Resources

Just too good to keep to ourselves

Welcome to our library. We strive to provide resources so that our clients know as much as they wish when it comes to being financially savvy. And it doesn’t stop there! We are part of a larger community – including you, wherever you may be. This is where we share content and tools that are important, fun and even inspiring, with everyone. Our resource vault will help you get smart about money, find your own motivation to move forward, and laugh and breathe a bit easier along the way.

10 Habits of Financially Successful People

Published in: Resources |

The end of the year tends to stir up feelings of reflection for many of us. What are you proud of accomplishing? What do you hope to improve upon next year? While eating healthier, exercising more, and flossing are at the top of many people’s lists of resolutions, this year take your financial health into consideration, too. As you look ahead and set new goals, consider these ten habits of financially successful people:

They live by a budget.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: use a budget! For starters, creating a budget is a great way to ensure that you’re aware of your personal financial situation, and especially of the relationship between your income and your outgoing expenses. While creating a budget is important, abiding by it is even more important (and more challenging!) Having the discipline to live within your budget — and ultimately within your means — will help set you up for long-term financial success.

They understand the value of money.

Money doesn’t grow on trees. You know it, we know it, everybody knows it, and yet, some people still spend their money as if it does. Understanding and appreciating the value of money is a cornerstone of financial wellness.

They save and invest in their future.

The earlier you start saving and investing your money, the longer you have to accumulate wealth; it’s simple math. Save a portion of your paycheck each month by having it directly deposited into a savings account. Invest at a young age to allow yourself to take on a riskier portfolio, as higher risks equal higher rewards. It’s never too early to start planning for your future.

They set SMART goals.

Setting “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals allows an individual to create defined objectives with set completion dates, increasing the likelihood that their goals will be achieved.

They keep debt low.

While we understand that taking on debt isn’t always avoidable, it is important to be diligent about any debt you do take on and pay it off in a timely fashion. If you have student loans, for example, be sure to factor your monthly payment into your budget and make your payments on time.

They think long-term.

What may grant you instant gratification today might not be a wise financial move for tomorrow. People who are financially successful realize that long-term fiscal goals are an important factor to consider when making today’s financial choices.

They are patient.

Financial stability doesn’t happen overnight. Just like it’s important to think long-term, it’s also important to remain patient, ride out any bumps in the financial markets, and stay your course.

They prioritize financial literacy.

There is a lot to learn when it comes to the world of finance, and while you don’t need to know it all, having a basic understanding of important terminology, economic trends, current events, etc. is very helpful when it comes to managing your money.

They keep recurring monthly costs to a minimum.

Your Netflix account, phone bill, gym membership, HelloFresh subscription…these recurring monthly expenses add up quickly. Financially successful people understand that keeping these types of expenses to a minimum significantly helps keep their spending in check. We’re not saying you have to get rid of all your monthly services, just make sure that the ones you choose to keep are worth their value and fit into your budget.

They work with professionals.

No matter how on top of your budget you are, how in the know you are about the current financial climate, or how much you contributed to your 401(k) last year, it never hurts to have professionals in your corner. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion on your financial picture.

At The Humphreys Group, we have spent nearly 40 years dedicating ourselves to helping clients make decisions that put them on a healthy financial trajectory. Are you ready to set yourself up for success? Reach out to our team today.

 

Giving Thanks + Giving Back

Published in: Resources |

Thanksgiving week is upon us once more! Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and, most importantly, an attitude of gratitude. While Black Friday deals have been the talk of the town in years past, in recent years, the push to give instead of buy has arguably been even greater. With Giving Tuesday falling right after Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect opportunity for advisors and other financial professionals to talk with clients about year-end charitable donations.

While Giving Tuesday is about more than just money — it can be anything from making a stranger smile, to helping someone in need, to showing up for a cause that’s important to you — fiscal donations are a fantastic way to make a positive impact on an organization that you care about, as well as in the greater community. (And it doesn’t hurt that charitable giving often offers tax breaks!)

If you’ve been considering a year-end charitable gift, here are a few strategies to consider that can help you make the most of your money.

