Category: Blog

Building your Resilience Muscles – in Life and Finances

Published in: Blog |

By the time we reach middle age, most of us have tapped into some form of resilience to withstand times in our personal and professional lives that have put us on edge: job changes, health scares, divorce, death and financial struggles among them. While conversations often focus on how we can bolster our Emotional resilience – our feelings about how we handle the pressures of difficulties we face – it’s important to remember that resilience comes in additional forms. Advisors at The Humphreys Group suggest paying attention to these other resiliencies and nurturing them to better manage adversities that may arise with age:

  • Physical: your body needs to be able to maintain healthy functions, and to recover quickly and fully when beset by illness. Make sure you’re not skimping on sleep, downtime or exercise that includes an emphasis on breathing (proper breathing techniques help relieve illness-triggering stress).
  • Spiritual: as you’ve gone through life no doubt you’ve developed a set of core beliefs and principles that provide you with courage and inspiration in everything you do. Stay true to what supports your sense of purpose and direction; use meditation techniques to help you focus; reserve time for rituals and traditions that are important to you, and reflect on the values and behaviors that guide you toward living your best professional and personal life.
  • Social: appreciate the strength community connections provide, especially during stressful times. Create space in your life to develop connections with local organizations and neighbors. Share stories and work together on a project that betters your community. Draw support from the people you’ve made connections with when you’re tested in work or at home. Be prepared to return that support when someone in your community needs it.
  • Vocational: not only does this mean you understand your professional strengths and talents, it also means being open to new possibilities when it comes to work and developing the not-as-strong aspects of your professional skill set. Take classes, engage in networking, have the courage to ask for the challenging project, seek mentoring opportunities or consider taking your professional life in a fresh direction.
  • Financial: plan for known developments and withstand the unexpected ones by developing a fiscal strategy that grows and changes as your life does. This way you are prepared to meet monetary challenges and ultimately enjoy the effort you’ve put into working hard, maintaining your health, living according to your principles and engaging with your community.

Next, make sure to practice these general behaviors that add strength to each of these resiliencies:

Hone a sense of optimism. Work to stay positive despite setbacks and surround yourself with people who offer positive reinforcement as you go through a difficult time.

Take charge of your personal and professional story. Reframe challenges in your work or life as a learning experiences, or as chances to do things differently than you would have expected from yourself. It takes practice to develop a mindset that views setbacks as opportunities to grow but doing so can reduce stress and help you find the positive in what at first may seem a negative situation.

Give yourself a break. The reality is that life and work can be rocky roads to travel; there are many aspects of our jobs and lives that we can’t control and must try our best not to take personally. So when faced with challenges shift your thinking from “What did I do wrong?” and “What should I have done differently?” Consider how you’ve come through adversity in the past, give yourself credit for your strength and resolve to keep moving forward.

Share what you’ve learned. Look around for ways to offer support and share lessons you’ve learned during times and after experiences that have demanded a lot from you. Being able to express gratitude and an ongoing sense of purpose after trying phases of your work or personal life offer you the chance to continue building an engaged and meaningful support system.

The Humphreys Group realizes there are many ways to build and flex your resiliency muscles. While we can recommend strategies that make the most of each “muscle,” our expertise lies in honing your financial resilience. Our advisors offer support that helps you assess your income, savings, insurance and financial plans, understand your long-term strategies and make educated investment decisions to ensure fiscal security as you age. Don’t sweat this workout as we help you bounce back from setbacks and strengthen how you make smart financial decisions.

Our Wish

Published in: Blog |

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.

May the flame of anger free you from falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a secret gift woven around the heart of wonder.

John O’Donohue

Cybersecurity Step-by-Step #11: 2-Factor Authentication

Published in: Blog, Cybersecurity Step-by-Step |

Your financial well-being is our highest priority, and one of our goals for 2018 has been to walk you through the necessary steps to protect your online data. To make it more manageable, we have been sending you one new action item every month. If you missed the previous steps, we have listed them below with a link to the detail so that you can easily catch up.

