WIBC2018 Interview with Doris Belland
We recently had a chance to speak with Doris Belland, one of the speakers at the WIBC on March 8th, about her work in the field of financial literacy for women.
WIBC: In May of 2017, you published a book entitled Protect Your Purse, Shared Lessons for Women: Avoid Financial Messes, Stop Emotional Bankruptcies, and Take Charge of Your Money. What prompted you to write it?
DB: The long and the short of it is that I wanted to help women. Throughout my twenties and my early thirties, I experienced a great deal of trauma, both emotional and financial, because of my first husband’s illness. I had walked away from a fully funded PhD to help him in his business since his cancer had diminished his ability to work. When he died at the age of 31, I was left with nearly $400,000 of debt and a mess to clean up. It was like hitting a brick wall at a hundred miles per hour.
Fifteen years later, after growing a real estate investment business and working with dozens of families to help them rebuild their financial lives, it occurred to me that instead of helping families one at a time, I could affect much more positive change if I collected all the lessons I had learned in a book.
My goal, with the book, was to share my lessons learned, as well as those of the thirty-eight divorcees and widows I interviewed, to help all women better protect themselves financially and set themselves up for success. While the book talks a lot about money, it’s about a great deal more than that.
“An absolute must-read for all women. If you think Protect Your Purse does not apply to you, then you need to read this book! Doris is a gifted writer, sharing a hard-to-talk-about subject in an easy-to-read way. The stories are compelling and the advice practical. Invest in yourself. Read this book. Open your eyes. Protect your purse.” – Anjali Dilawri, CPA, CA / Partner,
Logan Katz LLP (Program Sponsor of #WIBC2018)
WIBC: You recently created a Women’s Money Group. Can you tell us about that? What is it and why a money group?
DB: Last fall, I did a research project in which I interviewed seventy-eight women from coast to coast to coast on their financial lives. I wanted to know in which areas of their finances they feel strong versus those areas in which they feel much less confident. Would any trends emerge?
The results confirmed two of three hypotheses, which I’ll discuss during my presentation at WIBC18. What I will say, for now, is that the breadth of questions that women have surprised me. And, more importantly, they have nowhere safe to ask the questions; that is, somewhere where they won’t feel judged or “stupid”.
Initially, I thought that women would mostly want to know about investing and perhaps some core areas of financial literacy, like paying off debt. What they said to me, in aggregate, was “Yes, we want to know about that and this long list of other topics, too.”
By the time I listed all the content that women repeatedly told me they wanted me to teach, my list was up to thirty items and counting! It became clear very early on in my research that I could not address all those topics in one, or even five, workshops.
That’s when a lightbulb went off in my brain. A few years ago, I was President of the Ottawa Real Estate Investors Organization, where investors meet once a month for 11 months of the year, to learn about all aspects of investing. That was it! I would create a membership group based on that format in which we meet in a women-only setting and learn about all areas of finances – mindset, debt elimination, investing, taxes, planning, interest, mortgages, credit scores, you name it – using evidence-based research in a hands-on, interactive environment.
I’m very excited about this! The first meeting is scheduled for February 27th, with subsequent meetings scheduled for the last Tuesday of every month. By this fall, I intend to offer online meetings for those who don’t live in the great Ottawa area. Ultimately, I want to grow a worldwide community of women who are rocking their finances and supporting one another.
WIBC: What advice do you have for women who are interested in learning about finances?
DB: Don’t let fear stop you. Just start. Confidence is an issue for most women and it affects our net worth. The stronger your net worth, the more options you have to protect yourself and thrive when life happens. Start talking about money and finances with your spouse or partner, with your kids, with your friends, with anyone. If the thought of learning about money makes you yawn, that’s OK. Read an article here or there, check out a blog, but just start. The more you learn, the more interesting it gets, I promise!
Really though, understand that you absolutely have the capacity to succeed financially. Find someone to support you and keep moving forward one step at a time. You’ll be glad you did.
Introducing the first meeting for the Women’s Money Group! Join Doris on Tuesday, February 27th, to tackle the first of many money-related topics. Doris will address what she calls the soft but powerful side of money: your money mindset and inheritance.
At this women-only, hands-on event, we’re going to look at the role that your upbringing, inherited beliefs, and money patterns play in helping or hindering your ability to become financially strong. The first meeting is free so book a spot and join in!
NB: Space is limited. Register online here