  1. Establish a Donor-Advised Fund

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving account that allows the donor to make a gift and qualify for a charitable deduction immediately, without needing to decide straight away which charity or charities they’d like to support. Additionally, the money deposited into a DAF can grow tax-free until the donor is ready to recommend a grant.

  1. Give long-term appreciated securities

Contributing stocks, bonds, or mutual funds that have appreciated over time to philanthropic organizations is another method of charitable giving that has recently gained popularity. For starters, based on a handful of requirements and limitations, publicly traded securities and other types of securities may be tax deductible, with the amount deducted in a single year being up to 30% of the donor’s adjusted gross income. Additionally, gifting shares of company stock can help to diversify a donor’s portfolio.

  1. Donate complex assets

Another option is to donate complex and illiquid assets directly to charity. These include real estate, restricted stock, private company stock, and even cryptocurrency. Although these types of donations often require additional time and legal advice, they have a relatively low cost basis, which many donors find appealing.

  1. Consider a bunching strategy

The “bunching” strategy is about maximizing the impact of a donor’s itemized deductions by concentrating deductions in a single year, followed by one or several skipped years. Bunching can work well when a donor’s total itemized deductions for a single year fall below the standard deduction, as contributions for multiple years made at once may exceed the standard deduction and allow for a tax break. Of course, it’s worth noting that this strategy requires the donor to have a significant financial capacity.

Give Back With The Humphreys Group

As a reminder, the deadline for year-end charitable giving for 2021 is Friday, December 31, while the last day for 2021 grant recommendations from DAFs is Tuesday, December 28.

If you’re considering making a year-end gift but are feeling a bit uncertain about the best avenue for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a phone call or meeting. Whether you’d like to learn more about the various options for charitable year-end giving or have an in-depth discussion about the strategy that fits best into your overall financial plan, our door is open.

And, of course, Happy Thanksgiving!

 

The 3 Most Common Financial Issues Faced by Breadwinner Women

Published in: Resources |

In 2019, data showed that two-thirds of mothers were either breadwinners or co-breadwinners for their families. While this has been an increasingly popular trend over the past decade or so, it’s a relatively new phenomenon that has, at least in part, come about as the result of a handful of societal shifts for women — think going to school for longer, earning more degrees, delaying marriage and children, and entering their 60s without a partner.

While the shift to more female breadwinners is positive in many ways, it also comes with a unique set of hurdles. From the pressure it can bring to the unique balancing act it requires, here are three of the top challenges faced by female breadwinners.

Challenge #1: Negotiating how to combine finances and split expenses with your spouse

If you’re making more money than your spouse, chances are you might feel some guilt around it. How are you expected to divvy up expenses when one of you is earning more than the other?

One of the best ways to combat this challenge is to use the “Yours, Mine, and Ours” system. The specifics of this system will look unique to each family, but it is based on the concept that you share expenses for household necessities — things like rent, utilities and groceries — while keeping individual accounts to fund anything from hobbies to gifts for one another.

Challenge #2: Balancing the present with the future

Can you remember a time that you found yourself in a financial predicament? Say in college you wanted to spend a summer abroad visiting a friend, but you also knew you needed to save up to pay next year’s tuition. What to do? It’s easy when you’re young to get caught up in the false notion that once you achieve professional and financial success, these trade-offs will no longer be a concern. Unfortunately though, for the vast majority of us, these predicaments follow us all of our lives, they just take different forms.

As a female breadwinner, you likely have to find the right balance between doing what you want to do now and planning for the future on almost a daily basis. Should you take the family vacation now or set aside extra money for your retirement? Send your kids to summer camp or add money to their college saving accounts? Of course it’s extremely important to plan wisely and invest in your future self, but it’s also important to think about the present and make choices that bring you happiness and fulfillment now. It’s all about balance.

Challenge #3: The pressure to stay in an unfulfilling or high-stress job

As the breadwinner of your family, chances are you have a high-paying, high-pressure role way up on the corporate ladder. While jobs such as these have the potential to place a great deal of pressure on an individual, likely too, you feel the pressure to stay at said job for your family’s sake. It’s important to remember though, that while you may feel trapped, you aren’t. Take the time to ask yourself some introspective questions. Is it the role you dislike? The company? Your industry? Once you have figured out the root of the problem, you can begin to reach out to your professional and support networks and put together a game plan for how to improve your situation. Remember, prioritize yourself, too. Your mental health is just as important to your family as your paycheck.

