How to Invest Intentionally with Lindsey Woodward

Cover art for If Money Were Easy with guest, Lindsey Woodward

If Money Were Easy

Hosted by Mary Beth Storjohann and Neela Hummel

How to Invest Intentionally with Lindsey Woodward

If Money Were Easy
If Money Were Easy
How to Invest Intentionally with Lindsey Woodward

Subscribe on Your Favorite Platform

Episode Summary

So you want to invest your money, but you also want to invest in companies doing good things for the world. Can you do that? Absolutely! You can invest intentionally and help make a change for the better. But how? On this episode of If Money Were Easy, Mary Beth and Neela talk to Lindsey Woodward from Abacus Wealth Partners about ways to invest guided by your values, what your investment options are regarding ESG, socially responsible investing, and impact investing, and how to invest with confidence. 

Lindsey Woodward is the Co-Chief Investment Officer at Abacus. She has a wealth of knowledge and a history of investing intentionally while helping her clients do the same. Hear some of her tips on how to get started, how to make sure you’re investing in ways that align with what you care about most, and hear about a true story when investor engagement created impactful change.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • What values-aligned investing means
  • Ways you can screen your portfolio to reflect your societal beliefs and values
  • The best way to divest, invest, and engage with companies to make an impact in your investing
  • How companies are reacting when shareholders come together and speak up about a societal issue
  • The reason ESG investing is gaining popularity
  • Arguments for and against ESG investing
  • The best way to tell if you are investing in a true ESG fund (and not being suckered into a marketing scheme)
  • A good resource showing how a specific fund ranks in areas that are important to you
  • Myths around values-aligned investing
  • You want to make an impact everywhere with your investing, so where to start?
  • Is impact investing a trend or will it be around for a while?
  • Where demand is coming from for ESG funds and intentional investing
  • How intentional investing has evolved over the years
  • The best way to measure your impact when investing intentionally
  • The benefit of an impact report and what it looks like at Abacus Wealth Partners
  • One investment story that resulted in positive change
  • The top two steps to start your journey in intentional investing 

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

Additional Resources:

Stay Connected:

Transcript of the Episode

Neela (00:14):

Hey there. Welcome to the If Money Were Easy podcast, the show where we teach you how to expand what’s possible with your money. We’re your hosts Neela Hummel

Mary Beth (00:23):

And Mary Beth Storjohann,

Neela (00:25):

Certified financial planners and co-CEOs of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show we’re going to talk about how to invest intentionally.

Mary Beth (00:35):

Before we jump in, a brief disclosure from our Director of compliance. This podcast is for educational purposes and is not intended as investment, legal, or tax advice. Any opinion shared is not the opinion of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show we have Lindsey Woodward as a guest. Lindsey is a certified financial planner and the co-Chief Investment Officer at Abacus Wealth Partners, which provides fee-only comprehensive financial advice to help individuals, families, and foundations. She has her MBA from the University of New Mexico. Lindsey is a member of the nonprofit Investment Fund Acumen Next. She’s also an active member and former LA chapter leader of WISE (Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy), an organization for people identifying as women who contribute to the sustainable investing industry. Lindsey, welcome to the show.

Lindsey (01:25):

Thank you so much. Really happy to be here.

Mary Beth (01:29):

Neela and I are very excited to have you here today.

Neela (01:31):

So excited.

Mary Beth (01:32):

So excited. So there’s so much, when we talk about how to invest intentionally: Impact investing, values aligned investing. There is a whole slew of terminology and vocabulary that applies to this environment. So just start with an overview of, what is values aligned investing, what is investing intentionally, and what do you call it?

