S2E8 - How Finacial Planning Can Support Your SMC Journey w/ Nicole, CFP

Episode 8 November 08, 2023 00:47:36
S2E8 - How Finacial Planning Can Support Your SMC Journey w/ Nicole, CFP
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
S2E8 - How Finacial Planning Can Support Your SMC Journey w/ Nicole, CFP

Nov 08 2023 | 00:47:36

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Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

In this lively and informative episode, Aisha introduces Nicole, a certified financial planner with 20 years of experience, and dives into a range of topics relevant to the Single Mother by Choice community. Nicole shares her qualifications and highlights the importance of working with a fiduciary for financial peace of mind. The conversation covers financial planning for various life stages, including tips for those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, as well as insights on funding options for adoption and college savings. Listeners will appreciate Nicole's practical advice and can easily connect with her through her website and social media for further guidance.

 

Nicole Carson can be found:

Web: https://www.2ndstorywealth.com

Instagram: @2nd_storywealth

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to start to Finish Motherhood, a podcast for those thinking or already single mothers by choice, just looking for practical advice for navigating life's relationships. When you decide to have children on your own, it doesn't mean that you're completely alone. I'm Aisha Jenkins, and I'm partnering with you every step of your journey. Hi. [00:00:24] Speaker B: Hi, everybody. [00:00:25] Speaker A: I'm here today with a good friend of mine, so I'll give you a little bit of backstory that I never know what my friends do for professions. My friends are typically just awesome people. And so when I get an opportunity to bring them into my world and share about my SMC journey, to share about my kids and so this was an opportunity to really address a need that I had and that many in the single mother by choice space has and to talk to my friend over coffee. So today I have Nicole with me. Nicole is a certified financial planner, and I need to get my financial house in order. So I've got some questions, but before I jump into that, I'm going to ask Nicole to introduce herself and give us a little bit of background on her qualifications, and then we'll jump into the episode. So. Nicole. [00:01:22] Speaker B: Thank you, girlfriend. I appreciate the opportunity for having me on, and thank you to your community for allowing me to spend some time with you all. My name is Nicole Carson. I am a certified financial planner. I've been in financial services for 20 years. Background is in finance and marketing, and then I have my master's in business as well. I'm fully licensed. What that means is I have my series seven, my 63, 24, and 65. All of those numbers basically means that I'm allowed to sell stock and run a business, and then I have my certified financial planner designation. And essentially what that means is that's kind of a gold standard in our industry. This is the one that says that they hold us to a fiduciary capacity to make sure that we are doing the very best for our clients, especially when it comes to finances. So I've been in this business for about 20 years, and I absolutely love it. [00:02:23] Speaker A: Thank you. I'm so glad to have you here. So one of the questions that I have that I just want to set the foundation, are you a fiduciary? That's all I take from Susie orman. [00:02:34] Speaker B: Yes, I am a fiduciary, like, several times over. So essentially what a fiduciary means is that you have to sign a fiduciary oath that says that you are bound to do the right thing for your clients. You are ethically and legally bound to make sure that you're doing the right thing for the board and do the right thing on behalf of our profession. And so if you're not doing those things on behalf of the board, the client, and the profession, you can get not only in big trouble, but you can also get your licenses revoked. So fiduciary really does mean a big deal. And the benefit of that really means for all of you that are listening is it gives you that extra protection knowing that you're in good hands and that they're really making sure that they're giving you advice on your behalf. [00:03:21] Speaker A: All right, so let me tell you a little bit about my background so that we set the stage. I grew up in a blended family of eight children. So large family. I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn, during the height of a crack epidemic. And so it is what it is. We were on public assistance. My parents were stringing it together, trying to make it all work. And when my parents died, my life took a really strange and interesting turn where I ended up on a path to nowhere at first, and I wasn't sure really what was going to pan out. And I think I talk about this in one of the premium episodes that I was at a fork in the road where I could have had a chip on my shoulder and said that the world owed me something. So I was just going to go out there and be badass in the world. And I actually had an adult in my life that said, you get a choice. You get to make a choice. So at that point, I knew that I got to make choices in my life. So I chose to continue with high school. From high school, I went on to college. So I was the first in my family to go to college. I was the first in my family to become a relatively high earner. So what that means is that I'm in this weird position of growing up with nothing and suddenly having