Sarah Noble became a financial planner in an environment that told girls that math and money weren’t for them. And she doesn’t ever want girls to experience that again. Women need to be empowered to run their own financial futures, Sarah says.
Listen in as JoyGenea and Michelle talk money, podcasts, and dreams with Sarah Noble from AIS Planning.
Recommended Listening from Sarah – Money Girl podcast
Contact Sarah Noble at AIS Planning.
00:09 What is AIS Planning?
00:02:44 Two things that are being considered as trends: Financial Industry & Digital Currency
03:27 Strong marketing ads help boost one’s business
04:10 Video Ads are a plus
07:18 Help women by improving education and financial literacy
09:56 Do you know how to manage your money?
11:06 Create your own financial game plan
12:00 Teach young ones to manage their own money
13:00 Do not be an impulsive buyer
14:40 Clients often need is reassurance from financial advisors
15:46 Value partnership
16:55 How important it is to have a Financial Adviser?
19:22 Do you have investments?
20:00 What is behavioral finance?
20:28 What motivates a person to make better financial decisions?
22:04 Know your market audience
22:38 You don’t have to own all of the things all the time
24:25 Don’t be afraid to try new things
00:00:01 JoyGenea: Hi, and welcome to “If These Heels Could Talk.” I’m JoyGenea with solutions by JoyGenea.
00:00:05 Michelle: And I’m Michelle with BadCat Digital.
00:00:08 JoyGenea: Welcome, listeners.
00:00:09 Michelle: Today, we have a lovely guest, wonderful guest, Sarah Noble, from AIS Planning. AIS Planning does wealth management, financial planning, retirement planning services, all the awesome things. And Sarah is a recovering perfectionist who is working to live a life with better balance, healthy boundaries, and more joy. Aren’t we all?
00:00:33 JoyGenea: No wonder we’re excited for the talk today. Oh, this is becoming clear right now.
00:00:37 Michelle: My favorite thing that she wrote ahead of our conversation today, thank you so much, Sarah, is, “The real life version is that sometimes my head is on a swivel, worrying about the little things and getting caught saying yes to everything. I’m a work in progress. A single mom with three amazing kids wakes up every day, grateful for messy life, and the lessons learned through trial and mostly error.” And that is all of us.
00:01:06 Sarah: True. That’s true.
00:01:07 Michelle: Yeah. Thank you so much for your time this afternoon. Morning, whenever somebody’s listening. It’s afternoon where we’re recording.
00:01:14 JoyGenea: It’s afternoon in our world.
00:01:16 Michelle: Our first question is, of course, our most vital and important, what is your favorite brand or type of shoe?
00:01:23 Sarah: Well, see, I’m really conflicted about this because I’m five-foot-four, for those of you that don’t know me or haven’t met me in person, which I call a short person. So I love the feeling of a heel. However, I’m conflicted because, as I mentioned, I’ve got three kids, I’m busy running around, I’m usually in my heels all day so I need practicality. I decided on my final vote, final answer is the wedge. I am a big fan of the wedge. You get the height and you get the practicality and there are so many fun designs of wedges. And we’re walking right into wedge season, no pun intended, so I’m really excited.
00:02:00 Michelle: I love this answer. It’s so well considered and, you know, finding…
00:02:05 Sarah: I’m just a planner. Yeah.
00:02:06 Michelle: …all the best benefits.
00:02:09 JoyGenea: I totally relate to it too.
Michelle: It’s a financial planner.
00:02:12 Sarah: Right. That’s a sneak peek into my brain. I really overthought that. The perfectionist reared her ugly head there and at the end of the day I just had to make a decision.
JoyGenea: Good job.
Michelle: Well, thank you so much. I love your answer. Thank you so much for joining us today. So JoyGenea is going to kick us off with, you know, the real questions.
JoyGenea: At least one, before we get sidetracked by something. What is the one biggest trend you are seeing right now in your field?
