Having a conversation about money with your parents can be challenging and uncomfortable. It’s a discussion people often put off for far too long, but it’s an essential conversation (or series of conversations), especially if your parents’ plan is to lean on you financially down the road long after they’ve retired.
So where do you begin? What questions do you ask to help you prepare for a better understanding of where your parents are at financially without being too invasive? Listen to this episode where Mary Beth and Neela explore the best way to approach these conversations and which valuable questions you can ask your parents. You’ll learn about topics that can be extremely sensitive and how to broach them so you know what to expect when the time comes to help your parents meet their needs.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- The family and money situation many people are finding themselves in
- The unspoken words that cause family stress around money and how to alleviate that stress
- Where to begin when talking money with your parents
- The two C’s you can use when thinking about having the money conversation with your parents
- Where to begin the money conversation once a safe environment is established
- Which pieces of information you should try and gather about your parent’s finances
- The spicier topics you really need clarity on from your parents
- How to approach touchy money subjects with your parents to make the conversation a bit easier
- The reason why people put up walls when the topic of money comes up
- Some health care items to focus on as your parents approach retirement and beyond
- Questions to ask your parents regarding long-term care insurance
- The item that must be set up in your parent’s financial plan that is not for them
- The best way to get your parents moving on their estate planning documents if they don’t have them in place
- Three questions to ask when documenting estate planning decisions
- If you’re in charge of executing someone else’s estate, there are a few things you want to make sure you have
- The question you should end with when discussing your parent’s money plans
Resources Mentioned on the Show:
- First-Generation Americans: What to Do When You are Your Parents’ Retirement Plan
- Your Complete Estate Planning Checklist
- Estate Planning Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples
- Cybercrime Is Real: 7 Best Ways to Protect Your Identity
- How to Know When It’s Time to Hire a Financial Advisor
- What It Means to Work with a Fee-Only, Fiduciary, CFP® Financial Advisor
- Join the Abacus community by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on LinkedIn
- Connect with Mary Beth on Twitter, Instagram, and on LinkedIn
- Connect with Neela on Twitter, Instagram, and on LinkedIn
Transcript of the Episode
Mary Beth (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 Mary Beth Storjohann.
and Neela Hummel,
Mary Beth (00:24):
certified financial planners and co-CEOs of Abacus Wealth Partners. Today on the show we’re going to talk about money and your parents.
But 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. Let’s dive in.
Mary Beth (00:51):
All right, Neela, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Mary Beth, welcome to you.
Mary Beth (00:55):
Thank you, <laugh>. So, you know, we talk about this offline. I know you talk about it with clients as well, quite a bit, but money and our parents. Families and money scripts and history. There is a lot that everybody, any human being, needs to basically unpack in terms of their family and finances. I, personally, have seen a lot of clients come in with stress and anxiety around what they are going to be responsible for, and unsure of how to talk to their parents about the topic of money. Whether it’s because money is kept secret, it’s used as a power dynamic, whatever the reason is. I think money causes stress in families. Not just, you know, to children, but children looking up to make sure their parents are okay. What’s your experience with that?
Yeah, you know, it’s so interesting because we all come out with certain lessons that we’ve learned around money. Some of those are intentionally taught by our parents and many not. And so it’s interesting to unpack how our own money stories really differ from those of our parents. And you know, also just thinking about when a lot of clients come in, you start seeing many that are in this middle sandwich generation. Where they are raising their own kids, potentially, but they’re also looking a step ahead and thinking about, okay, they’re seeing their parents getting older. What’s gonna be the plan there? How are they being expected to support their parents? What are things look like in this multi-generational situation that many people find themselves in now?
Mary Beth (02:36):
Yeah, I think that’s exactly it. I have clients that come in, we start working together, and 6 to 12 months into the relationship we end up doing checkups with the parents to understand. I think it’s great. As a financial advisor, I have found that we’re able to be a neutral resource. I don’t know if you’ve seen that as well, but definitely being able to be that neutral party, the safe person to navigate that conversation, to bring a parent in to understand the dynamics. Yeah, that’s probably one of the most rewarding things that I can do, is to help those clients to get clarity.
