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April Is National Financial Literacy Month

Kathleen Owings

Kathleen Owings is the Principal and Financial Advisor of Westbilt Financial Group, an independent financial advisory firm providing comprehensive planning for clients wanting to achieve personal goals. In 2007, Kathleen began her career in the financial services industry with New England Financial. Her licensure is in life and health insurance and she maintains Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations. Kathleen’s book, Put Your Money to Work: A Woman's Guide to Financial Confidence, helps women take control of their finances. 

Kathleen graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2000. After serving for eight years as an active duty officer in the Army Corps of Engineers, she retired — but continued to commit herself to selfless service.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • How Kathleen Owings got into the financial service industry
  • The obstacles Kathleen had to overcome to succeed
  • Kathleen’s proudest moments in the business
  • Advice for upcoming financial advisors 
  • Kathleen’s involvement with NAIFA
  • What you can expect from reading Put Your Money to Work
  • The discrepancies between men and women in the financial service industry 

In this episode…

For decades, the financial service industry has been known as a male-dominated field. This has caused women to shy away from pursuing a career in the industry. How can we boost women’s confidence and encourage them in the profession? 

Kathleen Owings resolved to pursue a uniquely challenging and rewarding life as an army officer. After eight years of service, she transitioned to the financial service industry — two unrelated professions that share underlying values. The meticulous planning, thoughtful design, and flexible execution Kathleen learned as an army officer are what she utilizes to find confidence, traction, and success in the financial service space. She wrote Put Your Money to Work as a woman's guide to financial confidence. 

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Kathleen Owings, Principal and Financial Advisor of Westbilt Financial Group, to discuss how women can gain financial confidence. Kathleen talks about her introduction to the financial services industry and the obstacles she had to overcome, advice for upcoming financial advisors, why she wrote Put Your Money to Work, and the discrepancies between men and women in the industry. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Westbilt Financial Group.

As independent advisors, Westbilt Financial Group remains focused on clients' goals, lives, and success.

Westbilt works with professionals and small business owners on their path to financial freedom. Their clients are focused on their finances and unsure if they are saving enough or worse missing an opportunity that is costing them money. Westbilt advisors spend time getting to know each client and their personal situation in order to best serve each one individually.

Because of their comprehensive approach, Westbilt's clients feel confident in the actions they are taking toward their financial future. They are empowered to make smart financial choices and assured they will accomplish their financial goals. This is the Westbilt Way.

Learn more at https://www.westbiltfinancial.com.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:16

Hi, everyone, this is Chris Gandy, your co-host of Advisor Today's podcast, where we feature the top leaders of insurance and financial services. I'm here with my wonderful co-host, Suzanne, Carawan. Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 0:31 

Hey, Chris.

Chris Gandy 0:33 

I didn't know if you were gonna say hi to me, since we're in the midst of the Final Four. And I'm sure you're not gonna be happy because Suzanne's final championship is Purdue, and about what happened to Purdue.

Suzanne Carawan 0:44 

So talking about loss. Yeah.

Chris Gandy 0:48 

We're excited today to have a phenomenal thought leader in today's business market. Miss Kathleen, who's written a book called Put Your Money to Work: A Woman's Guide to Financial Confidence. But first, before we go to Miss Kathleen, Suzanne, who is our sponsor for today's wonderful podcast.

Suzanne Carawan 1:11 

So today is really a special episode because we're really celebrating Women's History Month, which we thought would be awesome to then have Kathleen, on the show, who also of course, has written a book specifically for women and their finances. And so our partnership actually we have a new partnership to announce it's called Engaged for Women. It's part of our talent development center effort as part of our centers of excellence. And if you haven't heard of Engaged for Women, it's founded by Rachel Pearson. She is kind of a who's who influencer in the Capitol Hill arena. And one of the things she does is she sets up meaningful conversations. So she's really able to work both sides of the aisle, and to be able to keep these kinds of conversations going. So Engaged for Women. What's interesting about them is their tagline check this out is women out-number, out-live, and outvote men. And so they're totally focused on women's economic security, and what that means for America. And so we're working of course, you can see how that fits with Main Street USA, you can see how it fits with Kathleen and her new book. And we want to talk about that a little bit today butt Rachel Pearson is going to actually be a part of some of our upcoming events. One thing that we did for Engaged as they hold again, these meaningful conversations. We actually had an event about two weeks ago, myself, Diane Boyle, Megan Gayle, Carol golden, came to this event. And Carol golden was actually able to be recognized for her work in her book. And the whole conversation was about caregiving, and really honoring the caregiver. We had two senators, they're kind of talking about what this means. What does women's economic security mean for caregiving? Right and some of the maybe things that we're going to see in long in the next couple of years, as we start to look at the caregiver and women being of course, more and more sandwiched between their children, their parents, etc, in doing that. One thing also we learned in the last week is that here's a fun fact a quiz you both what is the average age that most women become caregivers. Either advisor, bum, bum, bum, bum?

Kathleen Owings 3:16 

25 started with kids.

Suzanne Carawan 3:19 

Oh, that's probably good, because I think they're thinking, but that's probably true, because they're hit double end. But it's actually 41. When it comes to their yeah, this is much younger than most people were thinking. So advisors are starting to rethink that, and what that means. And then the last thing I'll say is, Rachel Pearson is actually also going to help us and come speak to us at our upcoming inaugural women's flying that happens next week. And then also, she's one of our speakers at our eighth annual DEI symposium, where Chris will be Kathleen will be coming up on Monday, May 22, in Washington, DC. So thank you to Engaged and being part of the talent development center. And then we're ready to honor you now, Kathleen.

