Women and resilience

Secrets from women who have been there

21 May 2019

The Wall Street Journal's Veronica Dagher and UBS's Jane Schwartzberg discuss why resilience matters—and what it has to do with women's financial futures.

As a Wall Street Journal senior wealth management reporter and host of the "Secrets of Wealthy Women" podcast, Veronica Dagher has interviewed scores of high net worth women, many of whom overcame trauma, navigated difficult childhoods, dealt with unexpected adversity, and earned and lost money and opportunities before becoming successful leaders, business owners, executives, role models, athletes and entertainers.

When Dagher sat down and thought about it, she found the trait of resilience to be the common thread that ran through so many of the stories. She decided that she wanted to write a Wall Street Journal e-book to celebrate the link between resilience and success, by profiling 20 women. "I wanted to show female listeners and readers that you can go on and be successful despite the obstacles you have overcome, or even because of them," Dagher says. "There is a real need for hope and inspiration in the world we are living in now."

Jane Schwartzberg, UBS Head of Strategic Client Segments, realized Dagher's mission perfectly aligned with UBS and Own your worth. “My team and I are huge fans of Veronica's work, and when we heard that she was writing an e-book about women and resilience, we decided to sponsor it, as a way to support women and support our advisors to have better and deeper conversations with female prospects and clients," Schwartzberg says.

The resulting e-book, Resilience: How 20 Ambitious Women Used Obstacles to Fuel Their Success , is an inspiring look at how the valleys can fuel the peaks. “It's about empowering women as much as possible, and saying to women: 'You count. Your voice matters,'" Dagher says.

Why women need to be financially savvy

Dagher's interest in resilience is rooted in her own childhood. Dagher's father died when she was just 11 years old, and Dagher remembers watching her mother crying at the kitchen table, looking at bank statements and trying to figure out what to do. “She had to learn everything about personal finances at the worst possible time," Dagher says. "She pulled it together, but she ingrained in me that I needed to be financially savvy and on top of my finances always."

In our Own your worth research, we've learned that 56 percent of married women leave key financial decisions to their husbands, when in fact eight out of 10 women will wind up solely responsible for their financial well-being at some point in their lives.1 “We mined wisdom from women who have been in a similar place as Veronica's mother, and 98 percent of widows and divorcees encourage other women to take an active role in finances," Schwartzberg says. "We're not saying that women in committed partnerships have to be 'in charge,' but we are saying that it's critically important to take your seat at the money table—which means knowing what you have, where your wealth is, and what kind of future you have planned for, all with the goal of being a financial participant."

Financial knowledge, not perfection

It was also important for Dagher to highlight the struggle women face in balancing career, family and other interests, and several of the women profiled talk about how it's so crucial to recognize all of the good work you are doing, instead of focusing on where you think you're falling short. Dagher knows that educating yourself about money and investing can feel like one more "to do," or one more area where you feel like you're not doing enough. “You don't have to become a financial expert. Just have a working knowledge. Let yourself off the hook for feeling like you have to be perfect and get the A on the test!" she says. Even taking 15 minutes a week to read some articles about finances or investing can help.

“Many of us tend to say yes to a lot of things. Maybe say yes less, and get a few things off the list that might not be as impactful as participating in your financial future," Schwartzberg says. (Fun fact: 53 percent of women who ultimately wound up solely responsible for their financial futures said that if they could do it again, they would have done fewer chores to find more time for finances.1)

As women, we're on board with self-care such as exercise and health screenings, but we haven't necessarily embraced financial self-care, Schwartzberg says. "We need to get that message out there—that being financially involved is one of the most critical ways to take care of yourself and loved ones."

Start your own journey toward financial self-empowerment by downloading Resilience: How 20 Ambitious Women Used Obstacles to Fuel Their Success

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