Real Money, Real Experts

Facebook Live: Ask Us Anything

January 19, 2021 AFCPE® Season 1 Episode 18
Real Money, Real Experts
Facebook Live: Ask Us Anything
Show Notes Transcript

In this Facebook live recording, Real Money, Real Expert co-hosts Dr. Mary Bell Carlson and Rebecca Wiggins talk through highlights of past episodes and take listener questions live on Facebook.

*Note this episode was pre-recorded during a live event on January 19th. 

Intro.:

Welcome to Real Money, Real Experts, a podcast where leading financial counseling and coaching experts share their stories, their challenges, and their advice for helping people manage money in the real world. I'm your host, Rebecca Wiggins, executive director of the association for financial counseling and planning education or AFCPE. And I'm your cohost, Dr. Mary Bell Carlson. I'm an Accredited Financial Counselor or AFC® and the CEO of Chief Financial Mom. Every episode, we're taking a deep dive into the topics that personal finance professionals care about helping clients, building community and your professional growth. Welcome everyone to the Real Money, Real Experts podcast. I'm Rebecca and I'm Mary.

Speaker 2:

We have something special for you. On today's episode, you'll be listening to a live episode that we recorded on Facebook on January 19th, 2021. You can listen here, or if you'd like to see the video head over to our Facebook page or the real money, real experts page on the AMCP website. Enjoy

Speaker 3:

Welcome everyone. This is so exciting to be here on Facebook live. This is our first ever podcast live episode, and I think Facebook live is this your first Facebook live? Mary? It is . It's just my first live, anything. So I'm super excited though. Rebecca, I'm excited too . And we are going to wait for everybody to kind of pop in. We've got some questions that people submitted ahead of time for the ask us anything episodes Asher coming in. And is this your first phase, have any , um, you know, questions about Mary or me or AFC PPE or the field of financial counseling? Um, go ahead and put them into the chat here. Um, but Mary, I'd love to kick it off. One of the things that I love about you and your journey is that you've touched so many different parts of the field. So I'd love for you to just share a little bit more about , um, where you've been, maybe just some of the highlights of where you've been in your journey, because I know there's a lot there. And then , um, could you share maybe your most influential job that led you to AFC PE and to this particular profession? Yeah, yeah. You bet. In fact, I'll start with that last question first. Uh , cause it really was my first job, a real job, right. And outside of just working with my dad on. So I grew up in West Texas in a small town out in the middle of oil field country. And I really, I think I was 13 going on 30 my whole life, right? Like I was always wanting to do more , uh , and expected more of myself from very early on. And so in high school , uh, I actually even quit the basketball team, which I'll be honest. I wasn't very good at anyways and went to go work for the bank , the local hometown bank , Kermit state bank. In fact, in fact this will date me, but several of you on here

Speaker 2:

May remember the old teller stamps. Like we didn't have computers. This is before dos. This is way back when, and we would tell her stamp and 10 key, I even know how to 10 things . So , uh , it went way back, but I love it . I loved working with people. I loved working with money and in my senior year I worked actually half a day , uh, throughout the whole, my whole senior year and really dedicated a lot of time to it. And I just enjoyed it. I enjoyed being around people. And so as I was preparing to go to college, the thought came to me like people would ask me all the time, well, what's your major going to be? And I had no clue, but I remember thinking I really like working with money and I really liked working with people. And so obviously the choice would be finance, right?

Speaker 4:

Nope . I quickly learned

Speaker 2:

The first couple of years that business law and accounting 700 and all the crazy other business courses that I had to take corporate finance, all the rest was not for me. A long story short. I ended up graduating in political science, completely different , uh , but something that I do love on the side and graduated , uh, in financial planning at Texas tech with a master's degree, I had actually go to a different university to be able to find it. Um, but when I did, I just loved it. So I finished up at Texas tech and then moved out to Washington DC. You'll remember I love politics. And so that was kinda my intersection of the two hand in hand and ended up loving working in DC. My first gig out of graduate school was a lobbyist for FPA back in the day when they had , uh , lobbyists. So it was really exciting. I was going to dinner with senators and representatives and here I was this mid 20 college grad meeting with well seasoned individuals, many, many years older than me. And that was really exciting. And then I needed, I got my CFP and I had my AFC, by the way, I got my AFC while I was still in school. And so I was able to use that credential right away and then got my CFP, but I had to get the work experience for CFP. And so I left, I did a couple of tours with different companies in financial planning and just really wasn't finding my passion , uh, ended up at the Pentagon for about two or three years and worked in the first office of financial education for department of defense traveled all over the world. We went to Korea, Alaska, Oh , all over the us and just did seminars. And I really fell in love with it and really enjoyed that time period. But it was also kind of the end of , um, well belong or the word that continues on, but we were kind of winding up some things and there were some differences that were changing and I kept feeling this drive to go back to school and that I wanted to go further my education. And so I found the program at Kansas state and ended up going back and getting my PhD there while also the other reason that drove me to Kansas was the ability to work with the military cause they have Fort Riley. So I worked on base , um , with some of the families of the fallen there for a while , and then finished up my PhD and came back to DC and worked in, I've worked as a intern on Capitol Hill giving tours of the capital , by the way the , which was an exciting , um, but then ended up coming back this time as a County County commissioner , um, and worked with the County commissioners for several years. So I've worked in various levels of government, state, federal local levels. And then now I actually run my own business on the side. I've done , uh, both financial counseling and financial coaching. I currently do a more of an education realm. I work for Texas tech and university of Georgia as well as run my own blog. So I've kind of dabbled in a lot of things and had a lot of fun and had a very windy path, but it's mixed. A lot of, I've had a lot of experiences that have really taught me a lot in a short period of time.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And they're all really well connected and like you've brought so much expertise to the organization and your time on the board. And I have to say, you're doing all of these things. You , you just like, it rolls off the tongue for you, but this is all while you have three little kids at home too. So I have no idea how you juggle all of this.