Step Eleven:  Try 2-Factor Authentication

Why? 2-Factor Authentication adds a very effective second layer of security to your online accounts. 2-Factor Authentication (known as 2FA) means that two steps are required to confirm your identity. The first step is to enter your username and password. The second step is to enter a code sent to your mobile device. (The second step can also be accomplished using email, secret questions, tokens, or verbal verification by phone.) When you use 2FA, you are protected even if your password is stolen because the password thief is unlikely to have access to the second step of the authentication. (Learn more about 2FA by watching this 2-minute YouTube video)

If you’ve never used 2-Factor Authentication, we strongly encourage you to give it a try. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t as difficult to use as it may sound. Once you’ve tried it, we believe you will be convinced that the added security is worth the small amount of hassle to set it up.

Where to begin? If you aren’t sure, start here:
1. Start with your email. Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo all offer 2FA. These services allow you to set up 2FA to apply only when logging in from a new device, so you won’t have to type in the extra code if you are logging in from your home computer or mobile device. If you aren’t inclined to do it to protect yourself, do it to protect your loved ones! Remember that if your email gets hacked, the cybercriminals can read ALL the correspondence and gather information that others may have shared with you.

2. Bank accounts should be your next priority. After all, most cybercriminals are in it for the money. Most banks offer 2FA and will allow you to designate trusted devices so that you will only have to go through the steps when you log in from an unknown device.

3. Once you have an increased sense of confidence using 2FA, you can add 2FA to other accounts – including those held at Schwab. Consider using it with shopping accounts such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. Go to to find a list of website services that offer 2FA.
Watch for our final cybersecurity step in December – everything you ever wanted to know about ransomware!

List of Previous Steps:

Step One: Place a freeze on your credit history at the top three credit agencies.
Step Two: Update the operating software on your computers, tablets, and smartphones, and continue to update as new patches become available.
Step Three: File your tax returns as early as possible.
Step Four: Use unique passwords on every site (and try a password manager).
Step Five: Never (ever) email sensitive information and always insist on encryption.
Step Six: Avoid using public WiFi networks.
Step Seven: Monitor your financial activity.
Step Eight:  Avoid Spear-Phishing Scams.
Step Nine: Open your online “my Social Security” account now.
Step Ten: Protect your digital legacy.

To review the previous steps, visit our blog.

Reframing Stressful Conversations

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

Conversations about money can be some of the most stressful ones we have in our lives, so it’s important to establish healthy patterns when it comes to discussing financial matters with a significant other. If you tend to delay or avoid challenging conversations about budgets and other money-related issues, or if your financial conversations are unsatisfying – because they occur under pressure or in a hurried “heat of the moment” – consider taking a few steps toward better outcomes. Humphreys Financial Group advisors suggest:

Be proactive.

Let your significant other know that a conversation about your finances is important to you and why. Share what you’d like to plan a time and place to talk about financial matters in a calm and straightforward way.

Start small(er).

Rest assured, money-related conversations between partners are ongoing – there will always be something to talk about if you share your lives and your financial responsibilities! As you work to establish constructive ways to talk together about finances, start by addressing less stressful topics and work toward bigger issues.

Establish conversation parameters.

Schedule begins- and end-times for your talk. Be mindful that a lengthy conversation may make your partner uncomfortable. Additionally one (or both) of you may stop listening to the other, or risk getting emotional the longer a conversation drags on.

Determine together the specific topic you’d like to address in your conversation. Moneytalk has no room for “the element of surprise.” Bringing up unexpected topics may put one (or both) of you on the defensive. Instead, you are more likely to make progress on addressing your money issues if you both know the focus of your conversation. Examples of what that might sound like: “The way we are handling our credit cards feels like it is creating tension between us and I would really like us to work together to find some common ground so we can deal with this as a team.” or “This time I have an idea for a new approach. It could be a good experience.”

Pick a neutral spot to talk. Location, location, location, as they say. Place matters, so work to ensure that where your conversation takes place won’t trigger emotions or be distracting to either of you. Some clients have even said that taking the conversation outside for a “walk and talk” helps them stay focused and calm about the topic of their discussions.

Stick to your parameters. It’s more likely you will establish successful patterns for addressing difficult financial issues if the structures you put in place continue to work for both of you.

Prepare and practice before your conversation begins.

