Episode 151: Creating Peace of Mind Around Your Money with Laura Davis – Transcript

Episode 151: Creating Peace of Mind Around Your Money with Laura Davis

Rennie Gabriel  00:10
Hi, folks, welcome to Episode 151 of the Wealth On Any Income Podcast. This is where we talk about money tips, techniques, attitudes, information and provide inspiration around your business and your money. I'm your host, Rennie Gabriel. In past episodes, we spoke about how to understand the numbers from your business, how to measure the level of pleasure based on where you spend your money, how to track your money in 5 to 10 seconds, what determines how close you are to Complete Financial Choice®, and how to run your business without being in your business. And last week, we had Cami Baker, discussing how to be both philanthropic and grow a real estate business. Today, we have as our guest, Laura Davis. Laura is a holistic financial advisor who helps people overcome overwhelm, so they can have peace of mind around their money. After years working with high net-worth clients, she started to realize that it was close to impossible for middle-income Americans to get the fiduciary financial advice. And I'm going to say that they deserve. Her book, Earn, Save, Spend - An Illustrated Guide to Personal Finance, that addresses those needs is now available. Laura, welcome to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast.

Laura Davis  01:35
Thank you so much, Rennie. It's an honor to be here. You have such incredible guests, and I am just so happy that I get to number among them.

Rennie Gabriel  01:44
Thank you, Laura. So we're going to get to some questions. So the first one is, got an idea of what you do, but tell me why you're doing what you do.

Laura Davis  01:54
So a lot of your listeners may sort of recognize me as a "normal" financial advisor. I am fee-only. I don't sell products. So it does differentiate us a little bit. There's not very many of us who do it that way. And I've been doing this for about eight years. The reason why I got into this industry in the first place is because back during the recession, the Great Recession, you know, when the real estate market was going crazy in a downward direction, I actually sold foreclosures for banks. I was a realtor. But I worked directly with banks to list and sell their foreclosures.

Rennie Gabriel  02:33
You're talking about 2008, 2009, that time.

Laura Davis  02:37
Yeah. So during that time, when I was selling those properties, it was distressed properties in distressed neighborhoods. And then... I had never been around that kind of environment before. And what it really showed was that there are so many people who are one decision away from financial disaster. And I really thought at the time, you know, I can help people with this. I can do something different. And at the time, I did not know that there was such a thing as a CFP. And when I figured that out, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is me'. And I immediately went and signed up and to get my CFP and I started working in the industry. So my "why", really revolves around the idea of helping average Americans, middle-income Americans succeed with money, when most of our industry doesn't really have as much interest in working with them.

Rennie Gabriel  03:38
Got it, great. Laura, you're probably aware that I donate 100% of the profits from the work that I do working with people and their money. I donate to various animal and veteran charities. Tell me about what you do, to give back. 

Laura Davis  03:54
Yeah, we donate to various charities. But the thing that we love to volunteer our time doing is delivering meals for an organization called, Open Hand, here in Atlanta. It's a Meals on Wheels program, and they deliver to Medicaid recipients across the Atlanta metro area. And their, the work that they do is so important, taking care of low-income people. I also volunteer my time a little bit for helping with lower income, financial needs for people.

Rennie Gabriel  04:26
And you know, and for many situations, donating your time is more valuable than donating money. So thank you, Laura. Tell me what's the target market? Who are the people you're looking to support?

Laura Davis  04:40
Yeah, so I have two overarching markets that I work with. My one-on-one private clients are with my wealth management clients, and those are more of a typical wealth management profile. So people who have a few million dollars in net worth and investable assets and are really looking to create that security around their retirement. My other base are those middle-income Americans. So I don't know if you know this, a lot of people don't, because we're all in our little bubble, and we sort of think that whatever we're in is the norm. But 50% of American families make less than $70,000 per year. So that's half of all Americans. And then only about 10% make over about $200,000 per year in annual income. So a lot of the times when we're talking about financial advisors, wealth managers, and by the way that word "wealth", is triggering a little bit, right, because it makes people feel like we're out of reach as advisors. But what I designed my book for, and I have an online membership as well, is really for middle-income Americans, those people who are sort of between that 70 and $200,000, where they can't necessarily afford fee-only financial advice, one-on-one, but they still know that they need to take care of their money, their family and their future.

