Women's Retirement Radio

Brenna Baucum - Financial Life Planning Leader and Educator - Episode 51

January 31, 2022 Russ Thornton Season 3 Episode 5
Women's Retirement Radio
Brenna Baucum - Financial Life Planning Leader and Educator - Episode 51
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Women's Retirement Radio, I'm joined by Brenna Baucum.

Brenna is the Director of Education and Communications at Money Quotient.

And Money Quotient is one of the leading financial life planning organizations in the financial services industry, training financial planners and advisors to develop financial planning engagements that transform lives.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know and work with Brenna through my training with Money Quotient, and I'm excited to have her join me and talk about the important work that she and Money Quotient are doing to help other advisors and their clients.

For more on Brenna, please check out these resources:

Get in touch and let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

And thank you for listening.

Visit my website to learn more.

Disclosures

Russ Thornton:
Hey everyone. It's Russ. Welcome to another episode of Women's Retirement Radio. Today we're really excited to invite Brenna Baucum to join us. I got to know Brenna this summer when I went through some training which I'm pretty sure I've mentioned to you on previous episodes. I know I've mentioned it in my weekly email newsletter.

Russ Thornton:
I was interested to have Brenna join us for a variety of reasons not the least of which to talk to you about the important intersection of life and financial planning. There's a whole host of topics that we could go into from there. But before I steal her thunder, Brenna welcome.

Brenna Baucum:
Hello? Thank you for having me.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Why don't you just take a minute and introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do and then we'll just go from there.

Brenna Baucum:
Sure. Well, I live in Salem, Oregon which is Oregon's capital, with my four year old daughter, Mika. I guess I should say four and a half because she would be really ticked if I didn't clarify that, and my husband Ben. My career is varied as most of us in this financial planning industry are.

Brenna Baucum:
I started in journalism and communication. I was a video producer for eight years before I changed careers and moved into the financial industry as a certified financial planner at a small practice here in Salem where I serve mostly pre retirees and retirees on adjusting sometimes and ensuring the mindset is focused on contentment and retirement and not come complacency. Because I think sometimes that can be a mode that we shift into when we move away from the purpose of our careers into retirement. So taking care for that.

Brenna Baucum:
Now I work for Money Quotient which is an organization that provides education and tools to financial advisors like Russ to support financial life planning. As Russ hinted to in the beginning, financial life planning is really getting to the heart of the values and priorities that motivate clients in terms of a financial planner's perspective. They use that qualitative information as the foundation for financial recommendations and advice.

Brenna Baucum:
So Money Quotient takes this research based multidisciplinary approach to everything that we do and include disciplines like neurology and psychology and adult learning and try to bring structure and framework and evidence to a process that can sound a little bit squishy when we talk about discovering values and priorities.

Brenna Baucum:
It's a cool job because we really get to develop the best part of financial advisors. So I don't think that clients typically love their advisor because they know a lot about XYZ stock or saved them $3,000 in taxes or maybe even because of portfolio performance I would argue. Those are factors in a relationship with a technically skilled financial advisor but they aren't what make you recommend your advisor to your friends. So that comes from the relationship part.

Brenna Baucum:
So advisors often have the technical side of their studies through their education but we get to work with them to master the emotional intelligence side of what they do to deepen not only the client relationships they had but also the personal satisfaction that they get from doing what they do for a living.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Thanks for that. I think that's a great springboard into a whole lot of different things that I'm looking forward to talking with you about but a question. So after eight years, I think it's eight years in video production, what prompted the move to the financial advice industry?

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. I always... The thing I loved the most about video production was interviewing and hearing people's stories and getting an opportunity to tell those stories to a broader audience. What I didn't love so much was sitting in a dark edit room for hours at a time by myself. As an extrovert, that was a little bit tough.

Brenna Baucum:
So through just shared connections in the Salem community, I had this opportunity come knocking on my door of someone looking for a new advisor in their practice and saying, do you know who might be interested? I said, tell me more about that and we went from there.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. The rest of this history as they say. I think you've told me before Brenna that you actually were introduced to Money Quotient and their tools as a practicing advisor. Is that correct?