Lindsey (01:55):

Yeah, so I’m excited. This is my absolute favorite topic, as you both know, and there are so many different terms associated with values aligned investing these days, especially as it has grown in popularity. I mean, at Abacus we’ve been doing it for over 20 years, but we’ve seen a lot more assets flow into the quote “values aligned investing space” over the past really five years or so. And so with that comes different definitions and different terminology. And so you might hear SRI investing (Socially Responsible Investing) or ESG investing, which stands for environmental, social and governance, and then the term impact investing. So there’s so much out there, but at the core it’s really taking a look at your societal values and incorporating those into a portfolio that makes sense for your goals really. And the way you can think about that is ESG, environmental, social and governance factors, are really just the tools and the metrics that you can use to incorporate those societal values into your portfolio. So you can think about, hey, if you really care about gender equity and you really care about environmental sustainability, those would be two factors under the ESG data set that you would want to incorporate into your portfolio. So really what all we’re talking about here is your societal values and the way you can incorporate them into building and constructing a portfolio.

Mary Beth (03:47):

So give us a few other examples in terms of societal values. What are some other things that you’re seeing that people are looking for?

Lindsey (03:54):

Yeah, so some of the other examples are board member diversity, CEO, pay, employee relations, LGBTQ, equity, those types of things.

Neela (04:08):

So it kind of sounds like by investing more intentionally that you’re able to almost throw some screens, some filters in, so that you’re maybe screening more towards companies that are doing better things in the world. Is that an accurate read?

Lindsey (04:23):

Yeah, exactly. So within the framework, you’ve identified your values and really there are some levers you have to pull when incorporating them into your portfolio. So Neela, you mentioned screens, so that would fall under the divest lever that you have to pull. So you can take the companies out that are not doing well on gender equity or they’re the biggest polluters. So you could screen those out of your portfolio. And so that’s the divestment piece. Then you have the investment piece where you can allocate more capital to companies who are doing the right thing and kind of pushing the needle on using renewable energy and treating their employees well and those types of things. And then your biggest impact in investing in publicly traded stocks, in real estate, and bonds is really the engagement piece. And we can go into that a little bit further, later on if it’s interesting. But really that piece is where either you as a shareholder, or the mutual fund manager that you outsource the management of your portfolio to, has the opportunity to talk to companies who are not doing well in a certain area and engage with them to move the needle and make their practices more sustainable or more equitable.

Neela (05:51):

Okay. So if we were to de-Wall-Street-speak it, the three factors that you mentioned, divest, invest, engage. Divest, don’t hold the companies that are doing crappy things, invest in the companies that are doing better and engage with companies to make your voice heard so that they do better.

Lindsey (06:11):

Exactly. Exactly.

Mary Beth (06:12):

And so talk to us for a moment about why engagement is one of the most impactful ways to leverage or “lever to pull,” is what you said. Why is engagement the most impactful lever to pull?

Lindsey (06:24):

Yeah, so this is gonna get a little bit technical, right? So…

Neela (06:27):

Wait, it’s just now gonna get technical?

Mary Beth (06:30):


Lindsey (06:32):

So really whenever you divest from a company, they don’t really care, right? Because behind you there are several other investors who might not care about the same things that you care about, who are willing to invest in that company. And there are some, research shows, that you would have to have 80% of the universe divest from a company to impact them enough that they would start paying attention. So the divest and invest pieces are more for the values alignment, peace of mind that you get personally.

Neela (07:11):

Feel good. 

Lindsey (07:12):

Exactly. Exactly. And then whenever you’re engaging, you’re actually moving the needle, or helping to move the needle on companies behavior because as people have been more empowered over the past five to ten years to use the shares that they have in a company to engage with that company and it’s becoming more publicly available to individual shareholders, there’s been a lot more press around it. And so companies are really paying attention and actually changing their behaviors when shareholders band together to engage on an issue.

Mary Beth (07:47):

So let’s stop for just a minute and let’s talk about the fact that values aligned investing, ESG. There’s been so much media around it lately in terms of impact or intentionally investing your money. And so, I guess, two questions for you: One, is it gaining popularity and why? And two, why are so many people upset about it?

Neela (08:07):

Spicy. Spicy

Lindsey (08:09):

. So spicy.

Mary Beth (08:10):

Let’s go from data to drama.

Neela (08:12):


Lindsey (08:12):

All the headlines.

Neela (08:14):

It’s like a telenovela. Welcome to your financial telenovela.