Totally. And you know, what you brought up before is this idea of money stress, and that oftentimes both parties are stressed. Because there’s a lot that’s gone either unsaid or there’s a lot that’s unclear. And so everybody, kind of, has their own ideas, and there’s often a lot of pent up energy or stress around it. And so by being that independent third party, you can just drop the temperature. Create healthy communication and create better clarity.
Mary Beth (03:31):
Yeah. So aside from having a financial advisor for those that may not, or may want to approach the topic of money with their parents, what do you recommend? Where do you begin to bring up the topic of money with your parents?
Yeah, great question. I think having an idea of the questions you wanna ask is really important, but before you dive in, I think the most important thing is to find the right time to have that conversation. You are not having this conversation in the line for a ride at Disneyland.
Mary Beth (04:01):
This is something you want them to have time for. You want to have space where you can actually dive into this. And so, maybe it’s setting the container of, “Hey, I’d love for us to take some time to talk about our financial futures or just to get a sense of where you guys are. Would that work?” And figuring out a time that really makes sense so that you’re not springing this conversation on them. Have you had experience with that?
Mary Beth (04:25):
Yeah, I completely agree. Setting the container by bringing the topic up in advance and asking for permission to talk about it. Letting them know that you are coming in to obtain clarity and to let them know that you’re really asking these questions so that you can understand now, and understand your role, and potential role in their future. And so that you can help them avoid financial trouble, and yourself to avoid any financial trouble, if necessary. So, I really think coming from this place of genuine curiosity and care is the most important way to approach the topic. Especially because we know money is such a triggering, triggering topic.
Right. I love that. The two Cs, care and clarity. Yep. I’m approaching this with care and I hope to get clarity and I think that is oftentimes very well received.
Mary Beth (05:08):
So once you’ve got this sense – Let’s say you’ve created this environment where it’s a safe environment to talk about money – Where do you begin?
Mary Beth (05:17):
Yeah, there’s a couple different places that you can begin. I think the big question, the big word that everybody talks about is the R word, retirement. So understanding what that means to your parents and what it looks like. When do they plan to retire? So you could start with something open-ended, like, “What’s your retirement plan?” And leave it at that. Leave them space to answer and then ask further clarifying questions such as, “When do you plan to retire? Where do you plan to live? Where do you want to live? Do you plan to stay in the same place or downsize?” These are things that come up across the timeframes. “Will you do something else for work?” This idea of retirement, some people, view retirement as, “I am done. I am hitting the golf course,” or “I am traveling,” or “I’m with my grandkids.” Others are not able to sit still and they plan to work until, you know, they hit the grave. So it really depends on what their expectation is and how they will spend their time. I think it’s a really important question to ask. And then you can understand from that point, do they need to have the supplemental income in their mind? Do they need additional income through a retirement account? Do they have enough? What would you say with that?
I love that as an opening question because I think it does a few things. A. It’s super respectful because it’s giving them a little bit of credit that they’ve probably put some thought into it. They might not have all the answers, but they probably have a loose idea of what they’re thinking or what they even want. And so the open-ended question, I think, is a great way to start the conversation because it turns the mic over to them. It lets them really think about, you know, share the work that they’ve done and you can just really listen. It’s the first step in clarity. So I think it’s such a powerful first step and really, kind of, coming in with that empty cup. Like, “I don’t have any assumptions, I’m just, I’m here to listen.”
Mary Beth (07:15):
And I’d say after you kick off that conversation and you have a sense of either what they want or what they’re thinking about, I think getting a sense of what resources they have. Almost like a financial snapshot, can really help from a clarity standpoint. And so what do they have in savings? What kind of income do they have now? And will they have? Are they gonna be getting social security? Do they get any pension income? What are their liabilities? Do they have car loans? Do they have a mortgage? Will that mortgage be paid off anytime soon? And then probably the other big thing are insurance policies. The two big ones you’re probably looking at are long-term care insurance and life insurance. Just to have a sense of what they have, what might those policies cover, so that you can plan around that.
Mary Beth (08:04):
Yeah. I think getting clear on the resources. I love that. It’s really important to understand what tools your parents have in their toolbox to leverage throughout their retirement. And you’re gonna be clear on your family history, maybe a little bit, what their life expectancy may be and how long do those resources need to last them? So are they living off only pensions and social security? Do they have assets that they can pull from? Do they understand how to make those assets last and work for them? So, are they working with an advisor to help them figure that out or are they doing it on their own? But understanding what the resources are, and how they are leveraging and managing them to ensure that they last throughout that time period, is really important.