Brenna Baucum:
Correct. Yeah. I took the same training that you went through this summer. I took it a couple of years ago. I used the tools with my client families while I was still practicing and just saw such an incredible difference in the depth. Even clients I'd had for those full eight years I was there, an incredible depth of the conversation. We got to know each other even better and certainly the work that we did together was all the more meaningful.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. So I think it's interesting because you bring both experience as an advisor working with clients and families but now you're working more in a role where you're working with advisors to empower them to build better deeper relationships, deliver better advice to their client. So I think your perspective is particularly unique in that you've lived on both sides of that fence, if you will. As you know, most of my listeners are women and their families that are getting ready to retire and others as well.

Russ Thornton:
So I want to set that table to get more of your impressions of something that would baby be jermaine or of interest to an incline or a consumer. But again, I'm interested to have your experience working with advisors inform our discussion as well. What would you say from both your role as a former advisor and now in Money Quotient as a lead trainer and really driving a lot of what happens there in teaching and training advisors like myself. What would you say is the biggest challenge that you help people solve or address?

Brenna Baucum:
That's a great question. I guess if I had to summarize it very simply, it would be that we help tie meaning to money. Anyone who sits down with one of our trained Money Quotient partners has this very unique opportunity to explore several facets of their life. We've broken it down into four. What we call inquiry categories.

Brenna Baucum:
So one of them is biography where you get an opportunity to step back and understand your perspectives and your preferences of how you develop the relationship with money that you have. You get to explore your satisfaction and values and what is it that brings you intrinsic rewards and what are the things that make you happiest? What are the core values that underline what it is that bring you joy?

Brenna Baucum:
Transitions of course. I think that goes without saying. Most financial advisors work through transition but we have a process that helps to uncover the transitions that you're going through now. What's on the horizon so that you and your advisor can proactively plan together? Then goal setting in a way that is meaningful.

Brenna Baucum:
One of the things that I often talk to our advisors about is, there's this unspoken rule I guess or expectation that, anybody who comes into a financial planning office has all of their goals sorted out and knows exactly what they want to do and is just going to come in and tell you and you as the advisor are going to go and help them figure out the numbers side of it.

Brenna Baucum:
I don't think that's the case. I think most people don't actually know what their goals are until they give themselves a little space and time to explore it. So that's a big part of what our advisors are doing with their client families is saying, let's explore this together. I'm going to give you the time and space to do that, that a busy life otherwise doesn't allow you to.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. I think it'd be interesting to maybe dig in it a little bit more. Maybe later in the conversation. But I think based on my experience and it sounds like yours as well, I think so many people, if they have any goals at all, I think they're based more on what they see other people do or what they might feel are expectations that they have for themselves or that others have for them or, hey, I'm getting close to a certain age and that's when people retire or a whole host of other examples.

Russ Thornton:
So I think it's both interesting but more importantly refreshing to have an opportunity to remove that burden from the client and say like, hey, let's just set goals aside and talk about what's important to you. When we get to goals, it's more of an exploration as opposed to saying, all right, I'm ready with my typewriter or my pencil to write down. Go. So I think that's really important. I think it's really helpful in maybe removing some potential anxiety that clients feel when they come to sit down with and advice.

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. Well, the term goals comes with all of this baggage too, right? There's people that, that term feels intimidating. So part of the process that our advisors help their clients go through is, when you get a real clear understanding of yours, what brings you intrinsic reward and satisfaction and what your core values are, you can build some goals on top of that to move toward. But those goals can change and will change because life changes.

Brenna Baucum:
But it's not a failure because what you have underneath there is what's intrinsic and most ingrained in you as a human being. So gives this freedom actually to be able to adjust and move with life without feeling so hardwired I guess toward one specific outcome.

Russ Thornton:
I think you've done a great job with that. Laying out conceptually what Money Quotient is and the four inquiry categories and things like that. Could you maybe give us a more practical example of either work you've done or work that you facilitated maybe via an other advisor?

Russ Thornton:
More of a boots on the ground example of you or an advisor sat down with a client and here's how they were able to not just add value and be helpful but maybe almost introduce a paradigm shift in terms of the client, their expectations of working with advisor and then ultimately maybe their opportunity to go at things a little differently and maybe for more from a heart, for lack of a better term, a heart-centered approach.

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. As soon as you started talking and asking me about that, I was having these flashbacks and I'm goosebumps on my arms right now thinking about this story. So I'll share this one.

Brenna Baucum:
I had a client for the full time I was there. She had been a client of the firm for I think 35 years. She and her partner retired. Had more income than they spent and also had a very healthy size portfolio. But there was a scarcity mindset that she never felt comfortable spending.