Chris Gandy 3:56 

Kathleen, welcome. It's your world. Well, we're here to really shine you and kind of seize, the value some of the things that you can share with us about this fantastic perspective. I just want to comment that, go out today get her book, her new book is called Put Your Money to Work: A Woman's Guide to Financial Confidence. So we want to welcome Miss Kathleen Owings. Right, Miss Kathleen?

Kathleen Owings 4:28 

Yes, that is right, Chris. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Chris Gandy 4:31 


Kathleen Owings 4:32 

It's Owings, wings with an O.

Chris Gandy 4:35 

So Owings. So Miss Kathleen, welcome.

Kathleen Owings 4:40 

Thanks. Thank you very much. And as Chris said, here is the cover of my book. It is available on Amazon. So if you'd like to check it out, I'd appreciate it. And it's been a labor of passion and love for maybe more years and I'd like to admit I set out doing it a few years ago. I thought it would get done maybe in a year took a little bit longer. We had something called COVID. We're all trying to figure out our businesses during that time. But it's been a wonderful project and a lot of fun.

Chris Gandy 5:10 

Well, right before we came on, we were talking about zoo lander. And I gave them the blues. But Miss Kathleen share with us, so you're an advisor? So bear with us. How did you get into the business of financial services, and we'll talk about some of the struggles challenges as a female, right, and some of the perspective of just the journey?

Kathleen Owings 5:42 

Well, my path is a little different, I think, than many folks. And I actually started out my first career was in the military. When I was in high school, I was a heavy, weird kid. I was about 13 years old, 14 years old. I grew up in New York, on the east side of the Hudson River, just north of New York City. And a lot of the kiddos there were familiar with West Point, the military academy, they're about 14 years old, I told my parents, that's where I want to go. And that's what I said at my whole entire high school career. I set everything up to go there. It was actually the only school I applied to and the only school I ended up going to. So after I got out of West Point, we all have to serve in the military. So I served in the Army. I did almost six years active duty, and then I did some reserve work for a couple of years after that. And when you first get on the military, it's almost like getting out of college, you really don't know what you're gonna do, you know what you've done, but you're not sure where you're gonna go. I was a civil engineer, and the Army Corps of Engineer officer actually worked as an engineer for about a year and a half. But it wasn't my calling. I was like, okay, I can do this. But I don't love it. I was on a job site, very large job site, kind of overseeing the civil engineer, contractors, if you will. So I know a lot about greater scrapers, drainage, asphalt, concrete, all kinds of interesting curb and gutter. It wasn't my thing. I became a headhunter after that. So I switched from very traditional career military civil engineer. And then I'm like, when we try something different. I was a headhunter, executive recruiter. And I switched from also like w2 to 1099. That was a big jump for me to go from knowing what my income would be to having no idea. It was kind of eat what you kill, so to speak. Well, that wasn't quite my calling, either. Like, okay, I love people, I enjoy them. But I liked the math part of being an engineer, I like to using my brain and solving problems. It's like a big puzzle. And it was funny. A friend of mine was also a recruiter, and she was kind of listened to me one day, quite frankly, as I was complaining about what we were doing. I didn't like it wasn't me. She said, well, I think you should be maybe a financial advisor, you like math. You're good with people. You like solving problems? You're okay with the commission thing. So to answer your question. I cold-called the district manager in Colorado Springs for New England financial. And I said, hey, I'd like to learn more about what you do, I think I might enjoy it. And really, that's how I get started. I call Stan same standard session. I called him I met with him. And quite frankly, my husband had worked with an advisor for many years, we had Roth IRAs, we had life insurance, we had a 529. But we didn't have our daughter at the time, it was just the two of us. I mean, who does that? So it was like maybe someday we might have kids. And we'll need a 529. We have one. We actually use it for my husband's Master's at the time. So we did all the things working with our advisor that I now teach clients to do. And when I learned about it, I'm like, oh, my gosh, this is it. This is my calling. And that was 16 years ago. That's how I got into it was a cold call that I made.

Suzanne Carawan 9:00 

So what happened? How many district managers want to get that cold call?

Kathleen Owings 9:04 

Oh, my gosh, seriously, imagine you got that now, like, okay, you want to learn that? Great. And then you sit down with the person you're like, you have what you have. In life insurance? Yeah, a 529, you don't have kids yet? Who are you?

Suzanne Carawan 9:17 

Right? Exactly. Hello. Hello, unicorn come our way.

Kathleen Owings 9:22 

Right. And so Brad, the advisor had a time he did a great job. He worked with us from our early 20s. And at that point, I was, let's see, I was towards the later 20s. So I'd had I think the unique thing was too, I'd had other I mean, some of them were really short careers being an engineer and then a recruiter, but I had other experiences to bring to the industry that were pretty varied and different. I think that a lot of other folks.