Sarah: Well, as you know by now, a few minutes into our conversation, I can never pick just one thing so I won’t. And I will say that having thought about this, I think there’s kind of two things that really caught my attention. One, in the financial industry right now everybody is talking about cryptocurrency, of course. So that’s a hot topic, a trending topic. And cryptocurrency is just it’s digital currency. And I don’t want to get into all the nuances because you should go to a financial podcasts for all the information on that. And “Money Girl,” by the way, a little plug there, is one of my favorite podcasts specifically for women and educating them around finances. So that’s “Money Girl.”
Michelle: That’s fabulous. We’ll link that in…
Sarah: A little something else for your listeners.
Michelle: Thank you.
Sarah: Yeah, and I enjoy her podcast. The other thing that I want to say that’s a little bit more specific to my role so you may or may not know, I spend about 20% of my time working on marketing within our agency. And, of course, that is a variety of different things. Marketing means a lot of things. I’m talking to, you know, an expert here. But one of the things in the trends that I’m seeing in financial services is a lot more video and digital marketing to our clients and to our households. And at AIS Planning, as you mentioned, we serve not only households, which is like individuals and families, but we have retirement plans. And so we have companies who have employees who have 401Ks or IRAs with our firm, and we want to serve those participants or employees as well.
And we’re learning and we’re getting on this cutting edge of being able to put video out there and content out there for them to easily absorb some financial education, financial literacy messages. It’s becoming very popular in our industry where a lot of people in the industry even still to this day are very wary of that or struggle or as Michelle had a great chamber presentation just about just jumping in and start. As a recovering perfectionist I definitely struggle with that because I want it right and I want to have all of the, you know, ducks in a row, if you will. But the truth of the matter is we’re just eager to get started in that space as well. And so, we’ve been doing some financial wellness webcasts for our participants and for our clients. And we have found great participation. So I think people are hungry to hear and learn more about finances in a really quick and easy approachable way. And that’s what I’m saying.
Michelle: I would tell agree with that.
JoyGenea: As you were speaking wise words I’m like, “Oh, thank you. And the reason I don’t know as much as I would like to know is because it’s always been this thing on a hill that was so intense.” In another language, I’m sorry I have tried…
Michelle: It is in another language.
Sarah: I totally relate.
JoyGenea: inaudible 00:05:17 , “No, it’s not happening.”
Sarah: I totally relate to that. One of the things, in our industry too, if you’ve ever heard about like white paper, white papers, you’re nodding, so white papers to me are like newspapers, so they’re just not approachable and they’re filled with jargon, oftentimes. And even in my own industry, like I’m sleeping, you know, these are snoozy. And so, like, you just gotta get the person, the personality in front of the clients, the approachable, that creates that trust and approachability. So I’m really excited about where we’re going with that and we’re brewing up some things that AI is planning to be more into that space too. So…
Michelle: That’s fantastic. I think one of my shining moments was when I fully understood the difference between a debit and a credit, and it wasn’t what I thought it was. That was like the moment when all of a sudden the things started to make sense. Everything else…
JoyGenea: Working progress.
Michelle: But like I always assumed they were the opposite and so…
JoyGenea: They sound the opposite.
Michelle: Because they sound the opposite. And so then I would read the white paper and it would make zero sense.
JoyGenea: Because you’re thinking the money coming in is really the money going out and the money going out is really the money coming in.
Michelle: Yeah. And because my assumption is wrong. Yeah.
Sarah: Right. Right. No, absolutely. It was one of those I was today years old when I learned and then your like a light bulb, just a light bulb moment for you.
JoyGenea: See, that’s a really easy video we could start out with
Michelle: Yeah, love it.
Sarah: It’s so simple.
JoyGenea: My problem with those is it’s always, you know, financial planning 101. Like finance is this term defines 101.
Michelle: And the thing is it’s just like any other industry where people don’t necessarily know what 101 means because we kind of assume a shared level of understanding…
Sarah: Good point.
Michelle: …that point that people still know how to balance a checkbook, which they don’t.
