Physical health and financial health have a lot of overlap. When one is not optimal, the other can suffer.

How much should you have before you can "safely" retire? Should I be aggressive or conservative in my investments now? How can I invest in companies that represent my interests and principles?

Because women live, on average, a couple of years longer than men, and because women generally come to retirement with less in the bank, retirement planning is really important. Yet many women avoid taking the time to truly plan so they can enjoy a comfortable, stable retirement income.

If you're like us, just the thought of planning for retirement can bring you out in a sweat.
So when you shower, make sure to use soap gentle enough for your everywhere.

Interview With Jenifer Sapel From Utor Wealth

We asked Jenifer Sapel, CEO of Utor Wealth, to join us for a conversation on how women can protect their financial health — and independence — as they age.

Prefer to watch the webinar? You can access it on Gennev's YouTube channel. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss a webinar. 

You can find the slides Jenifer referenced here.

RESOURCES REFERENCED:

TRANSCRIPT

Jill Angelo, Gennev CEO

All right. Well, welcome to our weekly webinar series. This is the generic weekly webinars series, and I'm excited to be with you today. I'm Jill Angelo, I'm the co-founder and CEO of Gennev, a virtual clinic for women in midlife and menopause. And today's topic is a little bit different. Typically we come to you with specific health related topics around women's midlife health. And this time we're going to talk about money because I think financially we all want to be healthy. And I think money stress and or joy plays a lot into our health. And so I'm delighted today to have Jenifer Sapel, the founder and CEO of Luther wealth with us. So welcome Jenifer.

Jenifer Sapel, President & CEO, Utor Wealth

Thank you, Jill. I'm really happy to be here. I love the work that you guys are doing around women's health.

Jill

Thank you. Well, I think more and more health and wealth, you know, especially as we go into our second half of life they kind of start to merge as topics and because you're caring about both and you also start to become more intentional about it as a woman and as a man. And I, I just, this is such a huge topic. So a couple of housekeeping items before we jump into the real crux of all of our information today are the meat of the topic is what I was going to say. First and foremost we're Gennev online clinic for women in menopause. Check us out if you haven't used our telehealth services, health and wellness products for your symptom relief and or just the education and community, which is what we're doing here. And throughout this webinar, we will take questions.

So if you're joining us on zoom on the webinar itself please go ahead and submit them via the chat or the Q &a feature. And if you're joining us on Facebook live, just put them, put them right in the Facebook live, and we'll make sure to get your questions answered. I've got those coming in to us today. So again I am here with Jenifer Sapel, the founder and CEO of Utor wealth. She has really dedicated her background in wealth management to now helping specifically, I think mostly women manage our wealth in the second half of life. So Jennifer, tell us a little bit about couture and, and what led you to do what you're doing.

Jenifer

I'm happy to. Yeah, thank you. So I've been a financial advisor for 16 years now, and it wasn't until maybe three or four years ago where I really started to embrace that. Being a woman is different and it's different in every aspect and it's different financially. So it's just been in the last three or four years where I've really, really focused in, on being a woman. And I'm a new mother. I have a two year old and a four month old. And so that adds a whole nother kind of layer of complexity. And so founded couture after 14 years of being in the business with a big company, founded couture and Utor is literally Latin for enjoy. And so much of the conversation around money. And I think so much of our anxiety around money is that because it's finite and because it's measurable because it's quantitative because we can actually like keep score with it.

There's this, there's this desire or this kind of pressure to feel like there's something that's right or wrong. There's a right or wrong answer. And that's not really the case. So that's kind of led this, the shift for me, we are a comprehensive financial planning firm. So what that means is when we engage with a client, our, our objective is to help them be financially organized and give them a framework for financial decisions and give them advice for financial decisions. We also offer services with investment management and then some insurance brokering. So life insurance, longterm care, disability insurance, but the overall objective is to help people use money as a tool in their life to live the life that they enjoy. And all of us define that a little bit differently.

Jill

You know, one thing you mentioned besides I'm totally going to come back to, what's different about it for women. And I think some of those things are parents, but one thing that you mentioned that really caught my attention was there's no right or wrong answer. And I know personally in my own wealth management, I've wanted someone to just tell me what to do. I want the right or wrong answer versus, well, what kind of life do you want to lead? And we don't really think about that. Like, how do you pull that out of people? Or how do you address the, know that people who just want guidance or want an answer? They want to be told what to do?

Jenifer

Well, there's, there's a couple of things there. Again, if you frame money as a tool, it it's a tool in your life. So you are the user of the tool. So think about any other tool you have, right. And like you know, your toothbrushes, a tool at some point in your life, it was awkward learning how to use a toothbrush. Right. but you're the one who, you know, you learn how to do it. You got through that awkward phase and you're the one who decides ultimately like, well, you know, am I going to brush right when I get up or, you know, like you decide how you're going to fit it into your overall life, same with any other kind of tool, right? Like your car is a tool. You're, you know, I like kitchen gadgets. Those are my, you know, when I first, when I first got my, my what's the new pressure cooker, right.