Lindsey (08:19):

100%. Yeah. There are so many headlines around ESG investing. So to your first question, Mary Beth, why it’s been gaining popularity is because people are starting to pay attention, honestly. And because there are much better solutions out there. So at Abacus, we had to go out and ask 20 years ago for these strategies to be launched for our clients and they were some of the only financially sound options on the market. And so now, as the industry has come along, people are starting to see, hey, I don’t have to give up financial returns in order to invest in line with my values. That’s really, really exciting. And there are just so many more options available out there. And I think people in general are just paying attention to where they spend their money more these days. And then also where, where they’re investing and with more assets flowing into the space. Of course, there are so many opinions out there.

Mary Beth (09:24):

The trolls. The trolls come out, right? When you gain popularity, the trolls are close behind.

Lindsey (09:29):

Exactly. Exactly. So we kind of have trolls on both ends. So we have the people who say that “ESG investing is financially irresponsible,” but when you think about it, with the rise of passive investing, not thinking about ESG considerations is really irresponsible because with people not really thinking about all of the individual companies they’re owning from an environmental, social and governance perspective, it’s kind of our role as investors to make sure that we’re investing in the future that we want to see. And really there’s no evidence to back that ESG strategies underperform non-ESG, or values aligned, strategies. And so there’s really no data, especially over the long term, that supports these arguments that it’s financially irresponsible to incorporate ESG considerations into the investment process. So that’s one end of the spectrum. And then on the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are concerned that there’s a lot of green washing happening within their portfolios. And so basically saying that these funds that are labeled to have ESG considerations baked in are not actually impacting anything in the world. And there are merits to that because as asset managers saw a lot of money flowing into these strategies, there were so many asset managers who just basically created a strategy and threw an ESG label on it for marketing purposes, right?

Neela (11:20):

That kind of sounds like our old friend, the pink tax. They’re like,”It turns out women need razors! What if we put them in a pink color and then charge more and just took advantage of this marketing spin?” So there was this idea that you could just slap a green label on it and business as usual.

Lindsey (11:37):

100%. And so it’s really important that you don’t just choose a fund that says they’re doing ESG and incorporating your values without looking under the hood into their process. What are they really doing? Especially on the engagement front.

Mary Beth (11:53):

So let’s pause there for a moment cuz that probably can overwhelm a lot of people who are listening thinking, okay, there’s a label, I wanna buy this thing, I’m buying my pink razors, this is for me, this has, it has a green label. But now you’re saying, “look under the hood.” What am I looking for? What am I looking for in the data? How can an average investor know they’re on the right track?

Lindsey (12:14):

Yeah, it’s really tricky for an average investor to be able to get that granular. But a good indication of an ESG fund that might be interesting is one that has an ESG commitment across the firm, right? So if you see that the entire firm is dedicated to values-aligned or ESG investing, that’s usually a good sign, but making sure that the fees are not exorbitant. Because a lot of times they’ll slap the ESG label on and hike the fees up significantly. So making sure that the fees, or what they would publish as, Wall-Street-speak, “expense ratio,” is reasonable. And if there are some outside tools that I guess we can link in the show notes.

Mary Beth (13:04):

We can put them in the show notes. Yes. Yeah. Okay.

Lindsey (13:05):

Perfect. There’s this great nonprofit called As You Sow, where you can throw in a fund and see how it ranks on different issue areas that are important to you. So as an individual investor, I would recommend using that tool as well.

Mary Beth (13:21):

So affordability through expense ratios at peer level or below, and then making sure the company walks their talk. Those are the two things. And then leveraging an outside platform for screens, almost like the other ones that exist in terms of screening charities that you’re donating your money to. Where do they rank in certain areas?

Lindsey (13:40):


Neela (13:41):

I think, I love emphasizing what you said about companies that walk their talk because it’s very easy to market a product to a particular demographic, but it’s like, if you are wanting to invest in companies that support more gender equity and they have a fund that does that, and then you look on the board of that company and the executive team of that company and there’s not a woman to be seen, you’re like, “Whoa, hmm. Is this helpful?” 

