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Patricia Bright's Finance Tips For Women in Their 20s

Patricia Bright on Building a Property Portfolio, Self-Doubt and Power Dressing

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For many women in their 20s, financial security and the hopes of one day owning a home feel increasingly unattainable as the years go by. Almost two million aspiring young homeowners do not think they will be able to follow in the footsteps of their parents, as the financial generation gap worsens. Statistics from HomeOwners Alliance suggest that for many young people, homeownership has "become an impossible dream".

One person a lot of these young women look to for financial advice is lifestyle content creator and Pandora Ambassador Patricia Bright. In 2018, Bright founded "The Break" network and podcast for women, to demystify the journey to personal success and provide access to the tools and education needed to improve financial literacy.

"I worked in investment banking before and I could see my friends and other people in my industry, a lot of them females, struggling with a lot of financial problems that I had also dealt with," Bright says when asked about setting up "The Break". "They had problems with tax, accounting and contracting and they would always come to me behind the scenes and for advice."

She adds: "I soon realised that so many other women are also dealing with some of these issues. I thought, 'I'm just going to make some videos about tax. Yeah, it might be boring and people might not get it but I'm going to do it.' However, I soon realised that a lot of people resonated with these concepts and there was a need for it within my community."

With that in mind — and PS UK getting precious time with Bright that some fans would dream — we spoke to readers in their 20s and gathered a load of questions for Bright on evefrything from power-dressing to building a property portfolio.

PS UK Reader: How have you navigated being a Black woman in business?

Patricia Bright: Rather than seeing what I look like as a limitation, I walk into a room and I'm like, "Yeah, I might look different, but I know my stuff." So, I very much recognise that there may be some perceptions people have. But perceptions are not based in reality. I just walk in with a lot of confidence and I'm also very prepared. Don't get me wrong, nobody really knows what they're doing all the time.

But if I walk into a room and I don't know what I'm doing, I will ask questions. I will be honest about what I do or don't know. But I'm usually just quite confident about myself. That's something I would tell someone who's younger — be confident in yourself. Not everybody has the answers, no matter what they look like, but someone will have an answer that you may need. So, feel confident enough to ask those questions. Listen, everyone's winging it! This is what I've learned in business - it don't matter what you look like.

Image Source: Getty

PS UK Reader: What are your tips for remaining disciplined when it comes to personal finances?

Patricia Bright:The tip is literally just saying "No". It's either saying, "I'm not going" or not bringing your card out or Apple Pay out. And that's basically creating an barrier to instant spending. If you don't have your card with you, if you don't have your Apple Pay on your phone, then you won't instantly just spend your money. But if you bring out cash, you know you have a certain amount of money to spend. That's it. So those are ways that you can create physical barriers to stop spending what you don't have.

PS UK Reader: I'm 27 and have hopes for building a property portfolio like you have — what advice can you share?

Patricia Bright: I think my first bit of advice is why do you want to build a portfolio and specifically a property portfolio? If it's about having a form of investment and wanting to receive a return then I would just say firstly, explore what are the multiple ways that you can invest and get a return. Because property is a really big investment. If you want a five percent return there may be a better way, without such a hard investment, to also get a five percent return. However, if you have got other things invested and you really wanted to go into property, I would then look at, is it somewhere that you want for yourself? Or could you see yourself in that property? And that's a good way to decide if a home is an asset for yourself or somebody else.

PS UK Reader: Things feel quite financially bleak and it's hard to feel like I can make these boss moves — what do you think?

Patricia Bright:I think people can feel under pressure, especially in their 20s to own a house and that's a lot of responsibility. My advice is; go travel the world and have a good time before you lock yourself down into a heavy illiquid asset. You don't need to do that just yet. Then when you want to put roots down, there are some options in the market that make it affordable.

PS UK Reader: What's the biggest hurdle you've ever had to overcome? How can I overcome self-doubt and internal pressures, versus external pressures?

