I left a career in media to become a financial advisor.

It may sound crazy, but it was time.  The industry that I loved and grew up in professionally has dramatically changed over the years.  But more importantly, I no longer was feeling fulfilled.

Prior to a five-year stint as an accountant with Ernst & Young, I spent over 20 years as a journalist in print, online and behind the camera. 

I was there when Jim Cramer decide to put financial news on the “world wide web,” back in 1996, when he launched TheStreet.com

I was there when FOX News decided to launch a business channel in 2007 and stayed on as an anchor/reporter for almost 10 years.

I’ve had columns in publications like the NY Post, wsj.com and Entrepreneur.

I have won two journalism awards and wrote a book.

And then one day, it just wasn’t enough.

I had reported through the financial crisis and watched friends lose their life savings. I have watched women step out of the workforce to raise their kids and come back behind the proverbial 8-ball. 

And I had recently done some concentrated reporting on women and investing (or lack thereof).  And I knew that the hundreds of personal finance pieces I had written over the years – or the hundred more I could write — just weren’t going to make a difference.

Because the statistics were dumbfounding.

  • There is a severe lack of women in the financial advisory industry. To make matters worse, the average age of a the mostly male financial advisors is 51 and close to 40% of them are expected to retire in the next 10 years, according to Cerulli Associates[.
  • The transfer of wealth from men to women over the next ten years is exorbitant.  Women are expected to control two-thirds of private wealth by 2020 and yet, in many instances, she barely knows her current advisor because he has been dealing with her spouse the whole time.
  • Here’s the part that hurts my stomach: A whopping 56% of married women still leave investment decisions to their husbands, according to Own Your Worth, a recent study by UBS Financial Services..
  • Or worse – 61% of millennial women do too – more so than any generation, according to the same study. (What?!)

And after listening to female friends of all professional levels talk flippantly, and almost unabashedly, about their lack of knowledge in finance, I had enough.

If women truly want independence, they need financial independence. And this dislocation bothered me. I couldn’t sleep.

Granted I was simultaneously frustrated with the media industry.  Between fake news and the rush to break news, I think the art of journalism is dying a slow death.

Plus, maybe you hit a point in life where you really want your work to matter. That making a difference in one person’s life matters way more than getting your face in front of hundreds (or even millions) at time.

Or maybe as a mother – we just tend to worry about everyone. 

What I do know is…we all do well, when we all do well.

So I made the leap. And after much researching, I leapt to a firm that cares as much about women and their financial health as I do.

And trust me, I understand that my MBA in Accounting and years of covering personal finance aren’t enough to hang my own shingle.

No woman is an island so I latched on to a team that, not only could help me grow, but that I was proud to be a part of.  I joined a team I would introduce to my mom.

So I sleep at night now. Because my heart knows this is the right move.

Because if I didn’t have a financial independence, I couldn’t have raised my 3 fabulous kids alone for the last 13 years.

Because divorce is on the rise and men often die first.[

Because more women are opting out of parenting and into the boardroom and they need to prepare for the future.

Because it is just time – for all of us.
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Author(s)

  • Tracy Byrnes

    Financial Advisor in the Private Wealth Group at UBS Financial Services

    Prior to joining UBS Financial Services, Byrnes was in financial media for 20 years.  She spent almost 10 years as an anchor/reporter for FOX News and Fox Business.  She has been a columnist for TheStreet.com, wsj.com and the NY Post.  She is the author of Break Down Your Money: How to Get Beyond the Noise and Profit in the Market. She holds an MBA in Accounting and is an adjust professor at Fordham University.