Community//

Julia Carlson: “Change your perspective”

Change your perspective. Staying in fear is easy, deciding to see it another way can be more challenging. This can serve as a huge wake up call to a lot of us. It provides an opportunity to take a step back and really design how you want things to be. In May, I realized I […]

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Change your perspective. Staying in fear is easy, deciding to see it another way can be more challenging. This can serve as a huge wake up call to a lot of us. It provides an opportunity to take a step back and really design how you want things to be. In May, I realized I was in a “poor me” attitude about all of this…then I remembered an exercise I did with a coach once. They had me write down my perfect day. Get up early, do meditation/exercise, hang out with kids before work, work from home until 4, then make dinner and hang with the family at night. I realized then holy crap, I am living my perfect days. That changed my perspective quick.


I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Julia, founder of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group, LLC. She has been practicing financial planning for more than 20 years and specializes in helping people who are either retired or close to retirement. Julia is recognized as being especially knowledgeable on topics relating to tax strategies for retirement and distribution planning, as well as exit planning for business owners.

Julia is an Investment Advisor Representative and Registered Principal with LPL Financial, and has her Series 24, 7, 63, 66 Securities registrations held with LPL Financial, as well as her state Life and Health Insurance license.

Julia is a SmartVestor Pro for nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey. She leads our SmartVestor Pro1 team for southwest Washington and most of Oregon.

Julia has been identified as one of Forbes 2019 Top Women Wealth Advisors2. She was also recognized as a 2018 Top Wealth Advisor Mom3 by Working Mother magazine and SHOOK Research. Furthermore, Julia provides her knowledge through a financial column in a local newspaper. She actively participates in her community as a Rotary member, Chamber member, and trustee for the Pacific Community Health District Board. Julia works from our office in the beautiful coastal community of Newport where she resides with her husband and their three children.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

My passion for business and finance started at a young age. In high school, I had an amazing teacher who taught me about business and finance. After my first mock stock portfolio, help from my Dad to set up my first investment account and hearing about stocks from my Grandpa, I was hooked on figuring out how to make this into a career. I knew entrepreneurship, personal finance and investing was what I wanted to do. When I was 19, and my friends were going off to college, I moved to a small town on the Oregon Coast and got married. I started working at a local bank. It only took about four years to hit the glass ceiling to realize that I did not have much opportunity if I stayed there. At the age of 23, I left the bank, joined my entrepreneurial spirit with my passion for helping people with their money, and started what is now Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

Initially, what stood in my way was my own lack of confidence. I was 23 and didn’t have a fancy college degree nor a lot of experience. It was hard to convince people to trust me and hand over their millions for me to manage. Client by client I built my confidence and capabilities which led to win the clients’ trust and the referrals started to flow. In the beginning, I learned resilience as I heard a lot of no’s and had to keep going. Ultimately, my dreams were bigger than the rejections.

As my business grew, I had to learn to let go of trying to control everything. Simple, not easy! Putting my ego aside and FIRING myself in several areas of the business has led to our success today. As we hired more employees and added more clients, business got more complex and I could not manage it all. Learning to stay in my strengths and hiring to my weaknesses, including hiring executives that were smarter and more experienced ultimately led to the amazing diverse team we have today and more growth than I could have ever imagined.

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

Yes, a huge opportunity came our way in May, and we are now a National Smartvestor Pro for Dave Ramsey. This means we get referrals all over the country, not just Oregon. Our firm believes in education first. We want our clients empowered with financial knowledge and then we partner with them to pursue their financial goals. We can’t meet with everyone face to face, but we are working on a digital journey for our clients and referrals that will provide this education and they can choose to work with us from anywhere in the US. We have a platform that allows us to engage with them in a private way but also leverage technology to provide a high-quality, high touch relationship.

