Meet Brittney Castro.
Brittney Castro is a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Retirement Planning counsellor, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, entrepreneur, speaker, and Founder and CEO of Financially Wise Women. Brittney focuses on working with professional and entrepreneurial women with the mission to “help women plan and create the life of their dreams, free from anxiety about money.”
Brittney has been featured in a number of media outlets including: CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CBS, KTLA, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Financial Planning Magazine, Investment News, Registered Rep Magazine and more.
I got the opportunity to chat with Brittney to hear her best financial tips, her greatest professional achievements, and her thoughts on the reported shortage of women in the financial services industry.
Why did you decide to work in the financial industry?
When I was in college I studied business economics and got offered a job as a financial advisor. I decided to talk to my counsellor about the position because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life yet. I knew I wanted to help people, work with money, and own my own business, and she said to me that I wouldn’t know how being a financial advisor was like unless I tried! So I took the job offer and got into it right after college.
How long have you worked in the financial industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 11 years now.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
Definitely starting my own company. Four years ago I started my financial firm Financially Wise Women. Trust me, it’s a lot of work. I was pretty naïve when I started out; I thought hey, I’ll just start my own firm! But it’s been the greatest reward, I really feel like I have my dream business. I’m able to help women and I work with the most amazing team.
Going off that, could be the same, but what achievement are you most proud of?
When I started my own company four years ago, I had the idea of it being about financial planning with a mix of media and education. What’s so amazing to me is now this idea has actually turned into my business and I’m able to teach people about money.
My business has grown to the point where I can now partner with really reputable companies like Chase, as well as do a lot of media and video content too.
This mix of financial planning and media wasn’t something that I had seen before, and I was able to turn my idea into something profitable. This is an achievement that I’m really proud of.
How do you define success?
Success to me means living a happy, balanced life where I’m able to help others and receive the benefits of being me and living in this optimal way.
My definition of success has changed over the years; I previously thought that success was getting an award or achievement or recognition in a magazine. All of the sudden you achieve those things but you’re kind of like huh, I don’t know if this is what makes me truly happy.
I believe being happy means having good friends, family and love, and this is what makes you successful.
What leader inspires you?
The leader that inspires me isn’t a public figure; she’s a woman in my personal life within my spiritual community. She inspires me because she is very powerful but also very feminine, she is a woman that has authentic power because she also runs a huge organization. A lot of women try to compete with men, and I admire her ability to be a feminine leader and not conform to stereotypical male leadership characteristics.
It’s been reported that there’s a shortage of women in the financial services industry. What do you think is the best solution to help encourage women to enter this industry?
There definitely is a shortage of women in the financial services industry; I think one of the key solutions to this is to educate women that they can work in this industry in their own way.
One of the biggest misconceptions of this job is that people think they have to be this corporate finance type person that works everyday like a dog and has to give up their obligation to their family and kids. This isn’t the case, there are so many ways you can manage having a family and be a CFP.
One solution is to highlight the women who are doing it their own way by running their own financial firm. There are a lot of women who are creating businesses that are young, fun, and often times virtual. We need to leverage the idea of entrepreneurship, what does it take to run a business.
There are quite a few barriers in this industry; by no way is it easy to start a firm. However, by not starting your own business it might take you years to get to the level or position that you want.
What are the most common financial mistakes you see being made?
Not having a budget is a huge mistake. A lot of people don’t have clarity about how much money is coming in the door. This is a mistake because it’s empowering to have a budget. Budgets help you find ways to make more money and make changes if you’re wasting your money. This allows you to allocate your spending differently so that you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.
Another mistake I see, and this relates mostly to women, is not learning about investing. I see so many mistakes in investing, and these mistakes are mostly based on emotions. When a stock goes down people will panic and sell out. Individuals need to educate themselves because they don’t understand why they’re investing and what to expect over the long term with their investment portfolio.
What is your number one financial tip?
My number one financial tip is to have a weekly money date. Once a week, for an hour, go on a date with your money! For example, you could say every Monday at 5 p.m. is my weekly money date.
Take a look at your budget and ask yourself what did I spend this week? Where do I need to make adjustments? This is a time for you to take care of any financial stuff like cheques, bills, making calls, etc.
You need to have time in your calendar for taking care of your financial life, think of it like your commitment to going to the gym. Before you know it, you’ve made it a habit and you’re constantly checking in with your money.
What’s a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I love dancing and I’m also very silly! I’m responsible and serious when I need to be, and because I’m in finance, people think I’m serious all the time. Once they get to know me they realize that I’m actually really funny. I’m really good at making weird facial expressions.
What are your thoughts?
If you’re interested in this subject or you know someone that should be featured in this series (even if it’s yourself!) shoot me an email at: email@example.com.
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