This is for Our Mothers, Our Sisters, Our Daughters...
In October, Isabella Forum wrapped our inaugural London 2016 event.
Over 80 women attended the full-day event, raised smart, engaging questions and packed the ballroom until the last bellini.
By several accounts, attendees said that this was the best day they had spent on themselves in a long time and congratulated us on a hugely successful day. But one question kept cropping up: "why did you all decide to launch Isabella Forum?"
What would make a team of three sleep-deprived, time-poor women, juggling 6.5 children under the age of 7, decide to put so much of their time, energy and resources into launching a new venture like Isabella Forum?
Why? Because not only do we have mothers, sisters and daughters...we ARE mothers, sisters and daughters.
The truth is we launched Isabella Forum originally for us, for our families and our friends. We quickly realized, however, that many women around us are all struggling with similar financial decisions around major moments in their lives and don't know where to turn for help and advice.
They feel isolated, left alone thinking it's just their own problems and often don't have much time to even look for help. Or maybe they feel dismayed because they've already tried to get advice from professionals, but felt judged or disappointed by the experience.
And so we felt it was time we banded together and found our strength in numbers.
Ruth Sturkey, MD of The Red House, spoke at the forum and told us "Understand Your Money, Understand Your Life." We couldn't agree more. Budgeting and tracking where your money comes and goes is a critical step that we often ignore, but it can often yield surprising results. You can't manage what you don't measure.
Equally important is knowing your financial goals and priorities. Warren Buffet once gave the following advice: make a list of the top 25 things you'd like to achieve in your life and then cross off the last 20...devote your focus and energy to achieving the top 5. Your priorities might change, but knowing what's most important to you will help you plan where your money goes now and in the future. Your future self will thank you.
Once you know your financial priorities and goals, it's time to look at investing as a growth (and preservation) engine to help you get there. Annabel Watson, an Investment Manager, took us through the key investment decisions around selecting and diversifying investments...including how best to maximize returns by reducing costs and risks in investing. 90% percent of investment returns are determined by the percentage of money you allocate to each different type of investment within your overall portfolio of investments. So knowing the time horizon for your financial goals and the types of returns you need will help greatly in identifying the right balance of investments for you...whether that's £1k or £1m.
We all have to invest to keep up our spending power for the future.
Throughout the London 2016 forum, women shared their personal experiences in managing the big financial moments in their lives and passed forward their hard-won wisdom. Some of the stories were moving in their painful honesty, while others made us laugh or even shocked us. We knew it was only too true that those situations can still happen to women today.
We found strength in our numbers on Friday. We didn't feel so alone in struggling with our individual financial concerns and knew we had found a comfortable place to ask for help and get support. We found practical answers on how to balance our money worries along with practical steps to be in control of our financial future. It was time for us to stop putting others first for a moment, and take a long hard look at our our future financial security.
One of the most poignant pieces of money advice came from the back of the room at the very end of the day. "Pay yourself ladies," one woman shared. "Even if you're not working at the moment and you're thinking you financially relying on your partner, take some of that money and put it away for your future. You absolutely deserve it."
The journey began on Friday for many women at the forum, but it doesn't stop there. We hope to go forward and keep learning together. And that you share what you learn about managing money with your mothers, your sisters, your daughters...and your friends. Your financial future and theirs are at stake. We all need to fund our own journeys.
Isabella Forum brings together smart, ambitious, and forward-thinking women to discover and discuss how best to manage personal money. We've created a safe, friendly environment free of jargon and sales pressure so that you can ask the questions you've always wanted to ask. Follow us on twitter/@isabellaforum or facebook/@isabellaforum.