Financial stress. It steals sleep, affects our appetite, ability to lose weight, ability to function in the world as a human being. Long term financial stress can contribute to serious, life threatening health conditions. And most of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. Many of us experience some level of financial stress all the time.
I still remember the fall of 2008 like it was yesterday. My oldest daughter was just over a year old and I was newly pregnant with what I thought would be our second child when I heard the news. The stock market tumbled. The housing market collapsed. Lehman Brothers was bankrupt. The US economy was in serious trouble. Then the global economy was crumbling around us. The entire country of Greece was bankrupt! Iceland looked like it might be next. Where would it end?
The news was so shocking I didn’t know what to make of it at first. I was worried enough about my own small but growing family at the time, but it wasn’t until I spoke with my retired mother and heard what happened to the nest egg she was living off of that my heart fell down into the pit of my stomach. How many other people in the US and the world were experiencing similar levels of panic and stress? Or much much worse? The reverberations of the 2008 financial crisis were felt worldwide.
Looking back now I can see that my family was luckier than many. We were impacted less than so many who lost jobs, cashed out of the market at the bottom or went upside down in mortgages and maybe even walked away from mortgages they could no longer pay. I did lose the baby I was carrying the following month in a miscarriage (possibly totally unrelated, but when stress is involved with the body, it’s hard to say whether or not it might have been a factor), and what investments we had felt cut in half for the longest time. But my mother was able to only take small withdraws from her accounts while keeping most of them invested so she was able to take advantage of much of the recovery when it finally came.
Now, 9 years on from the start of the Great Recession savings interest rates are still laughable, housing prices have climbed again and the stock market is at all time highs. I hear whispers all over the place saying that we are due for another correction and downturn. And still many of us are wondering what we can do to best protect what money we have, while still growing our nest eggs at a decent rate.
This is the reason I was so pleased to get the chance to interview Cheryl Fields about her experience with other financial vehicles, beyond just 401(k)s and IRAs to plan for the future and grow our wealth.
Cheryl had just decided to enter the financial services industry only months before the downturn hit that began the Great Recession. From this vantage point, she was able to see first hand the destruction that it caused in so many people’s financial plans, and she thought surely, there must be a better way. Searching for other financial products and options besides the standard 401(k)- which only people employed in certain ways have access to anyway, and the Traditional IRA, which we all have access to, but most of us don’t fully understand all of the fees that are eating away at the principal.
This train of thought lead Cheryl to explore a variety of alternative financial and insurance products that can protect your principal with different levels of both fixed and flexible growth based on risk and product type. Now Cheryl works with individuals to help match them up with the products that work best with their specific circumstances to make sure they can both preserve their wealth while growing it at the same time. Because rates with insurance products differ widely from one person to the next in terms of age, health, type of employment and lifestyle choices, different types of products make sense for different types of people. For instance when I did my own free consult with Cheryl we talked at length about universal life insurance for me and my husband because one of our biggest goals is to amass enough principal to support our oldest daughter with autism and a rare white blood cell disorder throughout the rest of her life. Because her need doesn’t diminish with age the way it does for most children as they grow to adulthood, the term life insurance we purchased when she was born will not be enough. Not in terms of payout nor in terms of providing benefits if we die after the 20 year term is up. We have to think much further than our own deaths. But this is not the same for everyone. It is worth doing a free consult to find out what products best fit the needs of you and your family for the future.
Cheryl Fields is a speaker and Founder of Lifestyle Wealth Group, Author of The W.E.A.L.T.H. Report (ebook) and creator of the Wholistic Wealth for Women approach to financial security where they teach people how to get out debt quickly, stay out of debt, and have tax free income they can use for a stress free life in retirement.
Her new book “Zero Is The New Million — How to pay less in taxes and be well on your way to the millionaire lifestyle” will be available soon. To hear our entire interview go here, and to learn more from her website, go here.