I was terrified of my Instapot. And the first time I used it. Right. but how I use it is different from how my friend uses it. And it's just fine because this is like, this is what I want out of it. So this is how I do it. A great example financially is you know, should I pay down my mortgage or not? So the answer to that is if you, if you want to make the ultimate, like if you want your sheet and that's like, what you're worth when you compile everything that you own, and you take out everything you own, if you, Oh, if you want your balance sheet number to be as big as possible, if that's your objective, then the answer is no, you shouldn't pay off your mortgage. But if your objective is, I want to just feel better about it at night. I want to, like, I want to just know that my house was paid off and that I don't have a mortgage anymore. And just have that peace of mind and security at night, if that's your objective, then by all means back your mortgage. So that's just one of many examples of like, there isn't really a right answer for anybody. It's what is the right answer for you? Does that answer your question?

Jill

Totally. Well, and I think your ability to lead someone like me down a path of, you know, what, there's multiple paths and helping me understand how to think about the paths is just really valuable cause that, that certainly doesn't come to me intuitively. And that's, that's something that, you know, in ways of framing it in terms of different options that's where I think your role becomes just really, really important with women and men. Well, let's, let's get back to that point around. It's just different. It's different for women. Share a little bit more about what you, what you mean there.

Jenifer

So like financial principles are the same but how we experience our lives are different. So the, the oversimplified answer to our finance is different for men than they are for women. Particularly around retirement is that most for the, for most women, we arrive at retirement with less money and we live longer. So those are two huge differences and have huge financial implications for, you know, what, what options are available to you and what kind of lifestyle do you want to live. Of course, we get to retirement with less money for many reasons, but the wage gap is one of them. It's often women who are, are taking career pauses for unpaid work. So if they're caregiving for children or for aging parents or for anybody else you know, there's the, the, we don't necessarily negotiate or ask for more raises.

So those are all contributing factors to arriving at retirement, along with a lot more. We can, we don't need to talk about all of them today. We can do that. We could have a whole separate webcast just on that. But then living, living longer, you know, and, and as we sit here today, our life expectancy is two and a half years longer than men. That gaps actually shortening and they, the actuaries, the guests there is as women enter the workplace and work that same number of hours and things like that as men, we are seeing that as a detriment to our life expectancy.

Jill

Interesting. That's fascinating what stress does.

Jenifer

It is well and financial implications distress. You started, you started with that. People who have pensions live longer. So if you have a pension, if you have a retirement source of income, that is a steady paycheck, right. That you can rely on those people live longer than people without pensions. And then people with more means. So if you have if you have more wealth and more means those people also live longer than, than people with less. So there are, I mean, they are, or you started this whole webcast with that. They are completely tied your health and your wealth.

Jill

Yeah. They're tied together. Oh, that's well I know Jennifer, you have a couple of slides to share and I think you've done a nice job just in terms of showcasing this life, you know, this roadmap of life. And so why don't you go ahead and share those and talk us through it a little bit because you know, it's yeah. If you think about lifespan this isn't always something like, in terms of planning, I don't naturally go here. But talk a little bit about this in some of the shifts or changes that you're seeing. Cause you already called out a couple around women's life expectancy and men's life expectancy coming closer together. That's fascinating.

Jenifer

Yeah. So you can see the financial life stages. So what, we're, what I'm showing here from age zero to two age, 120 this line with this, this line represents is your wealth. So again, that's a what is your net worth? What's your, what's your, what's your balance sheet, say your personal balance sheet say, and most of us, right. We, we start working out of high school or out of college and some of us, you know, start from zero and some of us start from a heavy debt load from college. But in our working years, over the course of time, we accumulate, right. And we grow assets and we grow wealth. And then you can see there's this at the top of the Hill, there's a preservation stage. So if you're within 10 years of retirement, this is what we call into your preservation stage.

It's important in this time that you're doing things that are going to keep your wealth and your net worth relatively safe, right? So you, you have to do some risk management here. And the reason this is a critical time for risk management is that you're, you still are at a point where you have a long life expectancy ahead of you, right? So there's still, if you're, if you're 50, you still could have 40 years ahead of you or 50 years ahead of you. And you're at, you know, kind of peak wealth earnings. So this is a time to think about preservation. I think, you know, with, with the work you guys doing, right, your body changes and your, you know, your health and wellness leading up to this time. And what it looks like after this time are very different. Same is true for your financial life. There's two major, major phases in your financial life. One is accumulating wealth, and then the other is at some point using that wealth to replace your income. And we call that in the financial world, we call that distribution, but now we're taking the wealth and using it for our living expenses and not necessarily having to work anymore. The answer, your question.

Jill

Yeah, I think that's great. And I think your, even your corollary to health and wealth you know, like, like we say, on the health side now is we're kicking off the second half of life, you know, women in midlife. And so what we do now really is risk mitigation too, in terms of future chronic issues or whatever, the more that we take care of ourselves during this menopause timeframe or these hormonal shifts it totally plays out in the long run and, and it's, it's so parallel with the financial health of your life as well.

Jenifer

Right. It really is. And you, so you gave kind of a specific example, just a quick example here is, you know, market corrections during these times, we have to remember how the math works on on investments. But if you're, if you're, if you have a hundred thousand dollars in the market declined by 25%, so your a hundred thousand dollars drop to $75,000 that's a 25% decline to get back to a hundred thousand dollars. It isn't a 25% increase we need to see in the market. It's a 33% increase we need to see in the market. So that's why this, this stage, right, this is risk mitigation stage. That's why you can accept fewer fluctuations during this period of your life. Then you can, you know, if you've got another 10 years or so to be invested.

