A conference women can’t afford to miss

I’m excited to be presenting a keynote at the 2014 Money Smart Women Conference this Saturday, April 5, at Monona Terrace. The event goes from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (registration at 8:30 a.m./$35 door registration). The event offers nine breakout sessions, a plated lunch, chair yoga, a pampering room, prizes, and another keynote by Chariti Gent. There’s still time to pre-register, ladies, and yes, you can also come as a walk-in, though the cost is less if you pre-register.

I’m an enthusiastic participant because I’m energized by the idea of women living their best lives, and I personally believe that the surest way to achieve that is by cultivating control over our own destinies. Learning how to pilot your own plane — whether you are single, married, or divorced — is central to functioning better in each of those scenarios. We’ll be addressing not only financial considerations, but also relational, intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs and wants. Think of the conference as a chance to retool coming off a hard, long winter.

Facts that will NOT be presented in my keynote (I don’t like sneak previews of my work):

  • In 2012, 46.5 million people were living in poverty in the United States — the largest number in the 54 years the Census has measured poverty. Sadly, one in three American women (42 million) are living in poverty or right on the brink of poverty. People whose incomes are 50% below the poverty level live in deep poverty; in 2012, that definition applied to 20.4 million Americans.
  • Almost 70% of the poor elderly are women. Six in 10 are widows. For women living in poverty on Social Security, divorce is the reason cited in 20% of the hardship cases. Summary: A husband is not a reliable retirement plan.
  • Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. Pregnancy carries an opportunity cost for women: 75% of unmarried mothers are under age 30, and only 7% have finished college. When a low-family-income father bails on a mother — who then lives in much more dire poverty — we see an emerging “father-go-round” as she scrambles to find another man to help lift her up.
  • The average white woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes; African American women earn only 64 cents and Hispanic women only 55 cents for every dollar made by a white man. In 2011, men with bachelor’s degrees earned more than women with graduate degrees.

If you have $35 to go to the conference, the poverty statistics likely don’t apply to you … today. But how many paychecks are you away from a change in lifestyle? How many emergency charges could you put on your credit card before you are maxed out? What would your financial outlook be if your partner (or support network) suffered a catastrophic illness or death? Could you relocate if you lost your housing due to a natural disaster or financial loss tomorrow?



If you are comfortable that you can weather all of these storms, why not invite (as your guest) someone you think would benefit from a little coaching and support?

More central to my interactive keynote (which, again, I want to be a surprise), and central to the overall conference, is this question — which does apply to you: How can you best pilot the journey to reach your aspirations and dreams? This is a relevant exploration, whether you make minimum wage or you’ve broken through the glass ceiling.

This, too, is your opportunity to discover a sisterhood devoted to the betterment of all women. Claim your seat in that audience. I promise you will be inspired to make a significant change in your life after attending the sessions and — bonus — the pampering you’ll get is heaven sent. Register today! 

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