As published on LinkedIn for the She Invests monthly newsletter.
I love Wonder Woman. If you’ve read my work in the past, this will not be a surprise. I’ve written about the character many times, I’ve described my memorabilia room filled with Wonder Woman collectibles, and in 2013, I released a report, or perhaps more appropriately, a love letter, asking Hollywood for the love of Cheerios to please make a feature length Wonder Woman movie. Now, I’m not saying that my report held any sway in Hollywood, but I will say that only a couple of months later it was announced that Gal Gadot had been cast as Wonder Woman and a film was forthcoming. That film was 2017’s Wonder Woman, and it was glorious. Thanks to pulling in a favor from a dear friend, I was able to go to the premiere in Los Angeles where I met leading lady Gal Gadot. I then bought out a screening in Utah to share the experience with all of my friends. And now, after months of COVID-19-related delays, we’re finally getting the sequel. And on Christmas Day no less. It’s the perfect way to end a year that has been about as far from perfect as you can get.
It’s important to note that the first Wonder Woman movie was a historic one for Hollywood. Not only was it a critical and box office success, but it broke several records along the way. By the end of 2017, it was the #1 Superhero Origin movie by gross, it was the #1 DC Extended Universe film in both gross and critical acclaim, it was the #1 movie of Summer 2017 by domestic gross, and most importantly, it was the highest grossing film by a female director in history. That director, Patty Jenkins, is back for Wonder Woman 1984, which sees Diana being reunited with Steve Trevor and taking on two villains in the form of Max Lord and the Cheetah.
Needless to say, I can’t wait to see this film. Not only do I love this character, but I also love everything she represents. Compassion, justice, love, truth, destiny, belief, faith. Everything the world needs more of right now. Thankfully, there are countless real life wonder women out there, in every sector, who are doing their best to change this world for the better. Today, in this final newsletter of the year, I want to bring to you some of the wonder women in finance and investing. They have all written incredible books, and best of all I know each and every one of them! It might be too late to put in your Bookshop order in time for Christmas, but I did manage to pick up a couple of copies today at my local bookshop to give away to friends.
That said, these are not just books to give away. They are for you to read and learn from as well, and here’s why what they have to say is so important. To be in a healthy relationship with our money and financial resources is one of the most powerful and positive things we can do for ourselves and our dependents. Period. Full stop. Money is a necessity. It’s like water and food and shelter, and in fact, money is what enables us to have all those things and more. If you want to understand why problems exist in our world, follow the money trail, follow the money story. Money is accumulated, saved, earned, distributed, invested, given, and spent by people, all while surrounded by belief systems both personal and societal. There is so much to say about this, and in fact, I plan on saying a lot more, in a book, that I hope to self-publish in the first half of 2021. There, I said it out loud, so now it has to happen. It will happen.
But for now, take the time to really set an intention around how YOU want to be in a relationship with your money. If you believe in astrology, you know that today marks the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, the first time that this has happened in an air sign for centuries. In fact, I just returned home from seeing it for myself on a hilltop in Utah. This new age of Aquarius is poised to kickstart a cultural reset and a wave of social change focused on the collective good. And if you don’t believe in astrology? That’s ok. You can still hope for it anyways.
So onwards to 2021 and some of the Wonder Women of Finance who can help you take control of your relationship with money.
Cathy Clark – The Impact Investor: Lessons in Leadership and Strategy for Collaborative Capitalism (co-authored with Jed Emerson and Ben Thornley)
Impact Investing is still a relatively new term, but it has exploded in popularity over the past decade. That being said, impact investing is no mere passing fad. It works, as this book so thoughtfully lays out. It offers precise details on what, exactly, impact investing entails, embodied in the experiences and best and proven practices of some of the world’s most successful impact investors, across asset classes, geographies and areas of impact. I don’t as of yet know Cathy that well, but we have spent some time together and I hope that will be true in the future.
Joline Godfrey – Raising Financially Fit Kids
I’m pretty sure every parent wants to pass on good financial teachings to their children. The good news is that you don’t have to be a financial expert yourself to do so. Joline’s (now updated) book will give you all the resources you need to teach your kids about saving, spending, budgeting, investing, building credit, and donating. I got to know Joline well over a decade ago when the first edition of the book came out, and if she happens to be reading this, Hi Joline!
Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz – The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances Over 50
Carrie is the daughter of famed investor and financier Charles Schwab, and the leader of the Charles Schwab Foundation. She is also recognized as one of the leading advocates for financial literacy in the country, and has served two presidential administrations in a financial advisory role. This book is tailored towards those over 50, but anyone can learn from its lessons, no matter where you are in your financial journey.
