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Let’s face it – when we’re looking for a financial advisor, we’re often feeling scared and overwhelmed. We’re looking for someone to answer our questions without making us feel ashamed or talking over our heads. In other words…this process is sometimes not easy.

Now, imagine yourself sitting with a financial advisor, wondering if they’re going to be friendly. Wondering if they’re going to judge you. Wondering if they’re an ally.

When I have a potential client in the LGBTQ+ community come into my office, they might not automatically know that I am an ally until we start speaking. I’m hopeful that they immediately understand that I am, but when I put myself in their shoes – walking into a stranger’s office not knowing if they will be welcome – it makes me cringe. No one should be put in that position.

If you’ve been thinking that it’s time to talk to a financial professional, but you’re not sure where to start to find a trusted resource, here are some ideas:

Ask for referrals

One of the best ways to find an LGBTQ+ friendly financial advisor is by asking for referrals from trusted sources. This can include friends and family who are part of the community, local LGBTQ+ organizations, or online forums. By seeking referrals, you not only get first-hand accounts of positive experiences, but you also get a sense of their process and whether or not they are a good fit for you.

Look for financial advisors who specialize in the queer community

There are several websites you can visit that will allow you to specifically search for LGBTQ+ friendly financial advisors. Here are a few to get you started:

Ask the right questions

Once you've found a few potential advisors, it's time to start asking the right questions. This includes asking about their experience working with LGBTQ+ clients, their understanding of queer-specific financial needs, and their approach to investing. It's also essential to ask about their values and whether they support LGBTQ+ rights and causes. A competent and understanding financial advisor will have no problem answering these questions confidently and transparently.

Take your time

When you’re looking for a financial professional…it’s personal. This is someone you should feel comfortable speaking with about most areas of your life, especially as they relate to your finances. This is not someone you should hesitate to call when something happens. This is someone you should know is in your corner to help support you through life’s changes.

If you have any questions about how I work with queer clients and would like to know more about my process, I would love to have that conversation with you! CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment.

We’ve all been there. You’re having a normal conversation with a member of the opposite sex, and you can just feel it coming. You’re making your points. He’s making his. And then suddenly it happens.

The mansplain.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence in financial services, an industry dominated by men. We’re told that if we just cut down on our shopping, we’ll save more money. Or if we give up our one coffee a day. When couples visit an advisor, scenarios like these often happen:

“I was patronized if I asked questions” or “He would not make eye contact with me.  I was just there.” And even, “Sometimes I would pick up a magazine and start reading it right in the middle of the meeting; he wouldn’t even notice.”

Here’s the disconnect: Women do have the capacity to understand money, despite being told for generations that we don’t.


And if that wasn’t enough to wake you up to the fact that we should be given more credit than we are, here’s another one: Ninety percent of women will be responsible for their finances exclusively at one point in their lives. 

Is there really a difference?

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t consider gender at all when it comes to finding any service providers we’re looking for. But when it comes to money, a female advisor could have a different approach.

Want more mansplaining examples? CLICK HERE and get a good laugh!



Why does this matter?

Simple: Who wants to get advice from someone who has no frame of reference for what you might experience on a daily basis?

As a financial advisor who works specifically with female clients, I know my approach is different from many of my male counterparts.

This is why I think this approach to successful financial planning is important:

In the essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” author Rebecca Solnit explains that mansplaining isn’t just annoying, but perpetuates the idea that women are inferior.

“It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; it crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world," Solnit writes. "It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.”


At no time during a financial planning meeting should anyone feel talked down to or “less than” – this is your money, and you have everything it takes to understand it, make more of it, and manage it.

Stop the Mansplaining

If you’re reading this and have either experienced the mansplaining scenario with your own advisor or it’s something you’re trying to avoid as you look for a financial planner, it’s important to think about the following.

Would you be comfortable talking to this person about:

If you’re picturing the mansplaining that could happen during one of these conversations with your financial advisor, it’s time to make a change.

Here’s how you should feel after a conversation with your advisor:

Ready to cut down on mansplaining in your own life? CLICK HERE to make an appointment.

If you’re a Gen X woman, the word “roommate” might conjure up memories of a tiny apartment or dorm room decorated with the posters you collected from the mall and plastic dishes we probably shouldn’t have microwaved.

Yeah, no one wants to go back there.

But if you’re sitting in your home alone, wondering what to do with all the space you have or wondering what aging as a single woman will look like a few years down the road…you might want to change how you think about the word “roommate.”