a lot. And so feeling kind of like survivors remorse as I've navigated, I've been seen as anything from an ATM machine to, like, hey, a co signer on a loan where to my thank goodness for wisdom, I've said no. But now I am a single mom of two little people that I need to eventually launch into the world, get them raised up. And so the financial choices I have had to make have been different than what is traditionally told to the general public. And as a black person, we know that the rules don't always apply. What's your story? [00:05:14] Speaker B: So my story is similar. My mother was a single mom, so there's a little bit of a difference there. She had me fairly young, and so I saw my mom struggle all the time, and I'm trying to get emotional. That's really hard. What I see a lot in clients and I think we talked about this a little bit is you take kind of one of two approaches, right, is, like, you hoard all the money because you're terrified of going back to broke, or you spend everything that you have, right? Especially in our community, we really need to deal with a lot of the financial trauma that we have. And I know I definitely have it. I saw my mother, she worked two jobs trying to make sure, just like you, you're doing a phenomenal job, making sure that your girls live the life that you want them to have. And that was my mom, too. She did everything that she could. And so I took a similar path to you. I was like, I'm going to go and I'm going to work my tail off. I'm going to go to school, I'm going to make sure I get a good job, and I'm going to do the things so that I don't have to do, that I don't have to work the way my mom did. And then for me, it was like, well, why are we always worried about money? What is this thing? Like, financial literacy is not taught in schools, and that's another subject for another day. But that is also why I'm so passionate about this work. We have to teach not only specifically our community, but we need to teach people about money and cash flow and budget and credit and contracts and all of these things. It's part of our everyday language in life. We just have to do it. And so we make mistakes. That's how we learn, because we're not taught these things. Then what happens is we go out into the world uneducated and we make mistakes. We run up our credit or you're doing things that we were not supposed to do because we don't know any better. So I don't have a judgment zone like, yeah, of course, girl, how would you have known that? You wouldn't have known these things. So for me, I chose the path similar to you of I had a decision to make, and I chose to hustle really hard to make sure that I had a different path. And like my mother, I had my daughter when I was really young. I had my daughter when I was 19, almost 20. And so I had to then provide for her in a similar way. It was like, she's not going to go without. And so I had to go to school and get a job and do all the things. And fortunately for me, I found a passion around finance and wanting to educate and wanting to figure out what was going on and why don't we know this and how can I do better and how can I make sure that the information I get that I share with my community? And so I've always kind of not only gotten this information, but made sure that I pass it along. So the work that I do, not only in my practice, but it's also community service work, and that's how I feel about it. So I've always kind of done the work in the churches and community and et cetera, and then fast forward and kind of cut to my mom struggled with mental health, and she passed away in 2019. And when she passed, she did have life insurance, but it last 32 days before she passed. Oh, no. Yeah. And it's hard enough when you're grieving to figure out, especially when you're not expecting somebody to pass, especially when you are going through all the emotions of grief. Right. And then when you tie in the financial aspect of grief, whether you have the resources or not, the importance of having a will and life insurance and I'm sure we'll talk about these things at some point helps to give your family that peace of mind, of just being able to grieve your loved one and making sure that you can give them whatever it is that they wanted at their final end. Right. And so she didn't have those things kind of in place, unfortunately. I knew my mom well enough to know what she wanted, but that's not the case for everyone. So I'm kind of on this personal mission right now. Aisha every client I talked to, I'm like, all right, we gonna get your money together, but we also need to make sure your house is in order for your peace of mind, for you, for your family, to make sure that the things that need to be in place, that's all part of financial planning. That's all making sure that you're protecting your loved ones. So it's a long winded way to answer your question, but it's all kind of my story, if you will. [00:10:05] Speaker A: No, I appreciate it, and I'm sorry for the loss of your mom. We have a lot of people in the single mother by choice space because we sometimes skew older. We are faced with having to lay a parent to rest or take them in. At the same time having to raise these children that we brought into the world as solo parents. And so I think we do a really good job in the single mother by choice spaces of saying you need guardianship, you need these legal documents in place before you go to deliver just to make sure that your kid is secure, they know where they're going and that you're happy with the decisions that you make. I think we are just starting to get into the realm of financial planning, at