comfort there. Right. You almost and, you know, jump in here if I’m wrong. But I feel like a lot of time with guys, there’s almost like a one upping each other. It’s like a little bit competitive, but it’s not like there’s no shame, at least in my experience, where if, you know, if a guy picks a stock and it takes a dip, it’s not like, oh God, I made such, you know, you’re not embarrassed about it necessarily. Just like, oh, you know, that stock went down. What else can I put my money in? Whereas with women we we were feeling like we have to make all the right choices. And there’s still, I think, some embarrassment around making a bad choice with our money, which can of course, hinder the conversation around that too. And everyone makes mistakes with money, so, you know, so no one’s really immune to that. But I do get the sense when I talk to men about investing, and I probably talk to them more than women still is you know, that there’s just a lot more comfort talking about the stock market, talking about different investments. I mean, but you tell me, I mean, this is what I’ve found in my research. And just anecdotally, I’ve seen that it just seems like there’s no there’s less emotion wrapped up in it.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:24:26] I’m trying to remember back when I was a kid and thinking about my exposure to money before I really realized what it was, and I understood that it could buy tangible things. Like, I remember going, I’m going to date myself. But the ATMs are kind of new, and I remember going to the ATM machine and being excited about it, just sending money out. It just fascinated me, and I remember being super interested in money and asking my dad, like, do we own stocks? And I remember him going to a drawer that he had and stock certificates out and showing me the actual certificate, like I had this incredible interest in it and my sister didn’t. And I wonder if that sets the stage for some of that early on. Just general interest, and I don’t know if it was. Well, I don’t think it was my dad that was encouraging me in a gender sort of way to be interested about money. I think it was my interest in it that I kept hounding him to teach me more about it, and my sister was asking my mom to teach her things. And maybe that’s part of the awareness and the perpetuation of all of this, which is if my mom had never learned about money, my mom wouldn’t be having those conversations with my sister.

Jennifer Barrett [00:25:44] I think that’s a big part of it. I mean, my mom invests, you know, a pretty successful investor, and we have a lot of conversations about it now. And I, I do wonder that sometimes, like if your mom has is not an investor and is not comfortable talking about those things, you know, is she passing that along to her daughter without even, unintentionally? And is it just more comfortable sometimes for a father talk to a son about it because it feels like a father son kind of experience? I’m not sure. I think we’re we’re moving, you know, a little bit away from that. We’ve seen this year, and I’m sure you can, you know, you can talk about this, too. With a surge in women getting into the stock market and investing outside of their retirement account. So we saw a big jump at Acorns, where I was. And now I’m moving to Fidelity. And we’ve seen similar jump at Fidelity. I know Robinhood has talked about it. So it’s this this seems to be sort of across the board where a lot more women are getting involved and investing, and maybe it’s a result of everything that’s happened around GameStop and AMC and Clover or whatever the like flavor of the day is that I think there’s this kind of FOMO feeling that is pretty pervasive right now, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because, you know, if it gets if it gets us off the sidelines, I think that’s a really good thing. And then the next question is like, how do we keep that interest going and how do we educate both men and women, but women in particular, so that they feel confident really managing those investments?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:27:06] Yeah, I think again, going back to when I was a kid, if if my mom was Abby Joseph Cohen, I probably would have been asking her the questions about not my dad. Yeah.

Jennifer Barrett [00:27:15] Yeah, yeah, you should be smart.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:27:19] So if someone is of women is is sort of uncomfortable with investing, I think, you know, just the general theme, you know, we talked about at Monument is just like, get involved. You know, you don’t need to, like, start opening up your Robinhood account and start gambling with money. You know, you need to just start by being involved in your family’s wealth. I mean, one of the things we talk a lot about at Monument is we love the word being a steward of your family’s wealth, because stewardship implies responsibility and privilege. You know, it means taking ownership of your wealth. It means thinking about what the wealth is going to do for both you and your partner. And so that really dovetails really well into what you talk about with how you define the breadwinner mindset. It’s taking control of your future. It’s writing your own story. It’s defining what success means to you. So what do you really hope that people take away from reading this book?

