Talk Wealth to Me

#020: Faith and Finance: Building Wealth in Alignment with your Values

September 27, 2019 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Katie Utterback, Deb Meyer Season 1 Episode 20
Talk Wealth to Me
#020: Faith and Finance: Building Wealth in Alignment with your Values
Show Notes Transcript

Building wealth is a tricky business, especially for those whose faith teaches them that money is intrinsically evil, financial planning is only for the wealthy, and that you're stuck FOR-EV-ER with consequences of past financial mistakes.

Deborah L. Meyer, CPA/PFS, CFP®, is the author of Redefining Family Wealth: A Parent’s Guide to Purposeful Living. Deb joins Talk Wealth To Me to share how wealth is about so much more than money - it's also about providing for your family and others in meaningful ways, why faith and finance don't have to be separate, as well as how the power of prayer works hand-in-hand at viewing your finances from an abundance mindset.

About Deb Meyer:
Deborah owns WorthyNest®, a fee-only financial planning and investment advisory firm that helps parents build wealth, and SV CPA Services, an accounting and tax firm for forward-thinking entrepreneurs. 

Deborah has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and CNN Business and is a contributor to Kiplinger.  She is a 2019 CPA Practice Advisor “40 Under 40 Honoree” in Accounting and received the 2018 AICPA Standing Ovation Award.  Outside of work, Deborah spends time with her husband Bryan and three sons.

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Intro:

Welcome to Talk Wealth to Me, a safe space podcast where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance.

Felipe Arevalo:

The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting, legal, tax or other professional advice.

Chase Peckham:

Hello and welcome to another edition of Talk Wealth to Me podcast. This week, Katie, Felipe and I sit down with a financial planner out of the Midwest. St. Louis area who just wrote a book about financial planning with Christian values, family values coming from a place of, of great belief within herself and her family and her children and felt that this is the way, a great way for people to learn about their own financial road and also to take a look at the bigger picture when it comes to saving, spending, and looking towards retirement. I think you're going to enjoy this.

Katie Utterback:

And you have a very interesting niche. I wouldn't say because I, maybe just to start off our conversation, can you help me understand what is a Christian based financial planning or what would be , um, I guess some qualities of a faith based financial planning versus a more traditional route?

Deb Meyer:

Yeah, I mean , um, I think one of the distinguishing factors is that I can pretty openly talk with faith about clients. So a lot of , um, people that might not have known me before, but they find me on the internet or whatever when they first come to talk with me. I have very different response from clients that I know were Christian when I asked what's one good thing happening in your life? And oftentimes they'll talk about the blessings that God's given them and , um, they'll want to carry on for, you know, 20 minutes talking about all the good blessings. And , um, it's , it's just a common bond that I think binds us together that , uh , really helps us connect at a deeper level. Um, know that advisory relationship.

Katie Utterback:

Okay. And maybe we can dive into that topic of financially planning. Um, but actually before we go there, let's talk about your book. Cause in the book that you wrote, the first half, you're really addressing the psychology mindset. So the abundance mindset.

Deb Meyer:

Yes.

Katie Utterback:

Can you maybe talk to , sure.

Deb Meyer:

Well, I, I wanted to do that because I think a lot of , um, you know, traditional financial advisors will start just with the tactics of, Hey, here's how to build monetary wealth. Should I be, you have to take a back and really go, okay, well what's really the driving force behind creating this monetary wealth? Like what are your actual , uh, internal values and values you want to pass onto your kids and how are those going to shape what you're working towards , um, down the road. And you know, a lot of people will slug away in a career for years and not really ask the hard questions of like, is this actually bringing me and my family abundance or is it draining us? Um, so I want people to, you know , get that big picture and , and get a little bit more self reflection time , um , before they start diving into some of the actual monetary wealth building strategies.

Chase Peckham:

So doing that can be difficult in itself. Right? I mean, just the idea of the decisions that we make every day typically, are habitual. Um, a lot of the things we end emotional obviously, so there's a lot of things that go into it, but when you're asking somebody to look inside, you're talking about real change, not just change that day. You're talking about change for today and every day thereafter.

Deb Meyer:

Yeah. And I think it's an important point cause you know, the status quo is so easy. It's , it's what most people default to, but um, to really make any progress , um, whether it's a fitness goal or financial goal, whatever it is , uh , you have to have that mindset that you're willing to change and you're willing to put the hard work in that it requires. Cause you know, just having like, Oh yeah, I'm open to it, but I'm not actually going to put any effort forth. You're, you're gonna fall short. Um, but there's this whole industry, even within financial services emerging around behavioral finance and how you actually get people who might have been stuck in bad money patterns in the past to, to make that proactive change going forward. And , um, I mean that's definitely the critical component is having that mindset right. But also willing to , to back it up with hard work and actual action.

Katie Utterback:

And Deb, speaking of that hard action, have you found that the clients that you're working with that are maybe more thankful for blessings that they believe are coming from their , I guess their version of God? Um, do you ever find situations where somebody's saying like, money's kind of evil or I only need enough for today?

Deb Meyer:

Yeah, I mean there's definitely a lot of people in Christian communities that struggle with like, will , can I still be a good Christian if I'm making a lot of money? And I think the answer's yes because I think a lot of it is okay, well are you a good steward of that wealth that's being created and , um, are you tithing is , as would be recommended in any Christian faith, which is, you know, giving 10% back to God. Um, are you taking even more than that and investing in a business that might help other people because of your unique talents? Or are you taking more of that and just using it for your own personal consumption? Like there's a lot of other things I think go into play with money and staying true to your religious values that , um, I, I don't think money has to be evil in and of itself. I think it's what you do with the money and if it's , it becomes a sinful nature of, of greed and, and hyper consumption, then that's where it can get really tricky as a Christian. So I'm trying to live out their values.