least as a black single mother by choice. Right. And so now how does that work? How do I get started? I know that I've got savings. I know that I've got things like a 529. I know that I've got a 401, and I have a mortgage. [00:11:15] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:11:16] Speaker A: Now what do I do? How do I get started? With a certified financial planner? [00:11:21] Speaker B: Yeah. So my approach, and I would say most advisors approach, really want to take a customized approach to what your individual goals are going to be. What your goals are going to be are going to be very different than what my goals are going to be. So first and foremost, your process is going to be that first few conversations that we have. There's no homework. There's no judgment. We're just going to talk. We just want to learn a little bit about you to figure out what is it that you really want to accomplish? What have you done so far? Where do you want to go? What do you want for your children? What's going on with your parents? What are the things that are most important to you? What do we need to prioritize, and what do we maybe need to we can wait on? Right. Those short, intermediate, and kind of longer term goals. Right. So I know we had talked a little bit about kind of, do I need to get all my paperwork together? Absolutely not. Right. Those first couple of meetings, we really just want to get to know you. We want to understand what your value systems are. And that's also really important. I give a really kind of corny analogy in terms of, like, every Friday I work from home, so every Friday it's important to me that I kind of get out of the house, and I sit at a coffee shop, and I just kind of do my thing. And that's important to me, and it cost me $10. But it's my value system. It's not really about the coffee and the kind of bagel or whatever it is that I'm getting. It's more about the experience and the ability to get out and see friends and network and hang out outside. Right. For my husband, who is a big introvert, he doesn't care about any of those things, so he's like, you can do coffee at home. Yes, I could. But my value system, I'm going to budget the $10 a week because that's important to me. And so we want to understand what your value systems are. What are the things that are important to you? Do you want to take the kids on vacation every year? Is that something that's important to you? If that's the thing that's important to you, then let's just be real and talk about it, because if you're going to do it, you're going to do it anyway. So let's just talk about it, and let's budget it in. And so the first couple of conversations, we're going to talk about your values, your goals, what's important, and then we'll take a look at your budget to figure out what's going on. Take a look under the hood a little bit and make sure that we've got a good budget in line and if there's some things that we can tweak or not or if necessary. And then we start to build that emergency fund that you talked about and then go through the list and prioritization of where you want to go. [00:14:05] Speaker A: Okay, good. So I like that, and I love that analogy of the coffee is important to me, right? For some people, like, the gym is important for me. Next year, I want to take the girls on sabbatical. How do I prepare for that, how do I finance that? And so as a community, there are many transition points that we would like help, we would like support, we would like, I guess, planning around. So the first is I've decided I want to have a baby. How do I plan for that? I want to be a single mother by choice. How do I look at this bucket of money and decide what's going to go for trying versus what am I reserving for maternity leave? Because some companies pay for maternity leave, some companies do not. And then how do I finance daycare? So those are going to be the big things that we're not really sure how it's going to look until we get in there. And then once the kids are here, then we're dealing with everyday life, like vacations. We're dealing with holidays and birthdays. And then we might be in a multigenerational household where we are also supporting parents. So can you take us through what are some key things that we might want to be thinking of as we're thinking about becoming parents once we are in the daycare stages? And then college and parents, what do we do? [00:15:31] Speaker B: Yeah, especially for college parents, people with parents. My mind starts to go to insurance. Insurance. And I didn't realize this episode was going to go to insurance. But I think my mind is kind of in protection mode. And that usually happens when you think about little ones. As a mom, I think I'm in protection mode always. But when you think about it, part of my practice is also those service related things. Of course, we want to make sure that we're looking at your four hundred and one K and your existing savings, but we also want to look at what's your service offerings that you already have. So we're going to look at what's being offered at your existing employer first. So you may have an HSA for those of you that are not familiar with what an HSA? It's a health savings account. An account that you can put money away tax deferred and then take withdrawals out tax free. You can do that for the benefit of anything that is medical related. So if you want to use it for this year, you can take it out for your glasses, for anything female related, anything at CVS or Dwayne Reed or write aid or et cetera. So as you were asking, how do I prepare? What are the things, the things that you may need if you are