Brenna Baucum:
Her partner would often be encouraging her to say, let's take that family trip. Let's pay to bring the kids and the grandkids out. Let's do these different things but there was this... I don't know. She couldn't get over it for a long time. No matter how I ran the numbers and how I tried to give her comfort, it was an issue. It was a sticking point.

Brenna Baucum:
In a meeting, one of the meetings, I decided to pull out some of those biography tools from Money Quotient and ask her a few questions off of one of them. This one Russ, if you have it, it's Money Memories. Is the name of it. It explores some questions around, what are your memories from your parents growing up? What are earliest memories of what money was and the role that it played in your life?

Brenna Baucum:
This was during the pandemic. So we're having a virtual meeting. She picks up her laptop and shows me around her office which I had never seen before. All over her office wall, there are pictures of the restaurant that her parents owned when she was a kid. Juice is 5 cents of glass. There's an old menu up there and pictures of her and her siblings when they were kids in front of the restaurant on their parents' shoulders.

Brenna Baucum:
We start talking through the foundation that laid for her of how it was tough growing up in a family that owned a small business in that time. She again, engineer client, focused on the numbers for years. This is the first time we sat down in a meeting together and she started crying and said, I just can't believe what we have. That we have what we have. I can't believe it. I don't know how to move through this.

Brenna Baucum:
It was such a breakthrough for her to have this connection of where the scarcity mindset came from for her. So not only for her and her partner and her family, it was, I mean, for our relationship. It helped inform me of decisions that we were going to be making moving forward in terms of money decisions.

Brenna Baucum:
I was so excited when just a weekly later, she called me for a withdrawal to book that family vacation that they've been circling for a while. So it was such a... I think that discovery piece, again, very helpful for me to bear witness to as her advisor. But man, that's changed her life, right? And her family's life. So it's just such a... There's definitely power behind the work that we do.

Russ Thornton:
It sounds like it changed your life too. I mean, you, [crosstalk 00:15:03] you said you were getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

Brenna Baucum:
Such a moving story of such a special family.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. How cool? I can only imagine you've probably got either personal or from other advisors that you work and coach, you've probably got dozens of examples like that. I've been blessed to start to scratch the surface with some of my clients around that. It's just the most... It's the coolest thing. It's hard to put it into words.

Brenna Baucum:
Absolutely.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. But thanks for sharing that. What a great story? So this is Women's Retirement Radio. So everything we do ties back to this idea of retirement. What it is and just as important, what it's not. When you think of the word retirement, what comes to mind for you personally Brenna?

Brenna Baucum:
That's a great question. I think at its best, retirement should be the season of our lives where we feel the most empowered to make choices that bring us the highest levels of intrinsic satisfaction. So for me, that's helping others and spending time with my family, nurturing, growing things in my garden and my house plants and learning. I can see all of those things being important. Being just as important in retirement as they are to me now. The ways in which I'll support and explore them are going to change but the foundation of it will be the same.

Russ Thornton:
Thank you for that. I think it's... What I noticed is you didn't mention a specific age or anything to do with your portfolio or money. Clearly money would support your ability to do other things and have the choice to spend your time pursuing those things that are important and intrinsically rewarding and satisfying to you. But I think that's just indicative of the opportunity that taking more of a financial life planning approach can uncover and surface for folks. So thank you for that.

Russ Thornton:
Maybe a little bit more of a practical... Well, I shouldn't say that. But I guess a related question. From your perspective in your experience, what would you say is the biggest challenge facing women specifically as they prepare for, thinking about transitioning into retirement?

Brenna Baucum:
We have a lot of them ladies. I think we all know about the pay gap. We all know that we are typically the ones who take care of our kids or parents if that's needed. We know that those things lead to lower contributions into our retirement savings and ultimately social security and that we live longer.

Brenna Baucum:
So we know we have all of these things that mean less money that needs to last a longer amount of time. But I really think one of the biggest barriers might be the financial industry itself. It is incredibly difficult to navigate information out here in a meaningful way.

Brenna Baucum:
I think that starts with the things that we call ourselves Russ, our titles. Our education is so confusing. I remember when I first came into this industry, that when I learned that you don't have to have any education at all to call yourself a financial advisor, I blew my mind. I thought, how is that possible?

Russ Thornton:
It's scary. Isn't it?