Jill

Yeah. It's incredible.

Jenifer

Yeah. And then you had mentioned let's see, I think our next, some kind of critical decision points during this time. So from the age of 50 to 70 and a half the top three on this chart are all regarding social security. So the earliest you are you can draw social security is 62. And if you choose to draw it at 62, you're going to take a reduced benefit. You're not going to get as much out of social security as you could, if you were to delay and then you can, you can delay social security until age 70. So you'll get your maximum amount available to you on a monthly basis. If you wait to take your social security payment until age 70, you can see the big age, 65 kind of in the middle there again, this is where our two worlds intersect.

Medicare becomes available age 65. So if you're thinking about stopping work before age 65, then part of your plan has to include, am I going to get healthcare coverage? Right? Cause most of us are covered through our employer. And so if we were retired from our employer and we're not yet eligible for Medicare, then that's something you need to factor into your, to your expenses. And then the bottom three are around taking withdrawals from, from retirement accounts. So something that I'll just note here quickly is if you, again, if you plan on being away from work between age 50 and 59 and a half, you could have money in 401ks or 403 B's depending on what kind of employer you're you're with that inside of that plan, they allow you to take money out of it without penalties. If you roll that money into an IRA, an IRA, the TAC, the IRS says you can't take money out of out of an IRA until you're 59 and a half. So just be careful that you just kind of caution caution, if you're planning on 50 55 and 59 and a half, you may have some options inside of your 401k that you won't have in an IRA.l

Jill

In terms of having flexibility of taking that money out and using it to subsidize your life.

Jenfier

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

Jill

Great. That's great. Well, good. Well, I'm gonna I've got one, a couple of questions for you in particular, Jennifer, that I wanna, you know really kind of dive into. And, and so, you know, you talked about the differences for women versus men and how are, you know, the, the rate of earning is different, unfortunately pay instill in an equitable between men and women. But can you also, can you kind of go into, what do we, what are mistakes that women commonly make? What, what do we, what did we get wrong? Whether it's along the trajectory or, or even in these critical decision points down the road?

Jenifer

Great question. I think two, two that I really, really want to highlight one is that we ignore or defer you know, so that could look like I really should pay more attention to my financial life. I'll get around to it right next year, right. Or next month, or once this happens or once I get a raise, right? There's all kinds of conditions as to this is what I'm going to sit down and be serious about my financial life. So if you're ignoring it, that's a mistake. If you're deferring it a hundred percent, this is a huge mistake for women. Most women still and millennials at the same rate as baby boomers and gen Xers are deferring major financial decisions, particularly investing to partners.

Jill

Why is that? Do you know, like what's the psychology? I do it, I'm guilty of it. So, you know, I'm just put myself out there.

Jenifer

All right. Well, thank you. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. I, I, if I had to guess, I I don't know, and I don't know if there's actual science about this, but if I have to guess, I would say it's for two reasons, one it's in our socialization. So Starling bank out of the university or not university, a United Kingdom, did a, did a research on media messages for men and for women and media messages for women around money are very, very different than media messages for men. So what they found was 93% of articles geared towards women that had to do with money were telling women how to scrimp and save, right? So like how not to spend so much money. So it's implying right that our, our w that's that's the only area of finance we need help with, right.

Is how to save money, how to clip coupons, that kind of thing. 70% of articles geared towards men talk about investing. So there's a cultural you know, and social kind of machine, like there's some conditioning going on where the expectation of us to, you know, to be able to invest or talk about money with confidence. Isn't the same as for women as it is for men. The other thing is that that women have a time deficit for us, you know, again, caregiving and unpaid work falls disproportionately to women than it does for men. So like when you're, when you're at capacity, you're tired and you've got a lot on your plate. Like the last thing you want to do is learn a skill that you don't particularly have an interest in you know, and add that to your plate. So those would be my guesses. I think they're pretty good guesses, but those would be my guesses. Do they resonate with you?

Jill

Totally do. Yeah, they do. You know, I am very much a and even you just, when I think about just the, the right things to do, you know, infrastructure of life insurance, you know, paying bills, et cetera I know how to do it. I'm certainly capable, but, you know, my husband just kind of takes charge of it and I run my own business and I do it for my business, but, and I probably even think about it different with my company than I would if I, you know, I dunno, you know, I wonder even when you said you were talking about saving and clipping coupons and being frugal or making your money really stretch I know sometimes I'd put that mindset towards even my company versus thinking big and investing and going for it, you know? And it's just, yeah, it's a, it's a risk, a risk aversion or an aversion to risk or mitigating risk in such a way that I'm sure in some ways it's healthy and in other ways it holds us back.

Jenifer

Yeah. Yes, you're right on both of those friends and even if, and even with even if you're deferring. So I don't want to say that, you know, that even in your particular situation, that what you guys have going on, isn't isn't unhealthy necessarily. You know, we, we, if you're partnered with somebody, you split household chores, right? I mean, some people do yard work and some people don't and some people do housework, some people don't, so that's perfectly fine. So even if you have a healthy relationship and somebody else is is taking care of, of the financial life, what I will say is it's critical that at least once a year, if not twice a year, or once a quarter, it doesn't necessarily have to be any more than that, but at least once a year, you sit down together and audit, right?