Chris Gandy 9:48 

I think that's what the industry needs. I think what people do is I think we go out and we look for the financial advisor right and we have in our head, this is what the model financial advisor looks like. No, as we've all established that, I don't believe anybody started in his business intended to be in this business. So we all kind of started off doing different things and ended up here. So, share with us a little bit about your journey. So, and I'm going to, since we appreciate women every day, and we promote them every day, and we aspire through their eyes, but you have a different perspective on money. I want to talk a little bit about that. What was the hardest thing you had to do? You know, it'd be starting in the business, what was the one thing that, so we're gonna go from a woman's perspective, from a woman's perspective, what was the hardest thing that you had to do and overcome? Remember now, Miss Kathleen, you have 50,000 young women out here that aspire to be you? What is the couple obstacles that you had to overcome to find traction and success?

Kathleen Owings 11:05 

I think the first one, and I feel like I've always kind of thought it is getting past what either I perceive people are judging me to be, or maybe how they're messaging that. I've always looked much younger than I am. It's a blessing and a curse. Certainly, when you're in this business, and you're starting out, and they see this young lady sitting across from them, they're probably thinking, what can she do for me? What is she? No, no, she looks young. And I have a quick story about that. We had a, I had a client I was working with when I first started out, and he asked this older advisor, how old I was, like she was 19 years old, I was not 19, I was probably like, 29 at the time. But I always felt I had this hurdle to overcome of my outward appearance, whether it be a female, or just really young, in the business. So because of that, and Suzanne, we're kind of talking about this, before we started the podcast, I do tend to make sure that I have my ducks in a row. And I've got things in order, whether it be the agenda I have, in my mind, or the objective I have for the meeting, I want to make sure that I'm coming across very clear, very on target and messaging well to that client, because I don't want to feed into that impression. Or really, maybe that thought that assumption that I might have that they have in their mind. Does that make sense? I always feel like I had to overcome my appearance and who I am.

Chris Gandy 12:30 

Overcoming that takes guts, grit takes a series of different lessons. So you were you mentioned that there was a lesson that you kind of learned, you know, if you could go back and talk to your old self, what would you go back and say to yourself when you started that you would do differently now?

Kathleen Owings 12:54 

Ah, well, that's a good question. I don't feel like I made too many mistakes, I would tell myself to redo because, I'm in my 16th year, and I feel like I'm doing pretty well. But what I would tell myself is keep doing what you're doing, you will get there. I think when you start out, even now it feels like there's this insurmountable hurdle. Like it's hard. And you want it to be instantaneous and overnight, and you see people are successful. And they've been doing it for years, maybe decades, and you want to get there. So I would tell the younger Kathleen, you will get there. Keep going. And I'm glad I did. I mean, I kept doing it. I kept staying late. I remember this other advisor when I was first starting out, I'd be staying later in the office and making calls. And he said, I know who's going to be in the business because it's those people who are coming in early and staying late. And really of the peers that I started out with in the business. I'm probably one of the very few that are still around and doing well. So those habits that I had, the grit, you talked about the determination, I would tell her to keep going it's gonna pay off.

Chris Gandy 14:12 

Our friend Delvin Joyce would say the sticktoitiveness.

Kathleen Owings 14:15 

Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Chris Gandy 14:17 

Sticktoitiveness, our abilities to fight through the uncertainty and the difficult times. So share with us a little bit about your proudest accomplishment so far. I mean, you've obviously in 16 years, you've had a track record of success. And so could you just give us one thing that you would say you're the proudest of that you've accomplished in your career so far.

Kathleen Owings 14:44 

Well, I would say honestly, this book right now, I wasn't sure if it really would come to fruition. So at the moment, I'm writing that wave because it was hard. It was hard to keep getting that sticktoitiveness to keep going and say, okay, I see the light, I see where it's gonna go. Because there are some days you're like, ah, is this worth it, I really want to just because this is like think of this, like when you were in school, this is like an extracurricular activity, right, you don't have to do it, it's just something I've wanted to do. So I've been very proud of that. This year, I got ordered the table for my second year in a row. So I'm really proud of that, again, it's an accomplishment, but it does give you that sense of becoming, becoming more of an impact in our industry, and also what I try and remember and remind myself, it's an impact in the lives of those clients that I'm working with, the reason I'm getting those accolades, if you will, really isn't all me, I mean, yes, it's work that I'm doing with my team, my business partner, our assistants, but it's because of those lives that we're impacting, that really makes me most proud. Because without them without our clients, none of us would be here, right? If we didn't have our clients and what they allow us to do and what they let us do with them, you know, really give us their financial lives, which I take that very seriously as well.

Suzanne Carawan 16:11 

So I want to ask both of you, because I want to unpack a little on the psychological side, for both of you, because that I know, our listeners love that they love performance, they're performance junkies, right? So I think for both you, to me, it's you have those metrics, it's easy to see that you're the 1%. I mean, you want to talk about burn the boat, having no backup plan, but I'm gonna go to West Point is like the kid that says, I'm gonna go to the NBA, I'm gonna go play in college, it's like, it's that same percentage thing. But you both have done that. So for the people that haven't gone to West Point, didn't go play in college and play pro and et cetera, et cetera, what advice you have for them on that? It's that stick to it. But how do you help other advisors? Because both you right now mentor others? What do you tell them to get to keep that sharpness? And that tenacity, like, what do you tell them on that grit factor? I think everybody would like to know that. Like, do you just have the freak DNA in both you or is like there's something else in there that you can help teach?