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 have a lot of people that have helped me along my journey that I am thankful for. One person that has helped in recent years is Lisa Dion of Strategic Advisor Solutions. We met at an industry conference and became fast friends. In 2017, I hired her to work with my executive team to help us get to the next level. Sometimes when you are so close to your organization it is hard to see what needs to happen next. Having her facilitate quarterly retreats and annual strategic planning meetings allowed us to set priorities, solve issues and stay focused on what is the most important initiative before moving to the next. When all things are important, nothing is important or when you are always jumping from one thing to another it is hard to make progress. Having structure to follow is helpful and she still works with us today.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

I just found out my three children will not be returning to school this Fall. I have been mostly working from home this summer and making it into the office only 2–3 days a week. The challenge comes in when I need to balance work priorities and then also keeping them on task with school. Summer is easy, they can sleep half the day and then I can send them outside, but with the school year coming. that is a different story.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I am working on finding a tutor to help with home schooling. In challenging times, it is easy to get overwhelmed, become reactive/emotional and then shut down. This never helps. I find if you can first breathe, next get curious, ask questions, understand the facts, and you can then come up with one thing you can do. Acting on one thing allows you to start momentum and the rest will come.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

For me, I have an internal belief that I must be Super Woman and do it all. What I mean by that is to ensure the home life is taken care of and then also that my employees and business are still thriving. During this pandemic I find it is hard to turn “off” working because the boundaries have become blurred. I am often doing emails at 6am or 8pm. I am writing this on a Sunday morning while the kids are sleeping. Not having regular business hours to complete my work makes everything blend together.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

It starts with putting boundaries back into my schedule because over time I know this will create burn out and is not sustainable. In March we never would have thought we’d be dealing with this into the Fall, but it’s here to stay awhile. Being more disciplined in my schedule will help to protect my time with family, time for my work and most importantly time for me!

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

I like to say it takes a village to raise these kids! This Super Woman does have a strong support system both at home and at work. I also make sure my kids understand that Mom must work hard in order to be able to play hard! This means sacrificing being available 24/7 in exchange for another loved one that is available and their willingness to cooperate.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

I take time daily for self-care and exercise. I might not be in my normal routine but even if I can get in a 20 min Peloton ride or 15 min walk, I do it before the next Zoom meeting. I also love “dates” with my kids and my spouse. Weekly, I take time to do something with each of them, a walk in the woods, watching them ride their horse, watch a movie, or cook dinner together. Investing time with them, not distracted, or trying to multitask is super important.

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, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

5 Reasons to be Hopeful

  • I love the saying: This too shall pass….It brings me perspective that in the grand scheme of things we really will get through this.
  • Goodness will come out of this if I choose to see it
  • We are writing history right now and it is up to me to create the memory
  • I can take the time to slow down and focus on what is important
  • Change your perspective. Staying in fear is easy, deciding to see it another way can be more challenging. This can serve as a huge wake up call to a lot of us. It provides an opportunity to take a step back and really design how you want things to be. In May, I realized I was in a “poor me” attitude about all of this…then I remembered an exercise I did with a coach once. They had me write down my perfect day. Get up early, do meditation/exercise, hang out with kids before work, work from home until 4, then make dinner and hang with the family at night. I realized then holy crap, I am living my perfect days. That changed my perspective quick.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Being with them in full attention. Listening generously and trying to understand how they are feeling goes a long way. I also try to get them to go for a walk to talk, often when we move our state, our energy shifts and we can work through our emotions easier.

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

Life is about the journey, not the destination. In my past I have been very goal orientated and super disciplined. Maybe even a workaholic. It is easy to get addicted to achievement and always striving or going for the next goal and often times when we make it, we feel let down or depressed. I have learned to enjoy the journey, look around, find time in the present to be grateful and feel the freedom.

How can our readers follow you online?

Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FinancialFreedomWealthManagementGroup/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliamcarlson/

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwKdmTQqzScpjRi7q0oxkBw

FFWMG: www.financialfreedomwmg.com

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!


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