This is an interview with the Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Marianna Olszewski… super inspiring money expert, life coach, and author of the newly released book Live It, Love It, Earn It. Marianna is the embodiment of the American Dream. From a modest start (living over a butcher shop with her parents and four siblings) she climbed her way to the upper echelons of Wall Street as the founder and CEO of Madison Financial Management LLC, a broker-dealer and hedge fund marketing company. Here’s what Marianna has to say on the subject of achieving financial prosperity.
1. Why do you focus on women in both this book and your speaking/ coaching work? Do you think women need different advice or more advice?
Women just think differently about money than men. They make it more emotional than men. Over the past few years, woman after woman has come to me filled with anxiety and fear. Some of these women were in such high debt that they couldn’t sleep at night. I really wanted to share with them the ability to recreate their lives – I was there once, too. I was that same person, and I changed my life. Also, women need to look at their lives and examine why they feel they have a struggle around money – wanting it, making it, and having it. I’m here to tell them is ok, it’s good.
2. If a person could read only 1 chapter of your book, which should it be?
Chapter Six, “Claim Your Power.” This chapter talks about taking your power back around money, people, places and things. I believe it starts with a strong belief in yourself and owning your power. It’s about saying I’m not the victim any more. I’m going to live the life of my dreams. I love all the chapters in the book, but this one gives you the tools to identifying what’s draining you. It also teaches how to release the power that worry has over you.
3. As you’ve marketed this book & spoken to women about money what’s the most common personal finance question you’ve been getting over the past 6 months?
How to get out of debt. Across my coaching classes and seminars, 8 out of 10 women ask about how to get out of debt. Mostly it is credit card debt. Some of it is foreclosure related. And a lot of it is IOUs to everyone from the hairdresser t to the person who helped build their website. I tell them the first step to getting out of debt is that you have to stop taking on new debt. The biggest tool for that is understanding why you are taking on the debt in the first place. A lot of women deal with their emotions through shopping. The second thing I tell them, which is so big, is that you have to make peace with debt, you have to be grateful for what it brought into your life. Once you shift from anger to acceptance and gratitude, then you can move on. It’s just like with an ex – if you are still angry about the past, there is not space for someone new to come into your life.
4. Do you think the increased interest we’re seeing in savings right now will continue when the economy turns?
Women say they are all saving but they still have tons of debt, often that they are only paying the minimum on. We have to get through all this personal debt. Until we get over that debt we can’t really save.
5. If a woman is getting started learning about personal finance, after reading Live It, Love It, Earn It, what else do you recommend she do to self-educate?
Get a couple of friends that also want wealth and prosperity and create an abundance group. You can start with as few as 2-3 people. Go over the exercises in Live It, Love It, Earn It. Say what you are grateful for. State your 3 biggest financial desires. When you share those thoughts with another woman you open up to the universe. Say, “I want to make XX amount this year, I want to go on a vacation,” etc. Some women can’t even voice that. But it’s so powerful when you do.
6. As you’ve built out your business, what 2 or 3 habits have helped you the most in balancing it all?
A strong belief in myself – if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. It’s simple but true
Persistence – I’m very persistent, if someone says no I keep trying. If I fail I try again.Persistence is so key.
Action – You can never take too much action. Take as much as you can. Many women are afraid to ask for what they want and go for what they want. It’s nicer in society if we don’t ask for what we want. The most important thing in life is to ask for what you want.
7. You talk about flow in your book – how to you personally get in the state of flow?
Follow my passion, if you do something that you really enjoy doing and do it well you get in flow. When I was 13 years old I never played house, I played office. My flow is money, business, finance. It’s my passion. When I deal with my finances or hedge funds, I am in my flow, I’m connected, and I just love it. Once you follow your passion, creative things come out of that.
8. What advice do you have to women starting a business and looking for a mentor?
I tell anyone starting a business to find 1-3 people who have gone through it 10 to 15 years ahead of them, that have the time to give back, and to slowly befriend them and learn about their experiences. Let the relationship build gradually, and if you aren’t getting a response, move on.
9. You say “NO is a complete sentence” – why is that word so darn hard for so many of us women to use?
Women are very generous and giving. We are always saying yes to everyone. We want to help everyone. We’ll stay late to help the boss, to help anyone. We want to be of help and of service. It’s hard to say no because we don’t want to hurt anyone. 10. Five years from now, where do you see yourself professionally? And how can women keep track of what you are up to? I see myself writing a few more books – one on couples & money and one on mommies & money. I also see myself lecturing and helping women, and maybe creating a foundation to help mentor women. Right now I’m working with Dress for Success, a wonderful organization. They will be using Live It, Love It, Earn It in a financial education program they are launching in cities across 13 different states. My vision is to help women through more charitable and mentoring type programs. To keep track of what I’m doing, visit www.LiveItLoveItLearnIt.com, it’s updated regularly with my upcoming events.
(You can also follow Marianna on Twitter at @LiveLoveEarn)