Kathleen Owings 17:11 

Well, I will say, Suzanne, I do have a little weirdness in me, because that's a very young age to find something that you want to do, and you do it. Now, I will tell you, and I can go into it, if you want. There are failures and have been failures along the way. Many, I mean, okay, I'll give you two examples for the West Point thing, right. So I said, okay, I want to go to West Point, one problem I had was I had braces for a long time, more than I should have. And that would have disqualified me medically to go there. So my senior year of high school, I had somebody call maxillofacial surgery, they essentially break your jaw and move it. I did that my senior year and then had to get medically qualified to go. So that was one. Again, it's having that vision. And this is where I'm gonna go with it in a second. Then my second one was, I worked for my congressman in high school, he did not nominate me to West Point, you have to get a nomination. I didn't get his. But I'd worked for his office. So I had to find another way. Looking for another door, I got it from Vice President Gore, my dad kind of learned about there's different way to get it. So I think this is where I'm gonna go with that is one, you may not have that weird freak DNA that you just kind of keep going and you're like a little dog trying to get that toy. Find what you want. If you really, truly want this and want to do this and want to try this, find that goal. My husband calls it the be hag the big, hairy, audacious goal, find that thing and keep going after it and you're probably going to fail. And that's when you keep going. Because if you fail and stop, you're obviously not going to get there. But that's where I've been able to keep going to these higher levels is I find that goal that I want that my deepest, darkest heart wants. And then just keep going at it and finding those different ways because you're gonna hit roadblocks, and you have to keep going. And I think outside of that, you've got to have your team with you. When I was younger, I mean, my parents are still supporting me. But when I was little for that goal, it was my parents supporting me and helping me and coaches that were supporting me who I still talk to, to this day. Now I've got kind of a different team that I've got built around me, but it's getting that team, because you're gonna have those bad days. We all do. I mean, Chris and I and Suzanne now look perfect for this podcast, but we have those days, and you're gonna need those people to help you get that support to then say okay, nope, I'm not quitting. I'm gonna keep going. So that's my thought. I don't know Chris, what do you think?

Chris Gandy 19:41 

I want to be like Kathleen one day.

Kathleen Owings 19:44

Stop it. I want to be like you I always want to be an outside hitter and volleyball. Look, I'm not that tall folks.

Chris Gandy 19:52 

She's got the 1% I just want to be able to grace the campus of I would simply tell you, Suzanne Kathleen, I'll share with you, I've always lived by these, like, nebulous quotes, but they mean something to me, so I kind of hold on to them. I'll share them with you as the idea that normalcy bothers me. It bores me to death, and normal, it's to lean into the idea of being different and into embracing it on it. And so if you think about it, it's like, the idea of normalcy is basically complacency and compliance, right, is that you get to a place where you're just comfortable. And I think all of us are comfortable to a certain extent. Once you get to MDRT, or even core to the table, top of the table, whatever, maybe we get to a place where like, we know we're going to make it right, I'm speaking to Kathleen now is getting when you get to a point where you'd be okay, we know we're going to make okay, so got it. But the question is, and someone told me one day, they said, when they read your the thing when you die, what are they gonna say about you? Right? There's a day when you started on the face of the earth was an absolute day, and there's a day you're going to leave the face of the earth? And what are they going to say that the work you did in between, right are gonna say, hey, you were a great father, they're gonna say, Hey, you were a great advisor, you've influenced others, or they're gonna say, what are they going to say? So I didn't leave time for a lot of things, right. And then, when you have to, you got to, I don't know Kathleen's upbringing, but my upbringing was, I didn't really have a choice. It's like, whatever you put your arm to, that's what you have to do. And if you fail, then you fail, you successfully fail over and over again, until you become successful doing it. I like it when you have to, like you said, burn the ships when you have to get into. So I didn't really have a choice other than going back and living in what I would call lower markets or poverty, I just wasn't going to do that. And then I'll leave you guys with this last one that just kind of sits on my board on a regular basis is work as a result of nothing more than what we believe what we're disciplined to do, what our vision is, and what our passions allow us to push through. So you know those kinds of things every day kind of inspire me to just do what we do and kind of get kicked in the face every day and know that the one person is going to say, you know what? I'm glad that you are in our lives and that you're influential in a positive way. So that's me, Suzanne. And I don't know if that's free DNA or ADD or whatever you want to call it. But I think it's a combination of what she said kind of what I said and kind of a mixture of what kind of person are you and what do you want to be known for?

Kathleen Owings 22:52 

I think it's also for me, it's fun to see, like, let's see what this journey is going to take me. You don't know. Because Chris, I love where you talk about the mediocrity, it's boring. It's standard is traditional, you kind of get into this rhythm and routine. And sometimes when I find myself getting I'm like, gosh, this little boring. Let's change it up. Let's try something different. And that's where you can see where the fun is the excitement and maybe the failures. I mean, I also run races. And my husband's really okay, Mike should be sitting next to me, because you guys you all think I'm a little weird and freakish. He's about to run his second 100-mile race this year, second 100-mile race. First one he did last year in 26 hours, no sleep. And I was on his crew. So Mike, we're, you know, to pushers type A, if you will. But he's had some bad races. I've had some bad races. I mean, you just get up and you say, well, what did I learn from it? And can I do better? Yeah. And if you don't do that, then you're going to fail and you're not going to evolve, you're not going to change, you're not going to get better. And if you never try, you'll never have those successes. So that's the part that I see. It's like that journey. You talked about your birthday, Chris and your date of death, that dash in the middle. That's kind of the fun part you get to fill in and just see where this thing goes.