Yeah, absolutely. What do you think are some of the spicier conversations? What are some of the pieces that come up that you really wanna get clarity from with parents?
Mary Beth (08:54):
The spicier ones are getting clear on the assets and the income. So going back to actually this question number one is, what do you envision for your retirement? Really this all comes down to cash flow planning. So what are their expenses and do they have enough resources to meet those needs on an annual basis based on their life expectancy? So I think the spicier questions are, “Do you know how much you’ll need to spend to support yourself during retirement? What is the annual income need that you have?” And “Do you have the resources to make it work?” And if they don’t know the answer to that, that’s spicy. And getting them to maybe admit that they don’t know or that they need help, I think that’s where it gets a little touchy because that’s where you might see that resistance come up of like, “oh, it’s fine.” Or “Don’t worry about it,” and kind of get brushed aside because there is work involved in understanding and getting clear on those things. So I think the spicier one is the cash flow. Because if you understand that, the need to support your lifestyle, then you can back in and it’s just math. But getting clarity on what is under the hood. If there is debt. What if there’s debt beyond the mortgage and what are you trying to support and make work? Are they living beyond their means right now? If that’s a problem, if they’re living off of credit cards, those are some flags that can be uncomfortable for you as a child. To know or to know if they’re secrets being kept. And then also to try to figure out how to navigate that and what your role may or may not be in that going forward. You know, you’ll find some parents who are fully transparent and lean on their children and divulge it all. You’ll find some who are secretive and very closed off who want to share nothing. And you’ll find some are in between. But I think this conversation that we’re talking about might be a one to six part conversation. You might need to dig in over time. We have a list of questions here we’ll talk about, but retirement might just be one conversation. And then circling up later on to talk about resources. I’d say those are probably the spicier ones. From the two that we’ve just covered. I think those are the ones. What do you think?
I want to double click on something that you said about that and why they’re spicier. I think it’s because there’s often a lot of fear and shame when it comes to money. And so, when you think about cash flow planning, when there are gaps, I think people can often feel like, “I didn’t do enough” or feel embarrassed that they aren’t in a place that they want to be. And so that’s where you see these walls can come up. And so I think you’re absolutely right, that those tend to be the spiciest ones, because people don’t want to feel judged. And so when you approach these conversations, do it with as much empathy and evenness as possible, so that you can open up those conversations, create a dialogue, and move on. The other piece that comes up that can be a tough one to crack is healthcare. The cost of healthcare is going up. It is an expensive feat. I find that, oftentimes, the older clients have thought a lot more about stairs in their lives. Right?
Mary Beth (11:52):
Yes, they have.
How they’re gonna approach stairs. Like, everybody’s focusing on stairs. So everybody’s really good about the future of stairs in their lives, but less concerned about how they’re going to pay for some of the healthcare expenses that might go beyond Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan.
Mary Beth (12:11):
Yes, exactly. So talk for a minute about long-term care insurance for listeners who might not know. What is that policy and what should they be asking their parents about it?
Yeah, so long-term care insurance is a kind of insurance coverage that basically covers for additional care that is in the home. So basically covering a home healthcare provider to come in and help you with, what they call, activities of daily living. And so that’s bathing, dressing, eating, etcetera. So that if you need some form of extra care, this policy can help contribute to it. There’s all kinds of different policies. The typical policy generally covers a set dollar amount. They break it into years, but it’s essentially to help with the cost of that additional care, whether it’s in the home or out of the home. Not a ton of people have them. The policies have gotten more expensive over the years, but if your parents have them, that’s a really important resource to know about.
Mary Beth (13:14):
Yeah. The policies have gotten more expensive over the years and providers have pulled out of the market because, let’s be honest, everybody could use long-term, but it’s expensive, and it’s an expensive coverage to provide. They’ve realized there was a lot of clients cashing in on those policies. So they were getting a loss.