Sarah: And if I can speak to that, I will say one barrier that I have found, which was really the crux of my passion of joining the industry is to help women and to improve education and financial literacy for women. And I only say that not as looking outside saying you all need help, but I felt the same way that you did. I felt like I’m never gonna get this, I’m not sure I understand it, it seems complicated. It’s easier for me to let somebody else handle that, and learning in a roundabout sometime is more difficult way. I wanted to really learn for myself, but I think women do hesitate in my experience in financial services. And to your point, Michelle, like, we don’t want to appear naive or ignorant and so therefore when somebody says, “Does that make sense?” after you’ve read the white paper, you say, “Oh, yeah, yeah, that make sense. I have no idea what you just said there but I don’t feel comfortable saying…”
Michelle: Or my favorite, “I’m just not that good at math.”
Sarah: Yeah. Great. Me neither. Great. And it’s like I’m a financial planner. So if I can do it, anybody can do it. And that’s like my mantra. That’s my mantra.
Michelle: Yeah. Well, it’s very vulnerable. It’s a vulnerable position to be in to not know how to manage money.
JoyGenea: Mm-hmm. It is.
Michelle: It really is. I mean, I’ve talked about this on the podcast before when we bought the building, the concept of setting up a separate company to buy the building never occurred to me and the benefits and the drawbacks and the decisions around that and then what that meant for other things never occurred to me, but then it dawned on me that this is how people do this. They move money between business entities in a way so that they can avoid, you know, paying taxes on all of that. It’s the strangest and so it never would have occurred to me, but it’s one of those things that feel like a secret about money that you only know if you have money.
JoyGenea: Right. And I bet that’s also what Sarah is passionate about.
Michelle: Yeah, I bet so.
JoyGenea: And from judging from what she just said I’m like, “Sarah is passionate about that too. It’s kind of socioeconomic.”
Michelle: So when you say…I am going a little off script here, but when you say you are passionate about teaching women about money because I know you have three kids, and some of them are girls…
Sarah: Two are girls.
Michelle: Two are girls. Okay, I had forgotten, sorry.
Sarah: It’s okay. It’s all right.
Michelle: So is that part of, like are you making a really deliberate effort to teach your kids about money and are you approaching your girls differently than your son?
Sarah: Oh, great questions. I would love to go off-script and tell you what I think about that. I will backup only slightly in my story and tell you that just like every one of your listeners I’ve gone through some hard things. And having gone through some of the hard things, I learned the hard way, the school of hard knocks, that I was not an active participant in the family finances before ending up on my own. And because of that, I learned through experience being tossed right into the fire that, you know, trial by fire or whatever they say is like I had to learn how to manage my money. And I even think those words, “manage money,” I don’t think people know what that exactly means. And so what I meant by that was I had to create a budget on my own, I had to figure out where money was coming in and what money was going out. And I had to make sure I was still accomplishing all the goals that I had for myself and for my children like saving for their future and having an emergency fund and still being able to put money aside for my own goals that I have for retirement, and it was having a game plan. And that’s what I meant by managing money. I needed to create a financial game plan all by myself.
And sort of, you know, managing my own checking account in college, which entails of just having enough money to buy macaroni at the end of the week, I really didn’t have a lot of experience doing that. My early years in the financial services industry were spent recruiting financial advisors. So I haven’t been an advisor myself for a terribly long period of time. I’ve been in the industry as an advisor for only about 5 out of the past 11 years inside the industry. So I was brand new. I was really an offensive just starting out learning some financial concepts. Doing so what I would call later in life then, I really became passionate about helping other women break down some of those barriers of, “I’m not good at math. This is complicated. I don’t know. I’m married. I just trust my partner.” “Those are all great. That’s great. And you should be involved and you should be a part of the plan.”
