Episode 100: Financial Advice Every Woman Needs To Know When You Love Someone With Addiction

Today, we have a very, very special guest. Her name is Stacy Francis, and I cannot tell you all the reasons why I love this woman. She was the person who helped me understand that I needed to take accountability and responsibility for my financial situation during my divorce. And she’s going to share with you key financial advice every woman needs to know.

Stacy is located in New York City. She is the president and CEO of Francis Financial, which is a fee-only boutique wealth management financial planning and divorce financial planning firm dedicated to providing ongoing comprehensive advice for successful individuals, couples, and women in transition, such as divorce or widowhood. Now that sounds pretty impressive, right?

And here’s another reason I love Stacy: she has all these fancy letters after her last name, she’s certified in almost everything you can be certified in, but she is also the founder of Savvy Ladies, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women to take control of their finances.

She and her team have helped over 15,000 women through free one-on-one financial consulting workshops and retreats.

Savvy Ladies will connect you with wonderful, empowering, helpful women who are there to help you get your money straight.

Stacy is a financial expert and was named one of 20 nation-leading wealth managers on CNBC’s Digital Finance Advisor Council. She’s a member of the Forbes Finance Council. She’s a contributor for the Wall Street Journal. I mean, she’s the real deal, right? I could go on, and on. Her bio is super impressive. And she has received many awards, including the Women’s Choice Award for one of the best financial advisors for women.

In today’s conversation, we’re going to talk about what it means to be financially independent.

What it means to be in a financially abusive marriage. What to do if you’re thinking that maybe, eventually, you will be separated or divorced and how to prepare for that. And even if you’re not considering separation or divorce, how do you get to the place where you feel confident, and knowledgeable, and equally as in control of your finances with your husband or your partner. Stacy is going to shed light on so many things. I know you are going to get so much out of this.

And what I love about her is that she makes it interesting. A lot of times when we talk about finances, at least for me, my eyes gloss over. My Husband, Brian, adores numbers. And when he talks to me about them, I kind of just put on a little smile, and my eyes just kind of glaze over. I go somewhere else. Not because I don’t love him, but because he’s such a genius.

Stacy makes it tangible. She makes it practical, and she makes it judgment-free. She knows where each of us is, and she’s willing to meet us there without judgment and really lend us a hand. I promise you, because we’re going to be talking about finances, this is still super interesting.

You won’t need to break out your calculator or anything like that. Have a listen. I’m so glad that Stacy decided to join our little community for this interview because I want you to be empowered. I want you to whether you decide to stay or leave. Whether your loved one decides to get sober or not.

This is about your recovery. It’s about your self-care. It’s about getting you to be your best self.

And a very large part of that means being in control and completely aware of where your money is going, how it is being spent, and planning for your future. Stacy is the ticket that is going to help each one of us arrive at that point.

Take a moment to visit her website and download the Francis Financial White Paper Unveiling the Unspoken Truth: The Financial Challenges Women Face During and After Divorce.

Michelle: Stacy, thank you, so, so much for agreeing to be on the show. I am so incredibly grateful. I remember what a light, and what a sense of hope you gave me personally many, many years ago. And I was probably a typical woman where I was very naïve in the finances. I just assumed, well, my husband is the working guy, I’m the stay at home mom, I’m gonna leave everything up to him, and then during our divorce, thankfully you came into my life at the perfect timing, which I believe is at the beginning stages, and helped set me straight very, very quickly that I needed to get informed and fast, and you really helped me get organized.

Thank you so much for all of your help first of all. I’m so glad that we could come full circle, and now you’re helping the thousands of women in our community.

Can you tell me what inspired you to get into finance, specifically with women?

Stacy: Yeah, in fact I was just like you. Finances were not something that were really exciting to me. Nor was I really intimately involved, and I had an experience when I was actually quite young, my grandmother who is one of the most important people, one of the most important people in my life, and she grew up, I grew up watching her and not understanding how this amazing strong wonderful woman could stay in such a awful marriage. It was a verbally abusive marriage, and it was a physically abusive marriage. And something that a lot of people don’t talk about, it was also a financially abusive marriage, and through all of that brainwashing, she didn’t have the confidence in herself to leave.

And when I was about 20, I finally got the courage to ask her, ’cause we spent so much time together, “Why did she, why did you stay with grandpa? Grandma it makes no sense. He hits you.” And she said something that changed the trajectory of my life, and still does, and she told me she stayed, she dealt with all of the abuse, everything that was horrific because of money.

And it’s not, Michelle, it’s not that they had a lot of money, it was that she didn’t have the confidence in herself of how to deal with money, how to make decisions.

She thought that it was either staying in this awful marriage, or becoming a bag lady and living in a cardboard box.

And that’s what she thought her options were, and of course they weren’t.

We begged her to leave, but it showed me how strong that lack of understanding, and experience, and confidence … How strong an impact it can have on someone’s life. And that was the turning point where I decided that as scary and frightening as numbers, and math, and finances, and Wall Street, and all of those others words that you, you know, the list continues, that whether I liked it or not, I was going to have to learn this stuff.