Rennie Gabriel  06:04
Terrific, thank you. And I understand the way that that works. Because in my background, I used to do estate planning, working with very wealthy people and the money that I had from that I would end up doing pro-bono work for people who were struggling, who couldn't make, you know, pay off their credit cards on a monthly basis.

Laura Davis  06:26
Right. And so many people, especially since the pandemic, have been struggling. And our financial systems, as you know, are complicated. And it always feels like it's too overwhelming for people to dive into. And oftentimes, I notice that people don't even want to look at where they're starting from. You know, they're afraid to even look at their money. So has that been your experience, too?

Rennie Gabriel  06:52
Oh, absolutely. And the funniest part about it is, once I'm holding their hand, and they're actually looking at it, it's not as bad as they thought it was going to be.

Laura Davis  07:01
That's right. It's never as overwhelming as people think. But it's that first step that's so hard. And if you can get past that first step and say, You know, maybe I am on the right track, maybe I have done a better job than I thought, it really can inspire you with that confidence to move forward and make better decisions as you move through your financial life.

Rennie Gabriel  07:28
You're absolutely right. Now, here's a personal question. And it's two parts. One is, when you look back, what would you say your biggest failure was, and what insight did you gain from that? And how are you using it?

Laura Davis  07:37
I'm in a place in my personal journey where I am, where I'm in growth mode. I just recently left a firm. I started my own firm. And my biggest mistake that I made, and I don't know, failure is such a harsh word.

Rennie Gabriel  07:59
Yeah, well, you can change it. I mean, change you to "challenge", change it to "mistake". You're not stuck with it. I love it when someone will use that against me. Because I love using that word failure, because people will say, No, I never had any failures. But I have a lot of learning lessons. So . . . 

Laura Davis  08:17
Right, right. 

Rennie Gabriel  08:18
And I love . . . I love to use it to see how someone reacts. So, terrific, Laura.

Laura Davis  08:24
Yeah, no, it's definitely one of those triggering words, right? Because as entrepreneurs and business owners, we're always taught that failure is a necessary part of our success in our journey. Right? So you know, the book that I just released, I actually wrote it back in 2019. So, and we are sitting here today in 2023, and it is only just now come out. And I think what my biggest.. 

Rennie Gabriel  08:27

Laura Davis  08:29
or challenge was, is that I didn't push harder in the beginning, you know, I let my dream kind of go. Because I was wrapped up in the pandemic, because I had two small kids who were home at school, home from school at the time, because, you know, my husband's business was going through a transition after COVID hit. There were a lot of things that went on and the thing that I regret is not taking action when I could have taken action. So you know, maybe my dreams have come on just a little bit slower because of that, but I think that you know, when I . . . It's funny, you want to practice what you preach and all of my clients and my coaching students, you know, I encourage them to just take that action and take that first step and I feel a little hypocritical for not doing it myself.

Rennie Gabriel  09:47
I get it, I get it. So let me ask you this. Is there a benefit, goal, objective, whatever, what would you say a typical outcome might be for the people who you work with? I mean, like a case study.

Laura Davis  10:02
Yeah. So if you work with me, either one-on-one or through my membership, you will - if you - as long as you get through all of the steps, you will gain the sense of peace of mind as well as a financial plan that you can maintain yourself. So, my biggest goal in all of the things that I've created is to get something that people can really wrap their mind around. You know, because like you said, on your podcast before, there are really two sides to personal finance. And one is the behavioral side, the mindset side, and the other is the technical side. And in my practice, I've really seen that what gives people peace of mind, is to see where they're going numerically on a page. So everything that I do is designed so to focus back. So instead of, instead of just giving people a bunch of numbers and saying, you know, here you go, it's really attached to their values, their mindset, their goals. I'm a big proponent of never having wealth creation be the goal, you know, you have to have a purpose beyond money, or else there just will never be enough. So when people work with me, they can absolutely have that result of peace of mind, clarifying values, and having that sense of enough. And if having a sense of enough isn't important to you, you probably don't want to work with me.

