STEPHANIE MCCULLOUGH

I love my work. It is extremely fulfilling. Bringing women from a state of stress and ongoing worry to one of peace and confidence around their money — that’s what motivates me.

I know what my fabulous clients are capable of, how they can improve the world with their personal and professional achievements. Money stress sabotages that ability. Financial crises get in the way of women living the life they love. Even in the absence of a crisis, worry and uncertainty can eat up their ability to fully engage in their creativity and potential. It’s destructive, and I can help. When women come to me they use almost exactly the same words: “I just want to be smart about it.”

Women approach money differently. It is a tool to improve their lives and to impact the future of their families and communities, and it has meaning when discussed in that context. Realizing this is what drove me to craft a different conversation about money. Because money is connected to all parts of our life, I talk with my clients about their whole lives.

I discovered in the journey of my career that the skills I possess, the things that come naturally to me, are helpful qualities in achieving these outcomes for clients. Being nonjudgmental. Listening deeply. Seeing each client’s special genius. Finding what inspires them to make change. Connecting pieces of information. Explaining and teaching. Rejecting a one-size fits all approach.

It was such a relief to realize that being myself was the best way to do my job! Instead of trying to be what I thought a financial advisor was supposed to be. On my journey I have found people and organizations in my profession that share my values, priorities and perspective. I have found innovators outside of my industry who inform my approach. I’m always learning new things which is exciting and keeps it fun. But what I love most of all is connecting with my clients, making a difference in their lives, seeing them thrive and create.

Research shows that when women are financially secure, they create a better environment for their family, they invest in their community – and they improve the world.

The ripple effects are real.

To my great surprise, I have come to love public speaking. 

It’s great fun to find ways to make potentially dry and confusing topics like money and investing, engaging and interesting. To empower people to take positive action toward financial confidence is exhilarating.

I have given talks ranging from 10 minute overviews to half-day retreats. They are always interactive and never dull! If your group is looking for a speaker, please reach out.

Topics include:

  • The Human Side of Money: How is money interwoven through all aspects of life?
  • Women and Money: Do women and men approach finances differently?
  • Money Survival Skills: Is it true that you don’t have to have all the answers, instead you have to know the questions to ask?

Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

Many of us do not feel confident making financial decisions.

Science has good news for us. The field of behavioral finance studies human decision making under conditions of uncertainty. I find it both fascinating and enlightening. The biggest lesson is that human beings are not wired to be good at money. The very instincts that serve us well in other areas of life cause us to make predictable errors in the financial realm. There are biological reasons we make the mistakes we do – it’s not evidence of a character flaw. We can put the shame and blame behind and instead craft strategies designed to help us succeed. And it helps put our focus where we can have the most impact – on the things we can control. (See Carl Richards’ fabulous drawing to the right. For more follow Carl @BehaviorGap.)

© Carl Richards / Behavior Gap

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