In my childhood, family travel meant long hours stretched across the back seat of the Ford Country Squire station wagon, reading Archie comics and Nancy Drew mysteries. Snacks were ice water from the red, plaid Thermos and ripe bananas from the sale bin at the grocery store. My parents were Depression era children, and they were thrifty, careful savers. Investing was for gamblers and rich people.
My parents’ habits of care and caution around money rubbed off on me, as did my mother’s independent streak and my father’s love of reading and learning. While still in college, my father gave me a pink doorstop of a book by Venita Van Caspel called “Money Dynamics for the 80’s.” Good old Venita was a fellow Southerner and Duke student, and she was a real pioneer in the world of investing. Reading her book opened my eyes to the idea that regular people could be successful investors. It also inspired my lifelong fascination with all things money- and economics-related.
Like the two-lane highways of those long ago North Carolina vacations, my career path has had its shares of ups and downs, and a few “wrong turns” that turned out to be right after all. A common theme has been choosing jobs and volunteer positions that focus on the wise use and investment of resources. After a stint in the business world, I became a teacher, and spent 10 years teaching Business and Economics to high school students. I was “fortunate” to do that work during the 2008 financial crisis and aftermath, when students were totally engaged in trying to figure out what was up and how the economy would influence their own college and career choices.
My teaching experience continues to resonate as a financial advisor at Abacus. Helping people talk about money is a lot like doing a parent-teacher conference with nervous parents. We all want the same things, but sometimes people are nervous and unsure about past choices and decisions that have led to that meeting. I love watching clients’ eyes light up when they see their financial future making sense and growing more secure.
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
I’ve taken over most of my elderly mom’s financial decisions so she can enjoy her life and make choices without having to worry about money. I work with a Bay Area nonprofit building a curriculum for financial advisors who help clients and community members rebuild their lives after natural disasters (like the devastating October 17 wildfires here in Sonoma County).
Outside of work, my passions include
Dog-walking, llama-wrangling, hiking, exploring Northern California, and traveling wherever and whenever I can. Also, serving on non-profit boards, giving money away, and trying to save the world. I’m an enthusiastic member of Impact 100 Redwood Circle, a group of women dedicated to creative philanthropy in the Sonoma County community.