Lessons in Financial Wellness

Written By: Marie Lovett, CSP, CSLP

Marie Lovett, CFP, CSLP | Brew Wealth

I learned only one thing about money when I was growing up and it was that there was never enough of it. At an early age, I understood what evictions and repossessions were, probably long before I could even pronounce the words correctly. I watched my mother write checks that she knew wouldn’t clear the bank. I knew that it was pointless to take home the field trip permission slip because we didn’t have the money for me to go in the first place. There were days my mother had to choose between using the little money she had to buy what we needed (food) or what she wanted (lottery tickets and cigarettes). Too often, the latter prevailed, and we later scrambled for what we needed. At the time, it was infuriating to me to watch her squander money on things we didn’t need, but it wasn’t until much later in my life (thanks to my career and experience in lessons of financial therapy) that I could truly understand there was much more to the “why” behind the decisions she made. 

Growing up in that environment ultimately left me with a choice of two paths as I got older: fall into that same pattern and struggle financially throughout my life, which is the path that too often becomes the “easier” default, or do the complete opposite and use what I witnessed and learned growing up to make smarter financial decisions. 

The upside to growing up in that environment is that I learned valuable life lessons like determination, perseverance, and doing whatever had to be done to succeed. Success for me had become paying my bills on time, keeping my credit score up, and making sure I never had to choose between keeping the lights on or buying groceries like my mother had. I also learned, as I got older, gratitude for the small things in life and compassion for those in similar situations to what I had been in.

“The upside to growing up in that environment is that I learned valuable life lessons like determination, perseverance, and doing whatever had to be done to succeed.”

Pressing the fast forward button, I stumbled into the financial services industry when in college and somehow almost 15 years have now passed! In that time, I’ve become a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Student Loan Professional. I’ve worked for a few different financial advisors in the last several years and while all of the companies I’ve worked for were great and served their clients beautifully, they were missing the mark on something very important to me personally and under-serving a demographic that is too often overlooked when it comes to financial planning: young families and women. 

Most of the firms I worked for had investment minimums of around $250,000 or more which means that unless you had $250,000 in assets that you would give them to manage, you weren’t a good fit for their services. This structure, often referred to as an asset under management (AUM) model, prevents young individuals who are just getting started in their financial journey from obtaining much-needed financial planning services as they have not accumulated that much in assets… yet. Although I am starting to see a shift here, many traditional advisors are still typically only focused on managing assets for those who have already accumulated wealth instead of helping them build it. This is where I felt there was a massive disconnect. 

While financial planning for pre-retirees or those in retirement can definitely be complicated and tricky when you factor in estate and tax planning, many advisors overlook the complexities of those still in the early stages of building wealth and fail to understand the immense support and guidance they could offer to these individuals. Getting married, combining finances, budgeting, buying a home, starting a family, paying for infertility treatments, or launching a small business are just some of the financial considerations women and young families face, and they can get quite complex! 

Another big component of helping younger generations build wealth is financial literacy and education. If you don’t learn about the incredible investment vehicles called Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) or Roth IRA’s until you’re in your 50’s or later, you would have missed out on years and years of potential compound investment growth! You’ve likely heard it before, but time is such an important factor in your financial journey. The sooner you can start taking a greater investment (see what I did there?) in managing and understanding your finances, the better your financial future will be! 

All of this to say, my experience in the world of financial advising, and my personal experience growing up, is what led me to start Brew Wealth in 2020. I wanted to create a space for women, specifically, to feel comfortable getting involved and taking more control over their finances. I wanted to be their judgment-free financial friend; someone they can open up to and share their money fears with, someone to answer the “stupid” questions (even though we all know there are NO stupid questions!), and the person to walk with them through their financial journey no matter where they are starting. It’s my goal to make talking about money less stressful and help build a sense of financial knowledge and empowerment among my female friends. I strive to be the person I wish my mother had access to when she was younger. I can’t help but think that just maybe then her financial journey wouldn’t have been so difficult had she had access to the resources that could have helped her.

“It’s my goal to make talking about money less stressful and help build a sense of financial knowledge and empowerment among my female friends.”

I get it. Not everyone wants to know everything about personal finances, money, and investing. I don’t really want/need to know the ins-and-outs of how my oil is changed but I do need to understand when I should get it changed. You know what I mean?

I’m going to share some super wise advice I hear ALL the time that I personally struggle with following myself: you don’t have to know everything before you start something. The important thing is that you start.

You don’t have to know everything or have it all figured out right from the start, but establishing a baseline for your financial life can help you better understand where you are today, where you want to go tomorrow, and simply having a better understanding of these things can help motivate you to make a plan for how you’re going to get there. 

The question I get asked the most is, “where do I start?” I would suggest starting small and begin to understand your personal measure of financial wellness. 

What does “financial wellness” really even mean? We hear it everywhere. I personally make reference to it all the time. But what does it really mean?

 At its core financial wellness has to do with your relationship & understanding of your own personal money situation. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

✨ Do you know how much money comes in each month?

✨ Do you know how much you spend each month, and where?

✨ Do you know your debt balances? (If you know your interest rates, too, I’m impressed!)

✨ Are you following a money plan (aka budget), even loosely?

✨ Do you know your credit score?

✨ Do you have financial goals that you’re working towards? Big or small, doesn’t matter!

✨ Do you have, or are you working towards, building an emergency fund?

For any question you answer “no” to, I would encourage you to try and find the answer. If you’re not sure where to go from there, I’m happy to help get you started! Remember: you make more financial decisions every single day than you probably realize. You’re not bad with money. You’re not behind in your financial journey. Investing time and energy in your financial life will always be worth it. It just won’t always be fun or easy. What’s that saying? Something along the lines of, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” So. True.

 Cheering you on,

 Marie

About the author » Marie Lovett, CFP, CSLP

Marie Lovett, CFP®, is a dedicated financial planner known for her unwavering commitment to helping individuals and families achieve their dreams through a values-based, life-centered approach. With a warm smile and a strong cup of coffee in hand, Marie brings a unique blend of expertise and empathy to her clients.

Marie’s journey in finance has been guided by her deep passion for understanding and improving the financial well-being of others. As a mother of two, she understands the importance of financial stability and security in building a fulfilling life. Her love for reading fuels her continuous quest for knowledge, ensuring that she stays at the forefront of financial strategies and trends.

Website: brewwealthfc.com

Instagram: /brewwealth

LinkedIn: /marie-lovett

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