The Importance of Professional and Financial Independence for Young Women

According to Linda Lewis Griffith, marriage and family therapist, young women are faced with a barrage of decisions between the ages of 18 and 24, ranging from those that are career-related to those that are financially-related. To complicate matters, these life events generally coincide with the advent of serious romantic relations, marriage and child rearing. Although these matters of the heart can certainly be thrilling, they can also prove distracting.

During her time as a therapist, Griffith has dealt with “many well-intentioned females [who] have curtailed their plans and futures when a man came into their lives.” The fog of romance may cause women to drastically alter their goals for their careers and education. According to Griffith, in some cases, their “lives go terribly awry when Mr. Right turns out to be oh-so-wrong.” When relationships fizzle, these women may be left unemployed or without financial prospects.

The recent Sex and the City movie touted female financial independence through the powerful and self-sufficient characters of Samantha Jones and Miranda Hobbs. However, financial help for women who suddenly find themselves boyfriendless and jobless would appear fairly bleak if the best resource for advice was through the silver screen. Janet Hanson felt the same way when she decided to create 85 broads, a “network of trailblazing, visionary women who aspire to use their talent and leadership savvy to affect professional, educational, economic, and cultural change for all women globally.”

Hanson was gainfully employed at Goldman and Sachs on Wall Street as the firm’s first female sales manager and, subsequently, vice president. Deciding to take on the position of take-home mom, Hanson quit after 14 years at the firm and found herself in a “horrible sense of disconnection.” She decided to establish a network for women, utilizing the mantra that “The only way to shatter the so-called glass ceiling is to stand on each other’s shoulders.”

85 broads is composed of women who “are passionate about using their intellectual capital to effect change globally.” Although the network was originally made up of current and former Goldman Sachs women professionals, it is now open to women students and alumnae of American universities. 85 broads has implemented mentoring initiatives with these campuses to provide young women with financial and career advice.

If you are a young woman juggling the demands of both career/financial decisions and domestic concerns , remember that there is such a thing as a work/life balance. Don’t forget your own goals or dreams, and find ways to protect yourself financially if you are sharing a financial life with a partner. Visit the WISER website to find fact sheets that can offer you insight on managing your financial responsibilities in a way that will allow you to avoid depending on your partner. To learn more about 85 broads, you can visit www.85broads.com

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