Speaker 2:

Well, it is the challenge every day, but that's fine. I think that's, that's part of the reason that I wanted to do the blog is the mom part has really gotten to me and I just wanted to still have a voice and represent people that are like me and in the face of life, it's a busy, busy phase of life, but it goes by so quickly as you well know. So, and tell us about your background. You've been with AMCP now what, 15 years.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. This year will be 16 , which is incredible. It has gone by so fast. Um, so my background is also kind of windy. Um, I started out actually, not a lot of people know this, but my undergraduate degree was in music performance. Um, just seems so random, but that was what I went to school for. I, you know, you mentioned you didn't really know what you wanted to do coming out of high school. And I sort of felt the same way I had themes, things that I was always interested in. Um, and it's funny how now I see how they've sort of intersected, but , um, at the time music was just, you know, a big, big hobby of mine and something that I was , um, pretty decent at. So it was like, you know, let's just explore this. And it was a great way to get some scholarship money so that I didn't, you know, I didn't have to pay as much for school. So , um, it was sort of a no brainer that way. So I went for that and um, I knew pretty quickly that I was probably never going to like play in a symphony orchestra and I didn't really want to go into music ed. So I just started piecing things together in college. Um, some internships and led to some opportunities like at the Pittsburgh symphony orchestra, I went to school in Pittsburgh , um, and it was always on like the education and outreach side. So really like arts administration. And it was just one thing led to another. And then, you know, you meet somebody else at another organization. And at the time I was working, doing some education and outreach with schools and , um, I met somebody who worked at AFC PE and they needed somebody to run their grant programs. So it was different content, but very similar, you know, program management skills. And , um, I figured I would give it a shot and, you know, sort of the rest is history, I guess, but I held many different positions at AFC PE at the time when I started, I want to say there was maybe two full-time people on staff, including the executive director. So I was the third. Um, we had somebody part-time that was doing our conference planning and things like that. And so I really had the good fortune of being able to do a lot where a lot of different hats. And I think that really helped me along the way and has helped me in my role now. Um, the organization looks completely different I think from when I started, but it's really cool to see the , the growth. Um, and so at some point I did decide I really need to get more of a content background since I really didn't have any financial , um, or personal finance background. And so I did through Kansas state go back and get my master's and family financial planning. And then a few years ago I also got my MBA. So yeah, it's been kind of a windy road, but you know, the thing that is interesting is that as I look back on the things that I was really have always been really passionate about , um, it's really what ties me to AMCP today in terms of like working, you know, social services, working with people , um, exploring issues of inequality, those kinds of things. So , um, I just am really passionate about the work that we're doing here at AFC PE .

Speaker 2:

Well, I have to ask what instruments do you play?

Speaker 3:

Well, did I play? Cause I don't play much anymore. My is sort of sad, but my , um, my major was French horn performance, and I had a minor in piano. I played piano and I still do play piano just for fun. Um, here and there, but I certainly do not have the skills that I used to have. So I don't play horn anymore.

Speaker 2:

I actually played the French horn in man, but I will tell you, funniest story ever is our one solo that we had, it was me and one of , uh , a good friend of mine and we were awful so bad that during the Christmas concert, the band director stood up and said, French horns don't play during these stances, the Coronet, that was our solo. So he made the Coronet sin . That's how bad we were. So you are seated us, but yeah. And piano too. That's really funny.

Speaker 3:

