This consultant started a financial nonprofit to empower women

Stacey Francis

Source: Stacey Francis

Stacey Francis never planned to be a financial advisor, especially one for women who were going through a divorce. But a candid conversation with her grandmother changed her career trajectory.

Her grandmother Myra, a victim of spousal abuse, admitted to staying in her marriage because she felt “financially trapped” before she died.

“That’s what drove me into this field,” said Francis, who founded the savvy ladiesa nonprofit that provides free financial advice and education to women, and her consulting firm Francis Finance in New York.

“This is really my love letter to my grandmother,” she said.

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Francis, CFP, member of CNBC consultant CommitteeFounded Savvy Ladies in 2003 from her workshop in her New York apartment.

Today, the nonprofit is offering free virtual consultations nationwide, regardless of income Financial Hotline Connecting women with pro bono advisors.

Although organized Committed to underprivileged womenFrancis sees limited options for those with modest incomes or assets, such as women starting their first job, getting a divorce or seeking advice from single mothers.

“There’s just a huge number of women who desperately need this kind of financial advice,” she said.

Savvy Ladies has connected more than 600 women with counselors in 2022, with 174 callers in April alone, said Judy Herbst, the group’s executive director.

According to Herbst, nearly half make less than $74,000 a year, and 60 percent of them say they are the only member of the household.

There is a core group of callers in their 40s and older who recognize the importance of building wealth, Herbst said. “They go from debt management and divorce to finally asking ‘how do I invest?'” she said.

Savvy Ladies also collaborates with other nonprofits on events, such as financial education seminars, she said.

Investing is more important for women

Investing in women is not a good thing, it’s a must.

Stacey Francis

Founder of Smart Lady

Women’s assets need to last until age 95, which may require higher returns if they start with less, she said. But for less experienced women, fluctuations tend to trigger more anxiety.

Francis urged women to “tend to invest” to build confidence, whether it’s working with a consultant or an organization like Savvy Ladies, taking a course or reading a book.

“Investing in women is not a good thing, it’s a must,” she said. “The stakes are higher for women.”

Entrepreneurial leap