REAL CONFIDENCE Episode 5 - Why Financial Planning is a Confidence Killer with Special Guest Juli Erhart-Graves
If you're smart and work hard, but just aren't where or who you want to be, welcome to your podcast,
Real Confidence. I'm your host Alyssa Dver, and I'll be sharing a bit of brain science, some surprising
social secrets and a touch of tough love. Why? Because I believe confidence is everyone's fundamental
right and choice. So, let's get to it.
So, we're going to take this opportunity and this podcast, not to talk about what to do with money, but
why it wigs us out. Why has it caused so much angst? And I asked a favor of a new friend who I just
adored. Julie Erhart-Graves is on the line with me. Welcome, Julie.
Thank you. It's great to be here.
I asked you to join because you have such great experience, particularly in this field of financial planning
and hearing and doing a lot to help people, particularly women, overcome their insecurity.
So, before we dive into kind of the stories and the answers that you have in store here, you've been
doing this for a long time. You run a beautiful firm Worley Erhart-Graves' Financial Advisors. So how and
why did you get into it? Give us a sense of, you know, you.
This was, actually has been my entire career. I knew when I was in college, I wanted to be a financial
advisor. I think ultimately it stems from my childhood when I didn't feel like I had a lot of security in my
life. And so, I was really drawn to being a financial planner because I felt like, okay, I can be in charge of
building some security in my life.
And that's literally what, why I got into this business. Why I continued to be in this business. And that's
what I love about this business is that I help to get to help others to feel like they are you know, more
secure and more confident in their financial lives.
Well, you know, it's funny, it just dawned on me as you're speaking in the financial business, you use the
word securities almost synonymously, and yet that word securities in the financial business makes
people feel very insecure.
So, what, you know, what are the recurring themes? Do you hear a lot of people with the same kind of
story that you had, that they're nervous, they wanted security or what is it that drives them into, you
know, kind of your conversations?
That's exactly it. When I start working for a client with a client, that's generally what brings them in is
they want to feel like they have their ducks in a row, that they have a goal that they know how to get
That they've even if they feel like they've got their ducks in a row and they're financially savvy. It doesn't
stop people from coming in for, okay, I want a second opinion. I want to make sure that I am on the
right track. And one of the things to keep in mind too, is, you know, there really is no standard definition
of financial planning in the industry.
There are some financial planners that, you know, sell investments and there are others that sell
insurance and there are others that they won't work with you unless you've got you know, a certain
minimum and they get to manage your money.
I work with clients at an hourly rate, basically like a consultant. And so that way my clients can feel that
like they have they have, you know, they're getting unbiased recommendations.
All right. So, let's, let's go back to some of these really kind of nerve-wracking situations where, you
know, the, this, this lack of security. Now I will confess to you that I went to the Wharton School of
Business. I graduated and knew how to run a multi-million-dollar company. I could read a P and L, but I
couldn't manage my checkbook. So, I went crazy to learn it on my own. And it was very stressful. My
father and my uncles, nobody seemed to want to teach me. That's a whole different discussion for a
different day, perhaps, but I was really insecure about it.
And you know, even to this day I have multiple financial advisors. It didn't help that my family was one
of the Madoff victims. So, I have a lot of insecurity about money and financial stuff. And I am, I promise
you, I'm working through it, but you know, one of the things that I thought was really interesting when
you were sending me some prep for this was this concept of the bag lady syndrome.
And you say insecurity and losing everything, you know, I think a lot of my own insecurity is watching my
mom go through a divorce and not having anything I'm going to work and all the trials and tribulations
of that. And I'm just wondering, do you hear a recurring theme when you say insecurity about money, is
there a reason or what is it that seems to be causing it?
I don’t know what it is that causes it, but studies do show, and we call this bag lady syndrome is what we
call it. This fear of losing everything and being left with no financial means. And it's very common for
women. And studies show that it affects women regardless of age, marital status, socioeconomic class.
It doesn't matter. And again, even my own background and my own, you know, kind of where I come
from and what I do. Every now and then this bag lady kind of taps me on the shoulder and says, oh, you
know what happens if all this goes away? And I do think that the one thing that's a recurring theme is
that when you have a financial plan in place and you're working that plan, it can really bring some peace.