The Humphreys Group team can help

At The Humphreys Group, we specialize in helping women get smart about their wealth. From comprehensive financial planning to disciplined investment management, reach out to our team to see how we can help you conquer some of the challenges faced by female breadwinners like you.

 

 

A Dive Into Challenge

Published in: Resources |

Adapted from Everyday Vitality by Dr. Samantha Boardman

In a previous blog, we discussed Dr. Samantha Boardman’s uplifting book, Everyday Vitality, and explained the book’s premise that vitality, rather than happiness, is the opposite of depression. To refresh your memory, vitality is the positive feeling of aliveness and energy that lies at the core of our well-being.

In the book, Dr. Samantha Boardman distills vitality down to three essential ingredients: meaningfully connecting with others, engaging in experiences that challenge us, and contributing to something beyond ourselves. Today, we’ll explore the idea of challenge.

Dr. Boardman frequently reminds us that vitality doesn’t mean being happy all the time. Feeling bad is part of being human and negative emotions can prompt us to change our behavior and help guide us in new directions, which she calls constructive negativity. Furthermore, a study concluded that people who experience a wide mix of emotions – emodiversity – had better physical health and were less likely to become depressed than those who are upbeat all the time.

In another study, “Emotions Know Best,” participants were asked to perform a task to win a prize. While performing the task, one group was told to focus on their emotions afterward. The other group was told to rationalize why they didn’t succeed if they failed. They all failed, but the those in the group that focused on their emotions tried 25% harder when asked to complete the next task.

The lesson here? Challenge yourself to re-frame the experience of discomfort as data. Self-reflection and pinpointing an emotion to identify what is upsetting you can help you to tailor a response. A general feeling of negativity might manifest as irritable behavior or reactions that cause new problems, while “a clearly demarcated problem is less likely to become an emotional boomerang.”

Uncertainty is another challenge and, boy oh boy, we have all had to figure out how to cope with high and persistent levels of uncertainty over the last 20 months. It’s human nature to want to be “in the know.” The world feels safer when we believe we can predict what will happen next. But a relentless need for certitude can interfere with the possibility of expanding beyond the invisible cages in which we confine ourselves. How do we increase our tolerance for ambiguity? One way offered by Dr. Boardman is to use a scientific method called the Null Hypothesis. When facing a challenge or uncertainty, create a hypothesis about what may happen. Then take it a step further and ask yourself: What if the opposite were true?

This is just a snippet of the insight Dr. Boardman provides on the subject of challenging ourselves. If you found any of it interesting, we highly recommend a full reading of her work. In the meantime, some questions to get you started:

Most of us have a go to strategy for coping with discomfort and uncertainty. Take a moment to reflect on the following: Do you suppress your feelings? Distract yourself? Rationalize? Reframe? Do you ruminate? When do your strategies work, and when do you come to a dead end?

 

Teach Teens To Invest

Published in: Resources |

One of the best gifts that we can give our children is the gift of a healthy financial foundation. From teaching them to spend wisely and adhere to a budget, to instilling the importance of charitable giving, to helping them save, the world of finance is vast and multifaceted, but one of the most important personal finance lessons we should be passing along to our children is investing.

Data from the latest Survey of Consumer Finances by the Federal Reserve showed that only 53% of all US families owned publicly traded stock in 2019. While fear stops many people from investing, most of the accompanying myths are largely false. Some of the most common myths include:

  • Investing is a huge risk
  • You will lose all of your money
  • It’s too confusing and too time-consuming
  • You have to be wealthy to invest

In fact, investing is not nearly as risky or difficult as people tend to believe. Sure, just as stocks can rise in value, they can also fall, but history has shown us that the stock market always bounces back. With just a small sum of money, some basic knowledge about how investments work, and an understanding of the terminology, anyone can invest successfully.