Because in my experience working with couples, we approach money differently and that’s okay. It’s just the same way we approach the thermostat in our houses and it’s the same way we approach watching movies differently and thinking about books differently and all of those types of things. It’s just inherently some differences in the way our brain processes information. So I think it’s really important for women to be a part of the plan, even if they don’t want to be the sole accountability partner for everything or decision maker, no problem. That being said, to answer your questions about my daughters, my mantra there is more as caught than taught. So I’m very deliberate with verbalizing the decisions that I’m making about my own money in front of all three of my children. I don’t know that I’m doing anything differently with my daughters than I am with my sons, which is actually intentional. I think when I have done research on how we educate men and women differently about money, it starts from when they’re very young, very, very young. We talk to boys differently than we talk to little girls about money.
So part of my goal and strategy and all that is to talk to my children all exactly the same. If we’re walking through a store, for example, I’m in Costco, that fabulous Costco and walking down one of those I’d say that, “Oh,” I said out loud, “those curtains, those are so cute. I really love those.” And my oldest daughter who’s 16 said, “You should get those, mom, you should get those. I like those.” And I said, “You know what? I’m gonna sleep on it. I’m gonna sleep on it.” And so I just I help them understand the delayed gratification. And some of the weak spots that I personally felt I had around spending and saving talking, my oldest daughter got her first job and it’s, “Hey, let’s start right away. You’re 16. Every single paycheck, we’re going to allocate a certain percent that’s going to go into your savings account.” And then we talked about goals and dreams for her savings accounts and things like that. So it’s just it’s never a lecture, it’s never me telling them, it’s me just sharing how I think about my own money and knowing that they’re watching. I think that’s the most impactful way to talk to kids and women in my own life. My whole thing is be vulnerable. I just tell everybody right where I’m at. I tell people I didn’t know what I was doing, I needed help because I think that builds the trust very quickly with women. And they want to know that it’s okay to feel all those things too.
Michelle: Awesome. Awesome answer. I actually think that you might have answered the next question, which is what do your clients or customers need from you right now? Because you’re talking about education and vulnerability and, you know, just partnership and being okay where you’re at, wherever you’re at.
Sarah: Yeah, you definitely took the words right out of my mouth. The only other thing that I will add and, gosh, so since I have come on board at AIS Planning, I’ve been here for about three years. And what I will say is, of course, in that amount of time, if you can think back through years, there has always been something whether it’s political and whether it’s economical, whether it’s a pandemic, there’s always been something and it’s teaching that there will always be something. But where I’m going with that is what clients often need is reassurance from financial advisors. We do proactive outreach, but we also have clients who call in and say, “Oh, I don’t know about the market today, Sarah, but everything is down. I’m worried about my investments. What do you think I need to do?” And oftentimes, it’s just verbalized that, “I just need someone to listen to me, I need someone to reassure me that we vetted all of this when we created the plan. We have a long-term view with your money and we are diversified. And it’s just that reassurance that we have a plan and that all kinds of things are gonna happen in-between but we love what you’re doing.”
And sometimes, sure, there are changes that need to be made. But oftentimes, you know, even the political unrest we’re seeing right now between Russia and Ukraine, it makes people feel uneasy. And what happens with that is anytime there’s uncertainty, the market responds. The market responds to uncertainty. We see that over and over again, no matter what that uncertainty is. And so a lot of times I think our clients do rely on us for reassurance. And as you said, Michelle, partnership, true partnership. We know deeply who our clients are, what their values are, what motivates them. And that partnership gives us the power to speak into their life and say, “Michelle, I know what you care about and I know we’re on track for that because we’ve had all of those deep discussions and we know you’re really well.”
JoyGenea: Like in the moment, as we’re talking about this, I just really want to share this. And it’s the fact that, Sarah, what you do is so valuable. And I know this, as a younger person, I’ve always kind of viewed the financial planning aspect of it as you’re advising me about later.