It brings that confidence that we want, and we need, and, you know, even again myself, I can go, nope, I
got this. I know where I stand. I know I've got my ducks in a row. I'm not going to worry about this. And
so, it does help squelch that bag lady syndrome when we've got a financial plan in place, we know what
we, where we stand.
I personally think a lot of our financial personalities, our values our beliefs come from our childhood and
our upbringing and our, obviously our experiences. And you know that that's 100% me and you just kind
of indicated that too, as well. I think that's a thing with women where we kind of you know, again,
we're, it's part of our upbringing. There's not a lot of financial literacy in the schools. Most parents don't
teach their kids about money. We're all figuring it out on our own. Some people take the bull by the
horns and say, I'm going to do this, and others stick their head in the sand.
Yeah. So, you know, I gotta pull some heads out of the sand here because we keep saying women and I
know you are firm, is very, very pro-women and most, almost everyone at the farm is women and your
clients are largely women. But even in my own household, you know, I try and talk to my very brilliant
husband about money and his eyes start to roll behind his head. Right. So, I'm wondering, you know,
yes, we've been talking about women and bag ladies, but is this unique? You said there's no age. Is it
genderized? Is it, you know, demographic of any sort, are you [seeing it across all the different types?
I see it across all types. It's not always, again, like in your face prevalent, but it's there and it will come
out in conversations that I'm having with clients. And I did have you know, one a friend of mine, a
gentleman that I know I had posted a blog about the bag lady syndrome and he's like this isn't only
women, it’s men too.
So, I get that. I totally get that. But again, I see it coming out in, you know, comments that clients make,
we want to make sure we're okay. We want to make sure that we there's, you know, for all of us there's,
you know, you don't know what you don't know. And so that's where, you know, we can come in and
help and say, okay, you didn't know this, but here's what would happen if that happened and let's plan
Let's make sure that you're okay. And like I said, I think having a plan, a financial plan, really does bring a
lot of peace and a lot of confidence.
Right. And, you know, I want to differentiate here because I think a lot of the insecurity, the
nervousness, the angst comes from making a bad decision and that bad decision could be making the
wrong decision with the wrong planner, right. The wrong advisor. And so, I think to some extent, when
you say plan, that's kind of like just thinking it through, laying it down, making some strategic decisions
about where you want to be at different places in your life. And I've done that over many, many times in
the past. And you're absolutely right.
I'm wondering though, do you, when people come to you do, they have that tribulation? Are they
nervous about picking the wrong person, picking the wrong firm, and admitting maybe to somebody like
you, who's so smart and, and, and generous about, you know, let's talk about your finances, but it's
gotta be nerve wracking for somebody to lay down and show you what, maybe quote, a lousy job
they've done so far? Do you see that?
Not as much. I will say that if someone will lay out their entire financial life about, you know, in front of
you, they will tell you anything. So, there's pretty much nothing. That's all limit at that point. If they're
willing to show you everything. I think it’s; you know, people do get nervous about going to the wrong
person, making sure that they don't get taken and that kind of thing.
I really encourage people, you know, if you're thinking about wanting to look for a financial planner,
then look around you and find the people that really have their financial lives in order, they make good
financial decisions, talk with them. Who do they use? Go and interview. Interview financial planners to
make sure you know, you understand how they get paid, what they're going to do for you. How much
are they going to help you? How little are they going to help you? Those types of things, to make sure
that it is a good fit. I don't see, like I said, I don't necessarily see people who don't show me everything
and you know, there, and my focus is always 100%. Well, don't worry about the past starting today.
This is the way, you know, you're gonna, you're going to get there going forward. Let's worry about
going forward. Let's not worry about the past. So, I focus on the future.
Yeah, we do too. You know, the whole concept at the Institute is we’re like whatever happened in the
past, at least learn from it, acknowledge it and move on with that much more intelligence and decision-
making, you know this whole area of money of course, there's a lot of people that talk about it and, and
the, you know, what you should do, what you shouldn't do and all that. And here we are today talking
about really the essence of it, which is it makes us lose a lot of nerve and perhaps a lot of face.
