‘What Should Women Want from Their Money?’ asks Today Show’s Financial Editor Jean Chatzky at United Way Women’s Leadership Breakfast

White Plains, N.Y, (December 2019) – The award-winning financial editor of NBC’s TODAY Show Jean Chatzky told the audience at the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council’s Breakfast, that women were doing better financially, but the wage gap between men and women is not forecasted to close for a hundred years.

“We are still the caregivers — at a cost in lost wages, pensions and Social Security credits of over $300,000 per person on average.  And we are still outliving men by an average of about 5 years. Add in a divorce, a job loss, the rough ride through the great recession many people have yet to recover from and other financial stresses,’’ said Chatzky, founder and CEO of HerMoney.com.

Chatzky was the special guest at the United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Annual “Take a Walk in Her Shoes” Celebration of Women in Philanthropy held December 10 at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill in Tarrytown. The program raises money for women and children living on the financial edge in Westchester and Putnam counties. This year’s program honored Jean Marie Connolly of Altium Wealth, a highly regarded business leader, who was presented with the 2019 Woman of Distinction Award.  The program was emceed by Mecca Santana, Senior Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations at Westchester Medical Center and a United Way board member.

Liz Bracken-Thompson, partner with Thompson & Bender and 2017’s Woman of Distinction, presented the award. She said Connolly not only contributed her time, talents and financial acumen to so many worthy causes in Westchester, but herself was a single working mother at one time. “It is particularly fitting that we honor her today in light of the United Way’s ALICE $ense Initiative, a financial empowerment program to help struggling families learn to better manage their money,’’ said Bracken-Thompson. “You might think that the ‘Jean connection’ to this program is because of her financial expertise, well it is, but Jean also has a personal connection: She worked her way up from the bottom in the banking world as a single mom. It wasn’t easy. She just made it look that way.’’

Chatzky left her guests with some advice and some investment tips.

“It’s time to stop doubting ourselves, to stop spinning ourselves into knots, to stop overanalyzing,’’ she said.

The five things needed to have a successful life, according to Chatzky are:

1) You have to earn money;
2) You have to spend less than you make;
3) You have to invest the money you’re not spending so that it can work as hard for you as you’re working for yourself;
4) You have to protect your financial world with insurance and a basic estate plan.
5) You have to give back.  Nothing else makes humans feel quite as good.

It is not about doing these things once, Chatzky noted. “You have to do them over and over again… rinse and repeat.”

Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, explained how stark the need is for the ALICE population, those in the community for people living at the margins.  “10% of our neighbors live in poverty and another 30% live paycheck to paycheck.  60% have less than $500 in savings and cannot weather a challenge like a car repair or a medical bill, let alone a tragedy like a job loss, eviction of death in the family.”   And while we thanked everyone for their support and generosity through the event, he encouraged everyone to continue to make a difference saying, “We have to do better as a society, if not for humanistic and compassionate reasons, then for the economic ones like prosperous and vibrant communities.”

Proceeds from the Women’s Leadership Council breakfast go to support UWWP’s Teach Me to Fish program, which provides job skills training and support for the chronically unemployed and ALICE $ense, which helps families build personal savings, and better manage spending to achieve long-term financial stability.

Sponsors of this year’s event were PURE Insurance, IBM, Altium Wealth, KeyBank, and M&T Bank.