Lots of things have changed since our parents’ generation:

Many solo adults live in homes with at least three bedrooms, census data shows, but find that downsizing is not easy because of a shortage of smaller homes in their towns and neighbourhoods.

Compounding the challenge of living solo, a growing share of older adults – about 1 in 6 Americans 55 and older – do not have children, raising questions about how elder care will be managed in the coming decades. (StraitsTimes)

Factors like these change how we think about aging and independence. This means that the options available need to change as well.

How Home-Sharing Can Help Your Retirement Savings

Any extra funds that you can bring in can lead to more retirement savings; every dollar helps. If you are in the distribution phase of your retirement, you are potentially compounding the impact of money brought in from a roommate.

If you’re not quite in the distribution phase of retirement, keep in mind that home-sharing is a great way to generate passive income that can be used as an investment in your future. By using the money you make from home-sharing wisely—such as putting it towards long-term investments or contributing it towards a 401K—you can significantly increase your retirement savings over time. Additionally, since home sharing is considered rental income by the IRS, any profits made from renting out your space may be eligible for tax deductions which could further reduce your taxable income in retirement years. As always, it is best to consult your tax professional for further clarification.

Should You Take the Next Step?

As always, the best first step is to make sure you have a very good handle on exactly how much you need to save for retirement; this is when it’s a good time to talk to your financial advisor. If you have run retirement scenarios and are coming up short on funds for your retirement goals, adding income from a roommate can bridge that gap. Perhaps you are okay with hitting your retirement savings, but your retirement is looking a little dull. You might be able to expand your options for what your retirement can look like by saving more money and setting DREAM retirement goals!

Aspen Wealth Management and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or tax services. Please consult your legal advisor or tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

You’ve likely heard about the changes to the original SECURE Act of 2019, aptly named the SECURE Act 2.0. But unless you’ve sat down to read the 350-page document – I know. In your spare time, right? – you might not know how it will affect you.

Here are four key takeaways that you should be aware of:

Maximum Increase in Retirement Accounts

Beginning in 2025, those retirement plan participants who are aged 60 to 63 can save even more in their 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plans. Currently, participants who are 50 or over can save an additional $7500 over the maximum contribution of $22,500. Starting in 2025, those aged 60 to 63 can save an *additional* 50% of the catch-up.

For example, if the catch-up amount stays at $7500, a 60-year-old can save an additional $3750. Additional to note: If your income is in excess of $145k, your catch-up contributions must be made as Roth (after-tax) contributions.

Student Loan Payments and Matching 401(k) Contributions

Today, many employees are missing out on the funds employers match when they make a 401(k) contribution. Beginning in 2024, employers can provide those matches based on student loan payments. Stated a different way, your student loan payments count as if you made a contribution to your 401(k) and your employer will match those funds in your 401(k).

Yahoo Finance provides this example of how this works:

The situation: To give a better visual imagine Dave, a fresh college graduate with student loan debt starts a new job that offers a salary plus benefits. One of the benefits is a 3% company match. Traditionally this match applies to his retirement contribution, so when Dave contributes 3% of his salary to his company-sponsored 401(k), he’s met with an additional 3% from his company.

The problem: When Dave contributes to his 401(k), it puts him in a great spot for retiring on time down the road, but he now can’t afford to save for a house and pay down his student loan debt at the same time. He has to choose one or the other. One leaves him as a prolonged renter spending money on an asset that he’ll never own; the other leaves him extending student loan payoff and accruing additional interest.

The solution: Student loan matching allows his company to match his student loan payments instead of a retirement contribution. So the result looks like this:

Dave is able to pay down his student loans avoiding additional interest charges. Dave can get a jump start on saving for a home preserving thousands on potential rent. Dave gets a compounding effect from his company’s retirement plan contributions.

Unused 529 Plan Funds Can be Rolled into Roth IRAs

I’m often asked by parents who are considering opening a 529 college savings account for their child, “What if they don’t use it?”

Starting in 2024, parents and other loved ones no longer need to worry, at least for $35,000 worth. If the 529 has been open for at least 15 years, individuals will be allowed to roll up to $35k from a 529 to a Roth IRA in the name of the student beneficiary.

Great news for those of you who have “lost” old 401(k) accounts

Another worry I often hear is regarding old employer retirement accounts. Maybe you had a modest amount in your 401(k) and then left that job. Perhaps you’ve moved many times, and that old company has merged with another. It can be very difficult to find YOUR money.