So that is where is every account and how is every account invested and pull a credit report. And I say this because I've seen it personally, eight out of 10 women at some point will have sole responsibility for their financial life. So even if they are deferring at some point 80% of the time, you will, you will need you will have to take over the reins. So know where all the bank accounts are, have like some kind of rough balance of where they are. And too high of a percentage of women are surprised when that happens. So, you know what I've personally seen our surprise, I didn't know there was a tax lien on the business, right? That it's still an obligation that I'm going to have to pay. So at least once a year, make sure that you're taking inventory and that you're running credit reports, and you're kind of getting on the same page. And if, for the day to day decisions, if you're still dividing, dividing the work there that's okay.

Jill

That's great. Well, why don't you go ahead and take the SlideShare down and I'm gonna keep diving into some questions here, Jenifer. And if found any of these questions, it makes sense to show an image. I know you've got some additional visuals let's, let's definitely go back. But one, one question that came in or that we wanted to address was you know, I don't have a million dollars in the bank or my 401k will I ever be able to retire comfortably? So let's talk about, you know, if a person has deferred saving kind of altogether, like you talked about when you hit, like, I think remembering that that bell curve 50 ish, or, you know, you want to start to preserve your wealth. What if you haven't really been preserving it? What's your advice for starting to save or think a little bit more, or, or take money that you have saved and actually start investing it, maybe you haven't invested it much of at all. Cause you have deferred that till a point when you would need to do it.

Jenifer

Yeah. So start, start now and start small. We are better humans. We're, we're better at doing if we automate it. So what I would say is like, if you're behind and you need to, you need to play catch up a little bit, then put it on your calendar where, you know, you're saving 1% more, right? So 1% of your income and if, and the more you can automate it, the better it is. So if that means you're doing an uptick in a 401k or four, three B contribution with your employer then great, most of America builds wealth that way because of the automation, right? So if that's the easiest way to do it, do it that way. If you can set up an automatic transfer, direct deposit into a separate account that isn't going to go into the checking and ultimately be spent however you can automate it.

Great. And I, you know, take it 1% at a time, if you can increase by 1% every three months, every six months, even every year, you're going to be better off the only way, right. To, to get yourself in a better position for retirement is ultimately to save and invest more so. And that's kind of what you just mentioned Jill, right? One is make sure that you're saving more of your income and investing more of your income. Two is how right, how you're saving and investing. And that is get, like, you got to get off the sidelines. You've gotta be invested in something that's going to at least keep up with inflation can be sitting in a, in a savings account. And there, there's not a whole lot of tricks to investing either. You just gotta be in a, in a well diversified portfolio. And there's, there's a couple different ways that you can go about finding that.

Jil              l

How about you know, just we're in interesting times right now, where unemployment's at a super high rate and, you know, a lot of people have lost their jobs. And you let's say you have been saving a small, you know, as much as you can. What's been your advice, if any, to clients who have lost their employment and maybe need to rely on their savings more for a period of time, any guidance around how you dip into that maybe before, when, before you thought you would need to. Cause I think a lot of, lot of people are in that boat right now.

Jenifer

Yeah, yeah. And if you're in that boat, you're not alone. A lot of people, a lot of people are in that boat. The first thing I'll tell you is one of the most empowering things you can do for your financial life, whether you're in that situation or not like anybody, one of the most empowering things you can do is sit down and review every single expense from last month. You know? So just so take June and review and categorize every single transaction that left your any of your bank accounts. If you haven't done that in a while, you will find, you will find subscriptions that you forgot that you were subscribed to, you will find like you're just going to find things that if you haven't been paying attention to it that are there and available and, and relatively easy ways for you to adjust.

So that's, you know, number one a lot of people avoid doing that because they think they have to judge every single transaction, good or bad, like, Oh, I did good here. I did bad here. And I'd say like throw judgment out the window. This is a treat for yourself. This is you empowering yourself and gaining knowledge over your situation. So resist the urge to judge good or bad, just kind of categorize, just kind of take inventory. The second thing is if you're having to draw from accounts, if it's a savings account, you know, again, you're controlling your expenses is really the most empowering thing you can do. But if it's the same account, I wouldn't so much worry about you know, how to take it or when to take it. Things like that. The mistake that I see people making is if they're having to take out of retirement accounts, so a 401k or an IRA or things like that I'll hear things like, you know, well, I have this old 401k from a job three jobs ago and there's $15,000 in it.

So I'm just going to cash it out and stick it in my bank account, you know, and in case I need it over the course of the next couple months, don't do that instead, just take out every month, just the amount you need every month, right? Because if you're taking money out of those accounts early, you're gonna have to pay taxes on all of that money. If it's money, you haven't paid taxes on, I'm already under normal circumstances, you pay a 10% penalty that the cares act gives you some relief there. But even with that relief, if something changes next month, if you know, if a vaccine comes out next month, you know, none of us know we're all in kind of unchartered territory. And you're back to work or you're able to pivot, or, or you find a different opportunity a month or two earlier than you thought, then you were foregoing. Any of the growth that account could have, could have achieved for you by just like cashing it all out at once. So take what you need, just take what you need to get by each month as you need it to get by.