a single mother by choice? If there are things that you are going to need to prepare for that, an HSA is a phenomenal tool to use. Not only can you save and all those items are tax free, but you can also let that roll over until you need it. [00:17:05] Speaker A: Okay. So that was going to be my it because I do FSA and I have the healthcare FSA and I know it renews. So it's kind of a use it or lose it fund. But you're saying with the HSA it can carry over from year to year. [00:17:21] Speaker B: Yes. So an HSA carries over from year to year. An FSA, which is a flexible savings account. Flexible savings account. You actually have to use it by the end of the year. Some of them say, like, you can use it by March 1 until the next year. But in HSA, a health savings account, you can actually let that roll over. So for those that are in that planning stage of, I want to plan for this event, and I know this event is going to happen, I can use that money and put that money aside, let that money completely grow tax free, and then when I'm ready to use it, take that money out and you have it available. So for those of us that know that this is going to be an option for us. So I have some girlfriends that know that this is going to be my plan in five years, this is a really good option for them because they can roll that money over, over and over. Go ahead. [00:18:19] Speaker A: I'm sorry, one last question on this. Do you have to be with your current employer? So what if I knew I was retiring in six months and I had a healthy chunk in my HSA, can I use that in retirement as well? [00:18:34] Speaker B: Yeah. So one of the benefits of HSA, again, this is why I love HSAs, so an HSA stays with you as the individual. So if you are no longer with that particular employer, you can roll that HSA over similar to like a 401 over into another institution, and that HSA will just stay with you forever. You can take that HSA into your retirement as well. So I think that was kind of part of your question, right? So if I decide that I'm not going to use these dollars, I have self funded my life and my health expenses outside of my HSA for all of my years, and then I get into retirement. And I'm concerned about health care because that is a very fair concern. We do not know what healthcare reform, healthcare cost, taxes are going to be when we need health care in our later years. So we should be putting money in our health HSA anyway. And so if we decide, hey, I'm going to put all my money in there, I'm just going to let it roll over and then I'm going to wait until retirement, we can actually use those dollars in retirement. It'll still come out tax free and we can use it the same way we use our 401. [00:19:49] Speaker A: Okay. And so then we have now funded getting started, trying to conceive. Can we talk about options for daycare? So I do again, FSA for daycare? [00:20:03] Speaker B: Yeah, so you can put again, similar to the HSA that we just talked about, there is a dependent care FSA that will allow you to put away $5,000 a year. Now, I know that that's not a ton of money. I think I pay $1,500 a month for Kennedy. Kennedy is my daughter. So 5000 is not a ton. But hey, for those of us that are in this position that are likely a little bit of a higher tax earner, a tax break is a tax break. And I'll take it. So it does help a little bit with the tax break, and it also helps when you get into that daycare stage. And so we also can estimate how much is it going to cost you for daycare every year. So if you're going to have one child, you're going to have two children, how much is it going to cost you? So one of the strategies that I often like to think about is, can we plan for daycare? Do we know how much it's going to cost us on an annual basis? And is this something that we can plan for and then pay on a monthly basis? So can we save and use that money that we've kind of put aside and saved, and instead of paying it monthly, we have an annual amount that we've kind of put aside and then just take from that amount as opposed to having that coming out from our paycheck? So there's lots of different ways and tips and strategies that we can talk about. But again, what works for me as an individual in my household is going to be very different. That's going to work for the next person. And that's why every customized plan is going to be just that. It's going to be set up based on what works for you as an individual. And we want to make sure that we're building it for them. Okay. [00:21:39] Speaker A: All right, so now we get the kids out of daycare and we're ready to boot them off to college. So then we have the 529 and we have the different ways that we can save for college. [00:21:51] Speaker B: Yeah, so there's a few different ways. So I love a 529. So one of the great things about a 529 is similar to the HSA that we just talked about, again, tax free, you can put money away for your children to save for college. One of the downsides about the 529 is that if they don't go to college, you do have to pay a penalty of 10%. And that's often the concern, especially for some of us in our community, that our graduation rates and our college rates are not as strong. Now, for a lot of us that have gone to college, statistically, our children are going to go to college. That doesn't necessarily mean it's always going to end up that way, though. There's always that looming concern, is my child going to go to college? And so there's always this worry of if I put all this money in a 529, what's going to happen? Well, there's a couple of options. So one is you can simply change the beneficiary to yourself, to another child