It's funny. I never knew we had that in common. Um, one thing I'd love for you to share a little bit more about is, is your experience on Capitol Hill and you were really instrumental. I remember years ago at a , at an AFC PE conference talking about government relations and advocacy work. Um, and so I'd just be to know if you could share what you gleaned from your time doing that work for FPA and sort of what you would say to AMCP members about getting involved in that area.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I loved, it was probably one of the most exciting jobs I ever had because there was never two days alike. Um , so I specifically focused on tax and retirement , uh, legislation. And then I also added in the financial education. They hadn't really been in the financial education space before that. Um, but that was just about the time that the treasury was building up their Fleck meetings and getting a lot of other agencies together to talk about financial education and finally financial literacy in America. And so I was kind of on that cutting edge , uh , and represented FPA for that. Um, what I learned in that two year, time period, there was , uh , a lot that I learned. Um, but a few things was how vital and this may seem obvious to some, but to me it was a real standout of how vital it is to understand legislation and be a part of that process. In fact, my old boss even said that legislation making or policymaking is a lot like making sausage. You really don't want to know what goes into it, but you want to know the outcome for sure. And I , I, it was neat to be able to see that from behind the scenes, because we would go to Capitol Hill. I remember very specifically in 2010 or 2006, the extra provisions for retirement. Those are the provisions that allow for contributions to five, not five 29 401k's or Roth IRAs . They were expiring and Congress had not elongated those out. And so we did not want those to go away and we wanted to continue them and not have them reset. And so I went to Capitol Hill and met with senators and representatives, often their staff, you know, you say, Oh yeah, you met your Senator. It was often their staff that were the ones that were making the big key policy decisions. Um , so learned a lot about how the policy making process works. I'll tell you a couple of really interesting things though is, and this would go for anybody who's coming out of school into a different profession. I grew up in West Texas, like I said, and I said, yes, ma'am and yes, sir. And Mr. And Mrs. And my boss at the time pulled me aside and said, Mary, you cannot do this. You are, you know, 20, 30, 40 years younger than most people that are going to these events. And often I would go to these events and they would say, Oh, you must be the Capitol Hill staffer. Cause they're typically very young. I'd be like, no, I'm a lobbyist just like you. And so with that, the conversation he had with me was he said, Mary, you use their first name. I don't want to hear you say Mr. Or Mrs or the rest. And I think that there's appropriate times for that. I don't want to say it's all or never, but I think that's something really good to know is he needed me to be on equal ground with peers. And by me always saying Mr and Mrs, it always made me, it was a sign of respect, but it also made me the 40 years younger than I was. And so that really helped me kind of get up to speed and really have confidence in myself that I was just as good as the others in the room. And it forced me to learn how to speak quickly and openly I , you could not be a wallflower in these conversations. So I really was forced to walk into rooms where I was definitely the odd ball out and yet I would open up and talk. So it settled very good precedence for my future career. I will remember, I'll tell you one story. Um, we were walking up Capitol Hill. I remember very specifically, it was behind Capitol Hill. We were going into one of the mini congregation rooms where they had luncheons. And I was going for Senator Bennett, who at the time was a Senator from Utah. And I was walking up the stairs. There was an older gentleman who opened the door for me and held it open so I could walk in and I said, Oh, thank you. And then I followed him right in. And as soon as we got in there, somebody goes, hello, Senator, how are you today? I had had no clue that it was Ted Stevens. The long time Senator from Alaska had just held open the door for me. And that was just such a up thing . Like, okay, I really need to know my people. Like I need to know who these people are and individuals are a lot better, but yeah, it was kind of crazy that here I was with hobnobbing with some of the most prolific, I remember saying Strom, Thurman , um, just some names that have people have been around for forever and really influential. So that was kind of a big entrance into my now career.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I love what you said too about , um, the Mr and Mrs. And sort of remembering that you belong there and that you have wisdom to share. Um, and I'm thinking about our professionals, because I think some, some of the times what we hear about advocacy work and doing government relations work is really , um, there's fear there. Or maybe even, you know, I'm , I'm uncertain as to what I should say or do, or how to raise my voice for something. That's one of the areas that we're going to be working on as an organization to help provide more resources and tools for members to do that. But I think that's a good reminder for our profession that, you know, each one of you is coming with a different area of expertise. You see, you're working with clients that have different challenges and , um, that is the reason that you need to raise your voice for that, right? Because you alone, in some cases have that expertise or that perspective, that's really, really valuable , um, to legislation. So that's one of the areas that I'd love to see, continue to grow as an organization because our , our professionals, as we've seen just even from this podcast , um, all, so many different areas of passion and perspective and expertise. And so , um, we'd love to be able to have more of a role in that, you know,

Speaker 2:

Have your thoughts on that. I remember being an intern on Capitol Hill and answering the telephones , uh , I will tell you every phone call, we got every letter we received, if it was from a constituent and nowadays it's all email and automated and everything, but they actually get to the hands of that Senator or representative staff. And sometimes it even goes up to the Senator and representative. So if you really want to make an impact, and I will be honest, it really is dependent if you're a constituent. So it's not just a mass form letter that you're sending out to all a hundred senators, but really get to know your senators, get to know your representatives, show up to the meetings, write them, call them, be vocal about the things that you care about and are passionate about because we responded every single letter we received and we would pick up the phone and we would talk with, I remember a lady talking about an airplane flying over her house, but she was in our area. And so we, we followed through and we help them , um , figure out whatever that need was. And so you make a really good point that all of us feel like maybe, and I think with legislation, the other thing is policy has a direct impact on everyday lives of people, including us and including our clients that we serve. And so it's really important that you're part of that discussion because often we feel like the trickle down is, Oh, it really doesn't matter to us. Oh, it does. And it has an impact. So you don't want to be on the receiving end. You want to be on the front end helping kind of create that legislation. And , and really these members of Congress cover so many different areas. They cannot be experts in all of them. And that's when they rely on people like us go in and say, this is why it matters to financial coaches or financial counselors and all the rest, because many of them don't know even what that field is. And so it's really important that you make a great point.

Speaker 3:

Well, and one more quick thing on that, you know, as , as we're talking about this, I think so often we focus in general when we're talking about, you know, politics and legislation and everything, we focus so much on the national level, and that is so important. But even as you're talking right now, I'm thinking about like, get to know who's on your city council, who's in your area , um , in your state because though that's really where you can localize what you're seeing and what you need and who you are as a professional. And then, you know, those things can trickle up. Um, and you can, you can make a case for it more broadly. And that's what I think the organization can help do is, you know, everyone's spread out then the collective voices. We really want to champion this around consumer protection or, you know, something with student loans as an organization. That's the coalition building that's so important, but each, each professional has so much power in local , um , area. So I think that's something we want to kind of stress as well.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And let me jump ahead, because then when I went to go work for the County association, the national association of counties Neko is what it's called. Um, I had always worked at a federal level for the most part with a little bit of state. And so I'll go back to that phone call that the lady called us and she said an airplane that's flying over my house. Well, to be honest at the federal level, that has nothing to do with us. That was actually a County issue that needed to be handled at that level. And so what we did was we reversed it back down the chain and sent her to the right person, but that would have been a better contact to the city or the County instead of going all the way to the federal. And I think that the federal is the one in the limelight. They're the ones with, and this is true of governors. This is true of mayors, especially of mayors of big cities. They get kind of the limelight and they are the, the scene ones. But I will tell you where the rubber really meets the road are those County commissioners, city council and County commissioners are where things actually happen. And , uh , I remember meeting, I mean, there were there, by the way, here's a weird bit of knowledge, 3069 counties in the us . Um, and they , we would go to conferences with hundreds, if not thousands of these County commissioners. And that's where this whole process started. So for counties, that includes the hospital systems, the school districts , um , the health organizations, there are so many things that are being taken care of. So if you want financial literacy to be required in your area, don't call your S your federal representative or Senator you call your local County council member, by the way, might even be your neighbor. And they're the ones that are pretty approachable. They they're in the community, they live locally. Their area's much smaller. It's much easier to get to know those individuals. So by, by all means, I want to encourage people to , to be active locally. And of course, that will also trickle into state and federal politics, but the more you can participate locally, the more influence you're going to have at a higher level.

