WHAT LED YOU TO A CAREER IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?
My father taught me and my three brothers about investing. He encouraged each of us to choose a stock to invest in. I chose Coca-Cola. My early experiences with investing and managing money taught me the importance of making my own financial decisions so that I never had to depend on anyone else. They also motivated me to share my knowledge with others to help them achieve the same. I have since become one of the few female members on my family company’s board of directors, and I was elected chairman of the board in 2005.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN RIA?
I started my career on the institutional buy-side at Bank of America Investment Management in San Francisco. I later moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where I joined a brokerage firm as an advisor and started to build up my own clientele. As a CFP and CFA, I have always been a fiduciary. I didn’t care for the managerial pressure and extra fees that come with a brokerage firm. After reaching $100 million in assets under management in 2014, I took the leap to start my own firm, bringing a personalized approach to clients big and small, with a focus on helping other women take control of their financial futures. I love the flexibility of being independent and being able to care for my clients without those pressures. Running my own RIA removes the ‘middle wo-man.’
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO INVESTING?
I use a combination of active and passive investments to achieve a diversification of asset allocation and strategies. I only use liquid investments – never alternatives such as annuities or real estate. Each client is different, so I firmly believe in the importance of listening to his or her goals, risk tolerance and liquidity needs to craft a portfolio that suits the individual
WHAT’S ONE HOT TOPIC ON YOUR MIND?
Many people are afraid of trusts due to the lack of flexibility and transparency, as well as the added costs in the process. I’d love to get the word out about South Dakota trusts. These have advantages that a typical trust does not, and they can be used for a variety of purposes to protect assets. They’re a good tool for premarital planning, and they can benefit family businesses too, as well as helping women in transition and protecting young adults with assets. They offer confidentiality flexibility (old trusts can be modified without court intervention), asset protection and lower cost due to separating out the fiduciary duties.
WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU WORK WITH?
I work to educate and empower multiple generations of families and women in transition. Because of my experience growing up, I believe that all family members should be included in the learning and investment process. Whether you have $500,000 or 20 million dollars you should talk about money. I especially want you to talk about money. I especially want women to understand investing and take active roles in their families financial futures.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED?
To never give up. Achieving my goals is very important to me. When one plan fails, I move on to a new, improved way to navigate the situation until I find success. I started my business in 2005 without any clients. I’ve worked hard to build up my clientele, and now I have my own firm with more than $220 million in assets under management.
HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
I use Twitter, LinkedIn and a Facebook business page to share posts from my blog, Women, Money and Divorce. Also, I use these platforms to share my views and connect with clients and other professionals. I have managed to expand my client base online by educating and connecting with people. I use my personal Facebook account to connect with clients too. While I don’t post anything business-related there, I enjoy keeping up with my clients’ lives and sharing mine with them. I also use it to support my local nonprofits and to show off our office bulldog Hattie.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN INTERESTED IN MAKING A CAREER IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?
It is really not that difficult, so do not be intimidated by it.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
I have a passion for tennis. You get to know a person’s true personality within the first 10 minutes of a match. ◊