My journey to becoming a financial advisor began as I stood in the door of a barn, watching the contents of my family farm get auctioned off. My parents had decided to do something most farm families don’t – retire. I was surprised to find out my siblings and I were getting a small portion of the proceeds to help us as we shifted from college to the working world.
This money represented my parents’ sacrifices. I wanted to do right by them with this opportunity. After the farm officially belonged to some other family, my dad left a voicemail. “Heyyyy, Han. Dad here! Say… Mom and I were talking. It’d be nice if you were able to use that money toward buying your first house someday.”
Never feeling like this money was really mine anyway, I was happy to honor my parents’ wishes. But I didn’t know anything about investing. Money wasn’t something really talked about in small town Minnesota. To do right by my parents, I thought it would be best to find an expert. So at the ripe age of 23, I hired a financial advisor.
I had a lot of questions as I began working with my advisor. The first being why, when I logged into my shiny new brokerage account, was the initial investment amount less than the check I had deposited? I knew I had invested every last penny – so where did that money go?
With each meeting, the questions compounded at the speed I wished my investments were. We reviewed a chart about how my money would grow over time and I listened as he stated flatly: “Based on this projection, you’re not going to have enough to retire.”
He tried to put me at ease, but “not enough” rang in my ears. I had more than 40 working years ahead of me. I received an amazing gift from my family and was investing it responsibly. I’d been working since before I was a teenager, landed a great job straight out of college, had side hustles galore – how could my advisor possibly know that I wouldn’t have enough? We hadn’t even discussed earning, spending, or saving. Tears welled in my eyes. I needed to protect this money and do everything right, but it all just felt super wrong.
So, at the ripe age of 23, I fired my financial advisor.
I ordered my own books on investing. Five books became 10, which soon became 20, and then 40. My beloved pile of fiction collected dust as I learned everything I could about personal finance. When I came up for air after inhaling Your Money or Your Life, I had completely fallen in love with this idea: money lets me carve out space for what matters most; it lets me create beauty and enable change.
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
I support young people and families, especially women and mothers, in getting organized and empowered with their resources. Mindful planning now can create opportunity for increased flexibility, wider options, and ultimately, more joy.
Outside of work, my passions include
Reading way too many books at one time, doing the crossword with a strong cup of coffee, playing music (including singing karaoke), and exploring wild places with my husband, my mutt, and my toddler.