Lindsey (14:06):

Exactly. And that’s actually becoming more part of the due diligence process across the board for people who are really doing deep and thoughtful values aligned investing. They’re really not only looking at the investment strategies, but also the people who manage the strategies and the people who own the company that manages the portfolio and what kind of practices do they have in place there as well.

Mary Beth (14:36):

So I’m gonna go back to just getting started with values-aligned investing and what are the myths that exist out there in the world? In focusing your investments on ESG or on your values, you’re giving up return, or in doing so you’re sacrificing return? Would you say this is a myth or fact?

Lindsey (14:51):

So this is a myth. It really is very similar to the broad investment landscape. So over the past several decades, there have been some investment strategies that have outperformed and some investment strategies that have underperformed. So it really comes down to making sure your portfolio is constructed in a financially smart way, along with incorporating the ESG considerations because, just like the broader universe of investment funds, there are some ESG funds that perform really well, some that perform really poorly, but from the evidence that we have actually over the past 15 or 20 years, if the portfolio is constructed in a financially smart way, the portfolio can perform very similarly to its non-ESG or non-value aligned counterparts over a long time period. So yeah, that’s definitely a myth.

Neela (15:56):

It’s really exciting to think about where you can meet your financial goals. I mean, we sit here, we’re three CFPs, we’re all fiduciaries. The idea that you can really continue to meet your financial goals and still have a better footprint while you’re doing it.

Lindsey (16:10):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s getting better all the time with a rise of new strategies coming out in terms of getting more granular with the specific values you incorporate and not just saying, oh, here’s a broad ESG fund for you that might be reflective of, of your values, but there are funds that perform financially well that are focused on social justice and there are funds that perform financially well that are just focused on the environment. And so there’s so many exciting developments over the past several years. So yeah, love to see it.

Mary Beth (16:48):

I have a question. So, as somebody that is passionate about all of it. Who wants to leave the world in a better place, with gender equity, the boards, the carbon emissions… Where do I start? Social justice- Everything. Where do I start? Do I have to prioritize? Can I do it all? What do you recommend is the most impactful way to allocate my dollars when I feel quite passionate about a variety of issues? This is just an example. You know, my own personal values…

Neela (17:23):

My favorite part of Mary Beth’s and my interactions is she’s like, “We need to help absolutely every person on the planet.” And I’m like, “Okay, well the door to 8 billion people actually starts right here.” That’s like a look behind the scenes on how we communicate.

Mary Beth (17:37):

We meet in the middle. Meet in the middle situation.

Lindsey (17:46):

No problem. It’s okay. I know you will make it happen.

Mary Beth (17:49):

. Well, of course we’re coming  along Linds.

Lindsey (17:52):

. Yeah. Oh no, I love it. This one’s a bit tricky, right? Because without getting too into the weeds, there are so many considerations and trade offs really when it comes to incorporating values, because there are some companies that do really well from a diversity perspective. So maybe they’ve reached gender and racial pay parody and they still have a huge footprint, right? And so there’s, there’s some nuance there in terms of incorporating those into your portfolio. And so when you think about where to start, what I would do is go to the As You Sow website that we mentioned before, and really think about what are your top three values that you think are gonna push the needle and they’re gonna be impactful in the type of world you wanna live in in the future. And then kind of see what the highest ranking funds are on all of those issues. And you’ll likely see some overlap, especially with strategies that are incorporating a lot of different factors into them. And then you can make a decision. You’ll also probably end up with several other amazing issues incorporated into the portfolio, but there’s no way you can get exactly every single thing you want because companies aren’t perfect, right? If we whittled down to a portfolio of perfect companies, we would be left with a portfolio of zero. And that’s where the engagement piece comes in where you can say, oh hey, that company that we talked about that’s doing really, really well on gender and racial pay parity but needs to come along from an environmental perspective, that’s an opportunity for the fund manager that you’re investing with to engage with that company to kind of push them in the direction they need to go.

Mary Beth (19:53):

I love that perspective of prioritizing what your top three values are. I think that’s huge. And then what are you willing to accept or work on as a part of those issues? So what are you willing to engage on and accept as part of your portfolio to make progress for? I love that.

