Hey what’s up? This is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Judy Lou. Judy, are you ready to do this?
Unknown Speaker 0:23
Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.
george grombacher 0:25
excited to have you on. Judy is the founder and CEO of Blue Zone Wealth Advisors. They’re working with high net worth individuals, families, and not for profit organizations on financial planning, portfolio construction, Wealth Management, Judy speaks six languages as and is an active member of her community. Today, I’m excited to have you on tell us a little bit your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do.
Unknown Speaker 0:53
Oh, my gosh, that might take a long time. Well, I am a financial advisor. I’ve been a financial advisor for over 20 years. But I’d say over the past few years, I feel like I’ve kind of evolved into something a little bit more like a financial coach. Somebody actually asked me recently, if there’s such thing as a financial therapist, and I thought, wow, if if so that’s probably me. So I am, I know there’s there’s some financial advisors that focus purely on results, I actually am fascinated and like to focus on behaviors and results. So you know, it’s anything that’s related to money, whether it’s like spending, finance investing, I feel like traditionally, it’s always looked at in a separate silo, not connected to the other parts of our lives. And I’m not sure exactly why that’s the case, we have that habit of separating money away from the rest of our lives. Some of it might be because, like, it’s taboo to talk about money, or maybe there’s some sort of Fear Factor, you know, we don’t understand it, it’s overwhelming. And traditionally, you know, financial literacy is not taught in schools, although that’s starting to change. So my work, I really focus on helping people to figure out how to improve their relationship with their money. So I guess like being a therapist,
george grombacher 2:22
I love it. It’s interesting, right? That money, absolutely touches and impacts every aspect of life. But yes, we’d like to keep it confined. And we don’t want to mess with the other areas. But it’s almost ridiculous, sort of when you talk about it like that, to not take a more integrated approach.
Unknown Speaker 2:46
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think also, because we sort of hide it away, it becomes this place where we’ll have questions, and we don’t talk about it openly. There’s no sort of free flow of communication. People sometimes feel really intimidated when they talk about money, like it’s a competitive sport. And if you don’t know the terminology, or the lingo, you know, somehow you’re, you’re stupid or uninformed. So I really try to focus on educating people and demystifying a lot of the stuff that you hear about and read about in the media. You don’t need a PhD to figure out how to have a good relationship with your money. I think you just have to focus on who you are, what’s important to you? And then how do you want your money to basically make your life possible the way that you want to live it?
george grombacher 3:40
I appreciate that. So it’s interesting. There’s a lot of folks out there who will never engage with a financial advisor, they never learned about financial stuff. So they’re, I don’t want to sculpt, say that their financial, financial illiterate, but they just, they, they, and maybe they will never have massive sums of money. So there’s that group, but then there’s also really ultra high net worth people and families, do they have the same issues that the rest of us have?
Unknown Speaker 4:14
I think everybody shares a common, you know, set of issues around money around security. It’s funny, you know, money is always referred to as something very cold and quantitative. I actually believe that money is super emotional. I mean, aside from your health. Money is like probably the most personal emotional thing that there is And ironically, we don’t talk about it. So I would say yes, definitely like everybody, whether whatever your financial situation, they really face the same sorts of challenges, you know, when it comes to being at peace with your money, and you know, this, this idea of talking about finances as like a quantitative thing and then talking about it more holistically philosophically, in terms of, like part of your wellness as a person is an area that really fascinates me. And I feel like, over the past few years, society has developed this, you know, I call it like an intentional awareness, like fascination, you could even call it an obsession about wellness. And it’s usually focused on like, your physical being, right, so exercising, taking good care of your body, being intentional about the kinds of foods you put in your body. And then it also addresses mental wellness, right, like awareness, mindfulness, meditation, you know, basically treating ourselves and others with care and respect. So a question I keep asking myself is, what if we took that same intentionality and that same effort and applied it to our financial well being. And I think that intersection between money and health, and well being is really, really interesting, and how they feed one another and interact with each other. Because to me, financial well, being is not a destination, it’s a process. It’s like how your house, it’s like how you drive there, but not like where you’re going. So I think that that opens up a huge, you know, area of, of topics that a lot of people don’t talk about openly. And I, I think it’s actually I’d like to share sort of my my, the name of my company is called Blue Zone, Wealth Advisors. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with what a Blue Zone is. But it’s something that a lot of people ask me about, and they’re like, What does it have to do with finance. So Blue Zones are these communities around the world, where people regularly live to be well over 100 years old. So not only do they live really long lives, but they live lives that are usually free of stress and disease that like plagued the rest of communities around the world. So like, 20 years ago, National Geographic commissioned this study to say, what do these communities have in common? And what can we learn from them. And they came up with these nine things. And I like to focus on three of them, in terms of adapting them for the way that I talk to people about their money. And one of them is sense of purpose. So in Okinawa, which is a Buddhism, they call it a key guy. And in the Nicoya Peninsula, in Costa Rica, which is another blue zone, they call it blender, vida. So these things basically translate into why do I get up in the morning. So it’s just focusing on the power of knowing your purpose. And I don’t know how they quantify this charge. But they say that if just by knowing your sense of purpose, it translates into an average of seven extra years of life. It’s amazing, if you just think about, you know, just think about that, like, Why do I get up in the morning, that’s like, you know, a really powerful concept. So how does that translate into, you know, financial well being? Well, money means different things to different people, right. And having a sense of purpose about your money, is a really, really important step and knowing what’s important to