JoyGenea: But we don’t know what later is. Okay. So in the last year, my father has passed away, so I got out what later means and what a financial planner means in that environment and my father was terrified of them so he did not have one. He had no relationships with companies. It’s been torture. The opportunity to have that same thing you’re talking about that advising happening in preparation when someone passes, having that same kind of advisor, priceless, I know, it would have been priceless. And another thing is I have my mom obviously is also getting at retirement age and other people in my life. All of a sudden, that planner that you rarely talked to…
Michelle: Becomes your best friend.
Sarah: Becomes very important.
JoyGenea: You’ve talked some really deep conversations about how does this money spread out? Where’s all the money? Like it’s fascinated me. And it’s not something I understood or was ever talked about in my 30s or 40s and if I didn’t have access to that. So as you were talking about things, I’m like, you know, I think a lot of people, women in particular, because I’ve talked to my girlfriends about some of this stuff, they have been really hesitant. They’re like, “Well, it’s not that big a deal. I’ve got time.” And I’m like, “No, you don’t have all of that.”
Michelle: So I was on vacation last week and I own a business and I own a business by myself and I went on vacation with a partner. And we’re still finalizing, we’re still in the final stages of final paperwork for the building purchase, which is a separate business that’s jointly held. And so how irresponsible would I be if I didn’t leave a plan behind? Our 18-year-old nephew lives with us, we’ve got…and we don’t have small children. See, I think a lot of people think that things like this are about disaster planning or if you have small children or, you know, like, they’ll wait for things, like, “We’re not going to deal with this until this stage.” But it’s a prevention thing. And how horrible if I were to be in an accident and stuck a state away or two or three or to die two or three states away and not have left some semblance of a plan.
Sarah: Yeah, yeah. I’m just incredibly fascinated by behavioral finance. So some of my colleagues are really fascinated by the mathematics behind finance or the investing and they’re really passionate about that. I really enjoy behavioral finance. And to your point, Michelle, it’s so fascinating, the psychology behind why we feel the way we do because I bet if you went out and we took a survey right now and I’m sure I could do a Google search and find the one that’s been done, if we said, “Do you want a will or an estate plan? Would you like to have a financial plan?” Everybody says yes. Everybody wants one. So…
Michelle: Yeah. But who is willing to do the work?
Sarah: …be motivated to get one and actually following through on that. So it’s the behavior behind it. That’s really where I like to come in and do some education and some understanding and just even reframing sometimes some of our old money stories and the way that we approach money, so important to helping us go forward with better financial skills and decision making.
Michelle: Awesome. I’ve never heard that phrase behavioral finance.
JoyGenea: She said it all so perfectly. Yes, that is exactly…
Sarah: I’m actually pursuing accreditation right now. There’s a certification in behavioral finance. And so I get to go and learn all more about how to motivate employees to make better financial decisions based on the psychology behind how people think. It’s fascinating.
JoyGenea: Well, and it’s helpful because it’s a big topic and so people have a lot of emotions around it. And once you get emotions in there…
Sarah: Exactly, JoyGenea.
Michelle: And it’s all guilt and shame and all of these things.
JoyGenea: inaudible 00:20:59
Michelle: Well, my team is super young and so they don’t have even…I mean, talk about, like, I had to explain to them how stamps work. So the concept of handing over a voided check when you fill out a direct deposit form is foreign to several of them. So then I have…you know, because AIS Planning does our plan. And so I have AIS Planning inaudible 00:21:26 and everybody is just like this. But, you know, this is not the first company that we’ve tried and we had switched over to them and the team just was thrilled with Sarah and the rest of the AIS team. Explained things at the level that they were at. Yeah.
Sarah: Yeah. You got to know your audience. And like, you know, kind of step away from being this arrogant kind of persona of, like, “I know all there is to know about finance. I’m an expert.” to like, “Listen, I’m like you. What’s the real question? Do you have any idea what a Roth is? No? Great. Let’s talk about that because, you know, that’s cool. You know, I didn’t either.”
Michelle: That’s cool.
Sarah: So I think it’s important to respond to the behaviors of those who are you’re sitting in front of and know what they need and want from you.