Jill

Hmm. That's great. That's you know, I that's, it's when you break things down into like little bits like that, it's much more, I don't know, achievable, or you feel like you have a little bit more control over it, otherwise it can be just really be overwhelming, you know, especially when you think about saving or how much should I be living on or whatever. It's amazing how just the little steps can just make it more comfortable and like, yep. I can do this and you break it down and you start working at it. So, yeah. How about this question? What if I've already retired? Is it too late to plan now or to change the plan?

Jenifer

Never, it's never too late. Never, ever, ever. No. So the, so, you know, ultimately there's there for, in a financial world there's really only kind of two major components. One is your balance sheet. So that's just kind of like, what do you own and where is it and how is it, how is it situated and how is it invested? And the other is cashflow and cashflow is how much you bringing in on a monthly basis and how much is going out on a monthly basis. We think about these things, right? Jill, you were saying earlier, you think about them in terms of business. But we hardly ever apply those same principles to our personal financial life. But if you're sitting here retired today, you still have there's, there's lots of levers that you have the biggest lever. And again, whether you're retired today or not, but the biggest lever is fortunately something we all can control and that's how much we're spending on a monthly basis.

So a really fast change is where you're living, right? Our living expense is one of our largest monthly expenses. So if you rethought how you were living and decided, you know, it's time to have a roommate or it's time to get a girlfriend or it's time to move from Seattle where housing costs here are, are very, very high relatively speaking. And it's time to move somewhere where cost of living is a lot less, like that's one change you could make that could really dramatically change your situation. And then same. So your, how your spending is your, your biggest lever and will always be your biggest lever. But then how you're invested. There are very few investments that you could be invested in that don't allow for tweaks or adjustments. So that's something that's another area where you could certainly sit down with somebody and say, is there any, but anything better I could be doing.

Jill

Hmm. And when you talk about investments, is it stocks, is it mutual funds? Is it like, that's, that's where like I can come to someone like you and you can help me sort through what the best investment options are, because I think even that's like, where do I start? If you haven't been doing it, or I've been working with a financial planner, you don't even know how to think about it.

Jenifer

Yes. Yeah. There's a couple of ways to start. Of course I'm biased. I think starting with the financial advisor is, is a great place to start, start with a professional. But if you just want, if you just want a little bit more confidence, even before you talk to a professional go to morningstar.com and there's a, there's a question that just came through. I wanna, I want, I answered that one too, but go to go to morningstar.com. There's a learn tab in morningstar.com and then there's the kind of I think it's the second option down. That's like invest university and they're really good short kind of tutorials. They give you the basics on investing. So it'll help you with your investing vocabulary and, and investing concepts. To answer your question, Jill, when I'm talking about investing, I am really talking about, there are a lot options and actually I'll share real quick. When it comes to retirement, investing in particular, let's get the right screen here. Let me know. Yeah. That visual coming up.

There we go. So we can see promise based and market based. Okay. I call this like an economic terms. These are kind of your macro decisions. So these are like the really high level decisions on the left. What you see are promise based investments, meaning, you know, social security is promise based, right? It's as close to a guarantee as you can get. It's a check that's going to come in on a monthly basis. Same with pensions, a really high quality bond where we don't worry about, we're not as worried about the, the company going under really high quality bond or even a government bond held to maturity. Like that's just income. You can expect pretty predictably on a monthly basis. And then same with annuities. An annuity is an insurance product. An insurance company is pooling your money with a bunch of other investors money.

And annuities are our vehicles that are designed to generate income for you. There's lots of different types of annuities. And there's lots of information out there and there's a lot of misinformation out there about annuities. But just so everybody knows, you know, an annuity is an opportunity for you to buy a pension. So if you don't have a pension, you like the idea of one it is available to you to be able to buy a pension. And then on the right side, this is where you were kind of going Jill market-based investments. So these are investment portfolios. Investment portfolios could be a portfolio of stocks and bonds. I would say that for most of us, for most of Americans, unless you've got several million dollars to invest in, let's just say like two or $3 million to invest. You're going to be better served by a mutual fund or ETF portfolio.

So for the most part, I'm talking about mutual funds and ETFs so investment portfolio and then real estate rental income, those are opportunities for you to invest in things that over time should grow in value. And then also provide you a retirement income.

Jill

It's great. It's a great like high level breakdown, you know, for sure, because I think when it comes to these and let's say that you've got, you know some of this in place and you're wondering, you know, or, or you've just got loose cash can coming to someone like you you'll help sort through that in terms of which of these options are the best ones by knowing what are the right questions to ask us to lead us to the right choice.

Jenifer

That's the role, at least that's my belief. The role of a financial advisor is to help guide and educate you. It is not to do it for you. And that I think is one of those, again, one of those big mistakes, whether you're deferring to a partner, or if you're just handing your money over to an advisor and saying, here you do it. I would consider that a mistake. My preference would be that you're engaged with somebody who is thorough and understanding what you're trying to accomplish. What's important to you and who you are, and then they're plugging in, okay, I I'm hearing what's important to you and here are the options available to you in order to make those things happen. And there again, there isn't necessarily a right answer for most of my clients, right? With what we've got up on, on the screen here, you know, a perfect world for me is that they've got a little bit of money in all of these things, right? Because then different economic cycles and different market cycles and different interest rates, right. They've got a tool that works best under any of those circumstances, but how much in each of those tools really comes down to their preference. And again, like, you know, what helps you sleep better at night? Well, it gives you more confidence. What do you like better?