Gosh. You know, providers… Before my grandma passed away, she had this long-term care policy, and I had gotten my CFP like a couple years before, and I was looking at this policy, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, grandma never canceled this!” This is like the Cadillac of policies. I was like, “Wow, if only they sold these policies.” And then I realized, of course they don’t anymore.
Mary Beth (13:50):
They bought it. She bought it like three decades ago.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
Mary Beth (13:54):
It’s been the journey of our CFP. Our careers here are just watching the long-term care policies adjust over time and the providers, worse, pull out of the market <laugh>. So, but the health care expenses. I mean that’s one of the things, even in our own financial planning projections, that we add additional inflation to the cost to continue to go up over time, and it is hard to estimate, but, you know, stairs are one thing, but life hits you. And so that’s the expense that does hit a lot of our clients and it can be underestimated by those that are transitioning into retirement.
Right. And we should also hit the point too, that oftentimes if you have a heterosexual relationship and you have a typical age difference, because women are living longer than men, oftentimes what you see is the wife is the one who is kind of on the hook for taking care of the husband. And so you might also see a policy where only one of the spouses is insured. But pay attention to that and just know, too, the role that gender can sometimes play in that.
Mary Beth (14:58):
Great point. That’s a great point. So beyond healthcare, the estate plan. Do your parents have an estate plan in place? And, this is a tough one I think for people. It is a thing that I have found many clients put off as the last thing to do because it’s not really for them. My estate plan is not for me. It is for my children and my family to have clarity and peace of mind to understand what’s happening. So there’s not really an immediate benefit to me when I do this work to create these documents to put that in place. But it is one of the most important things to understand what your parents have, which is a will. Healthcare directives, powers of attorney, a trust, if that’s in place. And understanding what your parents’ wishes are if they become incapacitated or if they pass away. These documents encompass everything. And because they encompass everything, depending on where wealth is in your family and money, it could be a little bit spicy if you ask about it, about what’s in those documents. Because there could be bequests to family members or friends. You may think that will is being divided between the children when it’s not. So I think that’s a really touchy topic, depending on the money scripts and details of your family’s personal situation.
Right. When you approach that with clients, what do you feel are some of the questions that you can ask to get them to take action? Because, like you said, oftentimes they’re like, “Well, I’m not gonna be around for it, so who cares?” So how do you connect it back and really help them take action if they don’t have an estate plan or if they haven’t updated it for a long time?
Mary Beth (16:31):
So there’s a couple different ways, right? If you have a generation like ours where our children are young, you hit it where it hurts- What happens to your children if something happens to you. Right? And then it’s like a gut punch, cuz you’re like, Who’s taking care of my kids? And I mean I’m sure you wrestled with that. I’ve wrestled with that and every six months I’m like, did we make the right choice?
Mary Beth (16:49):
Depending on things… Poor estate planning attorney, all those updates! I’m just kidding, <laugh>. But I think for our generation, it’s easy to think, what happens to the children? And make sure that those things are taken care of when they are young because we need guardianship provisions. So if you’re looking at that from that lens, like the guardianship provisions, is huge when you have an older generation for parents, it really comes down to healthcare wishes and healthcare directives of what happens to you. Do you want to be on life support? Who do you want making those medical decisions? Sometimes if you have one, it could be your significant other, or you could have a doctor in the family, and you want that doctor, potentially, to be the person to make those decisions. Or somebody might be too emotional and not able to make those decisions. And so really reflecting on healthcare I think is a big one because that involves your body, your body and autonomy. I think this is one way to hit it and then it comes down to the wealth and understanding what would you want to happen, and what happens to the money. And so depending on different income levels and asset levels, people don’t get excited about tax savings and transitions and peace of mind. You can really talk about it through the lens of impact though. Do you wanna die broke? We talk about that too with clients, right? You wanna die with zero or do you wanna leave something to your children or your extended family? And what do you want that impact to look like? And that’s what drives the action, is the impact side of things. Do you motivate through fear or you motivate through impact? I think those two. I don’t know, what’s your experience?
Know your audience, I guess your audience, <laugh>.
Mary Beth (18:21):
What have you found that works?
