Close your eyes. Picture where you want to be a year from now. Five years from now. Forty years from now. What do you need to make that happen?
We want to help you make your money dreams a reality. That’s why Ellevest’s online investing platform is goal-based — you tell us what your financial goals are and when you want to hit them, and then we’ll suggest an investment plan designed to help you slay.
Of course, investing comes with risk, so nothing’s guaranteed. But investing has historically been more powerful than saving alone, and Ellevest’s projections show you the amount we estimate you’ll end up within 70% (or more) of market scenarios going forward.
So let’s do some dreaming.
Your rainy-day fund
What your savings is now: Intentions? Good. Reality? Let’s go with “working on it.”
Maybe you have some savings in an account that you started one day when you were feeling inspired. And maybe you usually resist the urge to “borrow” from that savings when things get tight, but some moments have been more tempting than others. (Hi, tapas night.) After all, you can always pay yourself back later.
But maybe you read something recently about how a financial emergency can swoop in and cause utter chaos. And you’re determined to save more … tomorrow.
Enter: Ellevest’s Emergency Fund goal, which helps you to gradually save up three to six months’ worth of take-home pay in cash.
What your savings could be like in one year: You’ve got several months’ worth of your take-home pay stashed away in a designated emergency fund, waiting to back you up if (when) something goes wrong. It feels really good knowing that you have a security blanket — and you’re ready for whatever.
Your living situation
What your home is now: Maybe you have two roommates who are mostly great, but who also occasionally don’t clean up after themselves and/or invite unexpected overnight visitors. It’s annoying enough that you’ve started thinking you want to move when the lease is up — but coming up with the cash for a security deposit would not be fun.
Or maybe you and your partner are dreaming of owning your own place together someday. Or maybe you’re starting to plan for kids, and you’re definitely going to need more space. Or maybe it would just be nice to have a shorter commute … and a functional garbage disposal … or even just like ten more square feet of living space.
Enter: Ellevest’s A Place to Call Home goal, which helps you invest toward a home down payment with a default timeline of six years (although you can always change our plans’ timelines to fit your goals).
What your home could be like in six years: You walk through the front door of your home (which you own) and hang your stuff in the coat closet (which you own).
Hear that? That’s the sound of ~not having roommates.~ Or maybe it’s the sound of your fur baby running to greet you as you come in the door. Or maybe it’s your custom sound system playing that song you love so much. Or a kiddo. Whatever it is, it’s home.
Your kiddo’s future
Your family sitch now: Maybe you just welcomed a tiny human into your home (congrats!), or maybe you’re planning to someday. Kids are unbelievably cute, but you know that they’re probably also going to cost you a lot of money when they get old enough to start doing things that … you know … cost money.
You want to afford whatever they’ll need. But also, you’re now ridiculously busy (and tired), so you’ll figure out how you’ll pay for them … someday.
Enter: Ellevest’s Kids Are Awesome goal, which helps you invest to build a fund for
things like summer camp, extracurriculars, etc., with a default timeline of six years.
What your family sitch could be like in six years: That munchkin is very cute, especially when you’re taking copious videos of them on the soccer field. Or the ballet stage. Or the dojo. Or all of the above — you may have a prodigy on your hands, tbh.
Your job now: It’s … fine. You guess. It pays the bills. But you aren’t exactly passionate about what you’re doing, and you don’t wake up excited to go to work every day. You’ve got this itch that says you were always meant to work for yourself.
But you’re probably not quite ready to make the move yet. That genius business idea still needs some testing. Plus, if you quit your job now, you’d be quite broke.
Enter: Ellevest’s Start a Business goal, which helps you invest to pay yourself two years’ worth of salary so you can take that leap. It has a default timeline of five years.
What your job could be like in five years: HEY ENTREPRENEUR. You left that blah job and set off on your own. Your new company has a name and a prospective audience, and your fundraising process is underway. You’re on top of the world. You’re unstoppable. You’re the boss.
That one thing you’ve been dreaming of
Your birthday this year: Four words: “drinks with the girls.” (Another two: “frozen margaritas.” No use denying it.) You’re surrounded by people who love you and who you love back, and life is good.
But that upcoming milestone birthday? That one, you want it to be big. You and the girls will go all out … if you can swing it financially, that is.
Enter: Ellevest’s Big Splurge goal, which lets you invest toward … whatever it is you want. No default timeline; it’s however long you have left until you’ll need the money.