or whomever you want to gift the assets to. So that's one thing that you can do. The other thing is the IRS just made in the tax law where you can actually start to use some of that money back to yourself for retirement, which not a lot, I know. Well, these tax laws were not written for us. These were old shelters. All these numbers are just tax shelters and laws that are written for codes to put around so that you can save in a tax efficient way. Right? And 529 and FSAs and all the things that we're kind of briefly talking about, they're just tax codes written for not really for us, but we're going to use what we've got to get where we need to go. We have learned the tricks of the trade, and we are going to use them. 529 is a phenomenal tool to use for college savings. One of the top benefits statistically. Of course, if you've gone to college, your children will likely go to college. But if you are concerned at all that, hey, my child may not go to college and I don't want to use the 529, you can certainly just put the assets in a brokerage account. And aisha I know we talked a little bit about a brokerage account before, so anyone can have a brokerage account. Brokerage account is simply like a savings account, but where you put a mutual fund or a stock or a bond, and it would be in the name of yourself for the benefit of your child because your child would be a minor. And in part two, we can talk a little bit more about strategies and what we would do. We don't want to get too far into that, but those would be kind of your options. You could certainly do a 529 or brokerage account, or you could do a combination. So if you felt like you wanted to put a little bit aside so that you have that tax free benefit, but you also maybe wanted to put some just in a brokerage account so that she might want to use this for other things outside of college, that's a phenomenal tool for her as well. [00:25:06] Speaker A: Okay, so quick question. All right, so now we've entered this era of parenting where we know that we're going to suggest that kids go to college, but if they choose differently, what are our options with the 529? So what if a kid decides, college is not for me, I want to go to a trade school, I want to go to a music academy? Do they have the flexibility of using those funds. [00:25:33] Speaker B: They do, yes. So they can use a 529 in a trade school, a music academy, really, any higher education they absolutely can use it. One of the beauties about a 529, you can actually use it from kindergarten all the way to any higher education, which is one of the beautiful things. That was actually a recent change in the tax law as well. It used to just be for college, but they recently changed it to include kindergarten and beyond because some of the parents were starting 529 before their children even got here and then just simply changing the beneficiary and now they can use it to pay for their preschool or private schools or whatever they want to. [00:26:15] Speaker A: So we have the 529 and stuff for kids. Do we have something that's similar for people who are in positions to have to take care of elderly parents? And so do we have a number code for that, like 754 or something? [00:26:31] Speaker B: We learn it all the tax codes. One of the things absolutely. One of the things I think I would have and should have done differently even with my mom, is something called long term care insurance. And so what that basically means is if something should happen where your parent can no longer do some of their daily activities, and this might mean they can't go up the steps as often by themselves, they're not as mobile, they can't maybe shower, they can't do the things. And when you start to get older, it's hard for parents to sometimes admit or change their habits. They may not necessarily want to go into an elder care center. And I think sometimes when people think about long term care, they're always thinking about it from a perspective of putting their parents in a nursing home. And that isn't actually the case. This could actually mean like, hey, I could actually have somebody come in and help my parents do some of the things that they can't do on their own anymore. And that actually would help a lot because it would ease the burden off of you and your household and making sure that my parents are taken care of and I can still do the things that I need to do for myself and for my girls. And I don't have the financial burden of how am I going to afford this, how am I going to figure it out? That is incredible. So my dad, he owns a carpet business. My dad is in his sixty s and I have been telling my dad for the last ten years, you cannot lay carpet anymore. Can't do it like your back can't do it, your knees can't do it, can't do it anymore. Of course he has employees and et cetera, but he's one of those people where he's like, I want to do it myself and I got to be there. You cannot do it anymore. And he's. Just not willing to accept that this is the business that he's grown for the last 40 years and he can do the things that he loves to do and he's having a really hard time with it. And I'm like, you're going to get to a place where you're living in my house and your knees are not going to work because you're using it on the carpet. And so I've been talking to him about long term care insurance and what that would mean and if something should happen. And if you're here, you can get a nurse aid that can come in and help you. And of course, he's just like. [00:29:13] Speaker A: Entertaining. [00:29:15] Speaker B: But imagine my daughter is five and I have older kids. I obviously have a