I think, you know, the concept of an estate plan often feels kind of nebulous. Because it’s like, “Oh, what is that?” And you identified the four key pieces. And so I think one of the things that is helpful is to really break it down. It’s the, “Who.” Who’s making the decisions, right? It’s, “where.” Where is the money, etcetera, going? And who’s taking care of any kids, if that’s relevant. And so trying to kind of simplify it, “Hey, just wanna make sure that you’re not leaving everybody with a big mess.” And so, yeah, who do you wanna take care of your kids, where do you want the money to go? Who do you want calling the shots? Because there’s a lot of logistic issues that a good estate plan just heads off.
Mary Beth (19:01):
It really does. It really does.
You know, making sure that mortgage payments can continue after somebody passes away. You need a power of attorney to do that.
Mary Beth (19:08):
Exactly. And I think, make sure when you do talk to your parents about the estate plan, that the people they have identified as their power of attorney or their executor, that they know that they have been designated. Nobody wants that surprise. Literally nobody wants to be surprised with that on the other side because there is work involved, no matter what, to be in those roles. You wanna make sure that somebody is willing and able to make that commitment on your behalf.
Right. Yeah. You know, I’m glad you brought that up because I think it’s also, if you, as the person who is bringing this up, are one of the people that’s named, make sure you really are good with that, too.
Mary Beth (19:43):
I remember after I passed my CFP and was very much in this industry, my mom said, “Hey, I’d like to add you as co-trustee” with one of my brothers and one of my sisters. And I said, “totally appreciate the honor. But I am happy to do it by myself, or I don’t wanna be included.” Because I’ve also seen sticky situations where parents try to be very inclusive and so they make everybody in charge and that creates other conflict down the road. So I was like, “Happy to be the person, but I’m also not gonna be in a good position to share it because I don’t want that dynamic with my siblings.” And so we ended up having a really nice family conversation with the other two and they were like, yeah, you can have it, it’s fine. <laugh>.
Mary Beth (20:26):
Good choice. Good choice. Because for some reason we like the paperwork and legal things, monsters, things that bring us joy. <laugh>. I think with estate planning, the big thing is, having a copy of the documents is one thing (of the trust, of the will of the healthcare directives). And then you also want to make sure that you are clear on the accounts, and typically there’s a supplement. There’s a schedule with the trust that lists all of your accounts that are named in the trust or assets. That’s not always the case though, depending on when your estate plan was created and how old it is. But I think that the biggest thing is a list of accounts, the assets, the income, the liability. Is there a list of accounts that is handy and available to whoever is going to make the decisions or be in charge? Where is that located so that those people know? Because it’s one thing to make somebody your executor, but then if they have to go on a treasure hunt trying to figure out where all of the accounts are. That is a whole other beast of work. So making sure that they have a list of their accounts available in a binder in a safe or online security, however you do that. That’s a big one.
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, if we think about the areas that we’ve covered, we started with a really open-ended question to our parents, “What’s your retirement plan?” The we move on to, “What are your resources? What’s your healthcare plan, estate plan, etcetera?” If you were to bookend the conversation with another ending question to wrap it up, what question would you ask?
Mary Beth (21:51):
The closing question is, “Will you need my help?” And said, another way is, “What role do you expect me to play or think that I may need to play in the future?” And that is an uncomfortable one.
And again, coming back to the goal: Care and clarity. Care and clarity. And all five of these pieces, all five of these questions give you that. And if you’re asking in the way of, “I care about you. I care about our family,” whatever your definition of family is. So getting that information so you can kind of see how the puzzle pieces start to fit together…
Mary Beth (22:30):
Right. And I think the important thing to consider is that, one, you have to do what’s best for you. There’s a lot of expectations within a lot of different families and within many different cultures. And so understanding what role you plan to play, feel that you need to play, will play, no matter what. It’s a non-negotiable for you. What works for your financial plan? I think understanding boundaries and clarity. So knowing what they expect, but then knowing what you’re actually able to do is very important. And so it could be a financial support on a monthly basis. It could be that they expect to move in with you when they’re older and need support for healthcare. Understanding what that means for you, though, from a lifestyle perspective is really important. And it’s likely something that you need to plan and think about on your own and then come back for a meet-in-the-middle-conversation, or set the expectations of what you can do. We are really asking these questions so that you can make sure that they are okay and so that you can make sure that you’re okay as well.