Chris Gandy 24:18 

Exactly. Share with us Miss Kathleen, how did you get involved with NAIFA? I mean, obviously, you're involved and I see the plaque behind you with the gavel. I see it. So I know you served as a very important person, but how did you get involved in NAIFA? And what does NAIFA really meant for you?

Kathleen Owings 24:38 

So as I said earlier, this was my 16th year in the business and when I came through at New England, I would say that's more of the traditional structure that some of the older advisors had been brought into and that was an insurance-based broker-dealer. And they would bring as many new people in as they could and kind of see what stock so I was part of one of those recruiting classes, and we had a presentation from a local NAIFA President, I remember who it is actually, Ben Harvey. And he came in and spoke about NAIFA. And I looked around and all the people who were successful and had been in the history a long time are kind of shaking their heads and nodding him saying, yep, we're NAIFA's Members, I'm like, well, this was what successful people do, I want to be like them. So I want to join and see what this is all about. So it was really that simple. There was an ask. And then I saw the people around me that I surrounded myself with that I wanted to be like, that I was emulating. And that's really how I got started. Now, I do know, when I get involved in things, if you can tell, I just generally don't like dip my toe in unless it's very conscious. But I usually want to get in like, understand this thing. So I was then asked to join the local board at the time when we had the kind of the traditional locals. And I went through those chairs. So went up all the chairs and became the president for the Colorado Springs chapter. And then I went to the state board, ran up those chairs. So I've been the gavel that you've seen the backs when I was the Colorado State president, a handful of years ago. And then I do a lot now at the national level. But I just I really enjoy the people. I like what we do. And like giving back, that's kind of the service part of me that still enjoys doing that. So that's how I got started.

Chris Gandy 26:26 

Awesome. So other than working with Suzanne, right, you get the chance to, let's talk about, you know, your book, shall we? Let's get to it a little bit. Right. So share with us. If I'm going to read this book, what am I going to get out of it? And is this book just for women or like, give me some color today?

Kathleen Owings 26:50 

So I'm going to start with the first question and what I wanted to do, because I have all these great clients that I love. And I started to hear similar, either questions, or have similar conversations. And that's where that kind of book idea came to my thought, you know what I feel I could reach a broader audience answering these questions for more people, because I was having them over and over again, in my conversations with my clients. So that's one place that it started from was just starting with the conversation I'm having. The second part is I wanted to make sure they had actionable items. I like books that I can pick up and say, how can I reach this goal? In this case, finding financial confidence? How can I get myself there? So in the chapters, there's actually exercises that people can do that women can do, but also men? I certainly answer your second question, Chris. Men can pick this up and utilize it. I mean, I really just wanted to create a target audience. And I work with a lot of women and really want to give them that confidence. But men could take something from this as well. But it's actionable items where they can track their money. I talked about how much should they be saving for retirement, I really want to keep it simple. Because I think people get overwhelmed with the decisions that they can make or feel like they should make with their money. And then many times they just have this analysis paralysis. They're like, well, I don't know what to do. And they're afraid to take that first step. So that's where it came from.

Chris Gandy 28:22 

So the title, Put Your Money To Work. Confidence, the volume is kind of dope. Where did your confidence come from with finances because obviously, you made some decisions prior to you getting to your destination, right? Which is the five things like so where did the confidence how does this instill competence for women? Talk a little bit about that?

Kathleen Owings 28:52 

Yeah. So for myself, my husband, I were very fortunate. We started working with an advisor in early 20. So I met Mike he was also a cadet at West Point. We started dating my sophomore year there and he was graduating. And we didn't get married till like two years after I graduated. But we had an advisor, really out of the gate. And Brad helped us start Roth IRAs. This was the late 90s. He helped us look at our life insurance start that 529. So he was our coach Mike and I are very coachable. My husband played football in college. He was also a powerlifter. He's got a coach now for running. We are to very coachable people, we know what coaches do, they push you and take you to a higher level? Right? They kind of question you sometimes, or help you look at your goals and what you're doing currently. So that's how we did it because we realized we wouldn't be able to do it ourselves doing our jobs. At the time we were two army officers. We needed a coach to help us so that's what I also keep that in mind with my clients now is I don't want to tell them what to do, I want to coach them along the way, I want to walk with them, I want to understand why we're doing what we're doing. And so that's where I got the idea of also, for myself where I got the confidence and want to help others to gain that if they feel like they don't have it. I want them to find ways where they can get it, because I do believe you can get it. But you really need to see those small successes, kind of those baby steps, if you will. And it just starts with one step. Start in chapter one, go to chapter two, complete the exercises, and just kind of baby step your way through it.

Suzanne Carawan 30:39 

So do you see a discrepancy? Like when you're normal clients, between your women clients and your male clients? Do you see a discrepancy in the confidence to start with and like there's, you're doing some additional pieces for women?