business. You and I are very similar from a perspective of we all have really busy lives, but I still care very much about my dad, and I want him to have the best care. And I need you to take this seriously. I really need you to make sure and we're in this really unique spot where we can still get him care that's affordable and that he would still qualify. And so these are the things that I share, these kind of real life stories because this is real life, right? And black folks, they don't want to go to a doctor. They don't want to fill out forms. They don't want to hear, they're not trying to hear this. I'm not doing any of this like, dad, please, this is going to help you significantly. [00:30:05] Speaker A: So I have a question on the long term care. Can I purchase long term care for myself or does someone have to purchase it for me? [00:30:14] Speaker B: So they would need to purchase it for themselves, but they would need to again, this is kind of like any insurance. Any insurance is the cheapest when you're in your best physical condition and you're the youngest. So the earliest that you can get it for your parents when they're the youngest, most briast, whatever that means, for their age, typically in their 50s, early 60s is the best time to start to have those dialogues and conversations and start shopping around for what that can look like. And again, it doesn't necessarily mean that we're putting mom and dad in a home. It could simply mean, hey, let's just bring in some care to make sure that you're well taken care of so that you have the care you need and I can still go do what I need too. [00:31:03] Speaker A: Okay, so when we talk about single mothers by choice, we could do single mother by choice by adoption conception. So we did talk about financing something like a health related procedure to conceive a child. What about adoption? So what can we do to do some pre planning for an adoption scenario? [00:31:24] Speaker B: Yeah, that's a really good question. So one of the first things again is I would really work with my clients to make sure that we're checking out our resources that we already have first. So I actually have some clients that actually have adoption policies in their employer policies. Some employers do cover adoption, whether that is they'll give you some funding towards adoption and or they'll give you time off. Both are very valuable. And so let's find out first and foremost what you have so that we can then assess what you need. So from there we're going to figure out, okay, well, what's your timeline? What are you hoping for, what kind of agency do we want to work with and what are our total expenses. And then we'll kind of take it from there in terms of how we want to fund that. But that's definitely where I would want to start, is looking at your existing resources and assessing what we have and then fill in the gaps with what we need. [00:32:26] Speaker A: Okay, so we talked about different pieces, different tax codes, different buckets of money. We have our regular paycheck, we have our savings, we have our 401. So what makes this all a plan? [00:32:42] Speaker B: Yeah, what makes it all a plan? And that's a really good question. Again, it's going to start with you. It's going to start with the fundamentals of what your specific goals are. And what's really interesting is your goals are going to change. Life is going to life. And so I usually meet with my clients on a quarterly basis because a lot is going to happen, even with little ones with aging parents on a regular basis. And so we want to check in to make sure, is your 401K doing okay? How are the kids? What's happening? What's changing? If everything is going okay? And then the other thing too is, as I mentioned, there's things that are just happening throughout the quarter of the year. And so we want to make sure that you're filing your taxes on a timely basis, especially if you are a business owner. You're also making sure that we talked a lot about your employer programs, so I'm checking in on your employer programs. So what makes all this a plan is that making sure that we understand what is customized and individual for you and your family and that we understand what your specific services are, what your needs are, and that we build out a customized quarterly plan to achieve those. [00:33:56] Speaker A: Okay? And so let's kind of go rapid fire. So this single mother by choice community, we tend to range from mid twenty s to like, let's say mid 50s. So what are some things that I should focus on if I'm planning and I am in my twenty s? [00:34:14] Speaker B: Okay. If you're in your 20s, you want to start early because time is on your side. You have so much more time. So you don't have to save as much if you don't need to because you have more time. Stay out of debt because if you learn that lesson early, it will save you more money over time. And then lastly, if you can avoid any student loans, if you can avoid some of those pitfalls that you can learn from the older generations that are coming, please learn those financial lessons that we are all kind of teaching you and max out your 401K. So those are the things that I would say if you're in your thirty s, I would say similarly, time is still on your side, but we still want to try to max out our 401. We still want to try to make sure that we now have an emergency fund because now we might be buying a house right now. It might be a little bit more serious. We might be buying a house now. We might have kids involved. Now we might be traveling a little bit more. Now we're really kind of in that adulting phase. So it's really more important