This book provides proven wealth accumulation strategies, tailored advice, and a comprehensive market analysis. It is a must-read for female investors who want to master volatile markets with long-term success. I just so happened to write the forward, which was fun to re-read just now. “Money is not an ends, it is a means to an ends. By learning how to manage your financial assets you are resourcing your dreams, your passions, and your future.”
Alexa is a complete and utter rockstar. I was an early stage investor in LearnVest, the company she founded in 2009, and to date it’s my most successful exit. She is smart, fearless, and an absolute wonder woman of finance. After exiting her role she started Inspired Capital, a firm that backs early-stage founders with big, bold, and transformative visions. Am I an investor in her fund? Heck yes.
Andrea Turner Moffitt – Harness the Power of the Purse: Winning Women Investors (Center for Talent Innovation)
This book is a gift to the professional investment community. Based on a tremendous amount of research, some of which I was a part of, it provides thoughtful insights on what women investors want from their financial advisors. In 2015, Andrea co-founded Plum Alley, an angel investment community that invests in women founded companies that I am proud to be a member of.
As much as Wall Street would like us to think otherwise, money is not just about investments, returns, and profits. Money is a part of nearly every aspect of our lives, meaning whether you’ve thought about it this way or not, everyone has a unique relationship to money. And some of those relationship may be toxic without you even knowing it. This book will challenge you to examine your relationship and attitude towards money, and more importantly, how you can change it to more positively impact your life. Lynne and I go way back, and she is truly an amazing woman and teacher.
Jackie VanderBrug – Gender Lens Investing: Uncovering Opportunities for Growth, Return, and Impact (co-authored with Joseph Quinlan)
I have known Jackie for over a decade, as together with Joy Anderson they authored and championed some of the earliest work in gender-lens investing. This book is the investment bible for those who are looking to align their investments around a goal of greater gender equity and inclusion. The term gender-lens investing was coined in 2009 by the Criterion Institute, and has since grown exponentially. Jackie is truly a trailblazer in this regard, and her book is a must-read.
Leslie Bennetts – The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?
I’ve known this author for over a decade, and in fact, I got to know her at the beginning of her journey in writing this powerful book. No, it is not a book about investing. The book is about women giving up their financial power. It was written back in 2007, and it’s currently in my ‘to reread’ stack. Time and time again I have witnessed amazing, bright, independent, and talented women give up their financial power in a marriage, and sometimes it works out okay. But I am sad to say that all too often it does not. I recently heard a wise woman, a divorce lawyer no less, say that it takes a minute to say “I do”, words that are often associated with love, rainbows, and happily ever afters, and two years to say “I don’t”. When marriages end in divorce, it is often the case that one person has been the primary breadwinner. Depending on how the couple partnered in their financial lives throughout their marriage, the ending is often more financially devastating for the one who was not. Does this book issue a pretty strong warning? Indeed it does.
And one last book from a great guy!
Ashvin B. Chhabra – The Aspirational Investor: Taming the Markets to Achieve Your Life’s Goals
I had to add this one as I just super dig it. My major in college was finance, and modern portfolio theory (MPT) was a key theoretical framework to understand financial markets. This theory posits that individuals make decisions rationally based on where they may fall on a risk/return spectrum. MPT examines how risk-averse investors can construct portfolios to maximize expected return based on a given level of market risk. Harry Markowitz pioneered this theory in his paper, “Portfolio Selection,” which was published in the Journal of Finance in 1952. He won a Nobel Prize for this work, but it assumes a lot of things about human behavior that just don’t work in the real world. This is where Ashvin’s book comes in. It is a practical, innovative approach to managing wealth based on key goals and the careful allocation of risks rather than responding to the whims of the financial markets. It also offers a practical, innovative framework for making smarter choices about aligning your goals to your investment strategy. Highly recommend!
Of course, there are countless books about how to invest, plan for retirement, budget, and much more, and I am sure that many of them are great. I just haven’t read every single finance book out there, and I wanted to recommend books from people I know and trust. If you have a favorite book published by a woman, man, or even a financially literate Labrador, please share it below. I will pull of your suggestions together and check them out. And if reading books isn’t your thing, there are tons of websites/apps that serve this purpose as well. As a reminder from my prior newsletter, SmartPurse is one of them. They have just released a US version, so please sign up.
That’s a wrap on She Invests for 2020! Thank you so much for coming on this adventure with me (and Laura) thus far. I hope you and your loved ones have a very happy, safe, and healthy holiday season.