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“Begin with a plan.” With Jason Hartman & Angela Holliday

Generally speaking, we encourage people to resist the panic and re-evaluate investment goals before taking any action. I believe we will continue to see market volatility until we have control of this health crisis. While the market has experienced shock, it is a good time to look at low-priced opportunities and systematically put money into […]

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Generally speaking, we encourage people to resist the panic and re-evaluate investment goals before taking any action. I believe we will continue to see market volatility until we have control of this health crisis. While the market has experienced shock, it is a good time to look at low-priced opportunities and systematically put money into the market, not all at once. More specifically, for a loved one or client, I would ask a lot of questions to understand why $500, why an index fund, what was the goal when they opened the account and what other investments do they have? Advice is multi-layered and client specific.


As a part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Holliday.

Angela K. Holliday is the President of Frost Brokerage Services, Inc. and Frost Investment Services, LLC, overseeing the firm’s 45 experienced financial advisors and sales management, operations and compliance teams. Angela began her career at Frost in 1996 as a sales assistant and later served as trading manager, operations manager, sales support manager and chief operations officer. Her leadership is guided by Frost’s core values of integrity, caring and excellence.


Thank you for doing this with us Angela! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

Myfirst financial services job was as a customer service representative in a Retirement Services Department. Our team only handled money in certificates of deposit (CDs), so we had to transfer calls to an “investment team” to handle investments. That sparked my curiosity about investments — I wondered, what are these investments and how do they work? Later, I was selected to join a pilot group of individuals who were allowed to obtain securities licenses while still working with retirement clients. Shortly after I obtained my licenses, I accepted a job with Frost Bank, where I have been ever since.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

Frost is a regional company, and we take pride in personally knowing our customers. In 1999, when I was on the trade desk, we didn’t have technology like today, so we handled a lot of phone calls and walk-ins. Customers would call to talk with us about our children, hobbies, their families and more. One day, one of my customers came through the door, and we covered his usual requests — quotes, account balances and a margin payment. Then, he asked if I could go wash my hands. I asked him why, and he told me I needed to put in his prescription eye drops for him. As I look astonished, I asked him, “put your eye drops in your eyes?” He said, “of course, my doctor said I needed someone I trusted to help me.” I knew then, and now, that the work we do is built on trust and we make a difference in people’s lives daily — even beyond their finances.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m an ardent supporter of Frost’s multi-year Opt for Optimism initiative. The initiative — backed by research on mindset and financial health — supports the idea that we can combat cultural pessimism and ignite the powers of optimism to achieve better physical, emotional and financial well-being. Through my personal involvement in various projects as a public voice of the initiative, I’ve actively shared the research findings that launched Frost’s initiative, helped people to learn about the behaviors of optimists and told the success stories of real-world optimists. With Opt for Optimism, Frost seeks to make peoples’ lives better by upending the stigma around finances and proving a positive mindset can change even the most trying financial situations.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am particularly grateful to my former boss, the former president of the firm. There was a time about 15 years ago when she had an issue that kept her away from the office. During that difficult time, I told her I would do whatever she needed me to do. She trusted me with so many responsibilities, and though I was clueless on a lot of them, she believed in me. I always tell people who thank me for job opportunities that not one of us sits in a place of success without someone giving us a chance. My opportunity came from my boss during a time of adversity. I was glad to serve her, and later I learned, she served me.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

I believe we first must acknowledge with our loved ones that anxiety is a natural reaction when conditions change so dramatically. What they are feeling is normal. How they handle the anxiety is more important — they must focus on what they can control. While we can’t control the world’s response, we can concentrate on how to reduce our personal risk by following instructions like social distancing, washing hands, etc. Encourage them to limit their screen time, too. Inspire them to be informed and check reliable sources like the CDC, but not binge-watch cable news. Lastly, stay connected. Even though interactions may not be in person, make it a priority to keep in touch with family and friends.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know the stock market and the economy in general have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long-term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

Generally speaking, we encourage people to resist the panic and re-evaluate investment goals before taking any action. I believe we will continue to see market volatility until we have control of this health crisis. While the market has experienced shock, it is a good time to look at low-priced opportunities and systematically put money into the market, not all at once. More specifically, for a loved one or client, I would ask a lot of questions to understand why $500, why an index fund, what was the goal when they opened the account and what other investments do they have? Advice is multi-layered and client specific.

Eventually the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

Always have a balanced portfolio and limit a small portion of your portfolio to a focus on sectors, otherwise you’re betting. But I agree, technology, healthcare and consumer staples have done well and have the potential to recover more quickly.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

Yes, I think the technology sector will continue to offer opportunities like teleconferencing companies, as they will be tools for our new normal and a standard for business contingency planning.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

Alternative investments are not conventional and can sometimes be more costly, so they aren’t for every investor. Additionally, alternatives offer higher returns and higher risks, so I would suggest anyone interested in alternative investments visit with a financial professional.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long-term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

Depending on their investment objective and risk tolerance, I would recommend they invest in the market. By taking advantage of market levels now, they will see future returns over time.

Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  • Avoid getting emotional — The ups and downs of the market can trigger both euphoria and panic. Sound investment decisions rely on being rational when hard-earned dollars are on the line. After making the decision to invest, stick to your goals instead of responding to your feelings. For example, when the market is facing downturns, it can feel painful, prompting you to decide to sell your investment. However, most times you’re selling the investment when the market is low, and then following your feelings again when the volatility passes, buying during a higher-priced market. The ideal investment strategy is buy low, sell high. Making emotional decisions at the wrong time causes you to buy high and sell low, which can literally cost you.
  • Begin with a plan — Think about what you’re hoping to achieve financially. For example, say a couple with a new baby would like to begin saving for college. They have about 18 years to invest and should first determine a few things before starting the plan, such as how much and how often will they contribute and how aggressive or conservative they want their investment to be. Having a plan to regularly contribute and commit to a long-term financial goal will help the couple benefit from potentially higher returns on their investment, and ultimately, give them the ability to pay for their little one’s college education.
  • Avoid fairy tales — If it’s too good to be true, it is. If you have to borrow money to afford the investment, you’re unable to cash out, the investment is not registered or is too sophisticated, and if the returns are exceptionally high, you might be dealing with investment fraud. Be mindful of red flags.
  • Invest in what you understand — Educate yourself. Even if you work with a financial professional, have some understanding of where you’re putting your money.I knew a mature couple on the cusp of retirement who wanted advice on their investment, as their previous advisor had recently retired. When I asked several questions about their income needs, they were unaware their investment had penalties if they needed to withdraw money. I asked if they had discussed this with their former advisor, and they admitted they never really knew what he was talking about. By having some basic understanding, you empower yourself to make good decisions. And if all else fails, ask another trusted financial advisor for a second opinion.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When you know better, you do better.” I believe financial literacy is critical to our lives. We underestimate the number of individuals who have no awareness of basic financial principles. Literacy impacts our economy, society and most importantly, our families. I am a single mother, and by employing basic financial principles, I have been more than able to provide for my 22-year-old son and myself.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Normalizing the impossible. If I look back over my life, I would have assumed this very moment to be impossible — until someone told me to trust the thought of succeeding more than I trusted the thought of failing. I believe everyone has this powerful gift or talent within them that should be given permission to unfold. We absolutely have systems and structures in place for order, but if we nurtured a culture to support people as they dare to be their best, that creativity would continue to fuel our rise.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

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