that we have an emergency fund established because things are going to be coming up a lot more frequently. And now when you're in your thirty s, I think you're kind of at that place where it's like, okay, I'm fully an adult. I'm adulting now. And you're starting to realize that I've got big girl bills. [00:35:42] Speaker A: Are we still in our 30s or did we move to our no, we're. [00:35:44] Speaker B: Still in our thirty s. Okay, so you want to make sure that you're really careful on the budget. That's where it's really important that we're budgeting really well. And then if you switch to your 40s, if we can, we're going to max out our 401K. Time is still on our side, but now we have a little bit less of it. And so if we can still max out our 401, max out our HSAs that we talked about, make sure that we're still doing all the things that we talked about before. But we also want to make sure that we're checking in on all of the kind of insurance items that we didn't talk about before. Some of those long term care things that we briefly talked about for parents. We want to make sure that we have our estate plans kind of really kind of notched in. So we didn't really kind of get into detail on estate planning. We could talk about that in another time. But you likely at this point in your stage of life, have a home, you likely have property, you likely have some ownership in some things. And so it's really important to have an estate plan that's encompassing not only guardianship for the children, but also documents that have your property that's involved. So that might also include trust documents. And then lastly, I would just say it's also important that you're investing outside of your 401. So you should at this point, have all your student loans behind you. You should have all of your debt behind you, and you should have a fully funded emergency fund, hopefully at this point. And so now we might actually have some additional liquid that we can start to play around with or actually invest. And so maybe now it's the time that we open up that brokerage account, we start to think about what additional ways I can invest. And so maybe there's some opportunity for a brokerage account there as well. [00:37:36] Speaker A: So now as we tiptoe into our 50s because somebody, one of us is going there and we start thinking about retirement options, I think retirement age in the US. Is still 67, right? What if you want to retire early? Things like that. So as we go into our 50s, we still might have younger children. I will probably still have like a twelve year old and younger, right. So what does that look like? [00:38:03] Speaker B: I think it's still really similar to your 40s with the difference of to your point is like maybe it is reviewing your Social Security options. Maybe it is thinking about for some of my clients that are in that stage, it's when is retirement and is it realistic and have I saved enough? Do I want to continue to work? And so it's really kind of asking yourself some of those realistic questions and knowing that I still have time, but I have less time. And so what do I want to do with the time that I now have? And how do I make up if I need to make up? And if I don't need to make up, what do I do? What options do I have? Because there are plenty of people that can retire at any age. You don't have to wait for Social Security. Social Security is an option. You technically can retire at 59 and a half in this country. It's just a matter of if you choose to take Social Security benefits. [00:39:04] Speaker A: Okay, so you retire, you have kids that are just starting to go to college. How does your retirement impact college and college funding for the kids? [00:39:16] Speaker B: Yeah. So when you fill out the FAFSA form, the FAFSA form is going to look at your income. It also looks at your child's income. And so it'll then determine what your ratio is in terms of how much they deem you responsible for based on what your income is. So it really is a little bit dependent upon how much earned income you have at that particular time. It does not look at your retirement. So that's one of the benefits. Right. So one of the good news stories of FAFSA is that it does not look at your retirement benefits. [00:39:56] Speaker A: So if I retire early, then I'm in a lower tax bracket. So my contribution would conceivably be so definitely need to have you come back for that conversation. So to kind of wrap this up right here, what are some things we should look for? And thank you for taking us through that journey. What are some things we should be looking for in terms of a certified financial planner? I know that we talked about a Fiduciary. What else should we be looking for? [00:40:27] Speaker B: Yeah, so if you are looking for a financial planner, there's a couple of things that I would really make sure that you're asking, making sure that you understand that they're a good fit for you. And again, everybody's fit is going to look a little bit different. This is a relationship based business, and so I recognize that I think I'm a great planner, but I may not be the best fit for everyone. And that is okay. Right. Because this is a relationship. And so you want to have a conversation first, and most of us will be able to offer you a free consultation, which is just a conversation again. And so that's kind of first step is just have that conversation in terms of the other things that you're looking for. You want to make sure that person is fully licensed and credentialed. You want to make sure that you have a full understanding of what their investment philosophy is. So if I'm giving you