Here are four ways to introduce investing to your teen.

  1. Teach them to play the long game

First and foremost, investing should always be long-term, and it’s wise to teach this to kids from the very start. Stress that investing money will not make you rich overnight and that it’s important to instead focus on the slow and steady. Teach children the “buy and hold” approach to investing — a long-term passive strategy where investors buy stocks and hold them for a long period of time, regardless of short-term fluctuations — and share that in order to play the long game, it’s important to invest only money that they don’t need in the short term.

  1. Invest as a family

Involve your kids in family investments by including them in important discussions. Have them select companies that they are interested in investing in and discuss their reasoning, being sure to take into account their performance history. Share the importance of diversification and stress the risks associated with putting all of your eggs in one basket. Also consider inviting them to meetings with financial advisors. Sitting in on these types of conversations will help introduce them to real-life experience.

  1. Make it habitual

Oftentimes, the best way to learn is by doing. Consider gifting your children a small sum of money to celebrate a holiday or milestone and then helping them to invest it. Sure, they might make a mistake and lose some of the money, but they will gain priceless first-hand knowledge from the experience. As they continue to receive or earn money from relatives, summer jobs, etc., encourage them to get into the habit of investing a portion of it.

  1. Consider utilizing apps and resources

Increasingly, there are helpful resources that parents can introduce their children to for hands-on learning. Apps like BusyKid and Greenlight® were designed to help teach kids real life lessons in saving, sharing, spending, and investing money.

At The Humphreys Group, we know that your family is your priority, and helping you to set your children up for a strong financial future is one of ours. Continue the conversation with our team today!

 

Why Financial Planning Is Different for Women

Published in: Resources |

Despite studies showing that women are, on average, more diligent financial planners and savers than their male counterparts, women continuously get the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it comes to their long-term financial plans. A Fidelity Investments study showed that women saved an annual average of 9 percent of their paychecks, compared to an average of 8.6 percent saved by men. So why is it that women tend to have a harder time preparing for their financial futures?

Despite efforts to close the gender gap, there are still differences that women must take into consideration when putting together a long-term financial plan. From the economic disadvantages that come with their typically longer lifespans and typically smaller paychecks, women have to be especially diligent and strategic.

By being mindful, remaining knowledgable, and seeking guidance when needed, here are three steps women can take to prepare themselves for a secure financial future.

  1. Maintain a Personal Financial Plan

As individuals, the burden of our financial situation, plan, and future ultimately falls on us. Yes, there are friends and family to fall back on. Yes, there are professionals to offer their advice. But first and foremost, you must take it upon yourself to set a DIY plan in place. This involves staying on top of your budget, keeping track of any debt, paying your bills on time, planning for retirement, creating an emergency fund…the list goes on. Personal financial plans do not come in one-size-fits-all packaging. Each person’s unique situation will require an equally unique plan. And that plan starts with you.

  1. Stay Curious, Stay Knowledgable

According to the same study mentioned above, “88 percent of women say more financial education would provide them with greater confidence in managing their money.” Knowledge really is power. On the flip side, a lack of knowledge can be seriously detrimental. Because women often have additional financial burdens to consider (think caring for aging parents or young children, saving for a longer life expectancy, etc.) it’s doubly important to be prepared. For example, if a single mother of two lost her job and didn’t have an emergency fund in place, she could find herself stuck taking out costly loans that had the potential to bury her in debt. If a woman of the “sandwich generation” — a term used to describe middle-aged adults who care for both elderly parents and children — had to dip into her retirement savings early to care for her family members, there could be negative tax consequences that would do her more harm than good in the long-run. Understanding the consequences and caveats of financial decisions can be the difference between making a smart choice and a poor choice that will haunt you down the road.

  1. Secure Professional Help

Financial planning is more than just creating and sticking to a budget or living within your means. It includes investment strategy, tax strategy, retirement planning, and all of the moving gears that interconnect the individual pieces of your financial puzzle. And yes, it can be overwhelming and confusing. That’s why seeking financial help from a fiduciary advisor is so important.

