Financial Literacy Month offers a time to reflect on the importance of reassessing our relationships with money and ways to make improvements. Dr. Constance Craig-Mason of York, Pennsylvania grew up in Baltimore and is currently shattering glass ceilings in the financial industry space. She was selected to serve as the first ever Managing Regional Director (MRD) of the U.S. Chapter of the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC®).
“I am a champion for financial professionals who desire to pursue designations that will help boost their credibility, hold them to a higher ethical standard, enhance their networking and continuing education opportunities, and set them apart from other financial experts,” Craig-Mason said, “It is truly a privilege and honor to be a leader in the Association’s grassroots effort to increase the number of world class professional consultants in the IARFC family.”
Despite Craig-Mason’s noteworthy accomplishment, when it comes to the financial advice profession, a mere 18% of all Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are women, per findings presented through “Driving Diversity: Opportunities for Action in the MIA Marketplace.” Furthermore, just 2.6% of them are black women.
Lack of diversity nor obstacles did not permanently impede Craig-Mason from pushing forward by launching her career through becoming life insurance licensed in 2009. Exercising determination and patience led to her status of earning her place as a Master Registered Financial Consultant (MRFC®), insurance broker, entrepreneur, financial literacy advocate, professional speaker, and Amazon bestselling author.
Craig-Mason was reared by a young, single mother who struggled to achieve work stability and provide necessities, during her early years in Baltimore. Upon reflection, Craig-Mason remembers facing “unstable home environments, impoverished, and witnessing domestic violence and substance abuse.”
More challenges surfaced when Craig-Mason reached her next phase in life. When she became a mother of three, before marrying her current husband, limited daycare options slowed down her pursuit of working in the financial education and insurance agent field. A friend suggested that she join her, but the timing of it presented difficulties. Craig-Mason delayed the idea, but she did read everything that she could about budgeting to credit, savings, insurance, investing, mortgage loans, and real estate investing to improve her own life. It took nearly seven years before Craig-Mason could revisit the idea of working in the financial education and insurance agent field. The persistent mother did not give up.
“A few years after I got married, I jumped in and went full speed ahead! It was my first successful experience with entrepreneurship which was a chain-breaker for my family,” Craig-Mason said.
Much of her workdays are now spent assisting her collaborative husband with running their multi-media marketing business called The Real Connected Co., balancing responsibilities as a Managing Regional Director of the IARFC and serving as a “financial therapist” of sorts to her clients.
“Financial coaching and consulting puts me in position to educate and guide my clients in regarding their finances in both a restorative and proactive fashion,” Craig-Mason said. “Insurance and risk management allows me to equip my clients to withstand and persevere through the “what ifs” of business, health, life, and death.”
Empowering couples about the inner workings of money is another facet of Craig-Mason’s astonishing story which fuses family empowerment. Along with her husband, Anthony Mason, Constance brings financial discussions into more homes through an anthology series called “Money TALK$: Uncut Convos With Power Couples About Love, Money & Entrepreneurship.” In 2020, the industrious pair decided to create the book anthology series highlighting 34 married, entrepreneurial African American couples. Contributors shared their candid love, money, and entrepreneurship stories, including trials and triumphs.
“Since I’m in the financial industry, I felt it would be a great title, but also digging deeper into the other areas of life where many of my colleagues, coauthors and readers can find relatability. We all innately want the same things in life— love, security, and significance. How we arrive there is what makes us all unique,” Craig-Mason said. “Both Volumes reached Amazon #1 Best Seller on launch day in February of 2021 and February of 2022. The categories were #1 in Personal Money Management New Releases; #1 in Marriage & Long-Term Relationships New Releases; and #3 in Budgeting & Money Management New Releases.”
The “Money TALK$: Uncut Convos With Power Couples About Love, Money & Entrepreneurship” books are available via Amazon.com, at Walmart.com, Barnes & Noble, lulu.com and www.conciergefg.com.