Jill

Yeah. Well, I think that is a good segue. We had a question that came in that said investing scares me, especially during COVID times. We've seen the markets go all over the place and it feels like they've stabilized now. But our, the market's always the indicator of where our wealth is going as consumers. And even in Jennifer, how would you address the investing scares me. And, and I think it scares all of us, but especially during right now, like how should we think about it during this really volatile time?

So I had a client call me earlier this week and she's her exact words were, I feel like everything's going to hell in a hand basket,

And she said, she's like, should I pull all my money out? Because I feel like everything's going to hell in a hand basket. And when I said to her was everything is going to hell in a hand basket in the short term, that is true. Like it is crazy right now. And there are so many variables and so many unknowns. So you're perfectly justified to feel that way. If you're uneasy, you're perfectly justified in feeling uneasy. The other thing I asked her, what, what I told her was we have lived through globally and humans, right? I think one of the things that makes us beautifully human is our resilience and our ability to act adapt and overcome and change and morph as needed. So what isn't unique while, while COVID-19 is totally unique, what isn't unique is, you know, we've just in this country, lived a great depression, right?

In like the middle of the country was a dust bowl. There were no crops with people were having to wait in line to be able to eat. You know, we've seen, we've lived through world Wars, right? We've lived through Vietnam war. We live through oil and embargo crisis. We lived through the Cuban missile crisis. So COVID-19, you know, pandemics historically happen every hundred years. But major crises and major financial crises happen relatively regularly. So what I told her, what I asked her was we kinda went through her exact situation and, you know, what do you need and what do you need to feel more comfortable? And she was like, yeah, the, the money, you know, that she has invested, it's still for retirement and for her that's still 10 years or more out. And I said, you know, what has happened historically always is in the short term like this it sucks and it's volatile 10 years from now.

We're going to look back and say, I'm glad we stuck with the plan. That's what, that's what happens historically over and over and over again. Can we say with a hundred percent confidence that that's going to happen again? No. but if I'm a betting gal, like I started this whole thing, we're resilient. We change. We overcome absolutely. In the long run. I think we're, we're all gonna be just fine. If you need the money shorter. So that's where you're kind of in that if you're in that preservation range that's where you may want to look at, and I still think you need to be invested. But that just, you may want to take a look at how are you invested and should you be making any portfolio changes? So there's a caveat. If you're going to need that money in the next five years, then maybe sit down with somebody. Maybe you make changes and maybe you don't. And if you need money for it, if, if you're going to be invested for longer than 10 years, it's times like this, that make wealth, it's times like this, where people would generate the most wealth is they're buying in during volatile times or during, during times where prices are low and they're getting the benefit of growth from the bottom of the market.

Jill

Yeah. Because I think that's an interesting, like, if you are, you know, if you're not in that preservation point, if you still have 10 years of saving before you get to that kind of upper part of the curve investing right now, looking creatively at places to get in on the cheap and riding that growth wave is, is a smart thing to do.

It's a huge opportunity. Yeah. I like, I like to think if you any other asset, right? Cause if you are, if you're going to own stocks, you're owning a piece of a company, right. If were shopping for a house and you know, the house you loved, you fell in love with the house. It's a half a million dollar house and you're like, I'm going to sleep on it before I make an offer. If the next day that house that you were in love with was all of a sudden priced at 450,000, instead of 500,000, you'd be jumping up and down for joy. Right. You'd be like, I'm in, I'm buying it. I'm excited. That thing just went on sale. So same is true with the market, right? If you were thinking about investing and the market is down, you're getting in while it's on sale, alternatively right. You fall in love with that house at half a million and you wake up the next morning and now all of a sudden they want 600,000 for that house. Like that's the time you're like, Oh, bummer. I should've pulled the trigger yesterday. Right. So if you're in that accumulation phase, this is a huge opportunity.

Jill

That's great. You know, I want to change our conversation to talking about wills and planning because and I know it's kind of something when you don't think, when you think about financial planning for the second half of life, you don't always think about a will, but increasingly I know on the healthcare side and this isn't a topic that we've covered yet with the Gennev community, but you know, planning for the end of life. You know, what if the end of life happens in a month, you know, or it might be 50 years down the road, but you don't think about those things until you need them. Talk a little bit about a will and financial and just what you guide your clients in terms of being, being, just having a plan in place.

Jenifer

Yeah. I hold my client's hands until they meet with the estate planning attorney and get their legal documents drawn up. Cause there's two realities. Number one is we all die, you know? And it, it culturally, we don't talk about it. We like to pretend like it doesn't happen or that that it doesn't exist. We're a little bit in denial about it. But just like we all are, we have kind of a birth story. We're all gonna have a death story. So 50% of 50% of your audience listening right now, doesn't have any estate planning documents it's going to the general statistic. So let's just face it head on, like it's going to happen to all of us, let's get our legal documents in order. The other thing I'll say is even if you don't have the legal documents in order, you've got an estate plan that's decided by the state.