And so, you know, one of the things that you just said, I think it's an interesting paradox is who do you
know that's doing really well financial, you know, find them. What does that mean? Because, you know,
I would find it intimidating and that's, not the right word. I would find it kind of funny if somebody said
to me, gosh, you're doing so well, can I have your financial advisor?
Like, I don't see that happening. So, I'm just like, I'm curious. Do people project financial confidence or is
it really a matter that they have a big house and a fancy car?
No, it's not the big house, the fancy car. Most of the time, honestly, the people that are making really
good financial decisions are driving around in five year plus old cars and they live below their means.
Those are the type of people that you're looking for. The people that again, appear to make wise
financially sound financial decisions. It's not who's got the biggest car or the biggest house and the best
car and the boat on the lake. No, that's not necessarily it. And granted there's people that live like that
and it's still within their means or below their means and they're fine. That could be, but it's rare that
that's the case. It's more of the sound decision makers. It's a personality type I think, more than
anything. And we find to be honest, honest, you know, I'm going to say roughly 70% of our new clients
come from our existing clients telling their friends and family.
So, they, people do talk, you know, it's not, you know, you seem to have your, your ducks in a row. You
seem to make good financial decisions. You know, who do you, who do you work with? Who, I want to
check this person out? And again, like I said, interview. Interview multiple people to figure out who's
going to be best to work with you.
Yeah. So, I'm going to like, let's, let's debunk some stuff because when I get in a mood where I'm like,
oh, I'm not doing as well financially as everybody else around me, I start looking stuff up on the internet
and stats. And you know what, one of the things that always comforts me, it gives me some confidence,
is realizing that most people really suck at this, at saving and being thrifty and don't have a lot of money
in the bank.
And so, you know, I always would love to be in your shoes for about a week, because I think it would
give me a lot more confidence. People come to you, are you shocked anymore? How little they've done,
you know, are they 50, 60 years old and they haven't saved a dime? Like what is like the reality?
I don't, I'm not shocked. I don't get shocked easily, maybe in the early years, but not anymore. I've seen
just about everything I think I could see. And again, my, just my personality, I'm not going to focus on
the past. Like you said, we're going to learn from it, but going forward, what's your goal and, you know,
let's create a plan on how you can get there. What do you need to do? You know, there are clients I
check in with them every quarter. Did you get this done? Did you get that done? To make sure they keep
moving forward. They need that motivation. And I understand what you're talking about too, as far as,
you know, sometimes you feel like, oh, I'm not, I need that motivation.
I need to feel like I'm doing okay or doing well. You know, one of the things that I do is, and this is me
being crazy me, I update my financial statement every quarter. Most of my clients I'll do it annually, but
me personally, I update it every quarter because I really get motivated seeing the progress I've made
and I, you know, and I keep years back so I I'll go back into the, where was I a year ago? Where was I
three years ago? And that's what keeps me energized and motivated every quarter is, you know, kind of
measuring where I am.
Yeah. Don't feel badly. I do some crazy things like that too. My accountant teases me because I insist on
writing a physical check every time, I have to pay my taxes because I run businesses where I pay
quarterly taxes. And she's like, why do you do that? I'm like, because if you're paying taxes, it means you
made money. And the, the act of writing in front of me is like very fulfilling. Right? So, you know, it is a
structure, a reminder that tells us we're doing ok, but you know, I think there is a comfort to know that
sorry to say, most people don't do anything or do the wrong things. And yet, so doing one right thing,
which may be just do your plan or, you know, save an extra $10 this month, whatever it is, that decision
to do something in the right direction, you know, it doesn't have to be big, does it?
It does not. And you know, I encourage people with this a lot as well. You know, one of the things that
my husband and I do are envelopes for some of our discretionary spending. So, we have cash envelopes.
And if I'm going to go to the grocery store, I take my grocery envelope or go buy clothing or go shopping.
I take my clothing envelope and, you know, again, I have a lot more envelopes than most normal people
would, but that's the way my husband and I work. But so even when I'm encouraging clients, you know,
they're preparing for retirement, they need to get some of their discretionary spending under control.
I'm like, okay, create four envelopes. You know, what are your trouble spots? It's eating out, it's
entertainment. It's clothing. It's, you know, maybe groceries. Those are the four things you need to
budget. Don't worry about everything else, budget those four things. So most everything can be really
taken down to bite size pieces, you know, focus on this for six months and, you know, get this under
control and then we'll work through the next stage.