Felipe Arevalo:

A quick question because you mentioned the , the 10% , um, what would you recommend for , uh, individuals or families who may be at some point hit that financial hardship that they weren't expecting a downsizing and they were let go or something and then they, or they're underemployed at the moment and they're really struggling to make ends meet? Is there an alternative , um, or a temporary, I guess, break [inaudible]

Deb Meyer:

I mean, the idea, if you're not earning any money to tithe, you're not tithing because you're , you know, if you have zero money coming in and you're just drawing off of savings, I personally don't consider that a necessity to tithe . Um, I do think the , um, the thing that a lot of people, especially Christians might be afraid in those circumstances where they are falling off financial hardship is they, they have others in their community who want to support them and want to be there for them. So they might have extra financial blessings that they can provide. And it's , um, it's okay to be, you know, vulnerable with certain people and say like, Hey, I'm really falling on a hard time. Um, if there's any way, you know, there's assistance of the church can provide or whatever that I think it's important to come forward and , and ask for that.

Chase Peckham:

You know, that's something that we run into quite a bit. We run into a lot of people that we're working with that struggle with their budget, their , they're not paying certain bills, they're not taking care of things that would be your monthly obligations yet they're still paying a pretty it or, or giving a pretty penny to the church. And when we tried to explain that, you know, some of them and their hearts are in the right place, but somewhere along the line we're trying to explain to them that your community, that that church of yours would want you to take care of yourself and not hurt yourself before you're paying the church. And that really is hard to get across to some people. How do you go about kind of kind of bridging that gap?

Deb Meyer:

It , to be totally honest, I was working with someone on a pretty short term basis, but she , um, you know , she had already done an retirement, didn't have enough income coming in to pay her bills, but she was still tidying to church. And in her specific case, I encouraged her to go back to work so she could earn an income and pay those bills. So I don't think there's like a cut and dry answer of, Oh, we'll just cut out your tithing. You need to be getting assistance from, from that community instead of I'm giving it. But I do think there are certain challenges people fall on that are temporary that they don't have control over that yes, they might need to cut back at least in that moment of, of true scarcity or emergency. Um, but then there's also plenty of times where they just need to get a little bit more disciplined about how they might be allocating the money that is coming in. If they have a regular job and they , um , just haven't budgeted, you know, to the extent where they need to be covering all of their expenses, ongoing expenses. So , um, I guess my answer is it's not an easy kind of,

Chase Peckham:

it was kind of a loaded question. Yeah. The more I thought about it, yeah . Every situation is extremely unique. So you can't just say that this is the way I would answer that. And so I , uh , I, yeah, I didn't mean to put you on the spot like that. Uh, we're , we're talking, I think more where people that they're unemployed and, or they're just way under income, then we've stretched the budget every which way we can. And that's, you know, there's gotta be give and take when you're in that situation doesn't mean it's forever, just means that you have to make real , like we all do at all times. Hard choices , uh, depending on the circumstances that we're in at the time.

Deb Meyer:

[inaudible] yeah. And that, again, it's, it's hard for you as an outside perspective to say, Hey, well this is what I think you should do. Because at the end of the day, the, whoever's in that moment, they have to make the decision for themselves what, what's going to , to help them the most. And for some people it's, it's not giving up on tithing. It's saying, Hey, I'm gonna continue doing this even though I know it's hurting me financially. Um, and other people are more willing to, to make those changes on a temporary basis with a game plan for how they're going to re , uh , initiate that down the road. Yeah.

Chase Peckham:

I mean, I think that's common. I mean, even outside the church, outside of the religion, I think that's common for anybody making any of those decisions that are monthly obligations , uh, because tithing, it's not like it's something that you just say, well, I'll do it this time. I won't do it this time. That's a monthly obligation to a lot of people that do it every month. I mean, that's no different than paying their mortgage or anything like that. So you have to respect that um, as a professional financial professional and helping people , uh, in, in that way and understand what is important to them. Because honestly, isn't that what it comes down to is yeah , we're not doing my budget. We're doing, we're working with them.

Deb Meyer:

Right. Right. And , and I mean, that might be a trade off where they're , you know, eh , again, most of the clients that I'm working with are not in that specific situation where it is , uh, absolutely paycheck to paycheck, unemployed for months at a time. So I don't have that breadth of experience, but the , um, clients that I know have, who have fallen on harder times financially when they are trying to make those decisions , um , they might be drawing from other assets that they previously had to continue to support their living expenses, which includes the tithe. And , um, that's their decision to make. I think of them all the guidance I want to, okay, well this is what the tax implication is going to be if you draw out of a 401k or whatever. But , um, ultimately it's, it's their money, their decision to make, not mine . Right. So

Katie Utterback:

that makes sense. So, and I also liked , um , how you, when you're talking about wealth, you're talking about more than just a monetary value. Can you kind of expand on that, why it was so important for you to bring up the concept that wealth is just more than money?

Deb Meyer:

Yeah. I think a lot of people get so stuck in this idea that, well, if I don't have enough money in the bank, I don't really have a lot of self worth or value. And I don't think that's true. I think everyone is born with these unique talents and gifts and they need to figure out what's the best way to utilize those gifts. So it might mean , um , volunteering for a cause that's really important near and dear to your heart, whether it's you're directly impacted by it or a family member or close friend. Um, it could also be figuring out what occupation you should be in so that you can best serve with those unique talents. Uh, you know, I look at my profession, my chosen profession, I feel incredibly blessed and like I'm living out my professional calling and what I'm doing now because I do feel like it. So , uh, beautifully incorporates some of those talents I have from schooling but also just my personality and how I want to serve other people. And uh, I , I know, you know, vast majority of of working adults aren't necessarily feeling like they're living their calling through their professions. But I want people to feel like that is an option to pursue it. It doesn't have to be about the , the paycheck that you make. It can be about, you can still live within your means even on a starting teacher salary if you're very careful and cognizant of every expenditure. So there are , um, there are ways of doing it that I don't think you have to just rely solely on building that financial wealth. Of course it's an important tool to have if you eventually want to retire, but it's not going to be the be all and end all while you're still in those years where you can be , um , accumulating and building wealth.

Katie Utterback:

and do you have people coming to you asking like how do I maintain my, my lifestyle quality but maybe change my career so that I'm more in line with doing something that I feel a calling toward or maybe something that's more acceptable by my faith?