So, you know, we reside in the state of Washington. So if you die without a will, the state of Washington just gets to decide how your assets are or will be disbursed. And that's not necessarily the way that you would want that to happen. So that's what those documents will do for you. They allow you to say when I pass away, this is what this is where I want my assets to go and who I want them to go to. And under what circumstances important for all of us critically important, if you have minor children, again, you don't want the state of Washington to decide who is going to take care of your minor children. And then a basic estate plan. Basic estate planning documents are a will a durable power of attorney. So a financial power of attorney.

So this is if you're in the hospital and you can't make decisions, you know, COVID had a lot of people has a lot of people on respirators. If you are unable to make financial decisions, who's going to be paying those bills on your behalf. Who's going to go into those accounts. If they're not on your account, then they're not going to be able to access any of your funds. So a financial power of attorney and then have a healthcare power of attorney. So again, who who's going to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and the rest, the rest of advice I have around that, I would just say talk to an estate planning attorney. That's my, my ultimate advice. It's one of those things that hangs out on your, to do list for a really long time. And once you actually do it, it's kind of like a, at least for me, it's kind of like the workout, like, Oh, I really should work out and leading up to it. I'm like, I really don't want to. And then once I do it right,

Yes, it was amazing. It's so great.

Jill

Yes. To have it, have that certainty because it is, it's not, it's not fun to think about. But you know, to have that peace of mind that it's in place, should something happen. And you know, you know, if you think about, when you talk about a state, it feels so big and grinder, but it's your stuff, it's your car, your house, it's precious piece of jewelry. That's important to you. You know, it might be your, your cats you know, or dog. So it really, it's no quote, unquote state or set of assets is too small to have a place.

Jenifer

Yeah. Yes. Thank you for adding that. I agree. That's totally important. I actually just had this conversation with my, my father and step mother two weeks ago and reminding them, they need to update their documents and I'm like, you know, what, if something happens to, to dad's social security payment, right. And he's in the hospital and you've got to call them and you've got to like, say, Hey, like you've screwed up this payment. They're not going to talk to you without power of attorney. And she was like, Oh right, okay. Yeah. We'll put that back on the list.

Jenifer

Yeah. Yeah. You know, how about what would you advise women who, who don't have a financial planner? What, how would you coach them to do their homework and find the right one for them, a financial planner?

You know, anytime you're going to, anytime you're going to talk to a trusted person, I think the best way for you to find a trusted individual is with your network through your network. So you know, who you guys using and who do you love and why do you love them? I also think it's critical that you interview a few and more so now than ever before, because the financial planning industry is relatively new. It's relatively right in the seventies and eighties, we had bankers and we had stockbrokers and we had insurance agents. We didn't have financial planners. Financial planning is a relatively young profession. So all of us, myself included, we have, we have our own philosophies, we have our own styles, we have our own communication style. We have service offerings that can differ. We, you know, we can offer different products and we're going to have different prices.

So again, this is one of those questions where I would say, there's no right answer interview a few right. Understand what you want to accomplish. This is what I'm looking for. Tell me about your services. Tell me about your fees. You know, tell me about your approach. What can I expect of you and then work with the one that you feel most comfortable with?

Jill

That's great. That's awesome. And how, what's your style?

Jenifer

Educational and consultative. I'm I like to think of myself as product agnostic. So I think one of the things in the industry, something that we don't do very well as professionals is differentiate the difference between financial planning and investment advice. Right? So if, if the only thing somebody is offering you is to manage a portfolio of assets, that's an investment advisor, right. That's not necessarily a comprehensive financial planner.

So my role is, are how confident and comfortable are you with your overall financial situation? How do you make financial decisions and educate you on what all of your options are. So you can accomplish your goals as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Jill

That's great. That's awesome. What you know, just kind of, as we, as we start to come to a close and this has been awesome, Jennifer, like, I just like the way you break things down and you make them really consumable. Cause I, I know as a woman who has, at times I've been great about, you know, planning my finances and investment and caring about it. And other times I'm totally in deferral load, so I can kind of go back and forth. What are basic resources that you tend to point your clients to in terms of just helping ourselves or getting a little bit more educated on it?

Jenifer

Yeah. Well, what did I, so I have a podcast called money on tabooed and I'm kind of on a mission that, you know, all of us could, would do better if we would just talk a little bit more about money.

Jill

Right. you know, we talked exactly that, but it's not quite as like stigma does menopause. It's probably more fun at times. So that's all, I think it depends. It depends on who you ask, like what you got to talking about money, you gotta talk about menopause and then men get in the room. They're like neither.

 Jenifer

Thanks. I think talking, the more we can talk to each other, the better it is. So, you know, talk to your girlfriends, how are you investing? You know, what are you doing? How, what about real estate? What do you guys do about your mortgage? I think the more we can talk about it with each other and just get comfortable around the topic, the better it's going to be for everybody.

I would encourage everyone to log on to ssa.gov. That's the social security administration website and on ssa.gov go to my benefits and once a year, pull down what your social security benefit looks like. So you can see kind of like what, what you have coming to you in the future. You can also audit and make sure that social security is recording your income correctly, cause that's going to impact your your benefits. Another place I mentioned before, I really like morning star has a great resources. So go to morningstar.com and go to the learn tab. And just under the learn tab, if you want to know more about investing, they just have a ton of resources there. And then just for fun, if you're looking for financial books two that I really like, and none of them are, I think, any, any of the, you know, millionaire next door kind of series or books will help with an overall framework.

