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Brittney Castro, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, entrepreneur, and speaker is the Founder and CEO of Financially Wise Women, a Los Angeles based financial planning firm for women. She specializes in working with busy professional and entrepreneurial women who are passionate about life and want to gain clarity around their money. Brittney’s mission is to help women plan and create the life of their dreams, free from anxiety about money. She is known for her innovative, non-judgmental, compassionate approach to financial planning. She has become a well-known financial expert for women of all ages; and land national media recognition from CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CBS, KTLA, Fox 11 News, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Financial Planning Magazine, Investment News, and Registered Rep Magazine and many more. Away from the office, you can find Brittney working out, drinking coffee or a green smoothie, playing at the park with her dog Arya and of course dancing. Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine interview…
BH: How did you end up doing what you do? Tell us your story!
Brittney: I started as a financial advisor right after college at the ripe age of 22. I began my career at a corporate financial planning firm and learned a lot during my five-year term there. I learned how to become a financial advisor, manage a financial planning practice and market myself to get new clients.
I also learned that while I’m really good at financial planning, I just do not fit well in the corporate model. I am way too entrepreneurial-minded, and although I was “successful” in terms of money and status at the firm, I didn’t feel successful, as I wasn’t being my authentic self. I didn’t want to stay on a path that I knew wouldn’t lead me to my ideal life.
So I began to explore other options and do my own personal growth work to figure out what I really wanted out of life and how I could find a way to make this career work for me. That’s when I transitioned out of that company and started at an independent financial firm in West Los Angeles. I was 26 years old at the time, and so scared to start this next stage of my career and life. But I trusted my intuition and I knew I had to pursue this burning desire I had within me to create my business and life exactly the way I wanted it to be.
During this transition, I completed my CFP designation, which consisted of college classes, an experience requirement and an intense two-day board exam. Getting this designation was a huge step in building my knowledge and credibility in the industry, as less than 20% of all financial professionals have their CFP credentials. It was an intense time, to say the least, but also one full of emotional adventures and fun.
It was also during this time that I began to really study marketing, specifically branding, and refine what my unique proposition was in financial planning and how I would market myself moving forward to build my dream business. I pulled from my own personal experiences to find my voice and how I would use it in my business to help other clients I wanted to work with.
Being a young woman in the traditionally male-dominated financial world left me feeling like an outsider most of the time, and I began to realize that if I felt this way, and I was in the industry, other clients I was trying to serve must feel the same way.
I studied all the facts about women and money, and saw the huge need there was to create a business model that was more in alignment with what women really wanted out of the financial services industry. I also started to explore using email and social media marketing to grow my business, versus the traditional networking/sales calls approach, and in 2011 I launched my very first blog, called Financially Wise Women.
Through consistent action, perseverance and heart, I quickly established a name for myself, and after 2.5 years at that firm, I took the next step, which was to create my own financial firm as a registered investment advisory. What was once my blog became my company, Financially Wise Women. It truly is my dream business!
I offer financial planning services to individual clients; a six-week online course called the Money Class to teach personal finance in a fun and simple way; and I do lots of speaking, media, and consulting on the subjects I am most passionate about—women, money, and entrepreneurship. The journey has not been easy—I’ve had many sessions crying on the bathroom floor!—but every twist and turn has taught me more about myself and life in general. These days, I can look back and see all the dots connecting, and appreciate the entrepreneurial journey, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns.
In fact, I live for being an entrepreneur. It’s something my soul enjoys, and I cannot imagine my life not being this way.
I also have a wonderful support group of family and friends who cheer me on and hold me up when times are tough. And the connections I’ve made with others from starting this business has been the most rewarding part of it all.
BH: What is your ‘Wake Up Call for the World?’ In other words, what is most of the world asleep about that you would love to wake up?
Brittney: My wakeup call is for women to take control of their finances; to learn about money—how to make it, save it, spend it guilt free, invest it, protect it and use it to live their dream life. I want women to know that they deserve the money they desire to help them live their dream life, and that managing money can be fun and simple and it all starts with the decision to make a change.
I also want women to understand that their financial journey is just that: a journey. It can be a roller coaster, but the key is to commit to the lifelong journey and focus on growing and evolving your financial life in as fun a way as you possibly can. After all, your life is precious—you have the power to live it however you wish.
BH: What are the biggest challenges or aspirations your clients come to you with, and what does your work make possible for them?
Brittney: Figuring out how to save for different financial goals and not feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about the process.
I teach my clients how to be with money—how to manage it, save it, invest and protect it, and use it to live their dream lives. I help them understand money and finance in a whole new way, and teach them tactical strategies so they can manage their money with more grace and ease every day.
My clients walk away from the process feeling confident, in control, and excited about their financial futures. And it’s this mindset that helps them make more money, save more money and build the long-term wealth they desire to reach all their financial goals. It’s a very fulfilling and rewarding profession for me.
BH: We’re curious about your breakthrough moment in business. Looking back, what created the breakthrough?
Brittney: My breakthrough moment came in 2009. It was during the recession and after almost 5 years of working in the industry, I realized that I was too stressed out and too young to be working so many hours to live this “successful” life. To clarify, while I was successful in terms of money and ranking within the company, I didn’t feel successful, as my life was out of balance and I spent way too much time working.
I was 26 years old at the time and realized that I needed to make a change, since the path I was on did not seem to be leading me to what I felt was my ideal life. So I explored my options and realized it was up to me to make the changes I wanted in my life.
My breakthrough moment came when I finally felt the power within me to make those difficult changes—and I realized I couldn’t ignore the burning desires I had to create my own company. It was scary, and I remember not knowing exactly what to do next, but I just took it one step at a time and kept my eyes on the new vision I had for my life and business.
Since then, I’ve gotten a greater understanding that life works in mysterious ways—and that honoring my soul’s desires and intuition may not be easy in the moment, but it always leads me to exactly where I need to be in life. Now I love that part of the journey–the uncertainty, confusion, challenges, etc.—because I know that with every valley, a new peak also awaits.
And I’ve learned to trust myself, and that even when I am fearful, I know I can handle anything life throws my way. It’s a very powerful place to be in, and all my past breakthroughs and experiences have taught me how to live from that state.
BH: What words of wisdom do you have for all the emerging Business Heroines out there who are on the cusp of creating their own purpose-based business?
Brittney: Get super clear about what you really want out of life and make sure you are building your business to support it. I think the best part about having a business is that I get to control how it moves and grows. And I always remember that the business is not all of me, but rather a part of me that helps me live my ideal life. With that clarity, you can see the opportunities as they come and act on them and filter out the rest so you don’t waste time on things that are not in alignment with your vision.
Another tip is to trust yourself. Trust has been a huge lesson for me as a business owner—trusting myself to handle whatever comes my way and trusting my ideas and intuition about the action steps needed.
Finally, remember to have fun. It’s cliché to say, but it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Find the beauty in it all, even the mistakes and challenges that are inevitable in any business’s evolution. My motto is, “when in doubt, dance it out.” Dance and celebrate it all. Life is too precious not to.
Special Offers from Heroine Brittney Castro
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- EBook – 9 Steps to Becoming a Financially Wise Woman
- Dream Worksheet
- Life Stages Checklist
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