What your birthday could be like on your next milestone: The sound you hear? It’s the voices of your absolute favorite people as you chat away the afternoon sipping wine and eating cheese in a villa in the south of France. (Or trail hiking in Patagonia. Or on a private island anywhere.) You’ve been here for four days, and you have three more ahead of you. Life is goooooood.
Your future grandma self
Your retirement account now: It’s there. It has some money in it. Maybe you’re contributing enough to get your employer match, but you aren’t sure if that’s enough. You’re guessing that you should probably be doing more, but … it’s not exactly the most urgent thing you have to think about, moneywise. And how are you even supposed to know how much you’ll need?
Enter: Ellevest’s Retirement on My Terms goal, which helps you plan and invest for retirement using a super special algorithm that takes your real-life info like your age, income, earning power, and gender into account.
What your actual retirement could look like: You are doing whatever your heart desires. Maybe that means you moved somewhere where you can read by the beach every day. Maybe you’re traveling the world. Maybe you’re pursuing lifelong passions and learning something new each day. Maybe you never retired at all — because you seriously love your job — but you’re doing it differently these days. Maybe you have lots of grandkids you spoil rotten. Maybe you’re on a couple of boards of directors. Maybe you’re doing some other really freaking cool stuff like this or like this. (Or maybe, in fact likely, more than one of the above.)
Your financial confidence
How you feel about money now: Maybe you have a love-hate relationship with your money. On the one hand, you’re already doing some good things for yourself. (Truly — why else would you be reading this?)
But maybe thinking and talking about money makes you feel a little squirmy. Because you’re sure that you could be doing more for your future self, but you just haven’t figured out what that is yet. And it’s easy to put it off. (Guess what: You’re not alone.)
Enter: Ellevest’s Build Wealth goal, which helps you invest to just bump up that net worth. It has a default timeline of 20 years. According to our research, the act of saving and investing is the #1 driver of women’s confidence in their future. Meaning just getting started can help you feel good about where you’re going.
How you could feel about money after you start investing: You started with just a few dollars a month, and then you gradually worked your way up (like a boss). Now, you’re doing Future You a favor by investing a good chunk of your paycheck every month. You feel great about your money choices, because you know that you’re making smart moves.
Spoiler alert: These life upgrades don’t have to be just dreams. You can get started right now. In fact, it just takes minutes.
“I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.”
I DO NOT work with products or services that I don’t honestly believe in.
It wasn’t that long ago that women had no say in what was done with the finances. Men made, spent it, saved it, and doled it out. Some even had the nerve to call it an allowance to buy groceries for the family.
Over the years while much has changed some things haven’t. Women may make their own money, they may even pay their own way, but we still act as if money is a four-letter word. That needs to change if we’re ever going to consider ourselves equal to men.
Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder & CEO of Ellevest has this to say about money:
Talking money is hardly romantic, but it’s totally necessary for any serious relationship. Whether you’ve got a ring on it, are domestically partnered, or sure you’re in it for the long haul —regular money talks are a must.
As we grew up we were taught that it was not polite to talk about money. It was hidden behind a shroud of secrecy that didn’t do any of us any good. Even some of the smartest women make huge mistakes when it comes to money. It’s an ongoing process where you have to be flexible and able to pivot quickly.
Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder & CEO of Ellevest, who spent years in the finance industry had this to say about her very own finances:
“After my divorce, I had to deal with the painful and embarrassing realization that while I made my living working in finance, I had no clue what my ex had done with our money during our marriage. (Believe me, I still shake my head when I think about it.)”
I’m partnering up with Ellevest.com to not only broaden my own horizons and become money-wise but to share with you important facts that you may need to know to make smart financial decisions as women & as entrepreneurs. Whatever our career choices we need the facts to live our best lives.
Ellevest is a company co-founded by Sallie Krawcheck. It’s an investment company geared especially toward women like us. Women that want to make smart, informed decisions about the life we want to live.
After years in the financial industry, she had her “a-ha” moment when she realized that investing has always been for men and by men. She has made it her mission to change that. Ellevest is comprised of a diverse group such as Financial specialist, engineers, entrepreneurs, and many, many more.
69% of Ellevest team members are women
73% of our leadership team are women
37% of the Ellevest team are people of color
According to the NY Times, women were 80% more likely than men to be impoverished by 65 & older, while women 75-79 were three times more likely to fall below the poverty level. I want to change this future. I want to change my future and now is the time to do it.
Ellevest allows you to create your own financial investment plan absolutely free. If you dream of that restaurant of your very own, or maybe you want to go back to school, or visit Istanbul you need to make a plan and set financial goals the right way.
