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After a 24-year career in broadcast journalism, Stacey Adams sought another challenge. She left her job as an anchorwoman for WINK-TV in 2015 and began working as a financial representative for Alliance Financial Group the same year. Her new profession has a personal connection. After noticing how her mother was financially unprepared when her father died, Adams made it a priority to help women navigate the world of finance.

“I want women to feel empowered,” she says. “I want them to realize they can do this.”Adams has long pushed against gender-related barriers. She played football in high school and now works in an industry where just over one-third of personal financial advisers are female, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There’s also a pay disparity: In 2017, male personal financial advisers earned $1,714 in weekly median earnings, compared to $953 for women, the bureau reported.Adams created her own brand, RICH (Retire In Confidence and Harmony), saying that she wants females to “own” the word “rich.”

Did you know that you wanted to focus on helping women in finance?

Having seen my mom go through it, I felt like women were very underserved. There were not enough women in the industry itself, so there was a big need.

What is one common financial mistake that you see women making?

It’s hard to break it down to one. They don’t save enough and they don’t know how much to save, they borrow their protections [benefits from work] and they keep waiting. Stop putting it off.

What are some financial abuse warning signs that women should be aware of?

I think you have to look around and start to [examine], “What’s in my name? What’s in my name in this relationship?” If everything is in their spouse’s name, that’s a big red flag. It needs to be joint, and you need to have some of your own. Even if … [single-name investments are] done with the best of intentions, it doesn’t mean that it was an evil plot to begin with, but it is a slippery slope.

You know, women today, we work, we earn our own money. There is no reason to not have assets in your name, to not have things jointly in your and your husband’s name. But you do need to make sure you are creating your own financial future.

What is the best piece of financial advice that you have received?

Savings will always trump any rate of return that you’re chasing. Saving on a consistent and ongoing basis. It’s back to basics, which is pay yourself first. In retirement, the financial institution that you paid so well—whether it be on a credit card or student loan or all those things—is not going to come back and say, “You were such a great customer, let me give you a loan for retirement.” You need to be a line item in your budget, and it’s not negotiable. I’d like people to save 20 percent of their gross income, but if you can’t today, start with 5 [percent]. 

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