Michelle: What a cool accreditation.
JoyGenea: Oh, I know. We’ll have to probably talk to her after she gets that.
Sarah: Yeah, I’ll come back.
Michelle: We need to do this again. Absolutely.
JoyGenea: I won’t be opposed to that. I’m thinking…
Michelle: We’ll just get there. What is the one thing, Sarah, last question wrap up, what is the one thing in life or business that you wish you had known a heck of a lot sooner?
Sarah: I put a lot of thought into this. I ended up coming to the conclusion that the one thing I wish I would have known sooner or if I could go back and tell myself is that you don’t have to own all of the things all the time. And I think that plays into my recovering perfectionist. It also plays into my recovering people pleaser, learning to set my own boundaries. And, honestly, in my experience, the more I’ve let go and allowed other strengths to shine and be a part of the conversation, the outcome is far better than anything that could have been if I were owning everything all on my own. And it’s also created a better work life balance for me, leaning on the team, allowing other people strings to come through, really appreciating the differences in colleagues but also clients and letting their opinions and perspectives and allowing them to take some ownership over some of the tasks and the to-dos that come out of meetings and engagement sessions. It’s just been very enlightening for me and lightening for me. And so I would go back and say, “Stop doing that. Stop thinking you have to be in charge of everything and you have to do it all yourself, and no one can help you or it’s not going to be good enough.” That is a fallacy and I would put that to bed as quickly as I could.
Michelle: I love that. That is so good.
JoyGenea: Yes, thank you. That’s really good advice.
Michelle: Thank you for that. That’s absolutely beautiful. It’s very similar, I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book “Burnout.” We’ve talked about that quite a bit.
Sarah: Yes, I love that book.
Michelle: We have a kind of a couple of review sessions in some earlier podcasts. And that’s a huge part of it, letting it go so that you can focus on what matters to you.
Sarah: Yeah, yeah. And I think that recovering perfectionist in me used to believe that if you let it go, you lowered your standards. And I really had to reframe that. That was not at all my experience nor was it reality. It was fear that drove that and so kind of breaking through some of those pieces because for those of your listeners who might be in the same position I once was about how that was framed, you know, you just couldn’t possibly lower those standards or think that there would be as good as outcome and that was just really, really not true. So I would say if you’re at all afraid just test drive it, just try it in one little area.
Michelle: Just one little thing.
JoyGenea: Like 10%.
Michelle: I’ve actually discovered that sometimes the standards go up.
Sarah: Oh, I believe that to be true.
Michelle: Because you’re focused on the things that really truly matter to you. And so your focus isn’t so divided into multiple things and so your standards for the things that really truly mattered to you go up…
Sarah: That make sense.
Michelle: …because you have more attention on them.
JoyGenea: I like it.
Sarah: And that thing that, you know, like, you know, I’m kind of getting C’s and everything when you’re over committed to what you’re saying is, like, drop some of that and then get A’s in the things you’re really good at and really passionate about and really care about.
Michelle: And if you get a C, let it roll and say, “Okay, I’ll do better next time if I want to.” Yeah, it’s very freeing. Anyway, we can talk to you all day, Sarah.
Sarah: Yes, I would love that.
Michelle: Thank you so much.
JoyGenea: Yes. Before you go, I just wanted to thank you for being a leader in your industry, having, you know, now learned more about you and got to chat with you. Thank you for creating a new space within your industry to invite more people to a conversation that needs to be had and in particular women and young people making it just a more comfortable space. I can see you’re doing that. So I think your videos, the things you were talking about at the beginning, awesome. I’m looking forward to sharing some of those as they roll out.
Sarah: Well, thank you for saying that. Thank you for having me.
Michelle: Oh, thank you, Sarah. And we will wrap this up, this episode of “If These Heels Could Talk.” Thank you so much for your time and attention this week and we hope we have and Sarah has given you some things to think about and enlightened you a little bit and encouraged you to think a little bit more about money.
JoyGenea: Bye, everybody.