Ellevest can teach you how and did I mention that it’s FREE? I mentioned earlier that I’m partnering with Ellevest to bring this information to you. If you create your own free financial plan I will earn a small commission from the company. If you decide to check it out and create your own plan please use this unique link so that I may get credit. I really appreciate it. As always, I’m very opinionated and brutally honest. If I thought it was a waste of time I wouldn’t be involved.
I think it’s time we took control of our own financial destiny and not leave it to the men any longer. What do you think? Do you have a financial long term plan? Do you have a dream that you want to fulfill? Let me know in the comments below.
“I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.”
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.
They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.
Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.
Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market.
Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? There’s an easy fix.
Step 1: Survey your market
All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.
The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion.
Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.
Step 2: Create your opt-in
Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.
Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:
- Resource guides
- Video training
- Audio downloads
Step 3: Map out your autoresponder
Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.
Step 4: Make an offer
Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.
Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your coaching offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your coaching offer is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.
Before you post your first opt-in code, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.
Ready to start building out your sales funnels? There are just a few things you need before you can get started. Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels:
Lead Pages—when it comes to building opt-in pages, LeadPages.net is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. They’ve tracked and tested a variety of page styles to determine which ones convert best, and they make it easy for you to build similar pages for your funnel.
It does come with a monthly fee, though, so before investing, you’ll want to be sure you can recoup your investment.
Instabuilder—similar to LeadPages, but without the monthly investment. Instabuilder is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create your own funnels. It includes several funnel templates and a drag-and-drop page builder that makes it easy to get just the look you want.
AWeber—Probably the easiest email manager on the market today, AWeber is the choice for many small business owners, not only because it’s simple to use, but because it’s also economical. Starting at less than $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers, AWeber offers both autoresponders and broadcast emails, list automation, and segmenting, so you can send emails exactly when—and to whom—you want.
AW Pro Tools—an add-on to AWeber, AW Pro Tools gives you added control over your list management by automatically removing unsubscribes, moving subscribers from one list to another based on the link they click, and other useful automations.
PayPal—The simplest of all payment processors, PayPal allows you to take payments online for a very reasonable fee. It will also act as a simple shopping cart.
Ontraport—Another email manager, Ontraport offers shopping cart functionality as well, so you can create powerful funnels that are fully integrated with your sales process. The benefit here is that you don’t have to try to synch your cart with your email system, since it’s completely self-contained.
Infusionsoft—Probably the top tool for any business model, Infusionsoft is an all-in-one solution for customer management, funnel setup, mailing list, and even membership sites. It’s priced at the high end, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.
You can see that you have a lot of options when it comes to building out your sales funnels, but what are the must-have items? At the most basic level, you must have:
A way to create web pages. A simple WordPress website will fill this need, with a little bit of work. LeadPages or Instabuilder are nice to have, but not essential, especially if you’re just getting started.
A way to capture email addresses. AWeber is definitely the top choice here, but others include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact.
A shopping cart. PayPal is as easy as it gets when it comes to shopping carts, but other options include 1 Shopping Cart, Woo Commerce, Infusionsoft, and aMember.
I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework as simply as you can, using tools that don’t cost a fortune. Once you have a few funnels up and running, you will be able to see where they can use improvement, and how the tools available to you can help make your funnels convert better and work more efficiently.
For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.
As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.
A Simple Sales Funnel
At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.
Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.
Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.
Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.
How Your Funnel Works
If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.
Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the most loyal of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.
Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.
Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering sales funnel in depth. Want to keep up? Sign up for my email list and you’ll get it first!
Do you use a sales funnel? Do you recognize one when you see it?
As women, we often put aside our own: health, wants, dreams, & hopes for our spouses, for what society says we should be doing, or for the “better-ment” of the family. Even though I know what a huge mistake this is, I’ve been guilty of it myself for far too long.
Even if you have a wonderful marriage and divorce isn’t anywhere on the horizon or even in your hemisphere things happen. Life happens. You know that old saying, “If you want a good laugh, tell God your plans.”
I grew up like most of you did. My dad worked and my mom stayed home taking care of us kids. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we weren’t struggling either. I had four brothers, three of whom were older and out of the house. My parents were in their 40’s, much like my husband and I are now.
It was a normal Friday in May, sunny and mild when my father stuck his head inside my bedroom door and shouted “Snow Day! No school today we’re having a snow day!” I was 15 and you didn’t have to tell me twice. My younger brother and I watched that big yellow bus go by thinking we were so lucky!