Rennie Gabriel  11:35
I recall something about a couple in their 60's who had very little money, what did you advise them?

Laura Davis  11:42
Yeah, this was a really challenging, probably, when I'm thinking about it, this is my most challenging engagement that I've had in my career so far. And part of the reason was, because it had gotten so late in their life. And you know, as advisors, we always want to maintain this positivity and say, you know, it's never too late. It's never too late to start, it's never too late to be successful. But with this couple, you know, I never said this to them, but in the inside, I felt like, maybe it is too late. You know, maybe I can't make this work. And because of a combination of how little they had, and also how the little options that they had from an income perspective, because they had sort of aged out of their particular career paths, and didn't have much in the way of either Social Security or pensions to support them. And the biggest asset that they had was their house. They loved their house. But the truth was is that they couldn't afford to keep it and stay solvent for their long-term. So in the end, I had to make the very difficult recommendation to tell them to sell this home that they loved, and move out to the suburbs into a less expensive home that they could pay for with cash, so that they wouldn't have that expense anymore. And the numbers just supported that, you know, you go through year after year and look at that net worth and look at the possibility of long-term care expenses. The wife wasn't in good health. And they had to make that really difficult decision. Now, is that a happy thing? No. But the fact was, is that at the end of the day, it actually did prove that it was not too late for this couple that I thought it might be too late for. So anybody out there who's listening who feels like, you know, I can't get started because it's just, it's worthless, like, or I can only save so little, and it's meaningless. I promise you, small decisions, positive decisions can balloon into large positive outcomes over time. But small negative decisions can balloon into large negative outcomes over time. So anything that you can do to sort of inch up that savings, make just slightly different positive choices, I promise it's going to benefit you over time.

Rennie Gabriel  14:08
That's a great quote. And that's something that I'm going to add, be sure is highlighted in the show notes. Thank you, Laura. And last question, is there something I should have asked you that I didn't ask? And maybe it's, you know, whether it's too late, or what's the . . . How do I phrase it? Is there a reason why people don't get a handle on their money?

Laura Davis  14:35
Yeah, I think the reason why people don't get a handle on their money is because they are afraid and overwhelmed. And also, it comes down to this really basic thing that so many of my clients tell me, which is that I feel stupid about money. I feel dumb about money, and it's intimidating to me. My mission is to help people understand that it doesn't have to be intimidating. You do have to learn, you know, you have to - there's no getting around it. There's no magic pill. I wish that there was. I wish I had a crystal ball and a magic pill and I could wave it all around and make everybody's financial life great. But the fact is, is that if you can just get a little bit better educated, and make a little bit better decisions, you know, and learn how to face your financial picture head on, you really can get to that next level and get to some place where you never thought that you could.

Rennie Gabriel  15:33
Oh, thank you. Laura, thank you for being on the Wealth On Any Income Podcast.

Laura Davis  15:39
Thank you so much, Rennie. This has been such a pleasure.

Rennie Gabriel  15:43
Thank you. And for those who are listening, if you'd like to know how books, movies and Society programs you to be poor, and what the cure is, then log on to, wealthonanyincome.com/TEDx. You'll hear my TEDx talk and can request a free 9-Step Roadmap to Complete Financial Choice® and Philanthropy, and receive a weekly email with tips, techniques or inspiration around your business or your money. And if you'd like to see how you can increase your wealth, and donate to the causes that touch your heart, please check out our affordable program, Wealth with Purpose. To my listeners, thank you for tuning in. You can listen to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast on your favorite platform. And please rate, review and subscribe. Until next week, be prosperous, bye bye for now.

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