Neela (20:07):

So following along with Mary Beth’s game of myth or fact, another myth or fact we’d love you to opine on is impact investing is a blip, it’s a trend, it’s hot for the moment, but you know there’s gonna be another one and it’s gonna go away at some point. Myth or fact?

Lindsey (20:28):

Well, I would say myth. We, at Abacus, have been on this journey for, like I said, 20 years. And so we have seen the evolution of the ESG and impact investing space. It feels like a really exciting time to be involved in this space because it’s just starting to gain a lot of momentum. And I don’t think that if we think about it in 10 to 15 years, it’s definitely not going to look the same because we’ve made so much progress over the past 15 years in terms of data disclosure. So one of the things that’s really, really important to ESG investing is that companies report on environmental, social and governance metrics. And they’re starting to do that more and more so that we can make decisions based on that information. We’re also getting more information on what’s important in the world. Like, how do we transition to a more equitable society? And so the types of things that we’re incorporating into the portfolios now are much different than what we were looking at 15 years ago. And so as societal concerns and values evolve and data disclosure continues to evolve as well, strategies will look different. But I don’t think that ESG or impact investing is going anywhere, especially because it’s easier to do it now than ever because of all of the options out there.

Mary Beth (22:05):

What do you think, or what is your perspective on the up and coming generations that are pushing this movement? I know a lot of the news organizations and media push it on millennials and Gen Z and what consumers in these generations are looking for. Is that what you are seeing as well? Or is the demand for this service, or this product, is it spread across generations?

Lindsey (22:25):

So it’s interesting because working at a firm that is really focused on this, it’s a little bit more difficult for me to speak from my experience about the broader landscape. I would say that the majority of the clients that I work with and the advisors on my team work with are really interested in this regardless of their age. But the data does show that millennial investors and younger, are more interested, which to your question before Neela kind of gives us a sense that it will be a pervasive investment strategy going forward.

Neela (23:07):

I just love the idea of every time we can vote with our dollars, good things happen. Whether it’s the businesses that we choose to support, the services that we tend to undertake, we can create a movement because basically, every time you spend a dollar at a particular store or on a certain product, you are saying, “I support the work that you’re doing. I support the company that you are,” and really the underpinnings. And so when I think about it from an investment standpoint, and what you can really do from a capital standpoint, it’s pretty powerful. Like you were saying, 20 years ago, we would have clients come in who were focused on, say, clean water, and then you look under the hood and the portfolio that they had invested in and there were companies that were directly undermining that goal. And so this idea that you can combine your purpose with your investment without having to keep them separate is an incredible opportunity for leverage.

Mary Beth (24:01):

Yeah, I think the way that the industry has evolved, and even knowing that the generations coming behind us are continuing the work and continuing to demand this, and are continuing to evolve to serve the needs, I think that’s inspiring. And it just keeps us on that track, especially with everything going on in the world today, to know that this work is out there, how it has evolved over the 20 years since Abacus got started and were looking for these funds, and now where we’re at, and just as the generations come behind us and look for more and the accountability that’s there and the data disclosures, I think it’s really exciting.

Lindsey (24:32):

Yeah, it is really exciting and it’s really important that we as investors take that responsibility on. There are so many people in the US and around the world that don’t have access to invest in capital markets. And so really as an investor, you’re investing in the future that not only investors are going to see, but also everybody else around the world. And so it’s really important that you’re mindful of what your dollar is supporting in this space. Like you said, Neela.

Mary Beth (25:07):

So I wanna round out our game of myth or fact. And I think we’ve already touched on this, but I wanna just hit on it again to see if there’s any other information. But myth or fact, you cannot track your impact. So I can’t track my impact by not investing my money, my divesting, and then investing even though if I invest, how do I actually measure that? What are my options and are there any?