As part of your individual preparation, write down what you want to say about the issue you’ll be discussing. Practice your part of the conversation – by yourself in front of a mirror or with a trusted friend. It helps to ensure you are clearly expressing yourself and know how you sound when you do it. That way you help move the conversation forward.

It takes courage and commitment to initiate conversations about money. But preparing ahead of time and scheduling focused discussions about your financial matters can help remove potential emotional and reactive responses from you, your partner or both of you. In the long run, you can improve how you address money issues together – a big benefit for both of you and your relationship.


Prepping for Conversations About Finances

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

Financial discussions with our partners and other family members – about spending habits and budgets, long-term retirement plans or other money-related concerns – are necessary but often difficult conversations. We all have been faced at one time or another with thorny issues surrounding our financial well-being, and we often put off talking about such issues until we reach a crucial point or crisis. How can you diffuse the tensions surrounding your current finances so you can talk frankly, openly and honestly as you plan for your financial future? The Humphreys Group advisors recommend stepping back to look at the big picture before you get to specific money talk:

To prepare for a conversation about finances, first examine your financial backstory by asking yourself a few questions:

What do I specifically want to achieve with this conversation? Let’s face it: you won’t be able to address all of your financial issues and concerns in a single discussion. The more focused you can be about the financial topic you’d like to discuss, and the more concrete you can be about the possible ways to resolve your issue will help you establish a foundation that enables you to address other issues on a case-by-case basis over time.

What causes me to see financial conversations as a challenge? Perhaps you assume how a finance-related conversation with your partner or other family members is going to go before it even starts. Those assumptions may cause you to begin conversations already on the defense. Resolve to handle each conversation as its own event and work to stay in the “now.” By focusing on specific goals for a specific talk you’re less likely to be influenced by your pre-conceived notions about how it will play out.

What about my finances makes me emotional? What causes me the most worry and how do my concerns affect my conversation – my tone, my words, and even my body language? If you’re aware that your stress about finances is revealed in physical and vocal ways, practice having a calm and centered approach even before you engage with another person so that you wind up being less confrontational and more communicative about your concerns.

When you begin your conversation, keep in mind a few other things:

Be curious and inquisitive of your conversation-mate(s).  Start talking by expressing your point of view and let them know you want to hear theirs before you begin tackling your shared financial issues and concerns. “I’d like to talk about” or “I need your help with something” are good ways to begin.

Acknowledge points of view that are not your own. Listen to what the other parties in your conversation have to say and don’t minimize the other party’s stance. Give them space and time to articulate their perspectives and acknowledge when something matters to them by noting “This sounds important to you.” You’ve done the homework on your own conversation style, now pay attention to their tone, word choices and body language for clues about how they’re feeling as you tackle the tough issues together.

Find places in the conversation to empathize and agree. Perhaps your key money concerns are somewhat different. Perhaps you are both focused on the same issues but are affected by them differently. Acknowledge that recognizing your shared financial concerns doesn’t mean your priorities line up about which ones to tackle first. By outlining the issues that exist and learning how each person feels about them, you can work together to prioritize which ones to address.

Breaks are allowed. If the conversation becomes too heated, agree to step away momentarily so you can center yourselves and begin again with a greater sense of calm and focus.

As with any art, conversations improve with practice. And progress often comes step-by-step. Individuals who are engaged and committed to the challenge of having difficult conversations about their finances are taking a first step to be proud of. Keep taking the steps to understand your own “financial issues backstory” and listen to what your conversation mate is saying about their money concerns so that over time you can brainstorm solutions and problem-solve together through conversations that are a little less difficult – and that ensure a mutually healthy financial future.


A Perspective on Family History & Financial Health

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

Our earliest relationships with money can spark questions about how we plan for our lives and our futures. They often influence our long-term financial behaviors across a wide spectrum. For instance, based on our first few real-life experiences with budgets and financial planning, we may view money as a private and taboo subject not open to discussion. Conversely, we may feel that money is meant to be spent freely without paying much attention to a long-term “bigger picture.”

Reflecting on the kinds of conversations you currently have with yourself, your partner and your family about money can help reveal clues about how your money and financial planning patterns developed. Do you remember the first time you learned how much your parents earned? How they spent their money? Their savings patterns? How did the adults in your life talk with you about money? How have your own earning, spending and saving patterns evolved through the years?

