Imagine a room buzzing with financial superstars, all willing to share their secrets to success. At the American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking Conference and the vibrant Money 20/20 event in Las Vegas, I had the fantastic chance to learn from these money experts.
Their advice isn’t just for big shots – it’s for anyone wanting to level up their money game. These leaders didn’t just talk about numbers; they gave practical tips on managing money to boost your savings, grow your earnings, and help you climb the career ladder. From intelligent ways to invest to tips and advice for getting ahead at work, their ideas are like a roadmap for people who want to make more, save better, and advance in their individual careers.
These women shared wisdom that’s for more than just the finance world; it’s for everyone who wants a better financial future and a shot at professional success.
Megan Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer, EverBank
Favorite Money Tip: Johnson advises, “Make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table. Target a savings amount and take advantage of today’s high yields, letting your money work for you.”
Career Advice: “Simply keep going. When it gets hard, that is your opportunity to grow,” emphasized Johnson. She advocates for team-building and leveraging collective strengths for greater success.
Diane Morais, Ally Bank – President Consumer and Commercial Banking
Favorite Money Tip: “Create a budget and make sure that you are ‘paying yourself’ first, through both saving AND starting to invest. The biggest regret I hear from customers is they wish they had started earlier on their saving/investing journey.”
Top Career Advice: “I have two: (1) Be open to possibilities that will help you acquire new skills, even if that means you are moving laterally instead of straight up. Careers are pathways, not ladders.” (2) Stay intellectually curious — understand what is happening in your industry and the world around you. Learn something new every day.”
Melissa Stevens, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Fifth Third Bank
Favorite Money Tip: “Pay yourself first. Said another way, don’t spend on all that you want and then save; save a little from the start and adjust your spending accordingly.”
Top Career Advice: Is there something you feel has helped you be successful in your career and why? “Two things: (1) Relationships matter. Invest in those around you. (2) Be curious. Asking for the why behind the what will help your learning and aid you in delivering more and better.“
Courtney Mitchell, Head of Consumer Deposit and Payment Products at TD Bank
Favorite Money Tip : “Start with a budgeting exercise – map out all of your monthly inflows & outflows so you can determine the amount of discretionary spending and saving you have to work with. Then look at your goals — do you have debt to pay down? Are you saving for something? Set aside automatic payments or savings transfers to meet your starting goals. Always look to refresh this exercise to ensure you take into account changes in your own goals or external factors causing any of your set payments to change.”
Top Career advice: “Always push for a level of comfortability by taking on new challenges or learning more. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a new role or position. You can always look at doing more and going above and beyond while in your current job. Often the next opportunity can come naturally through that extra effort.”
Ernie (Erminia) Johannson Group Head, North American Personal and Business Banking at BMO
Favorite Money Tip: “Take the long view. Create a plan and focus on long-term financial progress through economic cycles.
Be persistent and get in the habit of saving for your long-term goals – it’s impactful. Even if you’re making small, bite-size advances in your strategy or your approach, there is power in being persistent and nibbling away at that long-term goal. Also, look for structured accounts to help you grow your money faster with what you already have – through interest rates, no fees, or rewards for achieving savings goals.
Review your finances and develop a solid – and realistic – plan after speaking with your banker or financial advisor. The latest BMO Real Financial Progress Index shows clearly that Americans are feeling the weight of inflation. Your banker or a financial advisor can help you review and adjust your budget to account for rising costs so you can continue to save and progress toward your goals.
Don’t forget about digital banking tools and apps to help track spending patterns so you can be aware and save more.”
Top Career Advice: “Don’t be afraid to tackle the big problems that need to be solved or seem complex. Run to the crisis or ‘tough problem’ – that’s often where the most impact is for your organization.
Taking the “hard path” often offers the individual who chooses this challenge a phenomenal learning opportunity and the ability to make a difference. This ‘tough path” will help the individual define her brand in an organization and with her colleagues. It’s important for women to have very clear articulation of their success stories. I advise women to be able to speak to three or four success stories; this will assist with their career advancement and from a mentoring perspective.
Pushing yourself to tackle big, thorny issues is where you will create your brand and experience the most personal and professional growth.”
Gunjan Kedia Vice Chair at U.S. Bank | Wealth, Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking
Favorite Money Tip: “When it comes to engaging in your finances, especially in the beginning, here’s my best advice: just start. A 401(k) or similar can be a great place to start, for example, given it is a tax-efficient form of saving and investing for the long run. It has the ease of setting up automatic contributions that can nurture the habit of saving. Once people have accumulated some wealth, I advise ensuring you have a complete view of your accounts and can access everything. This is especially important if assets are combined with a partner or spouse and even more important if you find yourself in the passenger seat of managing your household finances. This exercise can also shine a light on spending patterns, which is an important step in planning for income needs in retirement – and can even help identify opportunities to redirect resources to longer-term needs.
Top Career advice: “Are you in the middle of a career – or just starting out?We are living in a difficult environment where social media can amplify the perception that other people are living perfect lives, where only good things have happened – including their careers and financial situations. We know that’s not always the actual narrative, but falling into that comparison trap can sometimes be easy to do.
I always tell people: only compete with your own yesterday. It’s a marathon. If you can just try to be a bit better at something than you were yesterday, you will find yourself in good places.”
Beth Johnson, Vice Chair, Chief Experience Officer at Citizens Financial Group
Favorite Money Tip: “You know, it’s funny because, after all my years in financial services, no one has asked! My favorite money tip is really foundational: understand it. It’s so critical to have an understanding of foundational financial concepts like inflation and the basics of investing or how to think about borrowing money and the trade-offs between owning a home with a mortgage or renting. Many great resources are out there, and spending little time understanding the basics would go a long way.”
Top Career advice: “For me, it’s a two-part answer. Part one is to invest in yourself. When starting out professionally, you need to take ownership of your career and be prepared to advocate for your skills and value. Part two is to consider your net present value; don’t just consider the next six months. I’ve always found value in taking the long view of my career and considering my long-term goals, both personally and professionally.”
Sherri Haymond, Executive Vice President, Global Digital Partnerships at Mastercard
Top Career Advice: “You have to be humble, be willing to look in the mirror, and not be afraid to see who’s looking back at you. Really get to know yourself – what you’re good at, and what you’re not. What’s going well, what’s not going so well. And constantly ask yourself – what can I do to be even better?
Shruti Joshi, President & Chief Operating Officer at Facet
Favorite Money Tip: “Financial wellness is wellness. A wellness routine for your money needs to be a part of your life as early as possible to lay a strong foundation for the life you want to live and the person you want to become.”