Speaker 3:

That's great. Really, really good insight there. Um, I'm wondering too, could you share a little bit, you know, from a financial counselor perspective , um, has there ever been a time in your career, especially, I'm thinking as you're doing your private practice, a portion of your career, how has there ever been a time where you couldn't help someone or , um, and if so, if there was a client that you felt like this is just beyond, you know, what I'm equipped to handle, what did you do about it? Or how would you suggest that somebody else handle a situation like that?

Speaker 2:

This is a great question, Rebecca, and yes, the answer is absolutely. And I would say any financial planner, counselor, coach that has said, no, they've never had that. Even being honest with themselves because, or they're just not seeing very many clients, maybe that's the other issue , um, because really you cannot serve everyone and be the fiduciary and they taught notch individual that you need to be and be able to serve everyone's everything. Um, so I'll give you a couple of examples. I will tell you the hardest clients that I've ever worked with are those, there's something that we call internal external locus of control in the field of psychology. And just to give you a quick overview, an internal locus of control means that I feel like I have control over my life. I can make decisions for myself. So it's, you know, January rolls around. I set my goals. I have the ability to achieve those external locus of control is just completely the opposite of that. It is the world controls me. Um, I don't have any ability to make a change. There's a lot of blame put on other people or institutions or things. And so, and I remember doing this with my military studies when I was writing my dissertation. I threw that in that variable in there, thinking that in a military world, they'd be very externally because they're told what time to get up, where to go, how to dress everything right. Boy, was I wrong? It was about 75, 80% were very internal locus of control, had a very strong sense of that internal locus of control. And so later about by the military , uh , service providers, they said, of course, you're, they're training us to be leaders and you cannot have an external locus of troll and be a leader. And so, as I, as I went through those studies, and then as I started , uh , doing some private practice and , and helping others in the government sector, I really found the ones that were the V the most difficult for me were those with that external locus of control, because at some point they never felt like it was their problem. It was never their fault that they were in this financial situation. They were never able to garner the things they were never able, wanting to make changes. You go through the seven stages of change that we talk about in psychology. They were never in the action phase. So you couldn't do anything with it. And at some point I would even tell him I had a, I worked with a lot of government clients and some of them were mandated to be there because they would lose their security clearance. And I would simply tell them when they walked through the door, you could tell by their body behavior, they would sit back and they'd be mad and frustrated. Like, I don't want to be here. I'm not going to do anything. And I would tell him from the get , go and say, by no means, do you need to stay? You are welcome to walk out that door at any point in time. And if this isn't the time, that's okay, I'll be here when you are ready. Um, but the consequences of your security clearance review or whatever that may be, that is out of my control, you know? And so it really kind of put the onus in those individuals where they had to decide if that was something they would take up. The other ones that I would say were difficult. Um, of course at a certain point as a financial counselor and a financial coach, I could not give investment advice. So I had to refer out for that specifically. Um, I also had financial planners refer to me , uh , especially when it came to financial therapy situations, because that was out of their control. I've had to refer out for mental health issues or substance abuse issues. I mean, it sounds like it's becoming kind of a long list. And , and I won't say those happen all the time, but they are rather frequent. I remember very specifically working with a couple, a melon , a female, and she was the breadwinner in the family. He earned a good income, but she, by far as a doctor was making quite a bit. And at some point we realized his anger issues were inhibiting, not just their finances, but their marriage and everything around it. And so I referred out and said, until you are able to take care of this anger issue and see a therapist for that, cause I can not that , uh , we can't go on any further in our financial discussions. Uh, and that's been true of alcohol abuse. It's been true of , um, some of the hoarding situations where it's actually a mental diagnosable order , uh , disorder. And so those are the situations that if you find yourself in them, don't try to be a hero. Don't try to save the world. It's really, really important that you have a strong network of other professionals. Lawyers are another great example, right? We can give them information of what a will is and a state plan, but you cannot write the document. So make sure that you have a good, strong network of everything from therapists to lawyers, to financial planners, whatever that need may arise, because that's really important to refer out when it goes beyond your expert.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I think that's a great point of just how do you build those referrals, but, you know , it's probably the next question that people are thinking about, but , um, and we can talk a little bit about that if you want, but I'm just thinking through building a network of people for support so that you do have those people to call on because you're right. There's so many, and everybody's situation is so different. And so you're going to need to have those other trusted partners , um, as you need them. And as you said, you know, the flow is back and forth, or there are CFPs who need to refer to an AFC and back and forth. So , um, I think having that, that kind of network is so crucial,

Speaker 2:

Rebecca, that brings me to something that I want to ask you on the AFC PE side. I know that there is a lot of referral information as well as opportunities for members. So if you are an AMCP member, you can get things like insurance and other stuff. Can you kind of give us a cadre of what AMCP offers to our members?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So , um, if you are a member and I have to say that, you know, this is probably something that everybody is familiar with, but just to be really clear certification is different than membership. So as a dues paying member, it runs on the calendar year, January through December. And , um, with that comes a ton of members , uh , membership benefits. Um , so if you are a member, you can go to your dashboard on the, my AFC PE , um, website. And there is a whole slew of discounts , um, including things like you mentioned, there's E you know , insurance. Um, there are discounts to things like , um, data points. Uh , we talked about, we're going to have an upcoming episode , um, on the podcast about that. Um, and, and some other partnerships like that, where you will get, you know, there's reciprocal benefits back and forth. The financial clinic , um, change machine is one. Um, and so there's, we basically, what we do is listen to the members. So, you know , insurance came directly from the members to say, we need this. And so we worked with a couple of different companies and that's on there as well as an option for you to go to. Um, but if you check that out on your dashboard, there's a ton of information. And actually even on the, on the website, under membership, there should be some more information about all the different discounts and different things, but I think there's even something , um, I know Rachel worked really hard on putting together something for , um, more like entertainment discounts. So you get, you get , um, yeah, just for like different tickets or, you know, as you're traveling to , to something you might be able to get a discount. So there's a ton of different things, not just all related to partnerships and discounts to other financial related, you know, partnerships. That's awesome. Yeah. There's a ton there and there it's always growing too. So