The SECURE Act 2.0 will establish a “Lost and Found” for old retirement accounts. The Dept of Labor has two years to get this done, so in the meantime, if you’ve lost an account, let me help you find it!

I know that this new legislation can be hard to navigate. We all look at this information and ask the question, “What does this mean for ME?” If you have questions about these changes and want to help ensure you’re not missing out on anything that might benefit you, let’s talk.

If you’ve ever looked at your married friends and assumed that they have an advantage over you financially…you might be surprised.

Recent research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found women who have spent most of their lives married tend to fare worse than never-married women. The reason is largely due to the declining wealth of their spouses. Because never-married women’s wealth has mostly stayed stable, their wealth has increased relative to their mostly married counterparts, according to the report.

An unexpected divorce or death of a spouse can also upend their financial plans in retirement. (CNBC)

There are other reasons why you might have a bit of an advantage over your married friends:

Decision making

Sure, the buck always stops with you and that can be overwhelming at times – but it can also make life easier when you don’t have to take someone else’s situation into account. This also means that you can be more consistent with your day-to-day budget and long-term savings.

Long and short-term goals

It’s not uncommon for married couples to have differing opinions on what the future holds; one spouse might be focused on long-term retirement planning while the other just wants to live for today. As a single woman, you don’t have to deal with competing ideas and goals. You can decide how you want to live and do it!

Career development

As a single woman, you have the freedom to explore different professional opportunities without worrying about how your job will impact someone else. This can mean more money over time AND allow you to save for the retirement you want. As a side note, understanding how to negotiate and taking advantage of career development opportunities can also help your bottom line.

Using a professional YOU like

It’s not uncommon for couples to disagree on who they might use for a financial advisor – or for a husband to make that decision for the couple. As a single woman, you have control over who you work with – and you’re able to choose who you’re comfortable with without taking another personality into consideration.

As a single woman, you’re used to taking control in many areas of your life – and that’s a GOOD thing. My goal as an advisor is to make sure you have as much confidence about your finances as possible, so you know you’re on the right path. Have questions? Let’s talk.

I’m just going to say it: some people think that those who work in the financial industry can be kind of smarmy.

Yes, that’s a word.

And there’s a reason they think that. It’s because some advisors can be.

There are people out there who don’t have your best interests at heart. They think about the bottom line and about what products they can sell you that will make them the most money. There are people out there who aren’t interested in your values and goals – they’re only interested in your money.

And then there are fiduciaries.

What’s a fiduciary?

There are lots of ads on TV that talk about being a fiduciary, but many people aren’t familiar with that term.

Investopedia defines a fiduciary as “a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, putting their clients' interests ahead of their own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. Being a fiduciary thus requires being bound both legally and ethically to act in the other's best interests.”

This means that as an investment advisor with LPL Financial and when providing advisory services, I must act as a fiduciary. If there are multiple options in which you can invest, I must recommend the one that is in your best interest. Practically, this means that I cannot and will not recommend a product that nets me a large commission if there is a less expensive option for you that is suitable. It also means that I must disclose any conflicts of interest.

All CFPs (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM) are required to act as fiduciaries in our advisory practices, so that is already part of the service I offer. I’m also part of Aspen Wealth Management which is a Registered Investment Advisory firm (this means that we charge money for advice, rather than sell products), and RIAs always follow a fiduciary standard when assisting advisory clients.

This makes a big difference in the relationship I have with my clients. They know they can trust me, because they know my recommendations will always be in advancement of their goals, and not mine.

Are all financial planners fiduciaries?

This is such an important question. No, they’re not! I am so pleased to notice that over the past few years, many more potential clients are asking if I provide advisory services as a fiduciary. I’m glad it is now part of the conversation.

As you’re looking for the right fit, I encourage you really interview the advisor and ask important questions. CLICK HERE for some guidance.

And remember – your financial planner is working for YOU. If at any time you feel they are not working in your best interest, trust your intuition and make a change.

In our last blog, you likely saw yourself in one of our money personality profiles. Were you a…

We talked about how each of these personalities might handle the thought of budgeting. Now let’s discuss how each of these women might effectively put together a spending plan.


To recap, givers might put off crafting a spending plan because you are too busy with your commitments to other people. As a Giver, you should think of a spending plan as a gift you can give to those you love and charities you support. If you can shift your mindset from “budgets are restrictive” to “this is an opportunity to help others” the task may seem a bit easier.