Patricia Bright: My biggest hurdles are usually the battles in my mind which is again, about self confidence and feeling like I don't know what I'm doing, feeling like I'm not good enough and comparison. So, some of the ways that I overcome this is by doing a lot of journaling and really thinking about the thoughts I think and then replacing my negative thoughts. So, I might analyse "What is this I feel right now?" or "Is this valid?" Then sometimes, I will also write down those new replacement thoughts. I just write everything out in a stream of consciousness. I think more people should learn how to just write their thoughts out, it makes your head feel clearer.

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 29: Patricia Bright attends the LVMH Prize Cocktail show as part of Paris Fashion Week on February 29, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Image Source: Getty

PS UK Reader: I'm 22 and I struggle with Instagram and comparing myself — your whole life is on social media, how do you overcome this?

Patricia Bright: I still struggle with this. So, I don't want anyone to think that eventually you are able to get over those ceilings, because those platforms are made to kind of make you watch what everybody else is doing. I do a thing where I just switch off, take some time out and I take a breather. I actually have a little side page where I find things that are more about entertainment and inspiration versus comparison. Sometimes I focus on that page or I just switch everything off entirely. I only come back when I feel okay.

PS UK Reader: What are your tips on power dressing for business?

Patricia Bright: When it comes to power dressing, I think it's all about feeling confident in what styles suit you specifically without trying to follow trends. So, don't think that you have to wear a blazer or you must wear a certain style to dress powerfully. I think it's about picking something that you feel emotionally powerful in. So even if you want to wear a hat with ears on it, or a lace across your face, that's your choice if you feel powerful in it. I think being confident in your own personal style is really important. Then also being prepared; I have a rail of clothing that I've pulled out for the week. So, I know what I want to wear and so I feel empowered because I'm not making rash decisions about styling and what I want to look like.

PS UK Reader: What are important pieces of jewellery to you? Do you have any favourite Pandora pieces?

Patricia Bright: I mean, engagement rings and wedding bands are important to me but I want to think outside of that. So, I have a coral bead bracelet that my mum gave that to me years ago. So this is a type of material; it's like a pink bracelet with a pink stone. It's a traditional piece from Nigeria. My daughter was playing with it the other day and was like, "This is amazing," and I let her wear it. So, that's a special piece to me because it came from my mum and it is very sentimental.

I've actually also become a bit of a pearl girl. I know pearls are seen as a little bit old school and classic. But there's something about putting on a piece of jewellery that's got bit of gold and a bit of pearl that feels very elevated. One of my favourite rings is Pandora's Treated Freshwater Cultured Pearl Open Ring (£125). I wear this one all the time on my middle finger. They also have this amazing necklace, Pandora ME Slim Treated Freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace (£225), it has a loop chain which is half gold and half pearl. They're like modern pieces with a touch of old classic.

PS UK Reader: Have you got any life mantras, quotes or bible scriptures that you hold on to for motivation in your career?

Patricia Bright: So I always say "Feel the fear and do it anyway." I do lots of stuff all the time that I feel extremely nervous about, and unconfident about, but I just do it. Then my next favourite mantra is actually "Fail fast". So I usually combine the two together. So, try stuff, break stuff. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't and keep pushing!

PS UK Reader: Are there any non-negotiables you've added to your life as you've got older?

Patricia Bright: My non-negotiables are around wasted time and impacting my sleep. On a serious note, we sleep because sleep is the bedrock to actually having a really good day. I don't play with my sleep and I actually go to bed on time. If I'm doing something late, there has to be a really good reason for it. When it comes to time management, let's stick to the schedule. Let's know what we're doing, know why we're doing it and let's not waste time. Meetings don't need to be an hour and 45 minutes if we can do it in 15. Let's do it in 15. So, those are things that are very important to me.

PS UK Reader: What are the three main tips you'd tell a woman navigating life and business in their 20s?

Patricia Bright: Be patient with yourself — you are not in a race against other people. You're only in a race against yourself and you can take it slow. I would also say nourish yourself from the inside out. What you're consuming matters and it's really important to make yourself feel good from the inside out. Finally, please don't settle.

Aaliyah Harry (she/her) is the associate editor at PS UK. She writes extensively across lifestyle, culture and beauty. Aaliyah also has a deep passion for telling stories and giving voice to the voiceless. Previously, she has contributed to Refinery29, Grazia UK and The Voice Newspaper.

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