Brenna Baucum:
It is. How can it not be confusing to people? Then when I learned it only took me three months to call myself an investment advisor, three months and an exam. Investment advisor sounds lofty. Sounds important. But three months ago I was a video producer and now I'm somehow an investment advisor. So that was amazing to me too that... I mean, I learned a lot of course. It was important foundation for my education but it was not I guess what I had thought from the outside would've been required.

Brenna Baucum:
I guess by comparison, it took me three years to call myself a certified financial planner. So I think it's important to think that and understand from a consumer perspective that education matters and titles aren't always what they appear. So it's a good idea to dig a little bit more deeply into those. I think our industry can be an alphabet soup of credentials. The CFP one is more broad in terms of comprehensive planning. It's one of the broadest ones.

Brenna Baucum:
So I think that's an important thing to think about for women and anyone looking for a financial advisor is understanding not only the level of education and training that an advisor has obtained to practice financial planning but what are the ongoing organizations and support that they're involved in to continue their growth and learning. You don't have to be an expert on it but you can ask a few questions and see what your advisor has to say about that. I think it's a good place to start.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. I agree. I was not in my head the entire time. One thing I'll add is, and this is based on my personal belief and experience. If you've got a trusted advisor that really has your best interest at heart, I don't think it matters so much how they're compensated. But I think you need to understand how they're compensated because that can for better or worse, influence their recommendations potentially.

Russ Thornton:
So just something to be aware of and also be aware of the fact that not every advisor is required to put your interest first. That doesn't mean they don't but they're not required to. So there's a big difference there. So that's a whole other conversation for another time. But I did want to highlight that as well.

Brenna Baucum:
Absolutely. I wonder if you would entertain me in going on a short fee tangent for your listeners?

Russ Thornton:
Haven't had it. That's why we're having the conversation.

Brenna Baucum:
Okay. Cool. Because I think this is... When I was practicing, I often did community presentations geared specifically toward women. The question I got more often than any other was how much am I paying my financial advisor? So I totally agree with you Russ. I think that we need to make sure everyone is empowered to know that answer and feel comfortable asking it. But broadly speaking, I'll give you a little 101 listeners on fees.

Brenna Baucum:
So there are broadly three ways that advisors get paid. One is commissions which if you've ever bought a car is probably familiar to you. The advisor receives some kickback from selling a product or a mutual fund. Another way is fee only where the advisor is compensated by you, the client only. Then there's fee-based which is a combination of those two things. Commissions and fee only.

Brenna Baucum:
So that's tier one, high level, what you want to understand. For fee-based and fee only there are again, broadly three types of fee structures. So there's advice only which means you're just paying.... It is what it sounds like. It's usually a flat fee. I've seen it range between $2,500 and $8,000 and run between three and 12 months. So that's a standalone piece great for a DIY type of investor who wants a comprehensive plan but then wants to go implement themselves.

Brenna Baucum:
Then there's a subscription-based model which is probably like it sounds. It's around 250 to 500 a month I've seen and up depending on complexity. Again, it's an ongoing relationship. Then there's an assets under management model which combines portfolio management and financial planning for a percentage of what the size of your portfolio. 1% is a common number around there. So if you have a $1 million portfolio, your annual fee is $10,000. So there's... Again to emphasize and underline the complexity of our industry, fees is just one way in which that is complex.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. If you weren't confused enough-

Brenna Baucum:
That's great.

Russ Thornton:
... between titles and credentials and different financial services firms. There's a bunch of different ways that advisor serve clients. There's a bunch of different ways advisors are compensated by clients or by, as Brenna mentioned, or by product manufacturers like mutual fund or ETF asset management firms, things like that.

Russ Thornton:
I think the most important thing you said is having the wherewithal to ask. Just ask. In my opinion, anyone that's not willing to comfortably discuss how they get paid and why they get paid, what they get paid, that should maybe raise some red flags. But thanks for covering that.

Russ Thornton:
I think that's super important and hopefully shed's a little bit more light on all the different ways that you can work with an advisor and pay them. So this is one of the questions I've really been most looking forward to ask. Both as a formal financial advisor but perhaps more importantly, in your role at Money Quotient. How would you say that your work most impacts women and their families as they plan for and transition into retirement?

Brenna Baucum:
I think, and you'll have to forgive me for repeating myself but I really do think that this gift of time to explore what you want and need is the biggest impact. So again, there's often this expectation that you already know what you want and need and that you're supposed to come into your financial advisor's office with at least a framework of where you're headed. I think most of us don't have that time and energy.

