Born driven, Brittney Castro has positioned herself as a rarity in her profession. As a young woman, finding success in the male-dominant world of finance is an undertaking all in its own, nevertheless building your own nationally recognized firm!
Before even graduating college this woman was receiving job offers from financial firms when she wasn’t even pursuing a financial planning career. Studying business economics, she wanted to be an event planner but because she was good with money and planning, she and her advisor decided that taking a job with a financial firm in Long Beach, California would be a wise choice.
After five years of 60-hour work weeks in a stuffy, corporate setting, she realized she wasn’t being real with herself, she didn’t even dance anymore which she absolutely loves. She was super stressed and had become overly serious in order to be respected and recognized among her male counterparts. Although she was doing well with the firm and had achieved great success, she decided she was too young to be so stressed so she went to work for an independent firm in Los Angeles which allowed her a better work-life balance.
An entrepreneur at heart and knowing she wanted to help people in a way that felt good to her, a more authentic way, she started building her own brand through social media, blogging, and guest speaking in 2010. After intense study and huge time commitment, she received her Certified Financial Planner designation, left the independent firm, and started her own firm in 2013. Financially Wise Women provides personal financial planning for individuals, couples, and businesses, and companies and offers online courses so anyone can become financially wise within their own timeframe, from anywhere. Brittney’s Money Class makes it easy to make that transition into a financially abundant future.
Within three years of starting Financially Wise Women, Chase Bank, one of the four largest banks in America, approached Brittney with a wonderful proposition. Not wanting to partner with just any brand, Brittney agreed to join Chase as their Latina Financial Education Partner, for one, because she feels they show authenticity regarding their goal to teach smart money management to the masses which falls in alignment with one of her own goals.
“It’s exciting to see my dream of this business happening and now I’m dreaming of its next stage,” Brittney says. “I feel very blessed and excited about what’s to come.”
Brittney has many ideas for the future of her company and even though she doesn't know exactly how it will pan out, she has learned that she has more fun and is happier when she is learning and trying new things. "I have fears like everyone else," she says, "but when those fears come up I remind myself that I didn't know how any of this was going to add up before but it has so to just keep going."
There's no doubt that whatever Brittney sets out to achieve she will concur because not only is she financially wise, she is wise at heart as well. "I’ve come to be proud of myself which took a while because it’s a lot of work, a lot of believing and trusting. It hasn’t been easy and there’s been times where I thought ‘I don’t even know if any of this is worth it’ and I‘m so glad I kept believing in myself because at the end of the day that’s really what it is. Everyone else can believe in you but if you don’t believe in yourself then it won’t work.”
Thank you Brittney for sharing your story with us. We look forward to seeing all your accomplishments in years to come.
How did it all start? What made you decide to pursue this path?
It all started with me as a kid. I always wanted to be a business woman for as long as I could remember. In college, I studied Business Economics and I had the idea I would open up my own event planning company or restaurant after college because while I found math and finance easy, I always equated jobs in the finance space as boring. It wasn’t until I met with my career counselor and told her about my job offers at financial planning firms that I even saw this career as something worth pursuing. With her gentle nudge, I accepted the job as a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial, a financial planning firm, right after college and started my career in financial planning.
What steps did you have to take to conquer your goal of being a business owner?
Many! There have been so many baby steps that have added up to get me to where I am today. That is really life though. Each day, I constantly take steps toward my goals and while some days those steps seem like they are getting you nowhere, over time you look back and realize how they are all connected. The journey of entrepreneurship is a wild roller coaster and one I’ve learned to love. Just like life, it is full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows and it’s important to not get too attached to any of it. I have learned to really embrace each day with an open heart and mind and learn that with every challenge and obstacle comes growth and really that’s what life is all about anyway. Growing and evolving to become the best version of ourselves and squeeze all the marrow out of life.
How do you manage envy, ego or jealousy from getting in the way of your dreams?