Speaker 5:

Speaking of the podcast, let's jump into the podcast a little bit. What was your favorite episode so far? This is really, really hard

Speaker 3:

For me cause I, you know, I'm thinking it's, first of all, I'm just kind of amazed that we're already in season two. Like it was a whirlwind, I mean, 2020 in general. Right? Like it just happened. Everything happened. And I got to the end of the year and I'm like, and we did a podcast this year. It's like, it went so well. And, but it was such a new thing. So I , I just think in general, I learned so much, I had such a great time doing it with you. I think we, we really learned a lot together. Um, it's hard for me to pick just one, to be honest, I feel like every single episode, this is not a cop out answer. I'll give you a couple that are off the top of my head, but I really feel like every single one, I learned something new or I left re-energized about the , the importance of the work that we do. Um, or I changed something in my own life as a result of it. Um, the ones that come to mind as being that will stick with me. Um, and I think you'll probably agree with this one is Michael Thomas about financial empathy. We talked to him at a time when, you know , there was a lot of racial unrest still is, but it was right in the summer when there was a lot of stuff going on. Um, and it just, it was very poignant at that time, but also his work around financial empathy is just so much more expansive than, you know , just about race or just about injustice. It's really, just to me, it really speaks to the value of the work that we do as a profession. Um, so that's probably one of my favorites. I also really loved the episode with Carl Richards

Speaker 2:

And for a similar

Speaker 3:

Reason, like, I feel like he just broke down and got to the crux of why we do what we do and how important this profession is on the side of financial counseling and coaching. Um, incidentally, they were both general session speakers. So I think because the podcast was settled, amazing, we were like, we need to bring them back. Um, but I also really enjoyed the one with accident that's Hamilton and hearing her story and just like the, I know , understanding more about identity theft. And I think that was really, it's just an important thing that we need to talk about , um, more with, with our professionals. What about you?

Speaker 2:

Well, let's give our listeners a little inside scoop on accidents because of Rebecca and I were both like typing back and forth of like, what happens next? I can't believe this. You know, we were just like, Oh , it was amazing. And in fact , I got her book, I'm in the middle of reading it. Now it's just such a page Turner because she it's her life. And it's just fascinating, but yeah . So yeah, behind the scenes folks, w Rebecca and I were like on the edge of our chairs going what's next . And then what's like , we couldn't wait. Um , so I would say absolutely, Michael's a dear friend and I just love every time I talk to him, he, I feel like he's one of buy big influencers and this is Carl. Uh, absolutely. Carl's very easy to talk to, even though he's a big name , uh , and slippery. The other ones that stuck out to me is Justin Chester . He was probably one of the first practitioners that we interviewed on the podcast. And Justin, the reason I really enjoyed him is he made it very practical for people looking to do their own financial coaching or counseling firm. And he kind of set it up. We've had several other since , um, but I know that that's really was impactful to me as well. And then the one that was just a total curve ball , in fact, Rebecca, I didn't know her at all before coming on, but was Sonya's when she talked about, I've got to say this correctly , uh, intimate partner violence, intimate partner violence, because we used to call it domestic violence. And now that name has changed, but I was just riveted. Of course I , uh, I knew about it, but I didn't know it to the level that she talked about. And she just really opened up. I honestly walked away from that one, realizing how naive I have been in that area and how I've needed to explore that so much more to be able to help, not just, but family members and friends, I can go back in life and be like, Oh my goodness, that was a red flag. In fact , uh , even now in the few months, since we'd done that podcast, I've been able to help a few friends because of her. And because of that podcast of that one has been really that one really threw me off. Cause I just thought, Oh, it's going to be another one. It's going to be light and fluffy and meant it was anything but that, and it, yeah ,

Speaker 5:

It's such an important topic. And I feel like it's, it was just sort of like waiting in the shadows and we kind of put a spotlight on it . She also was one of the keynote speakers. Um, just , it was just so powerful and so important for our, as you said, as individuals, as people, but then also from a professional standpoint of paying attention to what the red flags are so that you know how to handle it with grace, because it is such, you know, it's a tricky situation. And yet, as she said , um, abuse thrives because we're silent about it. And so , um, and oftentimes with the best of intentions, right, we're silent because we don't want a button to someone's life, or we don't want to say the wrong thing. Or, and so this really, I thought she gave some really helpful things for, for us as professionals to be thinking about and to be looking for, with, with clients. So I loved that one as well. Absolutely. Um, we did get a question from one of our Facebook live viewers. So I'm super curious . People are asking us questions. Um, although these all were questions from people that just submitted earlier. So , um, this one is from Karen and she is asking if you, if you have any recommendations for financial strategies under the Biden administration , um, we do care . We are very careful to be non-partisan , but I'm just curious what your thoughts are, especially with your background , um, you know, steeped in politics and, and everything.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I would say for me, and even as a financial planner or counselor coach, the person that I go to for these things are Michael Kitces. I would point you in his direction, if you haven't heard of Michael or know about Michael, just Google, kitces.com and follow his blog. He actually has a couple of blog posts now of what we can expect from the Biden administration and what financial impact those things are going to have. He too stays very apolitical. So we're not pushing any agendas or endorsing a candidate by any stretch, but he very much gives you what you need to know in terms of text changes or administrations. And I would say Michael is, is really one of the most influential individuals in the field of financial planning and also can be a great resource for financial counselors and coaches. So do go check out his page cause he's already got a couple of posts up.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, you're looking there. I would also just add one of the things and this is not a departure or anything new for AFC PE , but , um, I'm hoping that there will be support for , um, continued discussions around more consumer protection , um, and what we can do around student loan support. And so one of the things we're looking at , um, as an organization and how we, when we talk about advocacy, again, we try to be really , um, nonpartisan , but presenting the, the impact and importance of our field and to say, you know, Hey, look, we are an organization of professionals that can be useful to you so that you can draft this in a way that really impacts the people that you're trying to reach ultimately. Um, and so those are the two areas that I think we're going to continue to raise our voice about as an organization for where our professionals can be useful in legislation. Um, I'd love to see more student loan, financial counseling , um, opportunities, and , and not just what exists today that can be , um, on the computer and, you know, something that the student doesn't even really remember doing. I'm talking about actually like working with a financial counselor, like an AFC PE um, credentialed expert. So , um, there's some areas there that , um , that we're hoping to have some support in this, this new , um, administration, but we just say , if you have ideas about that and you want something done in this administration, please, that's a great, in fact, right now, as the task forces are getting involved , um , or getting stood up for the, for this next year, that's a great area for you to get involved. If you have , um, you know, a heart for that, and you understand how this, how this stuff works. Sometimes it's very slow moving. Um, but we need people on the government relations task force. We have a great group right now. And if you're interested in doing that work or even just sending me a message and saying, these are the things I'm really passionate about. And , um, can I, can I be useful in helping to raise our voice around this issue? And we're happy to do that as well? Yeah,