Brenna Baucum:
So the advisors who use Money Quotient are really trained to not only take this holistic approach which arguably is a term abused in this industry but they take time to walk you through a meaningful process. Starting with where you are today, identifying your point A which is its own gift in understanding and taking some time to do. Then serving really as a collaborative thinking partner to help envision and establish point B together. So then the recommendations that they make and the work that you do together helps you build toward and get closer to move closer to your point B.

Russ Thornton:
I think I'd love your perspective. I think it's fair to say too that this is not a one and done thing. It's not like you figure out point A and work towards a point B and then everyone lives happily ever after because markets economies, interest rates change your life changes. So I'd like to highlight the fact that a financial plan is important. But as soon as tomorrow and certainly you give it a month or two or certainly a year, it's almost worthless because life happens.

Russ Thornton:
So I think the real value is applying this life planning process to the ongoing conversations and dialogues to accommodate new information as we get it. Personal, professional, with tax legislation, whatever's going on in the world and bring everything up to date and say, okay, are we still on the right path? Not just financially but are we still on the right path in terms of what's important to you? What resonates with you in terms of your values and your priorities and things like that.

Russ Thornton:
Because while some of those things fundamentally, probably won't change a whole hell of a lot over time, they could shift a little bit here and there. So I think it's super important to regularly review, revisit those conversations, check in and just basically make adjustments as necessary along the way. Would you say that's fair?

Brenna Baucum:
Absolutely. I think it's the reason why we always add process to the end of the word financial plan or financial planning because it is a process that's ongoing. Russ, I know you're familiar with this framework of the elephant rider and path but would you entertain a short tangent on that?

Russ Thornton:
No, per perfect segue. I was going to ask you about that before we wrapped up today. So yeah. Go right ahead.

Brenna Baucum:
Cool. Okay. Great. So for those that aren't familiar, this concept came through a book called Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. What it describes is the relationship between our logical brain and our emotional brain. So the elephant represents the emotional side that we bring to every decision. The rider represents the logical side.

Brenna Baucum:
The size of those two is representative of just how important they are. So a rider can kick and kick an elephant as much as they want to. That elephant isn't going to budge until it's good and ready. The path piece of it is again clearing the path to make sure the direction that your elephant and rider are headed in is as smooth as possible.

Brenna Baucum:
So I think it takes a great financial advisor to know how to motivate that elephant in designing a financial plan and going through that process with you that resonates with your unique preferences and outlook. They know how to appeal to the writer with the technical information that can help you implement financial strategies that you need to achieve the goals you're headed toward. They also know how to clear the path to make it as easy as possible for you to move forward with any action that you were working on together. The things that fall in your court.

Brenna Baucum:
So I think it's important to think through those things when you're sitting down to interview and I think you should interview a potential financial advisor.

Russ Thornton:
The thing that covers the mind for me when you tell this story or explain the rider and the elephant. I think I heard this first during the training. Is that willpower is an exhaustible resource which I think goes hand in hand with the rider in the elephant.

Russ Thornton:
So I think another way to think about what Brenna is describing is if you can really tie your financial planning and financial decisions to what really is the core of you as a person, values, priorities, the people and organizations that are important to you and reflect those bring, those up to the surface, I think that's going to lead to a much higher likelihood that you'll actually follow through on your financial plan and do the things that you've outlined that are important to you.

Russ Thornton:
So, yeah. Thanks so much. Thanks so much for mentioning. Like I said, I was going to ask you about it. So you beat me to the punch.

Brenna Baucum:
It's a great concept to keep in mind when we feel a gut resistance to something or a gut feeling. That's your elephant talking to you. Again, no matter how much data you have around logistics of information of why some direction is the right way to go, if your elephant isn't on board, you're not going that direction. So that's an important thing to keep in mind.

Russ Thornton:
It is. I also think it's important to encourage people to listen to your gut as well. It's probably not a good use of your energy to fight it but if you're talking to an advisor or to a potential employer or frankly anyone, I think a lot of people are a little quick to dismiss gut feelings. I think there's a lot of value that can come from that. So just as a quick aside.

Russ Thornton:
Before we wrap up Brenna, and this has been great. Thank you. I know earlier you mentioned the money memories tool that you used with your client and had that really key breakthrough and got her beyond this scarcity mindset. Is there another tool that comes to mind as one of your favorites out of the Money Quotient library?

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. I think I am not alone in loving the wheel of life. I know that you are a fan of it as well.

Russ Thornton:
I am.