Kathleen Owings 30:55 

You know, I do and I think it can be broken up into different age demographics. Some of my women clients who are older, and I understand this, because I kind of grew up in a very traditional household, my dad worked, my mom was raising the kids, I'm the oldest of three, and my siblings are actually twins, they're two years younger than I am. So I understand that more traditional demographic where the husband worked, the wife maybe stayed at home, and then the husband was kind of dealing with the money. That's what they did. And that was the roles that they played. So I do understand that. And that's where sometimes the lack of confidence comes from, because maybe she was not dealing with it for decades, not responsible for it. I have some stories in here. I like to use stories also to illustrate points, but they're true of women who came in after their husband died. One of them she brought in a box and said, what do I have? She didn't want to look through her statements, because she really didn't know what they had. Now, turns out, they were in great shape. But she was never part of that conversation. So I would say there's kind of that demographic, if you will, that story. And then I think another part that I tend to see with women is they're afraid to lose, I hear this, I hear the people in my head saying this, I don't want to lose all my money. So because of that they're afraid to make mistakes. But sometimes I'll see men make really stupid decisions. And they don't have that same fear. They're like, well, I'll give it a try. If doesn't work? Oh, well, I'll figure it out. That's, at least they're making, in that case, you're making a step, maybe learning from it. Now, it's not great. If you keep doing that, you know, like Bitcoin or some other career options trading, I heard someone do that. And they lost 10s of 1000s of dollars and like, Well, maybe you shouldn't do that again. But at least there was that first step. So what I want to help women with this book is take that first step, I'm not telling them to go down those really more adventurous paths, but I think they are scared to take any step at all, because they're afraid to lose it all.

Chris Gandy 33:04 

I think, Kathleen, I think you're tapping into one of the things that I've said about the industry, and I'll just speak on the industry, I think the industry itself needs more women in it. So kudos for you for sticking it out in a quote-unquote man's world, right? The industry as a whole as struggled with the acceptance and bringing women into the business and helping them and supporting them for being successful. So kudos to that. The second thing is you're tapping into something that has to get that goes even deeper than a niche, right, the idea that innate, right, men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is innate, and women there is a natural nurturer type of mentality, which also leads you to also being a little more naturally conservative. As you think about that. It naturally, men go jump off a bridge and whatever happens, right? Whatever happens, hey, we'll rebound? Which is the reason why women go to the doctor when something's just off, right? There's a reason why. So there's a series of things that women do that allows for them to see financially, the world differently than men. Yeah, I agree. I think that that gives them, and sometimes it's not a an advantage, but it gives them a different perspective. Like me looking at this pen, I could look at it one way and I see something different than what you see from your perspective. And so sometime it's giving people a different perspective. I would encourage people to go pick up your book to learn and engage your current clientele and say how many are women? And if you don't have women as clients, hey, here's an opportunity for you to have that right conversation, right with women in a way in which they'll be able to embrace and identify I with, right? And so yes, it's a great book sounds like for women to pick up and say, let's do something first. But also, for men to say, let me figure out how to engage more women into my business. Kathleen, I can tell you, I've lost 20. The first time I happened to me, I'll tell you, I had a guy that I worked with for 15 years. Like clockwork, great guy did a great job, he got sick and died. Within a month of him dying, all the assets move. I said, I didn't take the time. I said, what did I do wrong? This is great, I'm gonna work with her. And I'm just assuming, right? Because I'm a guy, I work with the female. What I learned is that if I didn't establish that relationship, prior to that event that trauma, every time she thought about me being the person she thought about the decisions that he made, were either good or bad. And her perspective on money was completely different than his right. And I lost that relationship, not once I lost it twice, in the same year, the exact same situation. So I would encourage everyone to go out, get your book, not only read it, study it, start to realize that there's an opportunity. That's what you've presented here, there's an opportunity. So thank you so much for your dedication and their commitment to the business and sharing this wisdom with us.

Kathleen Owings 36:33 

I think there is an opportunity. And those two stories, I think are perfectly illustrative of what I tend not to do, because my husband and I are very equal now. Okay, I'm the advisor, this is what I do. So I manage our money. But as far as making decisions were very equal. And too many times I can tell you that maybe a contractor came to our house or someone made an assumption, looking at me thinking, I don't know what I'm talking about, or oh, sweet little lady we'll fix this. And then my husband like, no, she was the engineer, you actually need to talk to her, she knows about concrete and curb and gutter and landscaping. So I tend to not be that way. Or if I hear a client, say or prospect, say, oh, my husband or wife, either one, they don't really like money, they don't get involved. Well, I appreciate that. I like to bring them in, because God forbid anything happens to you. I want them to know me and be able to have the conversation. And I feel comfortable calling them. So I'm not telling them, oh, I'm going to make sure that he or she gets involved to kind of soften it. Because I do want to know them. I don't want that to happen where my contact passes away my clients, whichever one it is passes away at night, and I've never talked to their spouse other than that phone call that they make to me. So I do make a very deliberate effort to build relationship with both parties. And, sadly, pre-COVID we've had or excuse me, post-COVID, we've had a number of couples divorcing more than I've seen in the past. I'm not sure if other advisors have been experiencing this. We have a good track record of maintaining generally maintaining both of those exes after it's over, because I built relationships with both of them. And in some cases, I was just maybe working with one primarily. But I like to keep that other party, if you will involved and feeling like they are part of the decision. Because I think insofar as I know how I felt when people disregarded me, and it made me really mad. And then usually my husband's like what the New Yorker out. But sometimes I do, but then I'm like, I don't like them, whomever that person might be the contractor or whatever the case might be.

Suzanne Carawan 38:49 

And to your facts, the stats are unbelievable that well, one actually I just read a stat yesterday, I think an AARP I want to say saying that actually divorces lower during COVID. But they're about to see a spike because I think people are like, yeah, we made it through and now they're like, yeah, okay, we want to get on with it.