Speaker 2:

No, that's exactly what I was going to say. That government relations committee would be a great, a great start. Uh , and the other thing is it's going to really depend on what this administration's, what their agenda is and what they want to push forward. I've already heard some rumors from his administration about some big changes coming to the student loan and lending area. That's more in favor of the consumer. So it's really going to depend a lot on what they decide and how they want to roll this thing out. Um, but we can definitely be influential. The other part, I want to just say Rebecca, because we live in such tenuous times that I really hope we can continue to have discussions around this where, and when I say this, I mean the topics I'm not talking about candidates, I'm not talking about platforms, I'm not talking about our two party system. I really want to have a good discussions and hear from all sides about things that matter to our clients and to our professionals and what I call them. In fact, I've been listening to a book as saying , I don't agree, but I'm willing to listen. And it's about Gracefield politics, how to have discussions and listen to the other side. I may not agree with you, but I'm happy to listen through and hear those things. And so I hope that it's our membership that we can continue. I feel like we've done this great in the past, and I hope this is something we can carry forward as well, and just be very graceful and , um, have important conversations, but very considerate of all sides.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, I agree. Um, Sasha asks, what are a few recorded presentations from this year AFCE symposium that you enjoyed that folks who miss them should go back and watch , um, Sasha I'm thinking of your session, because while we shed a few tears, it was one of the ones that I remember so vividly. It was about Fred Rogers and the lessons of Fred Rogers and how to , um, what we can glean from his wisdom into our field. So , um , I'm sure that's not what you meant by that question, but I totally feel like your session is the one that people need to go back and watch. I was crying. I think we were all crying. Um, I'm just trying to think back. It was such an amazing week. And one of the, one of the benefits of going virtual was that we have that platform open through October of this year. And there's more than 50. I think it's more than 50 hours of content on there. So I would encourage you to go. There's probably topics on, I think just about everything. Um, not just the keynotes were outstanding. I mean, we had breakout sessions that were about advocacy, about racial injustice, about , um, as, as I said, the Fred Rogers and kind of like making some of those connections and those lessons , um, you had just had a baby. So were you even there? Yeah,

Speaker 2:

I'm gonna kind of caveat at Charla center . So I literally had left the hospital one week prior with a newborn. So many of you that have had children know you were not sleeping. And so I did join. I will be honest. I joined for mainly the keynotes for the couple that I did also join for where the practitioner based one, as I've been considering kind of getting back into that fit area. Uh , Mary Kay had a couple of sessions that were fantastic. She talked about branding yourself and having , uh , you know, expanding beyond just financial counseling and coaching and becoming, I call it an icon. I don't think that's a brand representative.

Speaker 5:

Holly Kay . Yeah , yeah, yeah. She , she did. You're right. That was, that was really good .

Speaker 2:

Yes. Thank you. I'm sorry.

Speaker 5:

There was another one about , um, building your practice. I think we did one on building your practice. That was really good. And , um, there , will

Speaker 2:

You throw one more in there, Adrian? And , um ,

Speaker 5:

Thank you for saying that. Yes, Adrian and Andrea.

Speaker 2:

Andrew, thank you. My mind is someplace and they also, for any practitioners or people that are thinking of setting up their own practice there's is a really important discussion. In fact, I was on that one and heard a lot of people say this was one of the most, the one of the best that they had been to. And that was because they talked about , um, registration. And when you need to register as a financial coach or a financial counselor, and when it's okay not to. So anyways, just check out some of those because they were, they were great. So if you ,

Speaker 5:

If you didn't attend, I was just going to say really quickly, if you didn't attend, you didn't have a chance to register. So for anybody who registered, you will have access to that whole platform and all of the , um, all of the content on there through October , um, if you didn't register, you still can and access all of that. So if you just go to our website and click on symposium, there's still a way to access the content. And I'm telling you, it's, I feel like every year the symposium gets better and better. And I say it every year and every year at the end of the week, the staff's like, how are we going to do this again? And then every year we do, but it's just, it's really the content that the professionals that come and the expertise and the passion and the diversity, I mean, it's really, it blows my mind this year was incredible. It was just really incredible.

