Our advisor this week is Shannah Compton Game.
Shannah Compton Game, MBA, CFP®, is the Founder and Chief Millennial Financial Strategist at Your Millennial Money, as well as a Lecturer in Finance at California State University Northridge, CFP Board Media Ambassador, and Creator of Millennial Money Podcast weekly series on iTunes.
Shannah has been recognized with the “Outstanding Young Californian Award,” “40 Under 40” by InvestmentNews, and Finalist for “Best Entrepreneur.”
I had the opportunity to chat with Shannah and hear her best financial tips, her greatest professional achievements, and her thoughts on the reported shortage of women in the financial services industry.
Why did you decide to work in the financial industry?
I didn’t start in the financial industry initially; I got here through an interesting path.
I started my first business when I was 19 in college. It was a non-profit film festival, Hometown Cinema, featuring the films of students across the country. I was able to cut fees, budget for the festival and started saving. I ran the festival for 5 years and then ended up selling it.
I realized through Hometown Cinema that I had a skill for budgeting and started thinking about a career in finance. My father was in the financial industry, so I was always aware of the world of finance. I eventually got my masters in business and finance. I decided to focus my career on working with millennials, women, and the entrepreneurial aspect of smart money moves.
How long have you worked in the financial industry?
It’s been about 12 or 13 years now.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
I’d like to think of my greatest professional achievement as actually two.
The first would be helping people achieve their dreams. People are coming to me saying that they would love to be able to take a year off and travel, start their own business, or start a family. What is amazing about my job is that I help people create a roadmap so that they can reach their goals.
The second would be starting my podcast Millennial Money. I get about 75,000 listeners from all over the world each month! This has shown me how much people are really craving solutions to their answers. Creating a podcast has taken half creativity and half expertise. In addition to discussing finance, I also talk about things like travel and lifestyle.
Going off of that, could be the same, but what achievement are you most proud of?
The achievement I’m most proud of is learning that there are lots of different ways for a female to work in the financial industry.
Everyone has tried to put me in a particular box, and people will continue to do this with female advisors. I’ve learned to be myself, embrace what I’m really good at, and have no apology for it. I don’t wear suits and I have funky short hair; this is the way I like to do life! It’s been all about learning how I can step into myself, my abilities and realize it’s good to be different.
How do you define success?
I think of success as more of a feeling. I ask myself the question: am I able to use my skills and talents effectively, have a balanced lifestyle, and travel? It’s all about being happy with who you are and where you are in this very moment. On top of that, ensuring that you always have goals and striving for the next big thing.
What leader inspires you?
I’d have to say my husband actually! I’m a strong, independent woman, but I still need a person to be a grounding force in my life, and my husband is that person. The last couple years he has been really amazing at creating a positive atmosphere in my life and helping me having a good attitude everyday. If something falls apart he tells me, it’s ok, there’s something better out there for you. He’s the person by my side everyday, and he inspires me to go out there and be the best person I can be.
It’s been reported that there’s a shortage of women in the financial services industry. What do you think is the best solution to help encourage women to enter this industry?
Oh, I definitely agree that there’s a shortage of women in the financial services industry.
I think the issue is a communication issue. Women don’t realize that there are a lot of different ways that you can do this career. It doesn’t have to be the traditional “automobile salesman” approach to the financial industry. What isn’t communicated is that you can do this career with a family part-time or full-time, as a coach, as a media platform, or just behind the scenes building financial plans.
There’s a gap in the industry for communicating the emotional side of money, and I think we need women to fill this gap. Being a financial advisor is really an amazing career for women, it’s just not talked about enough.
What are the most common financial mistakes you see being made?
There’s three mistakes that I see all the time:
- Not knowing your numbers. Budgeting is one thing, but budgets fail and fall apart. People will set up budgets at the beginning of the month, but usually there’s no follow through; they don’t know where each dollar is exactly going. If you struggle with eating out or shopping, most people won’t want to look at what they’re spending. But knowing your numbers gives you power over your money. The whole purpose of budgeting is that it allows you achieve different things in life, like a vacation or your 401K.
- The second mistake is the emotional side, so carrying a lot of guilt and shame about money mistakes. This guilt starts to overtake any strategy or plan and people need to get around this. For example, with debt, people start thinking that they’ll never get out of it, and they’ll override a good strategy or plan to get themselves out of the debt.
- The last mistake is the younger demographic being really conservative towards investing and saving their money. Since the crash in 2009, people have a lot fear in investing their money. On top of that, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the power of compounding money. It’s important to educate yourself, there are so many options out there and we need to get over the fear of trying.
What is your number one financial tip?
Again, know your numbers! Know every penny of where your spending is going and have some financial goals. This isn’t something just for someone who makes a low income. I know people who make millions of dollars and still live pay cheque to pay cheque.
What’s a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
This is kind of embarrassing… but my very first kiss when I was young was with Kenny Rogers!
What are your thoughts? If you’re interested in this subject or you know someone that should be featured in this series (even if it’s yourself!) shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.