Yeah. And you know, exactly like you said, this could be one conversation, but it’s probably more than one. But at least by kicking this off, you are getting more of that information. You’re kicking off conversations, really on both sides, so that you can kind of take in the information process and come back together with a more cohesive plan.
Mary Beth (23:52):
What are some ways that you’ve seen clients successfully navigate the conversation around the role that they can play in assisting?
Honestly, I think the most successful situations have been when clients have turned into the conversation. Because oftentimes there’s surprises and those tend to be surprises in the positive. It’s almost like if you think about hiding from a credit card bill, cuz you’re afraid of what’s inside of it. Where it’s like, you know, oftentimes when you open it and you look at it, you’re like, okay, this is what it is. Now, let’s figure out a plan and deal with it. And so I think for people the most success is when there’s love and honesty and they’re able to set clear expectations with each other. There’s often shame or fear on the part of a parent. Again, maybe they think they don’t have enough, turns out they might have more than they need. And they just need to kind of have a cohesive plan. Or other situations where clients are like, “This is what I’m able to do.” and let’s see what our resources are beyond that because maybe they can’t carry it themselves. And so generally the most success starts with just having the conversation and kicking it off. What about you?
Mary Beth (24:58):
I agree. I think having the conversation for some clients has been successful in that we’ve started planning in advance of the conversation where they know that they are going to have to help. And so what we’ve done is started to set funds aside. And so that they already know they have an account, they’re building something and that that is what they’re able to lean on. They feel more empowered going into the conversation because they have clarity on, okay, I already know what I’m able to do or willing to do. So going into it, armed with that information, which parents may or may not need. But the client having that clarity is helpful and prevents their spinning because there could be a larger number or different expectations. So I’ve found that there’s success when the client’s given themselves time to work it out prior to going in to know And permission to have a boundary for themselves. A lot of people end up spinning or feel guilt, so there’s the shame from the parents and then there’s the guilt from the children for not being able to do more. So I, I think that’s been a, again, a good role that we’ve been able to play as financial advisors is to like give that permission and boundary setting on on both sides.
Yeah. I love that. Yeah.
Mary Beth (26:05):
In closing, I think, this is a really tough conversation all around. And so going back to it’s a 1, 2, 5, 6 part series of conversations, it’s likely ongoing, especially as your parents age. So depending if they’re in their sixties now and their seventies, you’ll wanna check in. You wanna have ongoing conversations with them to make sure that they at least have a trusted advisor in their lives. One of the things we didn’t talk about is what we’re seeing also is our parents’ generations and older are more likely to be scammed. And from a security standpoint, from online scams, cyber security is a big issue for this generation. And so one of those questions I guess we didn’t talk about through the estate plan is ensuring that your parents are acting safe online. They’re not giving out personal information, they are not trusting, you know, stranger danger, don’t trust strangers who message you, but keeping your accounts secure and being very aware of who you’re sharing your financial details with.
Absolutely. So important. You know, we didn’t really touch much on that. It’s honestly a podcast episode in and of itself. But this idea of elder abuse and again creating that clarity and knowing like, hey, I wanna help you here, might also kick that door open for them to run certain things by you before they click that link or wire that money.
Mary Beth (27:23):
Right. Yeah. So just make sure you know who the financial team is on their side and that you’re able to do the research necessary that they might not be able to do or know how to do.
Yeah. And we should also add that if it feels a little too spicy or a little too dicey to really dive into this, bring in an independent third party either you know, close family friend, a good financial planner, honestly a family therapist. It’s most important that you get started with the conversation and if it feels too hard to do it on your own phone a friend.
Mary Beth (27:55):
Exactly. Couldn’t agree more. All right. Well thanks for this wonderful conversation. We hope it provided you all with a bit of support and clarity for going into a tough topic with family. But the best thing to do is to take action.
Yes. Good luck.
Mary Beth (28:10):
Talk to you soon.
Mary Beth (28:12):
Financial knowledge is for everyone. If you enjoyed today’s episode of if Money Were Easy and you’re looking for more tools and resources to expand what’s possible with your money, head to www.LearnWithAbacus.com. Abacus Wealth Partners e-learning platform, offering a variety of courses to empower you in your financial life.