Speaker 2:

Well, and let me do a shout out to you and your staff, Rebecca, because one of my favorite things, as I mentioned, I literally was out of the hospital. There's no way I was going to be able to fly to new Orleans. And I was very sad to miss that opportunity. And so I absolutely loved that it was online because there were many people I think in a similar situation, probably not all having babies, but in a similar situation where they could not make it this year and it wouldn't have been what it is without them. And so I know there was some feedback if we need a live session, but I would also say it's been great for people to be able to connect in for the online too.

Speaker 5:

I totally agree. And one of the things that totally , uh, just blew me away was the, obviously the team. And I really do have to say, I have the best people around me. Um, it's incredible how small we are in terms of an organization in terms of a staff and how much work and quality of work is produced. I mean, these people are like amazing and they're so passionate. They could work anywhere and they work here because they're passionate about what our professionals do. You know, we get so much passion from the professionals. One of the other things that really blew me away was how invested the people were in the attendees were in the week, you know, how much engagement there was. It really did feel like in a way we, we missed being around everyone. It always feels like sort of a big family reunion. You know, you've loved seeing people and there's hugs and it's such a great , um, you know , network of people. But this year, I feel like in some of the feedback we got too , was that you actually could connect with more people because you had that virtual experience and we did some networking chats and whatnot. So , um, you're right. I mean, some of the challenges with , with COVID just, it was, we just couldn't, but , um, but yeah, there's a lot of value there. So if you don't

Speaker 2:

Run you into the next question then, because this has been the year of pandemic, right. And we've had a lot of changes, everything from now, target does pick up and delivery too . So let me kind of go to the AFC PE side. Um, what are some changes that have been made at AFC PE what do you think is going to stay and what do you think has been the most helpful from this pandemic? Not , you know, there's been some very difficult things that we've had to deal with, but there's also maybe some good golden nuggets. What are they Rebecca? Um ,

Speaker 5:

You know, what's interesting is this was one of the most meaningful years for our organization. Um, I think because we were really well positioned to respond very quickly , um, when, when March hit, it was within two weeks that we had stood up a virtual platform for, with, with funding, from Wells Fargo and with the partner's yellow ribbon network. Um, we didn't do it all on our own, of course, but that's the big nugget from this year was partnership. I have seen so much collaboration, not just at our team level, because I could sit here for an hour and talk to you about how amazing the team is. They responded quickly, they were all in, what do our professionals need? We had webinars going to respond to how to help our professionals navigate COVID. Um, just to some things that our professionals jumped in to help us with geared towards consumers. So right away, the team was just like, okay, this was our plan. We're going to shift this way. What do we do? And it was just, everybody was all in. We were all, you know, working under the same assumptions and, and moving forward. Um, the biggest thing I took away from this year was the value of partnerships. Um, from a field perspective, I have been so heartened because this has been the thing that has, has been sort of my cornerstone in my career at AFC PE in particular. But I would say probably in my life is building connections and partnerships. And , um, and sometimes you feel like you're planting a seed and it gets dug up and you got to go back and replant the seed, right. But this year it felt like they were just blooming everywhere. It was like conversations that you had had five years ago, where suddenly back to let's talk about how we can work together. And I really hope that that stays. I think people saw this year, that there's room for everyone that we can work together, even, even, and especially when there's overlap. Um, sometimes, you know, there's just going to be duplication in the field. We try to eliminate that as much as possible, but I think working together is the nugget from this year, whether it's at a team level, whether it's within your own family structure , um, everybody had to kind of put their ego aside and say, this is about something far greater than me, far greater than AFC PE what's our lane. How do we contribute to the solution and just go all in for that?

Speaker 2:

You know, I think that's one thing that I've understood more and more as a practitioner is sometimes we get very bifurcated and think, Oh, we're in competition with each other or macadamia . I like to call it lobsters in a bucket. And it may, if you're in academia, you will know what that is. Um, but as I've, as I've continued in my career and move forward with different things, this is not at all a bucket. This is a blue ocean. Like they say it is why it is expansive. And I think this year taught us that more than anything else is how many people need us. And when I say us, I say academics, I say, practitioners, coaches, counselors, you name it. There is a need for you. And the , the real thing is, is you have special gifts and talents that can touch. And when I say you, I'm using everyone here that is with us today has special gifts and talents that only they can affect and touch someone else. And I really believe that strongly. And so the it's a little bit less about competition and more about everybody chipping in and putting their shoulder to the wheel and pressing forward in these hard times to be able to help because we do. I think that's one thing that I've really realized myself as I have a skillset . That to me is second nature. I feel like everybody knows that ratios, everybody knows about budgeting and credit and all the rest. The really reality is, is very few notes of that. And so we have been given such great knowledge and information that it just is becoming of us to share it with other people. And this has been the year to share because so many people have been in dire straits financially or in very sticky situations like never before. And so it's been a great opportunity for us to see that really take out the competition. Like you said, take out the ego and just work together to make the world a better place. And that really relates back to what even we mentioned with Michael earlier, that's really the , his crux of it is making the world a better place. How do we each impact in our own special way to make it a little bit better than we found it?

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Gosh, that's brilliant. Um, so I know we probably need to, we need to wrap up. Um, is there anything else that you, I know we had some questions come in before, maybe do you have any, I know one of the questions that had come in was like favorite resources or books that you've been reading.