Financial Planning With The Humphreys Group

October is National Financial Planning Month, making it an ideal time to review your financial situation and make adjustments accordingly. At The Humphreys Group, we specialize in helping women to take control of their financial future, no matter what their personal situation looks like. We work with clients to help them create the life they dream about by thoughtfully crafting financial plans and investment strategies that will support their vision. If you’re interested in becoming a Humphreys Group client, or if you’re a current client looking to revisit your plan, please get in touch with us!

 

The Advantages of Downsizing in Retirement

Published in: Resources |

When you were young and just starting out on your career path, it’s quite possible that you dreamed of owning a large home on a sprawling property. Plenty of bedrooms for the children you would have one day. A multi-car garage. A garden, or maybe a pool in the backyard.

But as you inch closer to retirement, chances are thoughts of downsizing have begun to swirl around your mind. In addition to the obvious challenge of maintaining a large property, there are several other considerations, such as taxes and insurance. Additionally, large multi-bedroom properties that were once filled with children, playdates, sleepovers, and birthday parties might feel a little empty once children have grown up and left home.

From the obvious to the unexpected, here are four factors that make downsizing a smart retirement move.

Cost

To begin with, smaller properties are usually less expensive than large ones. Of course, if you traded in a large rural country home in Nevada for a small apartment in San Francisco, this would likely not be the case, but if you decided to stay in the same town or city and simply moved into a smaller dwelling, you can bet that your housing expenses would decrease. This carries over to maintenance tasks as well, such as cleaning, painting and mowing.

Renting in particular can also be a smart choice cost-wise, as it prevents you from having to worry about expenses like upkeep, insurance and property taxes, which are the landlord’s responsibility.

Accessibility

As we age, activities that were once easy (for example, climbing the stairs) might be a bit more difficult to manage. Smaller homes are usually easier to get around, as they are more often a single level. Additionally, for retirees who don’t like to rely on a car or don’t enjoy driving, downsizing to an apartment located close to restaurants, retail or grocery stores, and other amenities may alleviate some stress.

Flexibility

One major perk of renting in particular is that it provides more flexibility. If you’ve always dreamed of living in Hawaii, but aren’t sure you’ll be able to handle the year-round heat, you can sample the location without committing to home-ownership or a mortgage. If you end up missing the seasons, instead of having to search for a realtor and put your house on the market, all you have to do is wait for your lease to be up!

Organization

While many retirees probably aren’t moving to a smaller dwelling to get their life organized, a surprising joy of downsizing can be just that. Downsizing means less storage space, and less storage space means you will be forced to seriously consider your belongings. Do you really need (or want) three different sets of China? What about that broken treadmill that you’ve been planning to “get fixed” for the last six years? Marie Kondo your belongings and stop carrying around all of that extra baggage (literally!)

In addition to taking some stress off of you and your home, decreasing your clutter is a true gift for your children. One of the most unpleasant aspects of dealing with the loss of a loved one is getting their affairs in order, belongings included. Just think how much easier you will make it on them if you downsize your belongings ahead of time!

Get prepared with The Humphreys Group

At The Humphreys Group, we work with women in transition, including those prepping for retirement, to create tailored long-term financial plans that suit their individual goals and personal vision. Are you planning your retirement? Considering selling your house and looking for an apartment? No matter what your personal situation is, our team is happy to provide a second opinion. Reach out to schedule a chat!

 

 

 

Better Days Ahead: Everyday Vitality by Dr. Samantha Boardman

Published in: Resources |

The tail-end of the pandemic has stretched out much longer than any of us had imagined and we are all in different phases of re-emergence. As we check in with each of our clients, we are noticing a common theme of depletion, a sense of lassitude, and a dragging weariness that we are all striving to overcome.

Luckily, we have found inspiration over the summer, and now into the fall, in the recently published book, Everyday Vitality by Samantha Boardman, MD.

Everyday Vitality is based on the premise that, contrary to popular belief, happiness is not the opposite of depression. Vitality is. What exactly is vitality? It’s that positive feeling of aliveness and energy that lies at the core of well-being. It allows us to bend rather than break and, importantly, to spring back.  Although the book was written in advance of the pandemic, the premise is perfectly timed to give us a much-needed boost.

