Following her live Women Lit conversation with Robin Richards Donohoe, Jennifer talked with us about the dream of wealth versus the reality, how to do philanthropy right in the midst of a broken system, and how important it is for women, in particular, to talk about money with frankness and fearlessness.
Women Lit: You’ve mentioned that you grew up with frugal middle-class values: one reason why suddenly having a lot of resources was disorienting, from a self-identity perspective. Can you elaborate on how your “idea” of what wealth meant as a middle-class person contrasted with your later lived experience of having wealth?
Jennifer Risher: When I was in high school, my best friend and I asked each other what we’d do if we had a million dollars. Thinking about all that money, I imagined a fantasy come true: I’d have a cute boyfriend and a fancy car. But really, I thought a million dollars would change everything, and my life would be perfect. Somehow, I’d be smarter and more glamorous too.
My lived experience of wealth hasn’t matched that fairytale. Yes, money makes life easier. I am very lucky. But I’m still me, complete with insecurities. My feelings get hurt. I make mistakes. And I’m not living in a fantasyland…
Watch Jennifer’s conversation with Robin Richards Donohoe and Women Lit here.