Deb Meyer:

Yeah, most definitely. I actually work with quite a few families , uh , mostly parents in their forties or 50s where they might've been in a career for a long time because they did feel that obligation to do so. Or that was where their original training was. But then as they've gotten older, as they've matured, they realize, okay, there are some other things that I went to do , um , before my time here on earth [inaudiible], what, what, what should I be looking at and what should I be focusing on? So we take a lot of what their current cash flow is and see, okay, is this a viable option for you? Especially if we're working in with a married couple, it might mean the spouse, the sacrificing so that they can earn more money to meet the overall household budget if , if the other spouse is contemplating moving to a much lower paying career. So , um, I , I, I work in those kinds of scenarios quite often and it's fun to be able to talk through that and see what that looks like for the family. And again, it's, it's not just focused on meeting those financial requirements, but how is that going to impact your family life? So it, or are you stressed out in a job where you're working 60 hours a week right now and you're earning plenty of money but you never get to see your kids are, Oh , and would you rather move into a position where you're working 40 hours a week and earning half as much? That's a hard trade off to make, but some of my clients genuinely make that trade off because they see the reward on the side where it counts most for them and that's with their, their family members.

Chase Peckham:

I had to make that very, very decision. I had to do that. I went through that very same thing at 31 years old I'd been with in professional baseball for 10 years, not as a player in the front office and I was working [inaudible] forgive me, but ungodly hours and was going to get married and was like, I had an epiphany one day, just do I want to , I was at working at 11 o'clock at night in a ballgame and my wife's at home and my fiance's at home, I'm like, do I want this to be my life when I have a wife and then hopefully future children or do I want to coach little league and that kind of stuff and have that flexibility. It was like, I'll never forget it. It was then and there I decided I gotta do something else and that's scary.

Deb Meyer:

It's very scary.

Chase Peckham:

Not only just financially, but you think, skill-wise , what else do I know? You know, I've been doing this for so long, but it's amazing that if you come up with a plan and we use that all the time, how much you can accomplish more than you could possibly imagine.

Deb Meyer:

Yes. And that's honestly the, the benefit of it. I mean, you might go into something where you really know that the financial security is going to be a huge issue, but well, maybe because you're actually passionate about that career and it provides the balance that you're looking for in your family life. Maybe you can pick up other income on the side to make those ends meet in a different way. That is another expression of those talents you already have. You just haven't really taken the time to explore them because you've been too busy. You know, we're in this culture of busy and , uh , I think it's, it's incredibly challenging. I applaud you for making that change.

Chase Peckham:

Well , mine wasn't even financially, I was scared to death financially. It was just literally quality of life in a different stage of life that I was going into. I mean, when I was young and single, that's a much, it's a much different life than when you're gonna S you're now in a partnership with somebody, right, for the rest of your life. And you're hopefully gonna have , uh , two little , uh , extra partners or three or four, however you're going , uh , that, that are gonna rely on you and want to see you. And I think that's where the, and that's the family. I had my dad very successful, but he was home every night and he was home every weekend. And we had that. And I think that's where I, that's what I wanted. I wanted to be that dad. And that's where that decision came from. Not knowing if I'd ever make as much as much money as I was at the time.

Katie Utterback:

So maybe Deb and chase, you guys can answer this. How much does quality of life affect your decision? Or is it more of a monetary decision when you're looking to build wealth in a way that's more than a monetary value? If you're looking at a family value or a faith value, is that family, I guess, relationship, does that almost become more important than money when you're looking at it maybe from this lens of faith and family maybe being more important?

Chase Peckham:

I'd love to hear your answer Deb.

Deb Meyer:

Uh, yes. I , I do think it is more important than the monetary piece because I genuinely believe people can live within any budget if they make the right trade offs. Um, they might not be able to take elaborate vacations like they once did if they're taking, moving into a much lower paying career. But I think it's definitely manageable and doable. You just , um, are those trade offs and, and you know, for some people they aren't willing to make that trade off and usually they see the result in , in deterioration of the family. If , if works become their, their gods so to speak.

Chase Peckham:

Do you find that financial decision making purely on financial decision making , um , can have a dramatic effect on the family over time? If that becomes the, and I guess I'm kinda not answering, asking the question the way I want to, but if all you're thinking about is the monetary side and the vacations and those kinds of things, can that have a major effect on the longterm health of your family?

Deb Meyer:

Yes. I, yes. Uh, I think it's hard when you set up an expectation, especially if you are , um , making a lot of , uh , money and you're able to take your kids on extravagant vacations and things like that. It's very hard for them as they become adults and later in life to adjust to a lifestyle that isn't, you know, commensurate with that. Um, so maybe they marry someone who's from a much , um , humbler upbringing, whatever it is, and that becomes an inherent part of who they are as an adult and the spending decisions they make. So I, I do spend a lot of time talking with my families , um, as they become clients, just about the values that they're teaching to their kids, even, you know , starting as young as elementary school and , um, what they're hoping to really pass on. Because, you know , most of , of the base I work with, a lot of the parents have worked hard for whatever earnings they have. It doesn't matter if they're earning $200,000 a year or a hundred thousand, whatever the number is as a household, but they're , um , able to articulate to their kids why they're making some of the spending decisions that they are. And it's, it's either enhancing that child's life or it's detracting from it if they don't have any money discussions and they just keep paying for whatever expenses their kids come up with next.

Felipe Arevalo:

It's interesting you mentioned the, like the family aspect of it, w in marriage and how they might be marrying someone who is different , um, with, with families and then even with religion, how does that sometimes, can there be friction if the religion isn't necessarily the same that can then translate into financials?

Deb Meyer:

I think there's definitely a sense, you know, when two people come together in marriage from very different faith perspectives, maybe one sec Gnostic and ones brought up in a Christian faith. Um, it's definitely a challenge on that marriage because they don't have those same kind of core and what they , um, necessarily are searching for. So, you know, for some of those families to work well it might be where they just keep separate accounts and the one spouse is still doing their tithing that wants to follow their Christian values. And then the other is just using that as extra fun money or savings or whatever. Um, the hardship with, with anything, you know, when , and it doesn't matter if it's different religious values or even just different , um, financial motivations and past behaviors when you have any kind of sharp difference between the two spouses, it's obviously gonna be a source of potential conflict. So a lot of times too, I rely on , um, some assessments when I first start working with families one-on-one that will help me quickly identify, okay, are these spouses on the same page financially or are they on two very different levels? And , um, understanding and advanced what, where those potential conflicts might rise as we go deeper into the planning process. So it's uh , it's definitely intertwined and I , um , that's where I, I add a lot of value as an advisor is trying to help people come together so they can mitigate some of those um, conflict .