Kathleen Owings 39:06 

I totally agree. I see it, I'm seeing it more than I care to admit it's kind of sad.

Suzanne Carawan 39:12 

The second thing is, when it comes to the millennial generation, the likelihood of now women making more money than even in a traditional marriage spouse is much, much higher. And so that's something I think advisors also need to really start thinking about, because that's oftentimes not the premise when a couple walks into the office. Right? There's still this idea of like, oh, maybe the husband is the breadwinner, and oftentimes it's not the case anymore.

Kathleen Owings 39:35 

Right? Yeah, I think your point Suzanne is maybe the stories we first tell in her head or the experiences we had in the past are not the same anymore. We really need to relook at, that's okay. We really need to relook at how we engage with people and bringing more people in, bringing both couples in or both parties and maybe not operating the same way we were in the past? Because I think the dynamics have changed quite a bit.

Chris Gandy 40:06 

Yeah, I would say there was a statistic that I read to my team that said that 70% of all households by the year 2029, will be predominantly controlled by the women, a woman's income. Whoa, unbelievable, so if you think about that, if we're, yeah, do the man thing, let's go out this bump, and let's high five, right? If we do that, we're setting ourselves up for failure, I think we have to embrace the change that's coming, we have to be open to doing business with others. And we have to understand that a different perspective is not always bad. And I think that you've shared with us a unique perspective. You mentioned that this is a unique book, then because there's lessons that you can learn and there's activities, right? That the activities what brought about the activities, why activities? I mean, that think about fourth grade, like drawing? I'm doing activities? I mean, what kind of activities? Is this an activity I could do with my spouse? Is this an activity? I do by myself? I mean, can you elaborate a little bit?

Kathleen Owings 41:21 

So the answer is yes to both of those. Well, let me start with why activities, I think, and Chris, you played basketball. So when I was younger, I did volleyball, soccer, I wrote crew, and now I run, whenever you're learning a new skill, like for you a layup, or if you want to dribble left-handed or whatever the case might be, you need to do it, right, you can tell yourself all day long, I want to learn this new skill. But until you do it, you're not going to learn it. And you need to do it over and over and over until it becomes ingrained in you. So many times. And I feel the same way in our industry, you go to presentations, you hear this new, amazing speaker, and you're like, okay, how do I actually get this done? And what I've done is reached out to speakers to ask them, how do you do that? Most people don't do that, by the way. So what I wanted to give people with this book to give people was actionable items, they could say, yes, I want to do that. I want to learn that new skill, and actually give them the spreadsheets that I talked about here, for example, they can download them and actually do them. The spreadsheets I talked about here. One is like your net worth spreadsheet. I've been doing it for three years, the first of them on the last three years now sometimes, okay, I'm plus or minus maybe I'm a week earlier, week late, but I look at it every single month. And it gives me that history. So I'm not only telling folks to do it, I'm still doing it, by the way. Because I've seen what has done for me and my family and my husband and for our situation, you see you go up, you see go down, but it's like the market, if you're paying attention, anything you pay attention to, is what you're going to gain that skill in or that confidence. If you pay attention to it, and you do it, you will get there. So that's why I wanted the activities for people to focus on. And again, there's not like 30, I didn't want to cause too many so that again, it's this overwhelm, like file, the simple things, do it. If you're single yourself if you're married your spouse, if you're in a partnership with your partner, and continue to do it, because again, you focus on it. You're gonna get there but Suzanne and I were talking about this. It does take time. This is not like overnight, instantaneous microwave passive income thing. You need to be in it and involved in it and getting your hands a little dirty. And that's what I see the most successful people are doing that they are building those habits to again, like to go back to being an athlete, if you're not building those habits, getting to practice on time putting the hours in, you're not going to be successful, but you do it you're gonna get there.

Chris Gandy 44:05 

So wonderful. So Suzanne, do you have anything else for Kathleen, before we send her to the lightning round?

Suzanne Carawan 44:11 

I think it's time for the lightning round. Thank you so much, Kathleen, for all you're doing. I hope you are inspiring more people to come in to the industry. I do love the fact that you love people and you like the problem-solving. I think that's a great way to see that.

Kathleen Owings 44:27 

It's like a puzzle. And here's the other thing, I'm just going to end with this kind of a pitch for more women to get into the industry is, it's amazing when I tell people what I'm doing. They're like, well, how do you do it? Well, I'm also a mom to a 16-year-old and my husband I have our life and our activities and things I like to do. I think women are exceptionally equipped as multitaskers. Now I know there are studies out there say multitasking is not effective, but the ability to take a lot of information in and then compress it down. I'm very, very good at that's why I like doing plans. I tell people bring your messiest puzzles to me. I will dump it on the table and piece it all together. My brain loves doing that. And I find more women are sometimes better at that I sometimes see men getting overwhelmed by all this information. The women are like I got it, because you're dealing with kids and their doctors and appointments and running around like a crazy person. And this business is kind of perfect for that, I think.