Brenna Baucum:
I think it offers a really fun way to take an assessment of the various facets of your life and try to identify what is it that's going... What is it that I love about this piece? What is it that I need in this piece? So I like to be able to explore those things both in terms of where am I at in my satisfaction. Maybe I'll describe it super quickly for those who haven't-

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Please. Please do.

Brenna Baucum:
Okay. So it's a circle. The spoke of the wheel itself represents a zero and the wheel on the outside represents a 10. There are... I'm sorry. The hub is a zero. The wheel is a 10. The spokes all align with a certain facet of life. So on it, those facets include work, finances, home, money, family, inner growth. There's a few more.

Russ Thornton:
Health, spirituality I think.

Brenna Baucum:
That health. So going through that with one of your clients, and you know this experience, but you ask people to put a mark on the spoke in their level of satisfaction with that certain facet. So for example, in community, you might mark a six in health, you might mark a four and then in conversation with your advisor, you go through and say, what's going well in this area? What do I feel good about? Well, I'm part of my local rotary club. I really love to go out and volunteer with the food share or whatever makes community for you.

Brenna Baucum:
You also open a conversation into what those things mean. What does health mean? Is health literal? The health of your body? Is it your brain health? Is it... How do you quantify it? What would a 10 look like? What are you grateful for in this facet?

Brenna Baucum:
It really... In terms of the Money Quotient process, it serves as the foundation for goal setting because understanding your current level of satisfaction with a certain area of life can help you to take stock of what you're grateful for. Then start to head toward, well, maybe I think I could get up to a nine in this area or I think I could move from a six to a seven this year. Those kind of things where you start to get more bite size pieces on how to change the trajectory and improve your life satisfaction.

Russ Thornton:
I think one of the coolest things about the wheel of life is it does a really nice job of putting money in context. Because money is basically one spoke out of the, I think 10 spokes, eight or 10 around the wheel. So I think it does a nice job of compartmentalizing money and helping you see the totality of your life and think a little bit more broadly about how your money decisions can spill over onto other areas of your life. Things that are important to you. Things that you want to work on.

Russ Thornton:
I think, as you mentioned Brenna, it really provides a cool platform to define. Like you said, what does health mean? What does community mean? Et cetera. Which is another way for your advisor to get to know and understand you better which again I think is a virtuous cycle that leads to better advice. So it's a win-win all the way around. So it's... I've talked to other Money Quotient partners that I've met and gotten to know. The wheel life is a favorite among many that I've spoken with. So I think that's a great one to highlight.

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. I think it helps to break down if you go into a consumer who never wants to go into a financial advisor's office and have someone say, what are your goals? Because again, as we've hit on several times [inaudible 00:37:22]. But this allows you to break down different facets of your life and take a more careful look at each one of them.

Brenna Baucum:
From those, oftentimes goals will trickle out from those conversations and then in the work with your advisor. Your advisor can start pulling on the financial tethers and saying, this sounds like you got inner growth. It's starting to sound like yoga is important to you. Then once you get down the line to goal setting, maybe a yoga retreat in Peru or maybe... You start to find [inaudible 00:37:52] see these things develop over time as you the client gets more clear on what it is that's going to bring you greater levels of happiness.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. I find this stuff fascinating. I always enjoy talking to you. We can probably talk another hour without breaking a sweat. But one thing that comes to mind, I'll mention before we wrap things up, is so many advisors and actually clients do spend so much time optimizing their portfolio and optimizing their financial plan, their taxes but they never invest the time to optimize what is the life they want to live? How does the money support that life?

Russ Thornton:
I'm not suggesting that the wheel of life or any of the tools are about optimizing anything but it certainly provides a space to explore and talk about what that could be like which I think is really cool. I think it's an opportunity that's missed by many advisors and their clients. So I love the work that you and the rest of the team at Money Quotient are doing to help get this and more advisors and ultimately into their clients lives. I think it's fantastic.

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. It emphasizes what you mentioned earlier which is the process piece of it. It's neat to see that wheel change shape over time and continue. It's always going to be a work in progress which is what makes it fun.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. So I know you touched on this earlier. You mentioned your daughter Mika and your husband Ben. Some of the things that are of interest to you. I know you're busy with work and just in general. But when you've got a little time to yourself, let's say an hour or two, what do you most enjoy doing?

