When I first came to Elisabeth as a client when I was 26, I got two things out of it: a condo, and a job!
Starting with the condo: my husband and I always dreamed of owning our own property, but we assumed that was at least five years away. Elisabeth, in her genius, showed us a way we could make it happen, and within months, we owned a condo. Owning a condo in San Diego with my husband, while I was in my twenties, was such a huge deal for me!
As transformative as that was, something even more transformative came out of hiring Elisabeth as my financial advisor: she offered me a job. I loved working with her and her team as her client, and saw the power of her work-–so I said yes and decided to join the team!
At that time, I was working as a manager at a major retail chain, and while I loved many aspects of my job–particularly supporting the young people who worked for us–I was looking for a career shift. Elisabeth has a background in high-end retail at Nordstrom, so she saw and appreciated how detail-oriented and service-focused I was. She also liked my midwest work ethic! (I’m from Wisconsin).
Since then, I’ve gained my Series 65 investment advisor license. I am now Elisabeth’s Case Manager and Co-Advisor. I plan and prepare with Elisabeth for each client meeting, sit in with her in all of them, take notes, follow up, and make sure all deadlines are met on our side and the client’s side.
Now that people are more accustomed to working with financial advisors over video calls, we are starting to see clients from all over the country. Elisabeth and her book, Wealth By Design are starting to become a national brand in the financial advising industry. But as that happens, I’m going to be absolutely sure we never lose that boutique-firm personal touch. Since I work with all our clients personally, I’m well-positioned to keep our firm as personalized as always as we grow nationally.
“I want to meet with you and your husband to talk about this,” Elisabeth told me one day when I was working for her as an administrative assistant. I had walked into work extremely stressed out about an unexpected bill related to my car, and she saw how stressed I was. “I’m not doing my job if I don’t help you,” she reassured me.
I had been running restaurants for fifteen years as a general manager.
When one restaurant I was managing closed, I realized I was burned out and needed a career shift, more in line with my bachelor’s in business administration and my master’s in human resources. I found myself in one of the most challenging financial periods I’d ever experienced: living in my parents’ home, with my husband and toddler, out of economic necessity. That’s when I saw an ad Elisabeth had placed, looking for an administrative assistant.
A month into the job, my husband and I had that meeting with Elisabeth, after she offered to help me with my financial planning. Filling out her advising intake questionnaire was the hardest thing I ever did. Seeing the reality of my financial life, all on one sheet, and then having to hand it over to someone else to look at in harsh light–I was completely full of shame. And on top of that, she was my boss! I was so worried she was going to tell me that I needed to claim bankruptcy and that she made a mistake hiring me.
Instead, Elisabeth said, “I have a dozen different ideas for you guys.” She showed us how to leverage the only asset in my life at the time, which was my car, and we wiped out a huge chunk of high-interest credit card debt with a low-interest loan using the car as collateral.
Then she showed us how to use a Wealth Recovery Account, which is a centerpiece of our planning for clients. It became a fun (and lucrative) game for us, to find ways to cut spending and get money into that account, which we used for paying off debt and building up a down payment for a condo.
How did we go from living in my parents’ basement as adults, to owning our own condo? Elisabeth taught us about VA loans, which we had never heard about. (My husband served in the Navy). These are the kinds of details Elisabeth knows about that completely change lives. They changed ours.
Now we’re completely out of debt, with a home and a growing investment portfolio. We sold our condo at a profit and bought our first single-family home in 2016. We’re looking to buy our next home this summer, and there’s no doubt in my mind we can do it.
I’ve been working for Elisabeth since 2012. When our clients tell us, “I wish I had met you a decade earlier,” I feel that sentiment on a gut level. Because, had I not met Elisabeth a decade ago, I might still be living with my family in my parents’ basement. Now I’m a homeowner with growing wealth. I owe it all to Elisabeth’s caring heart and brilliant mind.
My parents never thought they could retire abundantly. And guess what? Elisabeth helped them too; it’s come full circle in my family. Now they are living their dream retirement. My whole family’s financial life and wealth level have been transformed unrecognizably by Elisabeth. That’s why we’re loyal to her for the rest of our lives.
I started working in the retirement planning department of a Fortune 500 asset management company right after I graduated from college. I was fascinated by the retirement field, but at that big company I felt distant from clients: there was little personalization of the retirement plans, clients were basically treated as a collection of numbers, and it all felt very “cookie cutter.”
When I started working with Elisabeth, there was a night-and-day difference in how interactive we are with clients. The only “cookie cutters” here are in our home kitchens. We take the time to get to know each client and their family, their unique circumstances, challenges, dreams, and goals. For that reason, no two plans we come up with for clients are identical.
One meaningful way I’ve come to know the personalized brilliance of Elisabeth’s works is from the advice she’s given me and my husband, which has been transformative. We have a real estate portfolio with rental income, and Elisabeth has helped us structure this side business legally in a way that brings us massive financial benefits, from reduced taxes and increased deductions, to health insurance and retirement plans.
The guidance Elisabeth has given my husband and I has made our financial life that much more abundant and free with our boys, ages five, seven, and nine. They’re on a year-round school schedule, which means they’re out for three weeks at a time every three months. Our big dream was to be able to travel with them during school breaks, and thanks to the abundance Elisabeth helped us create in our own investing and business structure, we’re able to enjoy new adventures with our boys year-round, and enjoy precious family time together.
I strive to be a positive financial role model for our boys and look forward to creating a meaningful legacy for our family, with Elisabeth’s help.
I never knew work could be this fulfilling, and life could be this free!