Jayne Ellegard, an author and the founder of Ellegant Wealth in Plymouth, understands how daunting financial planning can be for women at any stage of life. In her new book, “Financial Empowerment for Women: Your Guide to Courage, Confidence & Wisdom!,” Ellegard provides the tools so that it doesn’t have to be.
Ellegard spent 34 years working with individuals and families, managing their wealth, and gaining experience working at companies like Cargill, Piper Jaffray and U.S. Bank.
In 2019, she left the corporate world and founded Ellegant Wealth, which specializes in educating women on how to take control of their finances. She created a curriculum known as the “Six Pillars to Financial Empowerment” and crafted language that draws women in rather than making them feel excluded.
“This industry has been very male-dominated and masculine. Built for men by men,” Ellegard said. She believes this is part of the reason women haven’t found investing interesting and haven’t engaged in the conversation.
“Women learn collaboratively, so I offered ‘Financial Ellegance for Women’ as a group coaching experience, bringing together eight to 12 women in-person to share their stories and ask their questions in a safe space,” she said. “Seeing the community and the connections between the women and the depth of learning that resulted was absolutely magical.”
Ellegard had completed her fourth offering of this model when the pandemic started and decided to use that time as an opportunity to create a new virtual offering, “Financial Wellness for Women,” and write the book.
“I want this education to be available to as many women as possible and the book allows that to happen,” she said.
Through a series of stories, Ellegard shares the pillars to financial empowerment: explore your money beliefs, establish your financial goals, know your net worth, spend with purpose, learn to speak “investments” and protect and plan.
The book is appropriate for every woman, regardless of age, wealth or financial knowledge, Ellegard explained.
“It provides a roadmap that will open up a whole new financial experience for women,” she said. “Whether you’re looking for financial security, you’re stressed about money, your situation is very simple or incredibly complex, you will benefit from the process this book provides.”
Ellegard said it’s time to change the narrative about becoming financially successful women. “Why not have the courage to be proactive and invest the time learning about a topic that determines your financial future? The pandemic has heightened awareness around how quickly your circumstances can change and how important it is to be prepared for whatever is around the corner.”
The best financial decision she made was to start investing in her retirement right out of college, Ellegard noted. Her mother “had drilled” into her to participate in a 401k plan “no matter what” her financial circumstances were.
She started with the amount her company matched and increased the amount by 1 or 2% until she reached the maximum contribution.
Her husband had been doing the same.
“Knowing that we had the foundation of that nest egg tucked away was what allowed me the confidence to make the leap from the corporate world into entrepreneurship,” she said.
Ellegard wanted to write a financial advisory book that would be inviting and welcoming to women, as well as engaging and fun, she said.
In the book, she shares stories about women who have experienced financial transformation, along with exercises that will encourage readers to think differently about their personal financial journey.
“This book will help you get your arms firmly wrapped around your financial situation,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re just out of college, you recently went through a divorce or lost your husband, you’re thinking about making a change in your marital status, or you lost your job and you can’t breathe. This book will provide you with a simple, easy-to-understand approach so you can comprehend your financial situation.”
Ellegard shared a critique of her book by Richard Davis, former chairman and CEO of U.S. Bank, whom she worked with for 13 years.
“Jayne offers a unique mix of expertise, inspiration, and compassion that will motivate you to get engaged in your financial journey … She is authentic and passionate in her mission to move women forward in a powerful way and she provides ample examples to ‘bring to life some of the best principles for financial leadership … Readers will benefit from her special gift for communicating the essential concepts women need to know when making financial decisions.”