As a keeper, you’re crushing it as a saver and because you have a hard time not saving, you may think you don’t need a spending plan. But keeping too much does not lead to a balanced life. The Keeper needs to add a category or two for items or activities that bring you joy. An exercise I like to use with clients is to picture what you would do if money were truly no object (like you just won that billion-dollar lottery). Whatever comes to mind should be part of your spending plan, in whatever way possible, even if it is small.


Who needs a budget? Life is short! Sorry, but as a Merry-Maker you likely need the most assistance with a spending plan. While living for the moment has its place, crafting a spending plan can actually bring you MORE joy than a devil-may-care attitude. How? By eliminating that nagging guilt that you often feel, or fear that you are not saving enough.

Take a look at what purchases of yours are the most impulsive and set aside a small percentage of your income to those. Don’t try to completely eliminate them (“No more shopping ever!”) because that is not realistic. By creating a pot of money to spend on what makes you happy, you give yourself permission to enjoy life AND be responsible.


You’re doing everything right, so creating a spending plan is a little different in your case. You don’t need a ton of help with creating a spending plan, but you do need to keep in mind that it is a guide. No one in the history of money has ever hit their spending plan exactly. Things come up!

A trick that can help the perfectionist is to set a percentage that your budget is allowed to “drift.” By allowing line items to vary by your plan by, say, 10% you are giving yourself the freedom to relax, because technically you are still within your budget. At the end of the month or quarter, determine if the drift was a one-time event or if your spending plan needs to be permanently adjusted.

Looking for more insight into your money personality? Download the eBook below!

If you’ve turned on the news any time during the last few months, it’s likely you’ve heard the dreaded word “recession.”

Investopedia defines recession as “a period of declining economic performance across an entire economy that lasts for several months.” The last major recession we experienced in the United States began in 2007 and ended in 2009 after the bursting bubble of the US housing market. 

These days, according to The Street, a possible recession could be because of a number of factors:

1. The Federal Reserve and higher interest rates

2. There was massive fiscal stimulus during the pandemic, financed by the Fed buying bonds

3. Rising input and wage costs

4. High oil prices

5. China Is decelerating sharply

But as with anything when it comes to finances, the big question is…what does a recession mean for YOU?

Here’s the Good News

If you have a solid financial plan in place, you’ve likely already “recession-proofed” your finances. However, there are a few other things you could do to better prepare:

  1. Bulk up emergency savings to cover a possible job loss (just don’t keep too much in savings – CLICK HERE for my blog post about hoarding cash).
  2. Pay down high interest debt
  3. Streamline your budget. Now is a good time to trim the fat on budgets because you are probably more clear-headed and not under pressure from a possible decline in income. Review subscription services, cable and cell phone plans, etc.
  4. Polish up your resume and consider getting additional skills. You’ll be ahead of the game if you do find yourself looking for a job.

One thing I DON’T Recommend

Try to avoid cutting down on retirement plan contributions unless absolutely necessary. Missing even a small number of contributions can have a major impact on account growth. Also, down markets can actually be good for savers (hard to believe, but true!) because of dollar cost averaging.

Remember that there are always going to be periods of economic slowdown; this is inevitable in a modern economy. But taking some action, like the tips above, might minimize the impact on you personally while you wait for the economy to begin “growing” again.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels . Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.

Investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal.

I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. We experience glorious snow for skiing in the winter, the flowers bloom in the spring, the leaves change in the fall…and the fires happen in the summer (or even during a dry winter as we experienced in 2021).

“…while many residents may have expected safety in urban areas, fire experts have warned wildfire risk isn't limited to mountain areas. In 2017, state foresters estimated nearly 3 million Coloradans lived in fire-prone areas, which scientists refer to as the wildland-urban interface, known as the WUI. That’s about half the state’s population.” (CPR)

Colorado isn’t the only state that has to deal with the threat of forest and brush fires. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to keep your loved ones and your important documents safe.

Here’s what you should grab from your home:


Here are the documents and information your financial advisor has should you need to access them:

Your advisor might also have copies of the following information (if they have asked for it):

If your financial advisor does not have copies of these, your tax preparer or estate planning attorney may have copies. It is important that you ask them if they retain copies of these documents and for how long they keep them.

I hope you have a safe, fun, and smoke-free summer. But get your plan in place just in case!

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Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through GPS Wealth Strategies Group LLC, a registered investment advisor. GPS Wealth Strategies Group LLC and Aspen Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.

The LPL Financial registered representative associated with this website may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the states in which they are properly registered or licensed. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident of any other state.
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