Ashley Feinstein Gerstley
Founder of the Fiscal Femme
Tell us about your career and how it all started?
I started the Fiscal Femme because I needed it myself. I studied finance in college and then went into a finance career (first as an investment banker and then in corporate finance) but still knew nothing about my own money. I thought... if I know nothing about money as a finance professional, then who knows about this?! It turns out that it’s something most people struggle with, yet we don’t realize it. We feel alone in our money struggles because we don’t talk about money – even with our friends, family, and partners.
I started sharing about my own money journey on a blog called the Fiscal Femme. I began writing for other websites and people started reaching out for help. I found that the emotional and behavioral sides of money are what really make our financial lives so difficult and stressful.
I also found that when it comes to financial education, it was really hard to know who to trust. People and companies who were there to educate me were always trying to sell me a product. I am really passionate about how the Fiscal Femme earns money. I don’t receive affiliate fees or commissions from financial companies or big banks, and we only earn money if someone purchases my book or my courses, or if I’m hired for speaking or money coaching. This is in the best interest of the people I serve.
The Fiscal Femme’s mission is to get women wealthy because when women are financially well, we can negotiate harder to be paid fairly at work, take more risks in our careers, and leave people and positions where we’re not being treated well. I truly believe that when women are wealthy, we’ll solve most of the world’s problems.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
I feel so lucky to be surrounded by an incredible sisterhood. As an entrepreneur and new mother, sisterhood has taken on an even greater meaning and importance in my life. To me, sisterhood means women helping women. When we support, encourage, mentor, and sponsor each other, there is no limit to what we can do.
What's your personal mantra?
“You are worth it.” This is my personal and business mantra. We receive messages early in our lives that we aren’t worth it from the media, society, and even the people around us. When we internalize those messages (which many of us do), it is devastating to our happiness and success. Sometimes you have to fake it until you believe it. On numerous occasions, I ask myself: what would this look like if I were worth it? And that’s been a game-changer for me.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is getting women wealthy. I’ve become a ninja when it comes to getting women wealthy. I love making it fun and easy for the women I work with - it’s my life’s work!
Tell us about women that inspired you and your female role models:
There have been so many women that have inspired me and served as role models in my life, and I’m lucky to have relationships with many of them. One iconic trailblazing business-woman and pioneer for equal pay is Oprah. I recently posted an interview where she talks about negotiating to be paid as much as her male coworker for the same job. Her boss asked her “why should you make that much money?” She shared that “the real feminism for me was believing that you were worthy, that I was worthy, and deserved what everyone else deserved.” Now if that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is!
What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?
Ask for help when you need it and find your tribe. As an entrepreneur, we wear many hats and are often charged with figuring out things that we have no idea how to do. This ties back into sisterhood, but it has been so important for me to learn to ask for help from those who have done what I want to do, from those who have more experience, and from those with a different perspective. I also recommend finding a group of people you can get together with regularly to talk about your business. I call it my tribe, others call it a mastermind. It’s kept me sane through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and for those times I’ve felt very stuck.
One piece of advice for your 18 year old self?
Most of the things you are upset about will seem silly in just a few months. I recently went back to my high school to speak for Writers Week, and it brought back so many memories. As I was going through so many changes and so much growth, I remember wanting to fit in so badly. Any difference felt like the worst thing in the world. I cared so much about what others thought. In hindsight, I see how amazing those differences actually are and wish I could have celebrated and enjoyed them a lot earlier.
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