I have a daily meditation practice that has helped me a lot with this. I used to compare myself constantly and it wasn’t until I committed to my spiritual path and meditation that I learned how to know myself and focus on being me and following my own unique path in life. I am not perfect and those days or moments I find myself feeling envy or jealously, I shift out by connecting back to something I truly love and is unique to me like dancing. It is harder and harder these days with social media but it is important to put on our blinders in life and as my younger brother reminds me to “do you boo boo, do you.”
What are some of the qualities you believe a person must have to build their own business/brand?
Vigilance. Tenacity. Courage. It takes a clear focus and dedication to build a business and a believing in yourself to keep going. I am fortunate to have cultivated a strong group of family and friends who love and support and believe in me but at the end of the day, I still need to believe in myself and my dreams for the future. I believe you also need love too. Love for yourself and the business and brand you are building. You really have to love what you are doing as there are days when all of it seems like too much to handle and you need the love for life, the work you do and yourself to keep going and move forward to bigger and better.
What do you love most about your profession?
I love the transformation women experience when they learn the financially wise way of life. I love seeing women learn how to make money, save it, invest it, and use it to fund their dreams through my financial planning services and online courses. It is inspiring to see women find peace of mind, clarity and excitement with their financial lives. It is very rewarding to help change women’s financial lives for the better and the women I work with and talk with inspire me each day to become better and better.
If you were to pinpoint a few tools for success, what would they be?
Believe in yourself and what you are building. It takes a lot of courage to be an entrepreneur and at times you might be the only one believing in your dreams. You cannot give up. Ask for help and ask for it often as it really does take a team to make the dream work. Also, have fun! It is life and it is all temporary so make sure to enjoy it and have as much fun along the way as possible.
What advice would you give a young girl about getting out in the “real” world?
Anything is possible. It takes work and time but really anything you desire in life is possible. I think the real world is challenging at times and not always as easy as we may have thought when we were kids but that should still not discourage you from going for your dreams and enjoying it all along the way.
Finding a mentor is key. Do you have a female mentor or idol growing up who has significantly impacted your life? How?
Yes, I have had so many mentors in life from my Mom, to my teachers, to my business mentor. I also consider the books I read about successful thought leaders to be virtual mentors as I have learned so much about life and business from reading and listening to other people’s stories. I also have a lot of personal mentors, women in my community who are true examples of feminine leaders and while they may not be publicly known, they are inspiring to me in their own unique ways.
What/who inspires YOU to get through each day & overcome every challenge?
My spiritual teacher and practice inspire me to overcome my daily challenges. Because I have a strong spiritual practice, it has allowed me to remember the bigger why to my life and not get so caught up in the daily challenges that are always present. It is with this awareness that I have also learned to have way more fun in life and laugh a ton. I joke with my girlfriends that without laughter one could seriously cry daily with the circumstances that life presents us. The bliss and joy from me always come from within and not necessarily what I have achieved in life or the amount of success I obtain. It is very important for me to constantly prioritize my spiritual practice as this is the center of everything I do in life.
What is your definition of BEAUTIFUL?
To be authentically you in life and let your inner happiness shine. I feel the most beautiful when I am relaxed, laughing, connected to the moment and connected to my true essence. I also feel the most beautiful when I am dancing as it is then I feel true ecstasy in life.
What is your favorite shade of Lipstick?
“Girl about town” by MAC. A pretty shade of mauve.
Why do you think women organizations like Lipstick Sister are important?
It is important for women to support women in life. I feel we, as women, operate differently than men and it is important for us to cheer each other on, nurture one another and remind each other of our greatness in life. Organizations like Lipstick Sister are doing just that and so important in our journey and evolution as women.
Do you have a favorite quote that empowers you, if so, share it with us!
When in doubt, dance it out.”
This is a quote I tell myself often as dance helps connect me back to the present moment where all is right and there is no past or future to worry or stress out. Plus I always find myself smiling and laughing the most when I am dancing.