Chase Peckham:

And I would imagine that's quite the web to try to break down, right? To unfurl when you, cause that's so emotional. Um, there's pride, there's background, there's so many things that go into the decisions that people make. Uh, when you , when you're telling somebody or both of them that you've got to come to a , an agreement here somehow and somebody is going to have to give up something, or at least that's the idea or the impression they're going to get. How do you go about bringing that up and, and kind of crossing that bridge?

Deb Meyer:

Well, I do it pretty early on. So like I said, I have these assessments and it gives me very clearly in black and white. Okay, what's this person's wealth potential according to financial wealth. And again, this is a test just measuring monetary wealth and , um, that if I see someone who's very high wealth potential married to someone who's very low wealth potential, I know that there's gonna be some friction in that marriage just without them telling me there's going to be some underlying , uh, discussions there where they, they've had plenty of money arguments. So I , I bring it to the forefront of saying, Hey, I recognize that you guys have very different money temperaments here. What can we have , um, what can each of you learn from each other so that you can come to more of a middle ground on where , um, your, your future's going and focus not on the past, but really focus on what they can do together, what their power is as a couple, forging a new future. Um , the other piece that's really integral with that is just helping them talk through why they felt this way. Like, I hear all kinds of stories about, okay, well I grew up really poor and I had a single mom and she worked three jobs and there was never enough money for food on the table, let alone extras, you know, clothes or whatever, athletic equipment. And now I'm earning a lot of money. I want to be able to give my kids every material desire they have. So like that money story is very different from the spouse sitting across and hearing their money story and how they were shaped. And it's just again, bringing up that awareness because a lot of spouses, I don't care how long you've been married, it's not something you just openly start talking about. Hey, what was your childhood growing up and what kind of challenges did you have or not have? You know , um , we tend to keep a taboo even in a marriage. So I think it's just , uh , bringing that to the forefront and saying, these are some of the areas that we're going to work through , um, in our working relationship. And this is a safe place to talk about all of that.

Chase Peckham:

And that's where it comes down to money , right? That's where it comes down to not, that's not just a financial situation. That is a domestic partnership situation. It's it's decision making on how you want to bring up your children, what you want to give them one versus the other, and that doesn't necessarily always a financial decision. That's just, that's just your background and your values together and working together because don't you find that a lot of times financially that'll work out itself if they're on the same page in how they want to do things?

Deb Meyer:

Yes, very much so. If, if people are on that same page, it's so much easier to create the goals and plans because they've already talked about this or they've already thought about it together and can come to an agreement. But for those that are on very different wavelengths, it can take a while to say, okay, well this is what we actually hope to fund for a college goal, for example. Or this is when we really, you know, I want to retire at this age. My spouse wants to retire at this other age . How do we make that work is that gonna be beneficial for us or, or create more havoc. So , uh, yeah, I think it's, it, it, to the extent people can already work through some of those issues on their own and help get on a level playing field, that's great. But sometimes it does take another person intervening to who's neutral, who can kind of guide that discussion along.

Chase Peckham:

So not only are you a financial planner and a wealth advisor, you are a a part time , uh , marriage counselor.

Deb Meyer:

Not exactly.

Chase Peckham:

No, I don't mean to put a , but I think, I think we all are. When we, when we deal with these kinds of things , um, and you're dealing with, I mean, cause they're, they're giving, they're opening up to you, right? I mean, they're really, not only are they there , first of all, money is very personal with most people. Uh , it's not something that they talk about easily. So when they sit down with you and they open up their peeling back, a lot of different parts of the onion, so to speak, right? I mean, there's a lot of stuff that comes out just by discussing the financial parts of things. And so you really have to kind of figure out whether you have to tread lightly on one side or you need to be a little bit more bullish in the way you put things. And that can't always be easy to do.

Deb Meyer:

Right. It's not, and that's, you know , part of the beauty of, of my profession is, is learning those communication skills and how to best draw that out in a, in a way that's not gonna upset one or more people. But if it does upset them, it's, it's a temporary, you know, kind of aha moment and it's not a longterm, I'm, I'm angry with you. I w I want a divorce like that. So it's working through those and yeah, I , I, I definitely consider that part of my role as a financial advisor , um, to, to make sure that I'm helping my clients have that healthy dialogue .

Chase Peckham:

What would you say is the average age that you start working with , uh , with families that they're their age?

Deb Meyer:

Um, I'm actually working with a fairly wide variety of clients right now, but I have some clients in their early thirties and then I have some in their sixties. So it's kind of a range. But , um , I would say most of the families I work with are in their forties.

Chase Peckham:

Okay. So we're cause , and the reason I asked that is through the many podcasts that we've been doing and we keep hearing over and over and over again about fire , um, financial independence, retire early. And you know, the common idea is, you know, you're going to retire at 65 and I think there's a new generation that is trying to throw that on its ear, which I , I'm perfectly fine with. I mean, I love the idea , uh , of it. What do you find when you start working with people, is realistic when it comes to retirement? Because I think retirement takes on a whole new definition of what we historically think of retirement.

Deb Meyer:

Yeah. Um , it's interesting because the fire movement intrigued me and I was like, wow, I need to find out more about this. Even just as an advisor . And I've only had one client in particular that's really pushed for a very early retirement date. Um , they're in their , um, forties right now and looking for like age 50 for full retirement, but they're also in a position where , um , the husband actually earns a considerable amount of money. He's working hard, he's putting in a lot of hours , um, and they're diligently saving, so they're not spending the extra cashflow that he's generating. Um, they're, they're diligently saving along the way. And for someone like them, I have every confidence they will make it. Uh , even having an early retirement age, but I haven't seen that across the board. I, I look at plenty of other clients , uh, situations and having to work, you know, into your sixties is definitely more common. Um , even now as we look at, you know, it's hard to know what social security will be. I'm in my late thirties, so by the time I'm ready for retirement , um , and the air quotes, I think it's , uh, I need to be more financially focused on , um, building my own wealth instead of relying on some other outside systems . So for some people, the , um, monetary necessity of postponing retirement until your late sixties or even into your seventies, it's a given. You just, you have to do it because you don't have enough savings otherwise. But for others who have that financial independence already or they're very close to achieving financial independence for them, it's more about finding that satisfaction in their day to day and they might not want to continue doing their same career, but they might want to volunteer more or work in that lower paying career and do it earlier , uh , sooner rather than later. And I , I applaud that because I think that's very manageable way of looking at it. If someone makes that kind of drastic move where they just suddenly are not earning anything for the next potentially 50 years of life cause they're fully retired at 50 , um, you know, that might have social security later towards, you know, in their late sixties. But , um, there's a long gap there where they have to come up with some other kind of game plan. And you know, so many people in the fire movement are becoming entrepreneurs because they're exploring these passions or starting blogs about it and they end up becoming more financially successful. Just having that as their , um, day to day career , uh, rather than what they were doing even before they, retired.

