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Female Financial Planners Plan Their Own Work-Life Balance


Financial planners help clients manage their financial lives, balancing their goals, circumstances, risk tolerance and need for growth. Yet women in the field sometimes find it difficult to manage their own time and energy, to balance their careers and personal lives. Four women recently shared how they manage their businesses while making time for families, friends and relaxation.

Young mom on the go schedules everything

As a mother of a 13-month-old daughter and vice president of two wealth management companies in different cities, Christina Lindsey Orta, CFP®, relies on detailed scheduling. 

“I schedule everything, down to my workouts,” she said. “I make sure to get two to three workouts in during the week and one over the weekend. I really need that time for myself.”

On the three days a nanny comes to her home, Orta leaves at 9 when the nanny arrives and works a little later in the evening, often reviewing portfolios and sending emails after her daughter falls asleep. Her husband, who works from home, takes over when the nanny leaves at 4. Orta’s mother cares for her daughter one day a week, and Orta makes Friday a flex day when she works at home or brings her easy-going daughter to the office.

Three Thursdays a month, Orta flies from Westlake Village, California, where Lindsey & Lindsey Wealth Management and the original Ascent Wealth Management are located, to a second Ascent Wealth Management office in Sacramento. 

“I fly out on the 7 a.m. flight and come home on the 7 p.m. flight,” she said, “which means I don’t see my daughter those days.”

To reduce commuting, Orta frequently teleconferences using GoToMeeting™ and also does webcasts. Her firm is considering investing in Microsoft Surface Hub, a huge touch screen with built-in intelligence for meetings, whiteboard sessions and videoconferencing.

As Ascent Wealth Management prepares to open a third office in Pasadena, Orta outsources much of her proposal creation to Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management and other third-party managers. She has also brought in a licensed paraplanner and is handing over clients who have less than $500,000 in assets.

Dividing and delegating to conquer

With three grade-school-age children, Laurie Humphrey, RICP®, owner of Granite Financial in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and her husband divide and conquer to support their children in a variety of sports, church and volunteer activities. With a one-and-a-half hour commute, Humphrey’s husband often runs the electrical contracting firm he co-owns from their home and is available to their children after school.

Like Orta, Humphrey schedules strategically.

“I typically take Monday to prep so I can see clients Tuesday through Thursday,” she said. “We have a team meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and Friday is my cleanup day. Of course, I fit in family things – like my son’s recent state wrestling tournament – as needed.”

Humphrey and her mother, who started the advisory firm, segment clients so they know exactly which services they will offer each. Although they are selective about who they take on as clients, they periodically counsel investors with lower assets through a philanthropic retirement resource center they established. 

Humphrey outsources many of her marketing efforts, using FMG Suite for Granite Financial’s website and social media updates and Peter Montoya’s MarketingPro for weekly and monthly commentaries. Her entire staff uses Redtail Client Relationship Management system all day, entering every touch with clients.

“We use it to schedule appointments, mail birthday greetings or send a card when someone is having surgery,” she said. “Now we’re gathering anniversaries so we can send out cards on milestones. We have MarketingPro linked to it, so whenever we update an email in the CRM, it is automatically updated in MarketingPro, too.”

Rather than being overwhelmed with applicants when Humphrey needs to hire, she uses the HR Advantage program from her broker-dealer, Securities America, to screen and vet candidates.

Mother of seven makes intentional choices

Gina Van Baren, CFP® with DSB Wealth Management in DeMotte, Indiana, intentionally chose to partner with a bank during this season of her life in order to prioritize her family.   

“The environment allows me to foster relationships with co-workers and garner ideal clients through those connections,” said the mother of seven boys, aged seven to 24. “In a small agricultural community like mine, many bank customers are very transactional minded and reluctant to discuss their net worth. But by giving my colleagues a clear picture of who I am looking for, I have been able to build the practice I desired.” 

Van Baren tries to avoid multitasking, preferring to be fully present and focus on one thing at a time. 

“When I’m home, I want to enjoy my children instead of thinking about an office issue or checking work emails,” she said. “And when I’m at work, I try to keep my focus on my clients and growing the business, not on things with my kids.”

She’s learned to delegate and not micromanage. Van Baren reminds family to help out with meal preparation and household chores, and dismisses perfectionistic expectations. At the office, Van Baren brought on an associate two years ago and began transferring a block of business to him. Much of her scheduling is automated through Redtail’s CRM.

Working in California, retired in Colorado

Gina Duryea has worked her business in different ways at different times. When her children were born, she took time off to fully enjoy their brief baby stage. As they grew and her business was in full swing, she strove to have dinner as a family every night and prohibited electronics at the table.

Today, she has a college graduate and three high schoolers. She sold her broker-dealer in 2008 and semi-retired but still maintains a book of 250 clients based in the Sacramento area. Her biggest challenge came when she and her husband moved into their newly built dream home in Colorado last June.

Duryea uses technology and impressive organizational skills to serve her clients long-distance, with few realizing she no longer lives in Sacramento. Her OSJ allows her to use an extra office to meet with clients when she’s in town.

“If someone needs to see me, I can get there by 10 a.m. and fly out by 5,” she said. “But most of the time, I preschedule reviews, often seeing eight to 10 people during a trip. I use Redtail extensively, so alarms alert me to what’s coming up. I draft paperwork ahead of time using Laser App software that prepopulates forms. What used to take an hour and a half, I finish in 45 minutes.” 

Because a large percentage of her clients are teachers, she knows when they get raises and sends out a personalized bulk email reminding them to increase their retirement savings. Her business is totally paperless, which makes it easier to work in one state while living in another. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re in the early stages of your career, winding down or somewhere in between, prioritizing, keeping an organized schedule, setting boundaries, delegating and using technology effectively can help you achieve a healthy, fulfilling work-life balance.