you. So whether it’s taking care of you know, your family, whether it’s meeting a specific financial goal, whether it’s giving back to others, or providing a legacy for your loved ones, you know, this, this is an opportunity so that you can align your money, your investments, the way that you spend with your personal values. And that allows you to have a sense of ease and actually feel good about your wealth. So that’s the first of these three at night. And I’ll just mention the other two quickly. The second one that they call it is, right tribe. So the right tribe is a concept that these people who live in these blue zones, who live a long time, they belong to social circles, that encourage healthy behaviors. And so if you translate that into your financial life, if you have the right tribe of people who are advising you, right, so if your investment advisor is talking to your bookkeeper, your accountant, your banker, your trusted estate attorney, your insurance agent, if everybody’s talking to each other, you know, and communicating, then you have the confidence of knowing that they’re working in concert with each other, towards your financial health. That’s also a really powerful thing about connecting the dots in a really coherent way. And the last thing that I love about this concept of Blue Zones is this idea of downshifting and I tried to translate this for my clients. So we live in a world of stress every day, like so much so we’ve become numb to it right? Like we don’t even notice it every day. But stress leads to chronic inflammation and that is something that is associated with every major age related disease, the people who live in these blue zones, they have something really important that a lot of us don’t have. And that’s a routine to shed stress on a daily basis. So whether it’s like taking a nap or meditating or my favorite, which is getting together at the end of the day with your, your family and your friends, and having happy hour to remember, perspective in life, is just a way to remind people of the power of simplicity. So I tried to translate this into people’s financial lives by saying, If you downshift, and you intentionally tried to simplify your financial life, that allows us to engage in this similar routine that shed stress, you can do it, for example, by bringing transparency and efficiency into your portfolio, right, knowing where your money is, how its invested, understanding the risks, that are embedded,
Unknown Speaker 10:59
having a financial plan so that you know how you’re spending your money, and how that aligns with what’s important to you. All of these things are ways for us to turn something that would otherwise be a source of anxiety, into a feeling of ease and clarity, about our financial life. So that’s my long winded answer into why I feel like it’s really important right now for us to like, break open this, whatever it is, that keeps people from talking openly about their about their wealth. I love it.
george grombacher 11:31
Love. I I’ve mildly familiar with Blue Zones. I love how you’ve taken these three, which make all the sense in the world to me, and related it to our finances. The the purpose, the Akagi is something I’m mildly familiar with, as well. And we spend a lot of time talking about what our Why is. And that’s a very, very, very elegant way to sort of try to figure out finding work that is aligned with my purpose that I feel good about that that that people need. And certainly having the right team around you that’s on the same page and communicating openly makes a lot of difference. And then the idea of downshifting and simplifying things. I mean, it seems to me that we overcomplicate our finances, and that the entire financial industry has also built on a lot of complexity, which is unnecessary. So I appreciate everything. You mentioned also that this is a process, not a destination. And it strikes me that that it would have to be that you would have to really be ready to to to engage. So I’d love to hear about how it is that you take your clients through this because it’s not it’s not a small amount of work.
Unknown Speaker 12:54
No it and it’s not like there’s a traditional sort of paradigm for this. There’s this sort of, like bridging between different worlds, right. So most people are used to walking into a financial advisors office, and then you’ve got a statement and you’ve got these charts and like your eyes glaze over and you walk out, you’re like, oh, I don’t know, I just, I feel like I just went to the dentist, right? So I really try to turn that around and say, you know, I’d rather you walk out of our meeting. Number one feeling like you understand something, right, that you didn’t understand previously. And that provides a sense of clarity, right? That’s just that’s so alleviating of this anxiety that we live in. And that’s so crucial. Because, I mean, we’ve gone through an unprecedented global health crisis. We live in an age of heightened anxiety, like everything is anxiety, we worry about our health, we worry about the safety of the food we eat, we worry about our kids and technology, and it’s taking over our lives and like our kids, right, like global climate change, social injustice, all of these things, and it’s so overwhelming. So I always tell my clients look, if I can help you alleviate one source of anxiety in your life, that’s a step in the right direction. And like you said, George, there’s a lot of tendency to make our finances super complicated. Man, I think there’s a whole industry built on that sort of, you know, cloud, this, you know, curtain of mistake. And really, if you demystify it, and you say, what is really important to me, right, so, what do I want my money to do? First and foremost, I want it to buy the security of my loved ones. I also want it to provide the ability for me to live the lifestyle that I want. I want to be able to feel good about the person that I am and support causes that are important to me, whatever it is that really resonates with you, taking the time to sit down and figure out how do I make sure that the way that I’m living My relationship with my money and my finances is in alignment with that, just by doing that alone, it will take something that causes usually a lot of fear and nervousness. And it turns it into a place where you can actually find empowerment, to say, I actually understand what it is that my money is doing. And I feel good about it, I feel like this is in good alignment with the person that I am. So, you know, when I sit down every client is different. But sometimes people will say, I’ve got this like, long chronic problem that I haven’t been able to figure out or I want to retire, and I’m afraid that I’m going to outlive my money. Or, you know, like, how do I teach my children, how to become good stewards, because they’re going to inherit this wealth, and I don’t know the first place to start to talk to them about money. So it’s really just a personal conversation. And it I think, requires you to take inventory of where you are in your life and to probably face that thing you’ve been putting off and saying, like, I don’t really want to deal with it, because it’s so overwhelming. And if you’ve got a good advisor, you sit down and say, how would you suggest that I tackle this? That’s the first step.