In her book, Dr. Boardman shows us how to find strength within our stress and how to transform full days into more fulfilling ones. Drawing from scientific research and her own clinical experience, she shares strategies for cultivating vitality. That’s what we love about this book. It’s full of practical actions that seem do-able. Her approach is refreshing because she encourages us to go beyond self-reflection and self-care and engage outwardly with our surroundings, our community, and our passions.

Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Think Again has this to say:

“An insightful, uplifting read about how to bring more liveliness into our lives. Whereas most psychiatrists focus on alleviating mental illness, Samantha Boardman cares deeply about promoting mental health too. She combines an impressive command of science with deep empathy for her patients. If you’re depressed, burned out, or languishing, this book is brimming with practical ideas—and even if you’re flourishing, it’s full of valuable reminders for sustaining energy and well-being.”

If you want to learn more, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the book or to visit Dr. Boardman’s website that is filled with interesting perspectives and some fun quizzes.

And here’s a “preview of coming attractions”: In November we’ll be hosting two virtual conversation circles to explore some of the ideas in her book. We’re especially excited to talk about her concrete strategies for each of the three components of vitality: connection, challenge and community. Keep an eye on your inbox for our invitation in the next week or so. We’d love to have you join us!

 

How To Broach Difficult Money Conversations With Aging Parents

Published in: Resources |

Throughout childhood, we get used to turning to our parents for advice. My friend and I are fighting, what should I do? I’m struggling in Spanish class, how can I turn things around?

As we get older, the advice we ask for may change, but we continue to turn to them, just the same. If I take out student loans with a 3.7% interest rate, how much will I owe? Can I afford a new car?

But what happens when your parents start to get older and need to rely on you, instead? Going from the advice-seeker to the advice-giver may feel uncomfortable, but it’s a role reversal that many of us will be forced to make in our lifetime.

Discussing finances with our aging parents can be particularly uncomfortable for a handful of reasons. For starters, open discussions about money have historically been viewed as taboo and many people feel uncomfortable even broaching the subject. Furthermore, adult children might feel invasive mentioning money to their parents.

A GOBankingRates survey found that a whopping 73% of Americans haven’t had serious financial talks with their parents, with over half reporting that they don’t think these conversations need to happen “until their parents retire, start to have health issues, show signs they need help or actually ask for help.”

In truth, the earlier these conversations happen, the better. Financial conversations are some of the most important ones you can have with your parents as they grow older, and the sooner the line of communication is opened up, the more time you and they will have to prepare.

If your parents have always been fairly open about money and you have a good relationship with them, there’s no reason to dance around the point. Be respectful, but be direct. However, if you’re nervous about how they might respond, here are four tips to broach the topic in a subtle and respectful way.

Start with a broader topic

Instead of coming right out and asking about their life’s savings, you could open up the conversation by asking about a topic such as retirement. Do you have an idea of what your retirement will look like? Will you plan to move? Downsize? Get the discussion going and warm them up. Quite possibly, the conversation will naturally flow from retirement plans, hopes and dreams into logistics and finances.

Offer a lending hand

Another way to crack the door open on money conversations is to offer your help. It can be something simple like offering to do yard work for them once a week or taking their car into the shop, but it will allow you a closer look into their day-to-day lives while getting them comfortable with the idea of accepting your help. Once they have gotten used to accepting help with smaller tasks, they’ll likely be more open to the idea of you helping out in other areas of life, for example, with taxes or with filling out Medicare paperwork.

Rely on siblings

You never want to make your parent feel ganged up on, but if you have siblings it is okay to lean on each other, bounce ideas back and forth, and come up with a game-plan together.

Talk about yourself

Not to make things all about you, but it can be exceedingly helpful to use yourself as an example when trying to open the floor to a difficult conversation. You could mention that you have recently opened up a new retirement account and then ask them how they saved up for retirement. You could mention that you’ve been thinking about creating a will and ask if they have any advice for you based off of their personal experiences.