Lindsey (25:26):

This is very timely. We actually, at Abacus, just put out our revamped impact report that kind of shows each client what their impact has been over the past year in their portfolio. So you can measure things like carbon emissions reduction. You can measure things like gender equity on boards. You can measure things like, what kind of engagement happened over the past year. And so that’s really a service that you should expect from an advisory firm focused on ESG and impact investing and dedicated to that as an individual investor. You should expect that from the underlying funds that you’re investing in, and they should publish those impact reports on an annual basis. So that’s another thing to look for if you’re looking for an ESG investment or a values aligned investment, that they do publish an annual impact report. One of the big disclaimers as we talked about earlier is that the data’s not perfect. We’re still working on pushing companies to disclose more data. So there are gonna be holes, but we’re on this journey together and we’re all pushing for a similar thing and we shouldn’t let that get in the way of reporting progress. And so never let a fund manager tell you they can’t, or an advisor tell you that they can’t, because it is possible and it will just continue getting better and better as more managers and individuals keep pushing for it.

Mary Beth (27:08):

And so with tracking the impact is that you can measure data in terms of carbon emissions reduction, and there’s also stories, stories of engagement at the impact that’s made. Am I missing anything? What else are we looking for in those impact reports? So I know we’re measuring it and we’re measuring it typically against a benchmark.

Lindsey (27:25):

Exactly, exactly. You’re measuring it against the broad universe that you could invest in. So you’re basically saying, how did we shift our portfolio versus the market via the things we talked about in the very beginning by divesting or investing more in companies that are doing better and then you’re measuring what impact did that actually have? And so those metrics are really helpful whenever we think of backward looking when you think about making investment decisions, you’re making an investment decision based on what a company or individual manager says they’re going to do. And then the impact report is saying, Hey, what actually happened after we invested our dollars here?

Neela (28:12):

It’s that accountability. Exactly. Do what you say, say what you do. I love that Mary Beth talked about the stories because here we are, we’re talking about expense ratios, we’re talking about underlying fund prospectuses, which is basically enough to put many people to sleep . But if you think about print, so much fine print and so much paper, so please read them online, custodian stop sending them out of paper. But if you think about the stories that really captivate us and the things that we can tangibly see from investing intentionally, is there one or two stories that you can think of where engagement has really resulted in some change?

Lindsey (28:50):

Yeah, absolutely. I have a very favorite one. So one of the fund managers that some of our clients and myself personally are invested in actually led almost like a movement via the funds that they received through fees that were paid by, by their investors. So their strategy is a little bit different. So this is a firm, led 100% by females and a strategy that also has female investment managers. And one of the things this strategy does is take data from impacted communities and say, Hey, what’s really, really important to you all? And so one of the things that we think about that’s a common metric in terms of gender diversity is how many women are on a board, but how many people does that really affect? How many board positions are there out there? What we heard from what this investment manager heard from impacted communities in terms of what was really important for gender equity in the workplace was ending the practice around forced arbitration for sexual harassment. And you think about how many more people that affects it makes total sense. But whenever you’re kind of thinking in this siloed approach like, oh, women on boards, that’s something we can measure. So what they did is divest from all companies that had the practice still as part of their policies and procedures, and then engage outside of their portfolio, kind of calling companies out and saying, Hey, we want you to end this practice. And all of that ended up leading to legislation that made the practice illegal for all companies in the US. So that is a huge impact for so many women in this country, and it is just so amazing that that work.

Neela (30:53):

Ah, that’s incredible. I just got goosebumps. I’m like the whole country. Did we hear that part? The whole country.

Lindsey (30:58):

, the whole thing.

Mary Beth (30:59):

I love that. That is a powerful, powerful story. Before we jump into our closing questions, what are your top two steps for somebody looking to get started in this area? How does somebody begin?

Lindsey (31:17):

Actually, the first place I would direct people looking to align their values with their portfolio is to the Abacus Academy Course that we will also link in the show notes. We have a great two-part course on there that’s focused on your money mission and how to incorporate that not only into your investment portfolio, but into your cash flow, charitable giving strategy. And so that’s a really great way to set the foundation and write your own money mission statement that can kind of guide you when you think about all of these decisions. And then the other tool that is also mentioned in the course is going to, once you have your money mission statement and have identified your top three investment values, which are are more broad societal values, again, kind of thinking from an environmental and social lens and going to the As You Sow website and filtering funds based on, on those top criteria.