george grombacher 16:13
Love it? Yeah, the last thing you want is just for somebody to shut down. And then they say, You know what, I’ll deal with this tomorrow, next year.
Unknown Speaker 16:24
20 years from now, the day before I retire? Oh, no.
george grombacher 16:30
Right? Yeah. Well, that that’s that the opportunity is to change the way that we think and feel and interact with money. And there’s so much opportunity to your point to approach this, like we have been approaching wellness to look at it from a behavioral standpoint, mental health and physical. And if we were to, not everybody wants to become in to become a finance expert, just like not everybody wants to, you know, become a CrossFit athlete. But we recognize that in order to be healthy, we do need to pay some attention to it. How do you think about that? How often it’s a scale, but how often do I need to be thinking about money?
Unknown Speaker 17:16
Oh, wow, I would say it depends. Because if you’re thinking about, for example, like your 401k, right, or an investment account, we’re in the middle of an unprecedented economic, perfect storm. So I’ve actually been telling people to not look that often. Because we’re in this tumultuous, volatile time, where if you look every day, it’s probably just going to make you feel really scared. So it’s not about the short game. It’s the long game, right? It’s like, okay, well, where am I today? And where is it that I want to go? And how important is it for me to get there either really fast? Or can I take my time, right. And so the sooner you start this process, the better because you know, you have a long runway, you have time to make gradual changes, you don’t have to do a fire drill. So I always encourage people to sit, just pick one thing, and just start with that first step. Once you get that done, then we go on to the second step. And I think, you know, neglecting, procrastinating is something that is very innate to human nature. I do it all the time. It’s something that it starts to gain, I think, power over you that you say, oh, my gosh, I should have done that. And it didn’t, I put it off. And now it’s like, twice as big. Right? So recognizing that that happens. And it’s totally fine. And to cut yourself some slack, we all do it. But to really just say, this is something that I don’t have to do alone. And I can reach out and find somebody to help give me some guidance. Because you’d be surprised at how I don’t want to say it’s easy to fix. But sometimes it’s not as complicated as you think you just need to decide that this is something you want to, you know, face, and that you want to approach with some sort of framework. I think that that helps people a lot to think about it like there is a framework for approaching this huge giant cloud of overwhelming, you know, feeling. And I think another thing that’s really interesting is, especially after the pandemic, I hear a lot of people instead of talking about like, you know, their immediate finances, they talk about how do I make sure for the future, like, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. And I want to make sure that my family is okay, I want to make sure that I’m okay. And I want if possible to leave a legacy for the people that I care about. And I think there’s this misconception that you have to be really rich to leave a legacy and that’s completely not true. I think a legacy is anything really that is valued and appreciated by somebody who’s left behind when you’re not here anymore. So going back to this sort of stigma that we don’t talk about money, I think one of the best things that people can do is to talk to their families, about their financial situation. And I realized that that sounds like oh, no, I don’t want to touch that. But talking to your family, especially your children, about how you look at money, what’s important to you, and how you manage it, teaching them so that they can learn alongside of you, I think is a wonderful legacy to leave to somebody because I’ve seen too many times that somebody will shield their children or even their spouse from money matters, because they don’t want to burden them that Then something happens and they disappear. Huge sometimes suddenly. And those people are left in this emotional chaos. And now financial chaos, because they didn’t have the time to sit alongside of you and learn the way that you think about, you know, how to manage your money. So I feel like that’s a really great way that we can move the needle today.
george grombacher 21:15
I love it. It makes a ton of sense. What Judy, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how can they engage with you?
Unknown Speaker 21:24
Well, you can get in touch with us through our website, which is Blue Zone advisory.com. And we would love to hear from you and also just talk to you about how we might be able to help you also, you know, find wellness and financial health.
george grombacher 21:43
Love it. If you enjoyed this as much as I did your duty your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Blue Zone advisory.com and start the process. Thanks again God. Thanks so much. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best