But Lynn twist has a book called the soul of money. And it's really interesting because she's a fundraiser. So she kind of takes it from a completely different approach. And she talks about asking, you know, ultra wealthy people for money to end hunger globally, you know, small goal. And then she talks about, you know, kind of impoverished people and how money impacts them. So it's a good, you know, it's a good book if you're looking for this kind of help with money, mindset and money mentality. And then let me look up her name. So I, you are a badass at making money. Jen Cicero, I think. And she's got a couple she's a, a coach, I think.

Jill

So if you are a badass at making money, I'm typing these into the chat. Okay.

Jenifer

Yeah. Jen Cicero. That's correct. Yeah.

Jill

I like that title and your podcast again:

Money and tabooed.

Yes. And they can just, people can just search for that on iTunes or Stitcher or wherever they get their podcasts.

Jill

Exactly. Awesome. Awesome. There's a question here. Are there any web based lists of women owned companies that are good investments?

Jenifer

That is a great question. Women owned companies, you want to buy the stock?

Such as Gennev. I'm trying to think of Oh, of a public place. I can't think of something off the top of my head, but if I, if I can find you a resource, Jill, I'll shoot it over to you.

Jill

Okay. I know. That as we, sorry if I interrupted your thought there, but one way I've heard, you know, women can support other women businesses and there's soon a new women's marketplace coming out. I won't say the name yet, cause it's still a little bit in stealth mode, but it's going to be a place where companies like Utor tour and Jeanette and others we can be listed so that women can, you know, invest in companies that are led by women that they believe in and do commerce with them, get their services from them, et cetera. And I think we tend to think about investment in terms of just like giving a check to operate the company. But even bringing business to women, businesses is a great way to invest in them. And at the same time, get some benefit yourself, whether it's the product or a service.

Jenifer

Agreed. Yeah. I think there's a couple, there's a couple in the works here, at least in the Pacific Northwest, looking, looking to build databases like that. You can I'm just, I think the heart, the thing I'm having a hard time with is on without working with an advisor, what, what would be available to you in terms of search and filtering, if you're working with an advisor, impact investing is one of those, you know, not only can you focus on gender, but you could focus on environmental sustainability you could focus on humanitarian and social governances, those kinds of things. Interestingly, the first quarter of this year, most of the socially responsible indexes outperformed like 91% of them outperformed traditional indexes. So yeah, that was super fascinating. And I'll give a shout out to mighty. So if you go to mightydeposits.com, they, you can search there for bank criteria. So the United States, there is $15 trillion on deposit at banks. And what banks do is they loan money out, right. In terms of housing or in terms of small business loans and things like that. So if you wanted your bank deposits to be working for you through the bank, then mighty gives you kind of some search filters on you can look for black owned banks, you can look for who's investing in lower income communities. You can look at who's investing in housing and things like that.

Jill

That's awesome. Well, I know all of these resources Jenifer has been sharing. We will include in the followup email along with the on demand view of this, of this webinar it'll be made into a podcast if you prefer listening over overviewing. But we're, we're coming to the close here and you know, Jennifer, I just want to say thank you. First of all, thank you for starting Utor and all that you're doing and bringing your, your back past experience now to focus on women. It's awesome. And I think you have just a really human in general presence about you in terms of not making it intimidating, which it can be so often. So thank you. I appreciate you coming and joining us today. Again for every, if anyone was joining late and Jenifer Sapel was the founder and CEO of Utor wealth joined us today on today's webinar. And if you want to learn more about her go to utorwealth.com, is that your website? Yep. You got it. Any closing comments or words of advice to leave with our audience?

Jenifer

So like you've got this, that like the, you know, I'm intimidated by money. I'm not good at money. Like all of that, like that's, that's head trash that you can just let go, you can set it down, you don't need it anymore. You totally have this money as a tool. Just think about any other tool you've ever had. Think about the first time you ever parallel parked a car. Right. It was like the most awkward, terrible thing ever. Yeah. And then you learn how to do it at least to pass your test. If you don't like continue to use that skill. But you are fully capable. You told you can totally do this. So just don't, you know, give yourself some grace there's no right or wrong answer. You know, I think part of what, what inspired [inaudible] was just that, you know, like you said, Joel, the financial industry, hasn't done a great job of, you know, breaking this down into digestible ways. And it really isn't as big of a mystery is it as, as it's kind of being perpetuated to be. So so this was fun and I'm such a big fan of what you are doing.

Jill

We have to do, we have to do more of it together. You know we have comments coming in around this is in pilot powering and it is it's, it's the moment to be empowered about managing your money, managing your health. And in times like we're in any little bit of motivation you know, it's what will help us weather this storm. So thank you again, Jennifer, for joining us today. We'll keep doing these regularly. I almost think we should do a quarterly financial check in and do this more regularly, cause it's such a big part of our lives and in our health. Okay. Thank you.

Jenifer

Thank you. All right.

Jill

And thanks to everybody. We'll go ahead and sign off and again, you'll get the, the on demand resources through email in your inbox. At some point either later today, mostly, probably tomorrow. So watch for it tomorrow. Thanks again.

 

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