Mary Beth (32:24):

Love it. This has been such an amazing conversation. Thank you so much, Lindsey.

Lindsey (32:28):

Thank you for having me. This has been wonderful.

Mary Beth (32:31):

So we’re gonna transition to our closing questions before we let you go. Question one, what is the best financial advice you have ever received?

Lindsey (32:39):

So the best financial advice that I have ever received is probably from my best friend. She is very bold. We’ve had very similar career paths and she understands the industry really well. And she’s kind of my sounding board for all career decisions. And as cheesy as it sounds, the advice I’m referring to is really about money doesn’t buy happiness. So I was working for the first part of my career in very traditional financial services roles, business to business in the asset management industry. And I always found myself working on kind of like the 2% of the assets that were managed in a values-aligned way. And that’s actually how I met Abacus. Abacus was my client when I was at my previous firm. And when I was thinking about making this shift, I knew that it meant a pretty significant temporary pay cut because I had to learn this other part of the industry and kind of ramp up before I could take on clients of my own. And everybody else thought that I was crazy. My friends, my parents, kind of everybody else around me and my best friend was like, “No, you have to do this. You’re talking about this all the time. You really light up whenever you talk about values aligned investing and this firm. And it’s not something that has to be permanent.” And so I  made the leap and am so happy I did. It’s the best decision I ever made. I haven’t looked back since. And I completely understand that that’s a very privileged position to be in, to be able to take less pay. I know there are a lot of folks out there who are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, but if you are in a position to be able to make a shift into something that really lights you up and it makes you excited to come to work every day, I would highly encourage it. Even if it means making less money. I mean, it is the bulk of the way you spend your time. And so I would encourage anybody out there to kind of make that leap.

Mary Beth (35:05):

Oh, well we’d love that. I know, obviously , we didn’t pay her to say that, right? Yes.

Neela (35:12):

Okay. Next question. What is your favorite money mistake you’ve made and why?

Lindsey (35:18):

So this one is kind of funny. So coming out of my undergraduate, I had a degree in economics and I thought that I was an amazing stock picker. So I invested a significant amount of my very small portfolio at the time in Walgreens because of the upcoming Theranos deal that was gonna go through.

Mary Beth (35:47):

Oh, oh…

Lindsey (35:48):

First of all, I thought I knew more than the market and I thought that that deal was gonna change everything and nobody else knew. And we all know, especially with all the documentaries coming out recently, how that went. It was a huge failure, but it was a great mistake to make upfront and really informs how we invest more broadly. Not stock pickers, all of that. But it was an interesting lesson to learn early on.

Mary Beth (36:16):

Lessons in diversification. Exactly.

Neela (36:20):

Lesson to parents, let your kids fail early and with less money.

Mary Beth (36:24):

With less money. Yeah. That’s good. Yes, teach them that early on. . Okay, final question. Fill in the blank. If money were easy…

Lindsey (36:35):

If money were easy, I think the world would be a much better place because we would have more voices in the room. This is kind of taking a serious turn, but there are a lot of very wealthy and powerful people and organizations that benefit from money being really complex. And so the more that we can simplify and help bring people along who are not in the room, the better the world will be.

Mary Beth (37:12):

Ah, straight to my heart. Beautiful. Thank you again, Lindsey. Tell our listeners how they can contact you or find your work at Abacus.

Lindsey (37:19):

So you could find me on LinkedIn, Lindsey Woodward @Abacus Wealth Partners, and then my email address is just

Mary Beth (37:30):

Thanks so much for your time.

Lindsey (37:32):

Thank you. Bye-bye.

Neela (37:34):

So fun. Bye.

Neela (37:37):

Thank you for listening to today’s episode of If Money Were Easy. If you’re looking for more information on how you can expand what’s possible with your money, head to That’s for more analysis and resources created by our team.

What’s your financial archetype?

Simplify your life with a plan

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.