The answers to such questions will help you discover the financial behaviors you embrace – and realize there may be some patterns you don’t wish to follow. Regardless, whatever lessons you’ve learned so far about money can be expanded upon or adjusted. For instance, if you’ve felt the stress that overspending and under-planning can cause an individual or couple, we can advise you on the steps you can take to shore up your financial health. Maybe you grew up in a household where financial discussions did not include the children; if you have children and want them to learn a sound approach toward money but are uncertain how to do this, we’ll help you find ways to open avenues of age-appropriate conversation with them that increases their financial understanding, helps them limit unforeseen spending and guides them toward establishing healthy spending patterns.

Above all remember this: your past financial experience may impact your current state but it doesn’t have to dictate your future. At The Humphreys Group, our advisors work to help you assess your financial goals and better understand the hows and whys of your money decisions. Together we explore ways you can develop the best approach for you and your family – one that makes the most sense for your unique lives and one that puts you on a healthy path toward a longer-term plan and fiscal legacy.


Money Conversations

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

Think of a conversation about money that could have gone better.  How do you remember that experience?  Did you go into that conversation with a purpose or intention?  What would have been your ideal outcome?  Now, see the conversation from the other person’s perspective.  Did you consider their needs or fears?  Look to the other person to help reframe the conversation and shape solutions.

Stress-Free Money Conversation

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

Want to have stress-free, open conversations about money?  A good first step to take often starts with a reflection about how you feel about money and why.  Understanding your historical factors can help you be open in your present money conversations. It can also help in expressing why you feel a certain way about your personal finances.  Start with these three questions and then dig deeper.

  1. What was your first money memory and how do you think that memory has impacted your thinking about money?
  2. Did your parents talk to you openly about the family’s finances or were you on a need to know basis?
  3. How old were you when you learned how much your parents earned?  How did you react to this?


Cybersecurity Step-by-Step #10: Protect your Digital Legacy

Published in: Blog, Cybersecurity Step-by-Step, Get Smart |

Your financial well-being is our highest priority, and one of our goals for 2018 is to walk you through the necessary steps to protect your online data. To make it more manageable, we are sending you one new action item every month. If you missed the previous steps, we have listed them below with a link to the detail so that you can easily catch up.

Step Ten:  Protect your Digital Legacy – Name a Digital Fiduciary in your Estate Plan

Why? Most of us have accumulated a significant amount of digital property online, including personal and financial data, email, photos, and social profiles, that will need to be managed after we die. In an effort to protect your data and your privacy, most online service providers have very strict terms of service that restrict access to your digital assets. So, when it comes to passing on your digital legacy, handing over your password list is not enough to provide a trusted confidant with the legal authority to carry out your wishes after your death.

Fortunately, a new law known as the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) has been adopted in most states (including California). This law allows you to give legal authority to a named digital fiduciary to manage your digital legacy. (Learn more about RUFADAA.)

Consult with your estate attorney to learn how you can incorporate this new development into your estate plan. You can also consider excluding specific information or online accounts that may not be appropriate.

Once you have named a digital fiduciary, some advance preparation will make the task more manageable.

Prepare a list of your online accounts and passwords. We strongly recommend using an online password manager (See Cybersecurity Step #4) because this can be time-consuming and difficult to keep current. Don’t forget to include the passcodes to your devices!

Prepare instructions. Be sure that your wishes are clear and in a safe place where they can be found. Keep in mind that your Will becomes a public document after your death, so be sure to keep your instructions and your passwords in a separate location.


List of Previous Steps:

Step One: Place a freeze on your credit history at the top three credit agencies.

Step Two: Update the operating software on your computers, tablets, and smartphones, and continue to update as new patches become available.

Step Three: File your tax returns as early as possible.

Step Four: Use unique passwords on every site (and try a password manager).

Step Five: Never (ever) email sensitive information and always insist on encryption.

Step Six: Avoid using public WiFi networks.

Step Seven: Monitor your financial activity.

Step Eight:  Avoid Spear-Phishing Scams.

Step Nine: Open your online “my Social Security” account now.

To review the previous steps, visit our blog.