Felipe Arevalo:

and we had a couple of guests.

Chase Peckham:

we've run into that.

Felipe Arevalo:

we've run into a couple of guests where they say, you know, I went after, you know , being a writer, doing a blog or doing this, and all of a sudden I make more money than when I was working.

Chase Peckham:

But that's just the passion that they put into it. Because I think the fire movement, not to , not that we need to get off on that, but I really believe the fire movement is more about a lifestyle than it is a financial discussion in the fact that they just, they don't want to be tied down to the status quo. They want, they want to be able to, to supply a home and a roof, food for their children and those kinds of things on their terms. And I think that in itself , uh , and some take it to the extreme, right? I mean, a lot of people, it's kind of like , um, when they're working out and people will be like, Oh, well you can't cheat it all this is the way you have to do it. And there's that movement and then they get, you know, they might get on them that, Oh, will you, you ate a carb. You know, this one, some of the people that are in the fire movement are just, it's all about the movement itself. And we're going to live in a 200 square foot box with a roof because we want to live independently, financially independent. And I think that is all fine and well and dandy. But I think that the premise of fire, the idea of financial independence, retire early is , is incredibly. I like that idea. I like that mindset that we're going to take, we're going to do everything we can to take care of ourselves and not rely on anyone else. And I think that you can have a fire movement and be in lots of different quadrants of life right?

Deb Meyer:

Yeah. There obviously extremes as you pointed out where some are, you know, living in that 200 square foot home. Uh, and then there's others that are still living as you know, in a whatever. I don't know what a typical home sizes now, but maybe it's 2000 square feet or something , um, that are also part of the fire movement. They just, you know, made that investment and that's one of their values again. So I, it's obviously , uh, I think it's great to examine your life and kind of figure out what are those specific goals that you're working towards? Do you want to retire early? But for some people making those short term tradeoffs now to say, okay, well I'm going to save 60% of my income and live off of this other very small , um, portion. The sacrifice can be so great that it's like, Whoa, okay, how much is my life going to be improving once I accomplish this huge, monstrous goal? So I don't, whenever I'm counseling people around that early retirement, I try not to lead them to any extremes because I think a lot of it is figuring out , um, how do you live the unconventional life, the one that others don't expect of you, but do it in a way that's very true to your personal values and um, it might not be moving into a 200 square foot home and might be staying in your existing and just figuring out a way to cut other expenses or increase your income so you can save more.

Katie Utterback:

I like how you p hrase that and it actually made me k ind o f think of fire differently. I was k inda thinking about how you're, you really are u m, teaching this abundance mindset kind of philosophy. And I think that's why for a lot of people fire has been so successful b ecause it's prioritizing what they view as being important. So I think same thing here. Are you finding that when you help someone get to a place where they're looking at their, their life, not just from a financial sense, but overall when they get to that place where there are, l ook, they are looking at things through an a bundance mindset lens. Is that when people I guess have an easier time getting out of financial trouble if they were to fall into it? Is that, I guess the kind of mindset that helps people figure out, okay, option A didn't work but I also have option B, C and D I can try

Deb Meyer:

most definitely. Yeah. It's uh , it's very clear when you have that abundance mindset and you realize you're not trapped by your circumstances, that you actually have a lot of control over it and you can see the opportunities available. It's , it's much easier to work actively and explore other options that you hadn't necessarily thought of before when you are trapped in that scarcity mentality

Katie Utterback:

and how do you work with people to get to that abundance mindset? That's , I guess from a faith based place when it seems like going back to what we're talking about earlier, abundance sometimes is deemed evil.

Deb Meyer:

Well I think, again, going back to that kind of Christian values discussion, I even put it on like the back cover of my book, but God wants people to live abundantly and he doesn't want us to be in this starvation mode because he wants the best of us and he wants us to be able to use our greatest abilities to help even more. So. Um, I, when I'm working with clients and trying to help them move past that scarcity mindset, a lot of it is just examining their readiness for change. And then once they are ready to make that mindset shift, just helping them see the other opportunities that are available. Um, because typically they've just thought, well, this is all I can do. I'm , I'm, this is, this is my station in life. Nothing's ever gonna change. And , uh , when you open this other door ad , it just gives them some new possibilities to think about and decide, is that something they really want to pursue?

Katie Utterback:

Sure. And you mentioned in your book as well that you know, everything that you write in your book, even though you're mentioning God and, and faith-based decisions, it's not, you don't have to be Christian to , um, to learn anything from this book. Do you also have, I guess, non-Christian clients or clients that maybe don't identify with a faith?

Deb Meyer:

I do. Yeah. So when I first started my practice, I really wasn't clear on who I was , um , most apt to serve. But I think , um, a lot of it was shaped for me. Uh , about a year into starting my own advisory firm, I had a very personal experience , um, where I just had to heavily rely on my faith in God. And ever since then I'm like, okay , this is, this is who I'm called to serve. Um, it's not like I'm saying, Hey, I want to get rid of those other clients that I've already built relationships with. But , um, they do have a very different mindset and even how they might handle their money, I don't judge that. I just, you know, try to find out what they're working towards and, and develop the plan accordingly so I might not be able to go as far in deep with some of those discussions as I would in my , um, Christian families. But I'm able to still help them understand, okay, these are the things you've told me are important to you and here's how to actually take some active steps to get there.