Chris Gandy 45:29 

Go out and get Kathleen's. It says on Amazon. Kathleen, do you have the book there behind you? I think you have it. I do. I also have a right here. There's a wonderful, hold that up, go out and get Kathleen Owings book. Put Your Money to Work: A Woman's Guide to Financial Confidence. I want to have confidence like you to go. Thanks, Chris. So with that being said, we're gonna go into the lightning round. So Kathleen, here's the deal and the lightning round. First thing comes to mind is how you have to answer. Now we've stumped a couple people here and we'll see well, so hopefully you don't have that experience. I think you're pretty quick thinking on your feet. So we start off pretty easy. And then we'll ask four or five questions and then kind of wrap it up. Okay. Are you ready? Yes. Let's do it. Alright, so the easiest thing is best part about Colorado. I love the weather. Okay, so the weather. Okay, see how easy that was? Super easy. So you're from New York. So we'll have some fun with that. Okay. All right. So with that being said, so your favorite movie.

Kathleen Owings 46:37 

Oh, favorite movie. Sweet Home Alabama.

Chris Gandy 46:41 

Sweet Home Alabama. Why?

Kathleen Owings 46:43 

I don't know. I just love Reese Witherspoon. I just love that story. And then there's a little New York in there as well. You know, the mayor of New York is Patrick Dempsey's mom's. I just, I love it. It's just a sweet little story.

Chris Gandy 46:57 

Okay. Your mentor, the person that you would say, hey, you know what? I've gained so much from learning from either this person, it could be a coach, it could be a mentor. It could be anyone in the past?

Kathleen Owings 47:13 

Can I give you a couple, like different parts of my life? Just want one? Just one? No, go ahead. So when I was younger, and I still talked to him, coach, Jim Lindsey was my track coach, he still gives me a hard time today because I would do the 100 and 200 in track he couldn't get me to do 400. And now I'm running marathons and Ultras, but Coach was the one that supported me and helped me practice for the Westpoint physical exam. I mean, he was just the guy that believed in me, when maybe there are parts of me that I wasn't sure if I could do it. But he said, Kathy, you can do it. And he still believes in me to this day. So that relationship that I had coaches, I think are so instrumental in our kids lives that people don't realize, I mean, here I am in my 40s still talking about coach, and I still talk to him. There's a lot of industry titans, but I would say one that I'll occasionally call I talked to him last year, Van Miller is another one that says, Kathleen, you can do it. Just keep going. I see you and I see what you're doing, ask better questions. And just keep going and you will get there. So I just love people that kind of speak into my life like that to give me that confidence. And I try and do the same. So there's two for you.

Chris Gandy 48:27 

Okay, thanks so much for sharing. All right. If you could go back in history, and have dinner with anybody in history, who would it be and why?

Kathleen Owings 48:39 

Oh, Teddy Roosevelt's is just fascinating. Just his love for our national parks is dedication to the country. Just having dinner with that guy, I think would be the most interesting conversation. Probably funny, I don't know, Teddy. Teddy Roosevelt, I think it'd be someone I would love to talk to.

Chris Gandy 49:04 

One thing you learned in West Point that you would have never learned it would have took you longer to learn that this is one that threw this one in here. West Point. So what did you learn from West Point one thing that you're like, I live and breathe this because of it.

Kathleen Owings 49:17 

One thing, never quit. I mean, there were times where I was knocked down. And I just kept getting up and said, nope, not today. Not quitting today and just kept going. And that's, I got that at a young age, thankfully. Very thankfully. And that's just carried me through. It's never quit.

Chris Gandy 49:42 

Awesome. Last question. Chicago pizza or New York pizza.

Kathleen Owings 49:47 

New York. Oh, come on. Water is better. Not a competition. Interest.

Chris Gandy 49:59 

Miss Kathleen, you know what's crazy? I live in Chicago, but I would probably go with you.

Kathleen Owings 50:03 

Oh, hey, everyone, you heard it here first.

Chris Gandy 50:09 

So Kathleen thank you so much for not only your commitment to NAIFA, but your commitment to the industry. You are a narrative changer. And thank you for being a diverse professional in this industry and living and growing and being a part of our culture and our family. Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 50:30 

Yeah, thank you for serving Kathleen, thanks for inspiring, keep doing more work, we need more.

Kathleen Owings 50:35 

Well, I want to thank all of you, I really appreciate this. And one of the things I will say about NAIFA, you don't just come side by side with colleagues, they really become your friends and family. And that's the most fun I think about this whole experience is you realize you've built another family for yourself to grow with them and walk alongside them. So that's been really fun. So thanks to all of you, too.

Chris Gandy 50:58 

Thank you so much, Kathleen, for being here. Suzanne, do you have anything before I wrap this up? Nope. Okay, everyone, just a reminder, go out and get Kathleen's book. Again. It's on Amazon, Put Your Money to Work: A Woman's Guide to Financial Confidence. And if you don't get it for yourself, get it for someone or your clients, or get it for your significant other, get it for your spouse, get it for your wife, get it for your mom, get it for somebody who is a wonderful woman in your life who can make an impact this can make an impact. And so thanks for tuning into Advisor Today. We had an opportunity today to hear some amazing things to hear some amazing opportunities for us to get better, to embrace a different perspective on our careers to embrace a different culture a different opportunity and to change the way we go about doing the doing business. Advisor Today where we uplift, promote and inspire advisors of tomorrow. Thanks all of you for being here. We appreciate it. And look forward to see you next week at the same time. Thanks, Kathleen. Thanks, Suzanne.

Kathleen Owings 50:58 

Thanks Chris. Thanks, Suzanne. I appreciate it.

Suzanne Carawan 51:50 

Take care.

Outro 51:54 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes. And if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know.



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