Brenna Baucum:
Yes. Those are rare times. We live in a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest. So walking around. Live near a park and a reserve. But walking around there with a good podcast. You can't go wrong with Brené Brown. She's unlocking us. It's one of my favorites. I always get new insights and takeaways from that.

Brenna Baucum:
It's the rainy season here right now as we're recording. So I'm looking out the window and it is coming down a bit. So we... Sitting by the wood stove and reading. I'm working on Braiding Sweetgrass right now which I highly recommend. It's as lovely book. Because I have a four year old, taking a nap is also high on my list of things that I enjoy-

Russ Thornton:
Four and a half.

Brenna Baucum:
Yes. I'm sorry. Exactly. She'll love that.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Well, I'm always like for people to share a little bit of a glimpse into their life when they're not doing the wonderful work that we're usually talking about. So thanks for that. If there were one thing that our listeners could take away from our... and we've covered a lot. But if there was one thing our listeners could take away from our conversation today, what would you want that one thing to be?

Brenna Baucum:
I think to embrace the idea that hiring a financial advisor is a little bit like dating. So we just talked about this. You should meet a few of them before you settle down. I think it's a really great litmus test to think through that same elephant rider path idea that we just talked about. So after you sit down with an advisor, asking yourself first, talking to your elephant, how do I feel in my body? Am I leaving their office calm? Is my heart rate high? Am I confused? What do I feel like? That's a great first gut reaction to listen to.

Brenna Baucum:
Then for your rider. Does the advisor have the technical experience and education that you need. Does their fee structure align with what your needs are? Do you understand the value that they provide and what you're going to be paying them for that value if you engage in their services? That's just like we talked about Russ. It's super important foundation to any working relationship and the path. Do you get the impression that the advisor is taking a collaborative approach to planning in order to clear the path in your way?

Brenna Baucum:
There's actually a pretty easy way to tell that from your first meeting. Is to reflect on who did most of the talking during the meeting. If it was anything... If it was 50/50, that's okay. If it's mostly you, that's a great sign. If it's mostly them, that gives you an insight into what kind of planning they might be doing. So [inaudible 00:42:38] helpful.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Great suggestions. Thank you. Thank you so much Brenna. This has... Always enjoy talking to you.

Brenna Baucum:
Yes. And fun.

Russ Thornton:
I'm glad we could share this conversation with some listeners out there. If folks want to learn more about you, about Money Quotient... I'll mention by the way, there's a directory on the Money Quotient side of partners, financial advisors across the country. Actually some outside of the U.S. that have gone through the training. So it's a great resource. But I'll let you maybe give the particulars if folks want to learn more about you or about money quotient.

Brenna Baucum:
Yeah. So if what we've been talking about sounds like the kind of advisor that you want to get to know and work with, our directory is a great one, it's right. You go to moneyquotient.com. Right in the red ink, right at the top, there's one of the links that says MQ directory. You can click there and search by state and find a Money Quotient partner in your state to work with.

Brenna Baucum:
Of course, I am happy to help play matchmaker as much as I can. When I gave that overview of the different ways that advisors get paid, the subscription or the advice only or the fee only models, if you're looking for one of those three in particular and are wondering, who could I get connected with? Feel free to send me an email. I'd be happy to try to play matchmaker for you with some of our partners who offer those various types of services. So my email address is brenna, B-R-E-N-N-A @moneyquotient.com.

Russ Thornton:
Awesome. Thanks. We'll be sure to include a link to the website, your email and the show notes.

Brenna Baucum:
Great.

Russ Thornton:
I'll try to remember to include a link to Brené Brown's podcast. What was the book you mentioned?

Brenna Baucum:
Braiding Sweetgrass. It has nothing to do with financial planning, but it's a lovely-

Russ Thornton:
We love book recommendations around here. So we'll include a link to that one as well. Any last thoughts? Any we've... Any closing comments.

Brenna Baucum:
Like you said, we could stay here for another hour and chit-chat if you wanted.

Russ Thornton:
Well, as a result, maybe we'll have to have a part two at some point. We'll have to have you back down the road and maybe pick up where we left off. But this has been fine. I really appreciate your willingness to jump on here and your time and share a little bit about your journey and the wonderful work that you and the team at Money Quotient are doing. I think it's fantastic.

Brenna Baucum:
My pleasure Russ. Thank you for doing this. It's great you have a podcast here directly toward women in this important time in life. That's awesome.

Russ Thornton:
Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for everyone out there listening. This has been another episode at Women's Retirement Radio. We look forward to catching up with you on the next one.