So, you know, I, like I said, everything can be broken down into bite size pieces. Yeah, no, I love it.
And there is a psychological kind of impact, of course, like I have a, a vacation bank account, so, you
know, every month there's a little bit, yeah, that gets swept, right? Like it's my envelope, right? My Juli
envelope, I'm going to call it for now, but there is a psychological kind of, not only seeing it grow, but
knowing that that money is there for that reason. So, you don't feel guilty, you don't feel bad when you
taking money out to go somewhere. Right. I love that. You know, this whole issue of financial
Yeah. It's actually in your company tagline. I see it all over. A lot of banks use it as well. You know, I don't
want to make it superficial. I don't want people to be like, okay, I can go see Juli or anyone else for that
matter and all of a sudden be, you know, independently wealthy or independently confident for that
You know, as you're saying, maybe small bits, it takes some time. But I'm going to ask you two
questions. One before we go to sponsor break and one after and the first. So, the first question is this, if
people want, they're saying to their selves, listening to things like, oh, you know, I really need to have
more financial confidence. What's like the first thing they should do?
I encourage people to spend some time, spend some energy and meet with a financial planner. If you're
not willing to do all the research and the work yourself, then you need to hire an expert. You know,
when my car needs an oil change, I don't do it myself. I take it into the experts. They can do it quickly,
efficiently and for, you know, for the price it's worth it so that I don't have to spend a day figuring this
out my own. You know when something's aching, yeah. I may Google it, but I go to my doctor. It's the
same thing with a financial planner, go to a financial planner, get their insight, get their expertise.
You know, there's a lot of things that they can do pretty quickly, pretty efficiently that would have taken
you days to, to figure out if you're not financially savvy.
Well, even if you are, there's so much knowledge and information and things change so often that
You know, tax and otherwise that you, unless you're doing it full-time. And even if you are, I might say
that it's a little bit overwhelming, so, all right. So, we are going to come back in just a minute after our
sponsor break. And I'm going to ask Juli, what's the one thing she wished she knew a whole lot sooner.
This podcast was sponsored by the American Confidence Institute. ACI trains smart, hardworking people
how to use brain science to more effectively coach themselves and others. ACI is endorsed by top
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So, we're back talking to Juli Erhart-Graves about financial confidence and of course, here we go with
the magic question. You've learned a heck of a lot, right? As a planner, as somebody who's been
financially invested. What's the one thing you wish you knew when you were a lot younger?
I wish I had known and my best advice for someone else is sooner much better than later. So too often
people put off financial planning and getting their financial ducks in a row. And it's really so important to
do it sooner rather than later, the, you know, from a financial aspect, the time value of money is huge.
You starting to save for retirement at 25 means you're going to have more than if you start at 35 or if
you, you know, if you're 35, it's better than to start it then waiting until 45, those types of things.
So sooner rather than later. Sooner is better than later. That's the biggest piece of advice I can, I can give
you. Don't worry about the past. Start today. Get, get going today.
Yeah, amen to that. And I, I think that that, that is a sage advice for anyone at any age and again, men,
women, non-binary, everybody has a lot of this insecurity, but making a decision to deal with it, go see a
planner if you, if you can find a great one, we're going to put Juli's contact. If you love her as much as I
do, give her a call. And in the meantime, Juli, you know, we are on a pilgrimage mission together to
bring more confidence to the world, you from a financial perspective, me in every possible way to really
help people feel good about themselves.
And you certainly did that today for me and for everyone who's listening. So, thank you.
Thank you. It's been an honor.
So, I'm going to wrap up. Today's interesting, fascinating, fabulous financial topic about getting your
ducks and your buckets in a row. And we're going to remind you again, that the best way to get
confidence is to give it to others.
And you can do that by liking and sharing this podcast on your own social media channels. So, I'm so
appreciative of that. And any comments, if there's topics you want us to tackle for the future, please let
me know. For now, this is Alyssa Dver, and I want to thank you for helping bring more confidence to the
This podcast was produced by Mindful Media. All Rights Reserved by Alyssa Dver in the American
Confidence Institute. Music written and performed by Jeff Weinstein.