Category: Blog

Financial Myth Busting Series

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

At The Humphreys Group, it’s no secret that we revere the many ways women today are breaking through gender stereotypes. Lately, we’ve been especially fascinated by stereotypes that permeate discussions about women and money. These phrases probably sound familiar: “Women aren’t interested in investing. They lack confidence about their financial decisions. When women do invest, they’re too risk averse.” By and large, these – as well as many other commonly accepted notions in finance, by the way – are all myths.

That’s why we’re going to spend the coming weeks busting myths about women and money and shining a light on the data that disproves them. We’ll also share what we’ve learned from our work with clients, and offer some thoughts on what we can all do to re-direct the conversation from myth to truth
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Equifax data breach: What to do now

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

Dear Friends,

By now you may have heard that Equifax, one of three companies that provide credit reporting, has experienced a massive data breach.  Equifax is providing an online method to determine whether your data has been compromised but based on the statistical probability, we strongly recommend that you assume your data has been breached and take action accordingly.

The website for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides straightforward and helpful information as to what to do.  There are many good articles online with details about the breach but this is a good place to start.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do

Based on the FTC information and other reading, we strongly recommend that you do the following:

Read the FTC blogpost – this website provides good guidance and all the information you will need to take action.

Check your credit reports – this will require that you enter personal data which can be unnerving, but the link provided on the FTC blogpost is legitimate.

Place a credit freeze on your credit files with all three companies – again, the FTC blogpost provides a FAQ and the phone numbers to contact the three companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).  I placed a freeze with all three companies this morning and each took 5-10 minutes and all were automated.

  • Equifax – there is no charge with this company (likely waived due to their breach); a PIN will be assigned to you; you will receive a confirmation number; both will be sent to you following the call.
  • Experian – $10 fee which you will pay with a credit card; a PIN is not provided during the call but will be sent to you following the call.
  • TransUnion – $10 fee which you will pay with a credit card; you choose your own PIN; confirmation will be sent to you following the call.

This freeze will remain in place until you decide to remove it. Keep in mind that if you decide to apply for a credit card or mortgage in the future, you will have to lift the freeze temporarily in order to do so. Be sure to securely save your PIN. You will need it to lift the freeze.

It is always alarming when a large financial services company reports a data breach, and this is a big one.  We strongly recommend that you take the time now to protect yourself.

Please don’t hesitate to call with questions or concerns.

Best regards,
Diane
 

Harvest: What’s Your Worth? The Art of Being Your Own Advocate

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

 

When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

~Ram Dass


Conversation Circle Harvest

June 23, 2017

It was the Summer Solstice when we held our Conversation Circle this week, and Ram Dass’ words helped us quiet our judging minds and set stage for our exploration of “What’s Your Worth:  the Art of Being Your Own Advocate.”  Cultural stereotypes being what they are, men are generally expected to be ambitious, assertive, self-confident and direct. Women, conversely, are expected to be unselfish, caring, emotionally expressive and skilled at interpersonal relationships. As a result, men are expected to advocate for themselves and are in fact liked when they do so.  Women?  Not so easy. There is a social cost to women when they self-advocate. Specifically, they are less liked by both men and women when seen to be self-advocating. This matters – being liked is a powerful tool of persuasion – whether it be at work, the neighborhood block party or the doctor’s office.

We briefly considered the findings of a 2013 survey (conducted jointly by Women of Influence and Thompson Reuters) which polled 326 senior executive women from across North America. For the women in our circle, one takeaway was clear:  the struggle is real. The study found that the challenge women feel when self-advocating does not diminish as we get older or as we gain status and achievement. 76% of survey respondents said they were challenged in area of self-promotion, advocating for themselves, expressing their talents. 74% scored themselves low in negotiating.

Happily, the news is not all bad. Women have superpowers! What are we great at? Advocating for others. Research shows that when women negotiate on behalf of someone else instead of themselves, their performance improves dramatically and gender differences in negotiation are eliminated. Sometimes they even perform better than men. The trick then, is to translate our strength in advocating for others into doing the same for ourselves.

That was our starting point as we took turns talking about a time when we went to bat for someone else. As listeners, we had the opportunity to reflect on the resources and strengths the we heard that the storyteller called on, on behalf of another. Using this success as a springboard, we used a series of questions to explore (in writing) a time we had successfully self-advocated – whether financial or non-financial in nature. And before we closed the circle, we had an opportunity to share our experiences and thoughts with the full group.

After sharing these insights with each other, we went home with a few key takeaways. We learned that we should enlist the support of our fans by asking them to advocate for us, and of course, support them in return. When self-advocating, we should also position our self-interests as part of something larger, connected to the greater good. All the while, it helps to remind ourselves that if we feel discomfort, we are not alone: it is a common reaction shared by many other women and an enduring result of our society’s gender stereotypes. We ended the circle feeling hopeful that advocating for ourselves and others will impact not just our lives and careers, but the lives and careers of others.  Advocating for yourself – worthwhile in itself – is still advocating for others.

Even on the longest day of the year, the evening flew by!  We all sensed that in spite of our enlivened, open and insightful conversation, we had only just scratched the surface.  There will be plenty more to explore in future circles!

Warm regards,

Diane, Lexi & Hallie

A big welcome to our newest team member!

Published in: Blog |

Hallie Kraus

You may recall that Kate Barhydt, our paraplanner and social media coordinator, left our team last November to pursue her interest in design. Transitions are always opportunities, and with Kate’s departure, we have been able to fine tune our roles and responsibilities. When thinking about the “perfect” new teammate, we looked at the firm’s structure with an eye toward what is needed now and what will be needed in the future. As importantly, we do everything we can to foster a culture of continuous improvement and it was crucial that we find someone who is personable, proactive and engaged – not to mention someone with solid technical skills and a passion for financial planning and investment management. A tall order!

We are so pleased to give you an update today, and to introduce you to Hallie Kraus! As Financial Planning Associate, Hallie will provide direct support to Lexi and me, in all areas of our financial planning work with clients. Since joining us in late April, she has settled right in and is already very much aligned with our vision, goals, and most importantly, our commitment to you. Prior to joining us, Hallie worked at a large brokerage firm and in the consumer credit counseling arena. Take a look at her bio.

We often say that wealth management is a combination of art and science. I would add that it is also a balancing act: keeping the big perspective in mind while focusing on the details. The addition of Hallie to our team will allow us to maintain our focus on the big picture while also ensuring that you experience an improving array of quality services and results that you have come to expect from The Humphreys Group. Working together, we aim to be even more responsive and connected with each of you so that your client experience is enhanced.

We have a strong team-based culture here, and Hallie’s arrival rounds us out nicely. As ever, we are all committed to supporting you and your family in every way we can to help you reach your financial goals.

I know you will join all of us in welcoming Hallie to The Humphreys Group and we look forward to introducing you to her in the coming months!

Warmest regards,
Diane

The Importance of Immigration

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

Immigration has long been a political challenge and the issue has only become more of a lightning rod since the election. But politics aside, what are the considerations? You may be interested to read this article by Dr. David Kelly, a favorite strategist from JP Morgan, that takes a close look at the economics of immigration. It’s impossible to predict the political outcome – but in the meantime we can think about the possible economic implications.

Strategic Vision

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

-Gloria Steinem

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