Eight hours later my father died from a massive heart attack and our lives were never the same again. I don’t just mean the gut-wrenching loss of my dad, but even the mundane daily stuff that we never paid attention to before. When you’re in your 40’s you don’t think much about dying. Well, at least my parents didn’t, but they had never been big on planning things out.
My mom woke up that Saturday morning as the sole decision maker, breadwinner, & a widower with two teenagers at home. She not only had to figure out how to bury my father with no insurance, but also keep the house, and raise her kids.
I always said my life would be different, but as we grow older we tend to take the path of least resistance. The days go by in a haze of soccer games, dinners, and laundry and before you know it 40 is staring back at you from your bedroom mirror and you’re no more prepared than she was back in 1985.
Then my brother-in-law died with no insurance and we struggled to come up with the money to bury him. It was so bad that my stubborn husband went out and dug his brother’s grave to save money. Don’t ask…it was a very dark time, but we learned something very important.
A few weeks later we were the owners of two bright, shiny new life insurance policies and two gravesites. We thought that was it. We were responsible, we were smart, we still didn’t have a clue. Those things are VERY important but financial freedom means a lot more than just two pieces of dirt and a sheet of paper.
I’m on a mission to find out what it means to be financially secure because those two words have never gone together in my world. My parents grew up with nothing. I mean NOTHING. My mom’s family grew or hunted their food & my father was an orphan by the time he was 4.
My parents were the first generation to ever see a city of more than a few thousand. I’ve written before about the lives of my ancestors and it’s not a pretty picture. Not only was it one of the poorest times in our country (the depression), but also one of the poorest places in our country(Kentucky).
They couldn’t teach us about money because they didn’t know about money. They spent what my dad made on a little house and five mouths to feed. Their years of having little paving the way for a long road of shiny new object syndrome. Until at 46 years old my father had a heart attack and died. Forty-six. Think about what you were doing at 46. What would happen to your family if you died suddenly on a random Friday morning at the age of 46?
Even worse, imagine a world where you were alive, but unable to take care of yourself. How would your family function if God forbid, you had to have round the clock care or expensive therapies? How would your loved one earn a living and be a caretaker too? What would your kids have to give up? college?
What if you have big dreams about the second half of your life. Travel around the world or maybe owning your own restaurant. How do you create that strong foundation to be able to live out your dreams when you’ve finally met all of your responsibilities. We’re married, we’re single, we’re homosexual, we’re L.G.B. or T. We’re black, we’re white, but WE ARE ALL FEMALE. Whatever it is that we are in our lives we’re already far behind in one of the most important things we need to survive. MONEY.
It takes us longer hours, more days of the weeks, and more years in college to make less pay and even fewer promotions. This isn’t going to change overnight. What we’re going to have to do is educate ourselves on making our money work both smarter & harder.
We have to make better choices and we can’t do that if we don’t even know what those choices are. We need to be strategic in not only how we spend our money, but how we save it and make it grow at a healthy rate. I don’t know about you, but I have no clue what this looks like.
According to CNN Money:
- Women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made in 2016.
- When you take a career-long view, the gap hinders wealth building. Based on the 2015 wage gap, a 20-year-old female entering the work force full time will lose $418,800 over a 40-year career compared to a male worker, according to the NWLC.
- The gender pay gap is much larger among African American and Hispanic female workers.
Hispanic women made 54 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earned, which means they will lose more than a million dollars over a 40-year career based on today’s wage gap, according to the
- Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns, meaning they will typically lose more than $840,000 over a 40-year career.
Asian female workers are faring the best at narrowing the gap. They make 85 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes.
- The gap is often larger among higher-paying jobs, according to Hegewisch.
Personal financial advisers had the biggest gender wage gap last year, according to a report from IWPR. The study did find occupations where women earned more than men. Those occupations included counselors; teachers assistants; combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food; and sewing machine operators.
What this tells me is we have to stretch our dollars even further to get what we want. That means investing the money we do make. Just saving it isn’t going to grow that nest egg.
So with a little help, I’m going to learn about investing and I’m going to share that with all of you in small bits and pieces (in a way that doesn’t make you want to stab me in the eye). Because as female entrepreneurs we owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves on what it takes to achieve financial freedom on our own terms.
Working women contribute to healthier economies and societies yet we still have to contend with challenges like the gender pay gap. We can’t fight for equality if we don’t know what equal should look like and the worst thing we can do for ourselves and our businesses is to make financial decisions based on fear.