Jennifer Barrett [00:28:24] Yeah, I think you alluded to it a little bit is that, you know, the breadwinner mindset is not conditional, right? It doesn’t matter whether you are the main earner or not or whether you’re the only person in your household. The breadwinning mindset is really about taking agency over your life and taking control of your money to ensure that you can have all the things that you want in your life, you know. So in the book, I apply this breadwinning lens to different aspects of our finances, and I compare that to a lot of the messaging that we tend to get. You know, and I talked a little bit about investing earlier, but, you know, often the prescription that we get as women is to like save enough for a rainy day and save for retirement. And that is really that falls short of what we really need to support the lives we want. But it doesn’t cover any of the decades in between. And so if you look at a breadwinning mindset when it comes to investing, it’s about using every paycheck to start building wealth, right? It’s not what can I afford with my paycheck? It’s how much of my paycheck can I put to work for me so I can start building real wealth? And I think that that’s a very different mindset than a lot of us have when it comes to looking at our paychecks and looking at building wealth generally. And it’s similar. You know, if you look at credit, it’s it’s a similar kind of story where I don’t know what the case was for you, Jessica, but when I was growing up, you know, credit cards were sort of pitched to me as like either a way to kind of close the gap between the life that I wanted and the life I could actually afford or as like a buffer, you know, like if something came up that I couldn’t cover with the money I earned, I could just tap this as I needed it. And and I tapped it a lot in my 20s and then had to pay for that. But I think that’s very different than if you think of a breadwinner mindset and a breadwinner approach to credit. It’s all about building credit to build wealth that’s very different. You know, that’s really about how do I build credit so I can get the best terms on a mortgage, for example, when I buy a home, because what you’re doing is leveraging your good credit to build wealth. You’re taking that money to invest in something that you think will increase in value enough to more than compensate what you’re paying in interest on that credit. That, again, is a very different way than than many of us approach credit. And so when I talk about the breadwinning mindset, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s like taking that lens to look at every aspect of your finances and asking yourself, you know, are the choices you’re making are really bringing you closer to the future that you want. And that’s what it really comes down to, right? You have to kind of strip away the messaging that you may have gotten that’s not serving you and really just ask yourself, are the choices I’m making with my money bringing me closer, further away from the future that I want and taking responsibility or stewardship, as you say, for your for your finances and for the wealth that you’re building to make sure that you can support the life and maybe that you know the family that you want to.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:31:22] It’s amazing to remember I was a young person back when all this happened. But I mean, back in the 70s, women who were married were denied credit. I mean, it wasn’t until I think it was President Ford introduced the the Equal Credit Act in the mid 70s that allowed women to actually have credit cards. I mean, married women couldn’t get them, let alone, you know, single women probably had trouble with that too. But that wasn’t that long ago. When you think about 1974. I mean, I remember waiting in lines at the gas station, and it wasn’t that long ago. But it’s crazy to think that, Jessica, you I mean, could you imagine not being able to get a credit card just because you were a married woman?

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:32:00] My face when you said that was like, Oh my God. What?

Jennifer Barrett [00:32:04] Right. Isn’t that crazy? Yeah, but it really isn’t that long ago. And I think that approach beforehand was, you know, you can get a credit card in your husband’s name in order to use it for spending, but it doesn’t give you any agency at all, and it doesn’t help you build your credit. And so even when women were able to start getting credit, the attitude was still like, oh, this is a way for you to spend money. It wasn’t about, you know, responsible credit to get a mortgage. Yeah. I think even today I think you’ll see more and more. I mean, especially among just people around your age, there are more women buying a home for themselves. But even I’m a younger Gen Xer and it was still unusual, I think, for a woman to buy a home for herself to get a mortgage, you know, maybe still so and in some circles. So I think we haven’t quite evolved in the way that we approach credit in a lot of different things in terms of how we think about women’s responsibilities and capabilities.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:32:57] And media and advertising is bear some responsibility in that too. I remember in a recent graduate school program that I was in doing a study on that Run Like a Girl campaign that went really viral back in the, I think it was Always or one of the. Yeah. Yeah. Right. And amazing to see how people just looked at things differently. And she’s it wasn’t that long ago 1970s wasn’t that long ago. But that ad for Always was just maybe five years ago. So there’s still a lot of media that influences the way we perceive all of this problem. And really great that you have brought a lot of it to light with your book.

Jennifer Barrett [00:33:37] Thank you. And I think it is important to, you know, to your point of talking about awareness. I mean, that that’s why awareness is so important, because so much of this messaging we get through the media or through, you know, from our parents, even well-meaning relatives, we just absorb it. And we don’t always realize how it’s informing the choices that we’re making with money. So just being aware of this messaging as a, as a kind of gut check, like, is this serving me, this assumption that I’m making or this belief that I have, you know, it can be really powerful?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:34:09] Yes. I was looking over the book over the weekend and opened it up to that chapter in section three about your pay. I can’t remember the exact title of the chapter. Getting the dough you deserve. And I dog eared it and immediately walked into my wife and I handed her the book and I said, you have to stop what you’re doing right now and read this chapter right now. But the book’s called Think Like a Breadwinner. You can get it on Amazon, and it’s a fantastic book. I enjoyed reading that section three a lot, and it made me think of all the women I know in my life. And Jessica read it and she asked for a raise right away.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:34:51] I’m still waiting to hear back.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:34:55] I’ve got a lot of emails, Jessica. Very busy, but but I think it’s great and I’m really glad you came on today to talk about it. And if you could just sign off with one last message to somebody who’s listening to this, who’s a woman out there, what would it be?

Jennifer Barrett [00:35:14] Sure. I mean, I hate to sound like a broken record, but I think it really comes back to asking yourself, you know, what do I want in my life and what are the choices I need to make with my money and career to support that? You know, and even as a gut check, asking yourself on a regular basis are the choices that I’m making with my money bringing me closer to the future that I want or further away?

Jessica Gibbs, CFP [00:35:38] Amazing. Thank you, Jennifer so much.

Jennifer Barrett [00:35:40] Thank you for having me.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:35:42] Jennifer Barrett, the author of Thank Like a Breadwinner. You can get it on Amazon and you can check out our social media pages to have pictures of it. But it’s a great book, and men and women alike should be reading this and become a lot more aware of the things that maybe we’re not aware of. So thanks for coming on.

Jennifer Barrett [00:36:00] Thank you so much.

About "Off The Wall"

OFF THE WALL is a podcast for business professionals and high-net-worth investors who want to build wealth with purpose. A little bit Wall Street, a little bit off-the-wall; it’s your go-to for straightforward, unfiltered wealth advice on topics that founders, business owners, and executives care about.

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