Personal Finance Expert Farnoosh Torabi is the breadwinner of her family, something she achieved after having kids. She believes all women can find their joy and financial success—here's how.

By Lindsay Tigar
March 04, 2020
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Before Farnoosh Torabi became the personal finance expert, best-selling author, television personality, and podcaster she is today, she was working as a freelance journalist, bringing in $18 an hour before taxes, and moonlighting other side hustles to make ends meet. With $30,000 in student loans and another $6,000 in credit card debt, deciding to write a book likely didn't make the most sense. But when the idea hit—and the advance came in—she threw everything into the process.

Torabi published her first book in 2008, then went on to build her brand. When she started working on her next book, Torabi was surprised to discover she was expecting her first child. The timing was complicated, but after suffering miscarriages and experiencing a fertility battle, she was ready to fight through whatever obstacles came up to make parenting and growing her career work. Her book published in May 2014 and her first child, Evan, was born a month later.

Now a mom of two, Torabi says she's the proud female breadwinner of her family and has doubled her income since she became a mom. Though it's safe to say her plate is mighty full, she took time to offer her savviest advice for moms and families on how they can grow their wealth.

Recognize when it's OK to take a step back.

When Torabi learned she was pregnant, she made a conscious choice to step back to prioritize her health and state of mind, even if that meant taking a hit to her finances. A three-year project she was working on came to a close and it allowed her two trimesters to focus on her pregnancy and her book that was about to debut. Many times, women (especially mothers) feel the pressure to hustle harder to provide for their families without sacrificing their careers. "Self-care is really important," says Torabi. "You become really good at maximizing your time and understanding what your goals are" when you set clear boundaries for yourself in your work life.

Focus on productivity.

Torabi has always hustled in her career, but now that she's a mom, setting specific expectations and boundaries allow her to balance her career and her family. She will now only travel for 24 to 48 hours at a time and she doesn't say "yes" to working for free either: "Maybe in my youth or younger years I would have because I was planting seeds to be basically where I am now," she says. "Today, I'm trying to be present as a mom, but also be present at work, but really be sensible about [projects I take on]." If you have two hours before the kiddos return back from school, Torabi suggests being straightforward with what you need to accomplish—and holding yourself accountable.

Use your parenting abilities as your superpower.

Torabi says while women tend to reach their peak earning potential in their late thirties, she's nearing 40 and she's still soaring. Many mothers fear their ability to be as successful post-kids as they were pre-kids, but Torabi says becoming a parent gives you a superhero mentality unlike anything else. "I've spoken to a lot of working moms and there is some sense of a 'can-do mindset,'" she says. "If you think about the skills that you have as a parent, those are directly transferable to work."

In fact, Torabi says employers recognize that hiring moms (and dads, too!) means they will have a very productive, focused employee who will not only get the job done, but do it faster. "Parents are straight shooters and they want to be there," she shares. "Becoming a mom has probably been my best career move: After having my first kid, I got the idea for my podcast." Her podcast, So Money, is 5 years old, with one thousand episodes, 12 million downloads—and even more to come.

Outsource where you can.

To "have it all" means defining what you can focus on yourself, and what you can give to others to supercharge your potential. Torabi hired an assistant who can attend networking events and build key relationships on her behalf, so she could have more time to be at home with her family. "Bringing someone on full-time was the reason I was able to make so much more money in those years because I could do what I did best and I could hire someone to do a lot of the backend stuff that wasn't in my zone of genius," she says. "I was not put on the planet to sit and respond to emails all day. I would not get far. If all you're doing is responding to emails, you're not making progress. You're just being reactive. So I wanted someone to come in to help me react to all of that so I could be more proactive."

Find a passion for your work.

It isn't always easy to pinpoint what you will enjoy, but Torabi says expressing happiness and excitement toward your career is an effective way to set an example for your kiddos. "There's no one right way to be a working mom. Give yourself the freedom to explore and know mistakes will be made. Days will be bad," she shares. "Ultimately I know the kids will be OK as long as I'm enjoying what I'm doing overall. I make sure to always tell my kids that I love my job. I involve them. Evan says 'My mom works for So Money.' He doesn't really know what that means. He'll get it eventually, but he knows that I'm very passionate."

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