Financial Planning with The Humphreys Group

Sometimes the trickiest part of money talks is just getting the conversation started. The Humphreys Group provides expertise to help women navigate difficult transitions such as taking care of aging parents, and our passion is helping clients take control of their financial lives. If you’re interested in continuing the discussion with The Humphreys Group, reach out to our team today.

Fall Reading with The Humphreys Group

Published in: Resources |

 

The past year and a half have been filled with more plot twists than most novels. This week, The Humphreys Group team members are sharing some of their current favorite books that have been curing everything from wanderlust to screen fatigue.

 

Diane Bourdo, CFP®, President

The Great Alone by Tim Voors

As an avid hiker, I’m always on the lookout for long-distance hiking and adventure tales – now more than ever! The Great Alone is Tim Voors’ account of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail start to finish (Mexico to Canada). A 44-year old Dutchman, he leaves his family for 6 months to hike all 4,286 miles of the PCT. His account is full of zany fellow hikers, treacherous climbs, and sublime vistas. There’s also a good dose of reflection, lessons learned, hard won insights – and his artwork. In addition to his watercolors, the book is full of great photographs that will put you right on the trail next to him. It’s a fun and engaging read!

 

 

 

Lexi Olian, CFP®, Director of Financial Planning

Everyday Vitality by Samantha Boardman, MD

Based on research and clinical experience, this book is full of practical strategies for cultivating vitality. Author Dr. Samantha Boardman’s approach is refreshing because she encourages us to go beyond self-reflection and self-care and engage outwardly with our surroundings, our community, and our passions.

 

 

Hallie Kraus, CFP®, CRPC®, Financial Planner

Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Anna Sale

One of my favorite podcasts is Anna Sale’s Death, Sex and Money, so when Sale’s first book came out earlier this year, I knew I had to read it. Let’s Talk About Hard Things is what it sounds like: an invitation to navigate fraught topics in a thoughtful and generous way. But rather than offering a formal guidebook, she weaves lessons from her podcast, academic research, and anecdotes from her own life to demonstrate how tough conversations offer us solace, pull us out of isolation, and deepen connection and understanding. If the pandemic has given you time to ruminate about that conversation that you’ve been putting off, this will give you the inspiration to do so.

 

 

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

After spending much of the last year isolated from others, many of us have developed a deeper appreciation for our loved ones, and if you’re looking for a poignant and beautiful family story, I recommend Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart. Zauner, the daughter of an American father and Korean mother, had a tumultuous childhood punctured by clashes with her parents. But when her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she describes in heart wrenching detail how she cared for her mother, how they both worked to heal their relationship, and how she channeled her grief into reclaiming the food and history of her Korean heritage. Their story is proof that it’s possible to reset even the thorniest of family relationships. (Just make sure to have tissues handy.)

 

 

Liz Paxton, Director of Operations

Beyond the Sand and Sea by Ty McCormick

Refugees are much in the news at the moment and I am taking a deeper dive with Beyond the Sand and Sea by Ty McCormick, an editor at Foreign Affairs magazine. Ty traces the journey of a family fleeing the civil war in Somalia and ultimately making their way to the USA. But not before several family members spend over a decade in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Dadaab has the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest refugee camp, with 200,000 mostly Somali refugees. Against all odds, the son, Asad, wins a scholarship to study literature at Princeton once he has made it to the States. The book provides inspiration and a “pinprick of light” in the darkness that characterizes most of what we read about the refugee crises.

 

On All Fronts by Clarissa Ward

Like many of us, I was glued to CNN during the recent evacuation from Afghanistan and I watched a lot of Clarissa Ward’s coverage. I thought she was pretty tough and kick-ass so I’m reading her memoir On All Fronts to get an inside look at how she got where she is and what makes her tick. Born of privilege, she forged a path that has seen her reporting from some of the world’s hotspots: Syria, Beirut, Libya & Afghanistan, to name a few. She doesn’t shy away from reporting it as she sees it and has gained great respect in the tight knit world of international conflict correspondents.

 

 

Katie Kneuker, Operations Associate

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The book that has been my go-to when I need to take a screen break has been, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This thriller is a great option when you’ve realized you spent 8+ hours staring at a computer screen for work or just binge-watched the latest show on Netflix.

 

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