Katie Utterback:

Oh, sorry . Just want to follow up. Sorry. You saying that you noticed a difference in the mindset between the clients of yours that are Christian versus the ones that don't identify as Christian?

Deb Meyer:

Not in the mindset, but some of how they want to allocate their dollars when, when we're talking about financially and kind of setting visions for the future. Um, typically the Christian families that I'm working with have more going towards charitable causes or other, you know, tithing to their church or perhaps even more than just a tithing . Uh , you know, like the 10%. Some of them are saying, Hey, we really want to create this philanthropic legacy and it's gonna be 20% of whatever my income is and I want to make sure that's part of my estate documents, things like that.

Katie Utterback:

Okay, that makes sense.

Chase Peckham:

Kind of getting off the rails a little bit, what made you want to write your book? We talk about side hustle, we talked about extra income and doing those kinds of things. Um, what made you say this is something I want to do?

Deb Meyer:

Well , uh, when I started my advisory business where the nest in 2016, I realized I enjoyed writing. So I started writing just on a blog and then I had some media , um, coverage and , and realized I loved writing. I hadn't really written out, you know, put anything out into the public. Uh , prior to that and I started going to some biting conferences. To be totally honest, I would , it was just like a very intriguing, I guess I , I'd say I'm a multi-passionate person. Like I have a lot of different interests and um, I like to pursue those. I'm a learner, a lifelong learners. So if something interests me, I might go down this rabbit hole of learning more about it. And , uh, it was at the writing conference I went to in fall of 2017 and I said, Hey, I really want to write a book. And I felt God was calling me to do it too. I felt I had a message that , um , you know, so many advisers , financial advisors have great wisdom, but they're just sharing it with their particular client families that they're working with one on one, but they're not sharing it to a broader population. And that's exactly what I felt called to do. So , um, for me it wasn't like a, Hey, I want this as a side hustle, extra income. It was just, I really want this message to reach more people. And , um, I went and started working on it in 2018 and then, you know, finish the book earlier this year. And it's , it's been quite a journey. Uh , it definitely hasn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination. There's been a big investment of time and, and money and , uh, but I feel like it's worth it. And I really excited that it came to fruition.

Chase Peckham:

Well that's awesome. You had something to say and, and you went for it. So you couple that with your, I don't want to say that writing's a hobby. Uh, it's not now. Um, but that , that you had something to say and then you had the ability to do it and not everybody has those two qualities. So I commend you for it. It's hard to, it's hard to step outside the comfort zone, put yourself out there. Right. Cause you're setting yourself up for all kinds of things. Not only failure of not getting it published or not getting it done, but you know, people disagree with the criticism, right? So just the idea that you believed in what you were saying so much , uh , and believing in your abilities to do it is something that really should be commended because most of us in this world don't have that within it . So I commend you very much.

Deb Meyer:

Well I think everyone has that within them. It's just sometimes on tapped, right? Cause I think there are still people that are bravely doing things that they don't know what the result's going to be and it's scary, but they still do it anyway. And , um, I guess courage is a word that comes to mind because it's, it's , uh , it's definitely something that I struggled with like as the book was getting closer to publication and I'm like, Hey, I don't know what if people hate it. Like, you know, the impostor syndrome and all of that takes over. So , um, yeah, it takes a lot to be able to put yourself out there in that way. But I am really glad I did it. Uh, I don't have any regrets and yeah, it's just exciting to , to be able to share some things from a different perspective than I think a lot of other um, writers or other financial advisors with you putting out there.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. No, I applaud you too. I wanted to call you a dual preneur but you have, I think you are way more than two hats. I lost count .

Chase Peckham:

A dualpreneur. I like that was a good word coming out with it.

Katie Utterback:

Is that a real word?

Chase Peckham:

I don't,

Felipe Arevalo:

if you did tell me it is, I'll take your word for it.

Chase Peckham:

I'll look it up right now. But.

Deb Meyer:

I've hear of mompreneur or like they call myself an mompreneur a lot. But yeah, like I've heard of serial , like those are people who like to own, you know, multiple businesses . But uh, I, I don't consider myself a serial entrepreneur though. Okay .

Katie Utterback:

I dunno. Being the [inaudible] .

Chase Peckham:

Okay, well I may not be spelling it right, but I can't find it.

Katie Utterback:

Oh, okay .

Chase Peckham:

I like it though . You need to get that out there though right now . You heard it here first. That was beautiful.

Katie Utterback:

It's not even accurate anymore. She's got way more than two. I'm counting being a mom as being definitely being an entrepreneur.

Chase Peckham:

Absolutely. 100% yeah.

Katie Utterback:

So that's at least three. All right . So Deb, I got to ask for our clients or listeners who are listening from Missouri, are you accepting new clients? And then for our listeners who are not in Missouri, do you by chance work with anyone out of state?

Deb Meyer:

Yes to both. Actually. I, I'm , I'm continuing to work with my clients locally and then I also , um, for those who are at a town, I meet with them remotely typically through zoom video conference. So we get to see each other on the screen. But , um, it's a nice interaction instead of just a phone call, we can still have some that you've been touched connection , um , that you've wouldn't get through a phone call. So yeah .

Katie Utterback:

And so if people want to learn more about you or maybe work with you, they can just go to redefining family wealth.com.

Deb Meyer:

Yeah. So redefining family wealth.com is for the book and um, you can find out more about the book on that website. And then my advisory practice where I work one on one with families is called worthy nest. And that's at www.worthynest.com

Katie Utterback:

and I will put all this in our show notes page as well.

Chase Peckham:

What made you want to step out and create , and now that you know, wrapping this up, but what made you decide to take the step and start your own business versus working for a company?

Deb Meyer:

A great question. I love the advisory firm that I was working for for almost seven years back in 2013 and I wanted to just be more present to my family at that time. So I had two young boys at that moment. And then , um, I also have an accounting and accounting background. So I'm a CPA and I actually started , uh , an accounting firm. So technically, yes, I am a dual entrepreneur but , um, the accounting firm , I started in 2014 just as a kind of part time income for my family while I was predominantly staying at home. And then I turn that into more of a full business when I launched worthy nest in 2016. But , um , I had a hard time, I've missed the financial advisory world and I had a really hard time finding a good cultural fit with the firms , uh , in the area that had flexible work arrangements to be honest. Um , as a young mom I wanted to be able to, you know, have the option of going to the kids, you know, if they were sick. Being able to stay home with them that day and still work , you get some work home done from home. I also wanted the flexibility as they got older to, you know, go to grade school performances that they were doing plays and things like that. So it's a , it's been, you know, I , I probably work more hours now than, than ever before, but I worked on my own timeline and it works with my family. So

Chase Peckham:

doesn't that feel, doesn't that feel like you're not working as much?

