by Kristen Domingue
Sponsored by: A New Path Financial
Photos by Amber Marie Photography
Our interview with Nadine Burns reminded us of how we can all use someone we trust when it comes to talking about money. In Nadine, we found that someone – someone who doesn’t judge, someone who has your dreams and your present moment in mind at all times, and someone who’s been where you are now and came out on the other side.
She’s the good cop and the bad cop all rolled into one so the money you may make is there for you when you need it. It feels good to not have to think about it alone.
When share I thought in this interview, about what I thought I wanted about how as a young kid, I did budgets. I did my first budget at twelve years old to get a ten-speed bike that I really wanted. My parents didn’t believe in allowances. So I earned the money for it on my own.
But doing budgets wasn’t the meaningful thing that drove me to become who I am or start the business I have. It wasn’t the thing that “made me happen.” The truth is, I’ve always been really engaged financially, even when so many women around me weren’t. Like every woman, I’ve gone through transitions in life and wondered (then planned) how would I get through it financially.
There were a lot of reasons I started my firm, but one of the biggest reasons I created A New Path Financial is because I saw a gaping hole in the way women received financial support. There wasn’t anything that supported women’s financial growth given the journey they have through life that’s very different than a male’s path. Women’s lives have major financial inflection points that often compromise their financial future including:
- Birth and child-rearing, which can interrupt earning potential mid-career
- Caring for elderly parents financially or physically, which can compromise savings mid-career or pre-retirement.
- Divorce, in which they may lose access to joint resources and require a life restructure.
There are many experiences that can compromise a woman’s financial future that men don’t have to think about in the same way. I wanted to create a place where women could ask about these, plan for these, and overcome these without the embarrassment or shame of not knowing what to ask or feeling like they didn’t have enough.
On Pursuing a Woman’s Vision on a Woman’s Terms
If you haven’t noticed, all the big firms are named after men. They’re run in a masculine way. They’re about shaping a person’s financial world in the owner’s image, according to their investment principles, and about the legacy the founder wanted to leave. But when I started my firm, I knew it needed to be different. Too many women have been badly burned by this type of thinking on behalf of men in the financial world: there isn’t a single path that everyone follows through life. Nor is there a single investment or planning strategy that fits everyone. Especially when it comes to women.
Less than 23% of financial advisors are women. And yet we have empathy, creativity, prudence, and all these things that say that we should lead financial conversations.
Instead, the industry has focused on sales over relationships. In the male-led firms I’ve worked in, the atmosphere is competitive and goal-driven to the exclusion of giving people what they need. I’ve been in the room after a client departs and listened as the advisors laugh or make fun of the client because of how little they have or how little they know. This was unacceptable to me.
This competitive, almost vicious atmosphere is part of why we’ve lost so many talented women in finance. If there are women in financial services, they’re typically in the banking industry, not starting their own firms.
I wanted more for myself and to give women more. That is why I am in a leadership role with the Financial Planning Association, to mentor women and have an impact on the profession of financial planning.
The Reality of Wealth: It’s in Women’s Hands
The reality is that women own more wealth than men in this country today, and are expected to own even more in the coming years. Women live longer and own the wealth from their marriages. Women are also admitted and graduate from college at higher rates than men. (Author’s note: According to Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, it’s estimated that women will inherit 70% of the generational wealth Baby-Boomers have accumulated. It’s estimated that widows and their daughters will possess two-thirds of the nation’s wealth by 2030.)
As I meet and work with more and more of these women and explain to them the position they’re now in, the question I pose to them is a legacy one: “Now that we have wealth we have more choices. More choices mean greater power. How do we shape the world?”
Being in control of money is something women have whined about, wished for, gone out on strike for, and left marriages for. At the end of the day, it’s the coin that makes the difference.
So I help my clients think through the kind of difference their life makes and the kind of financial impact they want to have.
On Being the Financial Good Cop and Bad Cop
Women can now invest in women-owned businesses or give charitably to social causes that matter to them. This provides access to opportunity for other women and shapes the world in a more female-inclusive, woman-centered way. I always ask my clients about what matters to them most and what kind of world they want to create. Then we talk about how to plan and spend to help create that legacy.
It’s imperative to me that my clients feel empowered by their finances instead of constrained by them. Instead of budgets (or diets – which also sound constraining), I like to talk about Spending Plans (or Eating Plans). In my own life, I make a meal plan on Sundays for the coming week. I have a menu for the week on the refrigerator, and while sometimes I deviate, at least there is a plan. This way, the decision is already made for me and I don’t give into emotions on a whim. It’s the same with a Spending Plan.
Today, A New Path Financial has grown to include three female financial advisors in Ann Arbor and Macomb. I called it A New Path Financial because I wanted the firm to meet each client wherever they were in uncertainty and help guide them towards their financial goals. I’ve found that there are times where finances are confusing to even the most seasoned individuals and questions always arise during times of transition. We don’t just look at what she can afford for retirement income
and where she’s invested in stocks and bonds. We look at what a woman needs holistically. Is she going to need long-term care when she’s 80? Is there Alzheimer’s that runs in the family? What does she care about and do the charitable contributions that make the impact she wants to make sense for her financial position?
We’ve seen many women who don’t have money set aside for their own retirement go out of their way to give charitably or to their kids. In these moments, I act as an emotional backstop so they don’t sabotage their future to feel good about themselves in the present. I tell them that they have permission to say no, to keep that money saved, even if they aren’t using it today and that they can blame it on me.
We greatly admired Nadine’s commitment to transforming women’s financial futures, one woman at a time. It’s this work that will help change the access to capital and opportunity for women everywhere.
We’d like to share that A New Path Financial will host one of the first financial Symposiums for Women and
Wealth on March 23, 2018, at Macomb Community College and on March 30, 2018, at Washtenaw Community College (both in Ann Arbor.) Each event will be a half day of financial education for women from all walks of life and any financial backgrounds. Nothing will be sold – and yes, there WILL BE CHOCOLATE!
A New Path Financial 734.330.2266, 3003 Washtenaw Avenue, Suite 4, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Securities offered through Sigma Financial Corporation, member FINRA (FINRA.org) and SIPC (SIPC.org). Investment Advisory ser Save vices offered through Sigma Planning Corporation, a Registered Investment Advisor. A New Path Financial, LLC is independent of Sigma Financial Corporation and Sigma Planning Corporation
Kristen M. Domingue is a copywriter and content marketing consultant in the New York City area. When she’s not delivering on client projects, you can find her cooking up something gluten-free or in an internet rabbit hole on entrepreneurship or astrology.