money to invest, help me understand how you're going to be investing my money. I would also want to understand what your fee structure is. And so there's different ways that financial advisors are compensated. For me, I am fee only. And so I'll just briefly just describe the differences. There's fee only, meaning I charge a flat fee for my services and then there's fee based. And so the reason I charge fee only is because many of us in our community may not have a ton of assets. We talked a little bit about this earlier. We were left out of this conversation of financial planning for so many years. Our structure is truly based on how much money you have and are bringing to the table, which I don't agree with. We should all have access to full financial planning and qualified financial planning. So my structure is a flat fee, and that is a fee only. Then there's also fee based. And fee based is if you're being charged a commission and a commission. There's nothing wrong with that. Either commission is if you have an insurance product or if you are buying a mutual fund or an ETF on, like, a platform. They may charge a commission. Either is fine. It's just the difference. Just so that you understand the difference. All I'm saying. [00:42:48] Speaker A: So somebody can be a Fiduciary and be fee based. [00:42:53] Speaker B: Yes, absolutely. [00:42:54] Speaker A: Okay. [00:42:55] Speaker B: Absolutely. And that's perfectly fine, especially if you are at a larger team where you may have everybody in house. So for me, I absolutely believe in insurance. We talked a lot about it today. But I don't sell insurance. I refer that business out because I believe it needs to be a part of your overall financial plan. But if I sold insurance, I would get commission and so I can't say I'm fee only if I got commission, I would have to say that I'm fee based. [00:43:27] Speaker A: Okay. So now we are in the space where we have robo planners and Vanguard has one, Wealthfront has one. So what does that mean? So if you feel confident in moving and trading your own funds and things like that, where does that leave you in the conversation? Around certified financial planning? It's part of the plan, right? [00:43:56] Speaker B: Yeah, it's a very small part of the plan. So my background is I worked at Lincoln Financial for many years. I worked at Vanguard for many years. So I'm very familiar. I actually worked on some of those projects, and there's nothing wrong with them. There's a place for that. And we talked a little bit about your 20s. If I was 20 years old, I absolutely think that there's a place for a robo because you don't necessarily need a lot. You're just starting out. Maybe you could do it yourself because maybe you have a small IRA or something and you're just kind of plugging it. But when your life gets more complicated and you've got children and you've got aging parents and you've got a home and there's complexity and you want a customized plan, you're not going to get that with a robo. A robo is simply just going to say, you got X amount of dollars. Give me the X amount of dollars. I'm going to give you an investment portfolio and invest that plan for you. It is not going to give you everything else that we just talked about through the duration of this conversation. [00:45:06] Speaker A: Okay? [00:45:07] Speaker B: There's a place for it, but just understand what that place is. There's nothing wrong with it. Just understand what that is. [00:45:14] Speaker A: All right, so we talked about finding a good certified financial planner that's integrity based or what have you. That's cool. That is non judgmental. So how can my audience go about finding you? [00:45:29] Speaker B: Yes, find me. So my name again is Nicole Carson. You could find me on LinkedIn. It's nicole Carson. CFP MBA. You can find [email protected] you could find me on Facebook at Nicole Carson, CFP, I think. But I'm also on Instagram at Second Story Wealth. I'm basically everywhere. Second story wealth. But please find me. I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have. I'm happy to give a free consultation. I think that's a really good place to start. As I mentioned before, this is a relationship based business and it's really complicated. And I think it's important for all of us to make sure that you find someone that you trust, and that is key. You want to find someone that you can trust and that you can build a relationship that is going to be able to build with you over the years, and that's going to know you and help you and grow and understand what your needs are. And I hope I can do that for you and your audience. But if I can, I absolutely have a wonderful network that I can point you in the right direction. [00:46:38] Speaker A: All right. Well, Nicole, thank you for coming and talking to my audience and spending a little bit of The Lunch Hour with me, and I greatly appreciate it, and I hope that you're willing to come back and talk to us again in the future. [00:46:53] Speaker B: Absolutely. I love it. Happy to. [00:47:00] Speaker A: Thanks for listening. To start to finish motherhood with Aisha. If you want to keep the conversation going, follow Start to Finish Motherhood on Instagram or email me at [email protected]. If you love this episode, please share it with anyone who's thinking of becoming a single mother by choice, anyone who's already parenting as a single mother by choice and just looking for advice on navigating it all, or a friend or family member who's looking to support someone else's single mother by choice journey. Until next time. Bye now.

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