Deb Meyer:

It does, yeah. I try to , like, I'm trying to quantify how much do I actually work and I'm like, I don't really know exactly. I just know when I left the firm in 2013, I was on a four day, you know , eight hour day work schedule and I'm like, I'm working far more than 32 hours. I just can't quantify what it is. So , um, but it , it , it , it just has been a blessing for our family and I also wanted to serve a different kind of clientele. That was the other big thing for me. I worked with , um, in a multifamily office. So very , uh , high financial net worth families that had a lot of family governance questions about passing wealth onto the next gen. and I just wanted to be working more with , um, you know, people my own age or a little bit , uh , above me that were accumulating wealth and trying to raise families just like I am.

Chase Peckham:

Makes sense. It's not an easy thing to do. So we appreciate you being here today and discussing , uh, uh, the, the faith based side of, of financial planning. Cause I think honestly, the faith side of things is so much more structured that helps people really pull their finances together because of that belief system. Um , and you can tell me if I'm wrong, but it just seems to me that people that are that structured, they kind of have a plan within themselves and within the belief that they know that there are paths they have to take to reach those beliefs and, and live that life. And I think that that can help make those financial decisions at least a little bit easier than, than most people.

Deb Meyer:

Yeah, I agree.

Chase Peckham:

And now a little follow up with myself. Phil and Katie. Deb Meyer . Yes, Deb Meyer . A fascinating, I thought very, very well read individual. Um , you know, anytime you get into discussion. You know any time you get into a conversation of faith or anything like that, if it's going to be a hot button topic because there's just so many different places that people come from , um, belief systems , uh, in this day and age it's almost not popular to even admit that you're a Christian. Um, which I find definitely cool.

Katie Utterback:

really? It's more like there's more people that are identifying as Christian now really l ike more people go to some sort of worship service then like when I was in college.

Chase Peckham:

See, it's interesting that you say that because we always hear, you know, in anything that's public, like our schools for instance. I mean, you can't discuss religion at all on any of the schools.

Felipe Arevalo:

If someone sneezes, you have to be careful. You can't really say bless you.

Chase Peckham:

There's some schools that random places, there's some schools that don't say under God in the pledge of allegiance anymore. Um , which is really weird to say the pledge of allegiance and not say that part. I'll , I'll tell you,

Felipe Arevalo:

just kind of blank it like when they have better words on the radio or you just kind of ,

Chase Peckham:

no, I think they just say it without it. Some kids grew up never saying that part. I mean, it just depends. Yeah. Um, point that I'm trying to make without getting this into a religious debate is the fact that I do believe that religion in any way, whether it's you find that you're a Christian , um, or you're , you're Jewish or, or any other , uh , religion that you follow, there's a structure to it and there's a belief system to it. And anytime you can think about the way you're living your life, your money in the way you handle money is gonna come into it. So by following that you're going to tend to make decisions, better decisions financially if you really are following that. Look, there's lots of people that can say they're Christian and probably aren't. Uh, but when you follow that mode and I just reading all the different steps that she has, it's , it's really a structure and it's a belief system. And if you believe in something and you want to work towards something, then your going to work harder to make that life for yourself and you're gonna make those financial decisions and those things that you quote on quote are going to cut out or not do or it's not going to be as difficult. It really is difficult.

Katie Utterback:

I don't know the answer to this, but I did start wondering, talking to her, if you do have a belief system, if you are more likely, I guess to identify as someone with a strong faith, is it easier to get to that abundance mindset? We go, you know, talking about like those early money habits that you form in childhood, is it easier to break out of that if there's some sort of structure?

Chase Peckham:

I think that's a great question.

Katie Utterback:

and I want to go study it now.

Chase Peckham:

I think maybe I think maybe because I think religion can work. Two, you can have that thing that you're really working for but you can also have when you're have , if you've been in a faith your entire life and you know there's going to be a lot you can have, I don't want to just throw it, blanket it, but you can have like when you talked about abundance that there's guilt that I'm not, I shouldn't have this much. I, I shouldn't be this because God wants us to be a certain way and I think she said it right on that guy. God doesn't want you to live abundantly. I think God would, even though he wants to protect the poor and he and we are to serve and help the poor and feed the hungry and do that, I believe that he is , he would rather have us all not be that. I think you would rather us all have a abundance if, if, if you could put it that way.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah, I would assume so too. I mean if you break it down to the golden rule taking kind of faith out of it.

Chase Peckham:

Yes, I grew up on that.

Katie Utterback:

Right. I mean basic necessities, food, water, shelter. I think if everybody had that, you know? Yeah, maybe it'd be a better world, but then is that my own yet.

Felipe Arevalo:

it also becomes the definition, you know , define abundance. It can mean different things to different people and.

Chase Peckham:

now you're just pulling rabbits out of hats . But you're right.

Felipe Arevalo:

It's true. The definition of someone who may think that they're living an abundant lifestyle could be completely different from another individual in another family and, and that doesn't mean that either one of them are wrong. It just means they have different ways of looking at it.

Chase Peckham:

And we brought up fire, we talked about the different ideas of what some people find as abundance, right. And it might be that we're perfectly comfortable pulling our home from location to location and living off the land and making [inaudible] enough money for us to survive and pay for the things we need to pay for. That can be abundance, right.

Felipe Arevalo:

To somebody somewhere living in a tiny house like you mentioned, 200 square feet. Sure. To them, that's perfectly enough room for them .

Chase Peckham:

I mean John Wise bars , my buddy who does tiny in the little house nation , uh , used to be on cha channel for PO Padres and now he's the host of that show for five, six, seven years now. He finds people that are perfectly happy in 300 square feet.