Speaker 2:

Yes . I want to carefully grab mine right now for those of you. In fact, we got a question earlier about , uh , debt, any rules , uh , debt limits of rules of thumb that AMCP suggests was AMCP, doesn't recommend rules of thumb, but if you want this pick up chapter two, I even know the chapter in this book right here, it's called financial counseling. It's by Springer, Dottie Durbin, Ryan law, Angela Madison, Ellie . Fantastic. And it really so Rebecca, if I'm not, if I'm not mistaking, I think this is actually one of the books required now to sit for the AMCP. Yeah . It's one of the books that we recommend. So it's really important. It tells you everything from , uh , how to set up a practice all the way through to good research. It's just got so much about coaching and, and that's where you can find your roles with them if you're really interested in that as well. So that is one that I use a second. One that I will recommend highly is this is my Bible. In fact, you can probably see here, the tabs coming out of it, it's called surviving dead it's national consumer law center in CLC and good news. This is another good thing that came out of the pandemic. It's free during the pandemic. You can actually access it on NCLC website for free it's open to any consumer or educator , uh , that would like to look at it. So check out those two resources. I have a ton of others if you've ever taken any of my classes, you'll see like lists of resources, but those are probably two of my go tos in terms of resources. How about you? Do you have any that you'd recommend

Speaker 3:

Some ones that are a little off the beaten path, maybe? Um, so I, you know, I was thinking about the ones that we recommend, but I felt like maybe that was a little too obvious , um, for me. So I am going to suggest nudge this is years and years ago. Um, Richard. Yeah, I thought that was really interesting to understand why humans don't always make the rational choices that we think we, we should, or that others should. Um, I also loved the book talking with strangers, which is Malcolm Gladwell. And again, I feel like there are so many lessons that go beyond just , uh, the point of the book to practice with clients. Um, another book that really changed my perspective on the work that we do and how critical it is, was toxic inequality. And we actually had him come speak, Tom Shapiro , um, come speak at one of our conferences. And , um, that really, he, they follow , uh , families through, I think like 20 years or something. It's incredible research. And it shows , um, a lot of what we're seeing, you know, the strife right now with , um, racial, racial awakening. Not that this is just new this year, but you know, that we're really reckoned with what's been going on. That book was mindblowing . Um, also the color of law for a similar reason. I just felt like there are so many things that I was not taught in school that , um, made me realize how deep some of these things have been in terms of keeping , um, different populations sort of down and not able to get ahead. And so that, that book was fascinating, but I would also say , um, the less people know about us, of course, accident from accidents episode. Um , the book is great. And then , um, you know, there's just, there's a bunch of other books that I think don't always have to be exactly finance related , but that help you understand a different population or a different perspective. And I think those are always really helpful in practice.

Speaker 2:

I'm glad you brought up talking to strangers actually last night at two in the morning when I got up to feed my child, I had, it was up on my library feed. I've been waiting months to get that one. And so I just downloaded it and started listening to it. And I was just the first intro in and I was already riveted.

Speaker 3:

I actually heard the audio version was the best way to go.

Speaker 2:

It is fantastic. He's gay. Yeah. If you do it, that one, if you're an audio listener, do listen to the audio of that. Now, Rebecca, I'm going to go out on a limb here. We did not practice this beforehand. And this has been an idea. I'm going to kind of put myself on the spot here and this is going to hold my feet to the fire. So all of you listening, keep me going. Okay . So on my site, chief financial mom, I have been thinking for the last six months, I love to read and I love new books. And just like Rebecca said, I'm not into like finance one Oh one for the umpteenth thousand time. But I really like these outside books that maybe have a lot, well, not maybe absolutely have a big impact in the field that we have. And so I hear you hear me now, I'm starting a book club. And if you aren't like me, I would love to do a virtual book club. And this is the year of doing it. We're going to start with accident's book is the one that I'm already in and loving it. So we are going to kick that off and thank you for the questions ahead of time. I did not plan to do this, but I just feel like now is the time of the chance. And if any of you're interested in joining, just go to my website, chief financial mom , sign up , uh, for the listing there. And we'll just keep talking about these books and how they make an impact in our world and in the things we do every day, because it's, I feel like having a well-rounded education and seeing things outside. That was one thing I was going to mention about the symposium is no longer, is it really about the technical knowledge? The technical knowledge is super important and it's important. You have that, but that's kind of a baseline. And I feel like everything above and beyond that is the emotions and the connection and the behavior and the behavior changes and all of the human aspect that we bring to the profession and to our clients and to everything else. That's the meat of what we do. And so if, and that's what this symposium was chock-full of is it was the behavior and the meat of it. And that's what we're going to offer more for our listeners, not only , uh , in the symposium, but also on the podcast. We're really with our new episode two, we're really swinging into some of these deeper issues and trying to talk about how do you change behavior and some of the important key differences of really making an impact and changing people's lives .

Speaker 3:

Yep , absolutely. Um, I just want to say for anybody who has not already subscribed to the podcast, please do that. And also we'd love to hear from you. So even if you have ideas for who to bring on, or even just topics that you'd like us to cover , um, I encourage you to go back and listen to some of those episodes that we mentioned from last year. I can't think of one episode that wasn't good. Honestly, even guests brought some sort of perspective or knowledge. Um, and so we'd love to hear from you. So please subscribe to the podcast, stay engaged with us. This is the first time we've done a Facebook live. Maybe we'll do more , um, cause it's fun to see everybody

Speaker 5:

Popping in and , and , um, leaving your comments. But we really do want to hear from you. That's why we do this. Um, so maybe Mary, you could put a link to your chief financial mom website. Cause I think some people might be in joining the book club. I might go on right now and join because I'm a sucker. So yeah. Thanks everyone for joining today. This was so much fun. And thanks for all you do in the field. We are just, we really feel so fortunate to be able to serve professionals like you, who are so passionate and who are making a difference. Um, I really felt like when we left the symposium this year, it was like these professionals are literally going to change the world with empathy and understanding and passion. And so I feel like this world needs it .

Speaker 1:

It's more than ever. If you enjoyed the show today, please give us a rating and review and be sure to share it with a friend real money. Real experts is available wherever you listen to your podcasts. And if you want to continue the conversation, consider joining the AFC membership community as an AFC PE member, you gain access to resources, networking opportunities, and professional development that supports your work and your career. Learn more at our website, AFC pe.org.