Felipe Arevalo:

Is that the one on Netflix? It is. And I was just going to mention there's one that there's, I'm not sure what the Netflix,

Chase Peckham:

I believe it's new on Netflix.

Felipe Arevalo:

or Amazon prime that I was flipping through the million things to watch and there was a tiny house to show where they help people complete their tiny house. Now I'm looking at it thinking that wouldn't work. I mean especially this tiny house nation. Yeah, and then they're looking like, Oh, this is going to be the best. I can do this and I can and she can. So in that little corner and I'll play my banjo in this little corner. I wouldn't do either of those, but that's a lot of noise in a closet.

Katie Utterback:

and I think like just hearing Deb, I think that's where your values start to show themselves. I'm guessing you're valuing piece of quiet like I would want to live in a small house where I can hear my husband breathe.

Felipe Arevalo:

I'm just thinking, I'm just thinking with kids in a regular size apartment that there's no peace and quiet. I could just as in the little tiny thing,

Chase Peckham:

if we're going to , if we're going to bring them up, we got to bring up tiny house nations on the FYI network fr . So it would be so on Netflix. Oh shoot . Yeah . Yup . I might be the one [inaudible] John . Good job. Good to it's been awhile but got us kind hang out. I think. I think what she's doing and, and, and bringing that out and writing a book about it and bringing faith into it I think is a wonderful thing because there's a lot of people that base their whole lives around their faith and , and, and are lost in what to do with it. Um, and especially in a financial way. Um, and again, we could discuss abundance , um, but how she looks at it so simplistically yet on such a grand level, right. In thinking about this is what she's looking for the same people to work with in the same similar mindsets as what she has. And she just helps put them in the right direction and come up with the ideas and be another set of eyes and ears. I think that's what most people need. That's why financial planners are important for people. That's why we recommend them all the time is you need to take your emotion out of it. You need another person that be able to sit down with you and say what are your goals? And instead of you writing them down necessarily, and maybe she'll make you do that, but you deciding that you have another person to help you lead you and making informed decisions.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah, I think that's where it's important. Like for example, hers where she's faith-based and that if she's going to help you set your goals, what better to have it be someone who has similar beliefs than you do just to begin with off the bat with nothing to do with money.

Chase Peckham:

100 % . Because most people that you're sitting down with are literally just going to talk structure financially and the different paths that you can take in the different , um, ways that you can invest in all those kinds of things. When maybe that's not what you're looking to do. Maybe you're just looking to figure out how that you're going to have enough money leftover at 65 or whenever it is you decide you want to retire and what you're going to and how you can spend your money the way you want to spend your money along the way. That's [inaudible] . That's following the brick golden what ? Following the yellow brick road. Right. You're trying to find, get to your, your end,

Katie Utterback:

your Emerald city,

Chase Peckham:

your Emerald city. Yes.

Katie Utterback:

Hey, it's green like money it .

Chase Peckham:

That's true. Very true. Very, very true. I just commend people that will have their beliefs and and want to tell the world about it and help people like minded like her and not only that, not just like minded like her, but people that want to know what to do with their money and look at it. Things may be a little bit different. I think that's to be commended.

Katie Utterback:

Well it's kind of help too cause I imagine, you know we were talking about the example of some people maybe are in a more debt situation and they are still wanting to give.

Chase Peckham:

Yes. We run into that all the time.

Katie Utterback:

I think sometimes if you have someone who's maybe similar to your values, like Felipe was saying, that's going to be easier to explain why that's such an important budget item for you versus somebody else may just say, this is crazy.

Chase Peckham:

She did open my eyes a little bit to that because I used to be a firm believer that if somebody was struggling that to pay their regular bills and yet they're still paying 15 20% of whatever their income is to the church, that the church would want to almost reciprocate and say, you know , we value and we appreciate the fact that you're giving to us, but we would really like you to figure out how to, before you pay us again, let's, let's figure out how we can pay all the other bills first. And that's what that community would be about. And I believe that wholeheartedly they would be, if that was ever even brought up and she would let anybody know in the church that that's happening, I would believe that they would want her to be healthy once they look at it that they'll get, you know, she'll still want to give whatever she can give, but we've seen the extreme to where people are, they give the same amount of money even though the income's not even close to the same. So they've got it . She's right. You've got to figure things out, go back and reevaluate where your budget is, but at the same time something's got to give.

Felipe Arevalo:

And then it also comes down to time, talent or treasure where maybe you're not in a position to donate money at this point in time and you put in the extra effort and you go volunteer some time. It doesn't cost you anything in your budget. I'm trying, but you could still continue to contribute to your community without putting your family in further financial hardship. That's just [inaudible]

Katie Utterback:

about that . I never thought about that. That's right.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. Cause if there is a way for you to give back, non-monetary ,

Chase Peckham:

I was going to bring that up with her and then I just forgot. I forgot to. I literally was thinking about that, but I love it. Brad Pagano the time, talent and treasure, he was always 10 town treasure town .

Felipe Arevalo:

It's true though.

Chase Peckham:

It is true. It is very true. If you've got , everybody's got something to give, whether it's monetarily your and talents, by the way, which could intern save the church money in a certain way. If you're, let's say you're a heck of a carpenter and they're redoing some stuff, right?

Felipe Arevalo:

Right. You could save them money by donating your time and help them build your a locksmith and they need a new lock.

Katie Utterback:

It could be anything that can be, you know, female prayer groups that make rosaries or prayer beats or something. Right , and you could even turn that into a side hustle.

Chase Peckham:

Yes. Well there you go. Now see, you're about that side hustle or creating abundance , which could make you feel guilty that you're making money off the church in the idea. Now I'm not saying that's right. I'm just saying. That could be a mindset in.

Katie Utterback:

the proceeds going to charity.

Felipe Arevalo:

There you go . There you go . She fixed it.

Chase Peckham:

There you go. Well, Deb Meyer , uh , if it's, especially if you can work with somebody like that and you don't have to be like sitting in her office, that's not a bad way, a bad way to go at all. Um , if you're interested, you can reach her a debit worthy nest.com , or you can call six three, six three, four, four zero four one five, or just flat out. Go to the website. I'm sure all that information, and I just puked onto this , uh, recording. Uh, you can go to where the nest dot.