And so I changed my degree, and ended up graduating. Ended up going to Wall Street in New York. I remember the first day showing up at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette as an investment banking analyst. I was the only woman out of 50 men. And I remember absolutely shaking in my boots, but I knew, I just knew I had no choice because otherwise I could end up like my grandma.

And it was through that experience of finance that I learned a lot, and I started to go to school at night to NYU. I started to take certified financial planning classes, and I fell in love with money.

I fell in love with learning about it, and the power that money can do to give women options. And you don’t have to take all of them, but money whether you like it or not, it gives you options in your life.

And so that’s where I realized as scary as it was going to be, at 27 I launched my own financial planning wealth management firm. Right before then I also launched Savvy Ladies, which is a charity that is my, it is my love letter to my grandmother.

I started it right after she passed away. Unfortunately, she passed away in part because of the abuse. And this was my way because I couldn’t save my grandmother, I wanted there to be a place for all women to go, all ages, all incomes, all backgrounds, all different situations. Single, married, not, doesn’t matter. A place where you can go without judgment to get savvy about money.

And so we’ve worked with now 20,000 women free of charge.

We have a wonderful helpline that women can work with a certified financial planner free of charge.

And my hope is that by giving women the tools, they can make better decisions for themselves, for their families, and it has such a trickle down effect, such a positive trickle down effect.

So that’s why I am so dedicated, so dedicated to working with women. And I love men, I’ve been with my husband now going on 20 years. I have an amazing son, and it’s not that I don’t love men. It’s just that I realize for a lot of women, we just haven’t had the experience, or the opportunity to learn about this stuff, and we really need this information.

Michelle: I love so many things about what you just said.

I think it’s not necessarily about leaving or staying, it’s about becoming an independent woman.

Stacy: Yes.

Michelle: Yeah, it’s becoming knowledgeable about the things that women have a responsibility for knowing about. And I know that a lot of women, particularly that are in abusive relationships, or in relationships like our women are, with partners who are suffering from addiction. Addiction is expensive, right?

Stacy: Mm-hmm.

Michelle: A lot of the partners that we love hide our finances from us intentionally.

And they can be very controlling because they don’t want us to know, or dip into their reserve that feeds their addiction. I love that you created a safe spot for women that, with there’s no judgment, where we can come in. I know with you, and I talk about this with my listeners, I’m dyslexic. I’m terrible at math. And I came to you and said, “Look, I know nothing and I don’t even feel comfortable doing equations.”

And you walked me through every step, and said, “No, no, no. Yes, you can. You absolutely can and I’m here for you and I’m going to show you how. And we’re going to get you through this.” And you came alongside of me, and every conversation we had you always said to me and it’s going to make me cry, but you said, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.” And when you’re in that kind of situation, you don’t hear that very often and you don’t necessarily believe that.

To have somebody that is particularly wiser than you in that topic, give you that hope, at the end of every conversation, it just meant the world to me. One thing you mentioned is with your grandmother. You said she was in a financially abusive marriage, and I love that you’re covering this topic. We cover it a little bit inside of our programs. Can you shed some light on that?

What is a financially abusive marriage? What does that look like?

Stacy: This is the dirty little secret that not many people talk about, and often what’s going on in their marriage they wouldn’t ever use the word abuse, but for many women that is really what is going on. If you have a spouse that is hiding things from you, not having you fully participate in the finances of the marriage, even though you have made it very clear that you would like to have more of a role, more knowledge, more understanding, more involvement, so that hiding is a problem.

You’re on a budget, and that budget might look like you have access to a joint account, where money is deposited on a weekly basis, and if you need more money to pay for food for the family, or clothes for the kids because it’s back to school, and you have to get all the back to school clothes, you then have to go ask your husband for more money.

If you are in a situation where things are being hidden from you.

You know about that joint account because you have access to it, but you don’t know, you don’t know the rest of the assets.

You’ve got no clue if he has a retirement plan, if he has outside assets, if he has a trust, if he has an account at Fidelity, or Schwab, or God forbid in the Bahamas. You have no knowledge of that, you’re being kept, you’re being kept in the dark.

If you’re being told by your husband, “No, I don’t want you to work”, even though you want to work. Or, “No, I don’t want you to do any consulting, or part-time work while the kids are at school. I want you home,” and it’s against your wishes.

There are so many very nuanced examples of what financial abuse is, but ultimately what financial abuse comes down to, and this might not be the medical definition, but the definition in my mind is if you’re not able to have 100% access, knowledge, and participation in the finances, if that’s something that you want, then you have a problem, and that’s potentially financial abuse.

Michelle: Thank you. Thank you for clarifying that because I think if we were all in a room together, a lot of women would be kind of raising their hands right now, saying, oh, I qualify under that category. I think it’s really important that you just helped educate us. We have women in our community who come from all different economic backgrounds.

Some women live paycheck to paycheck, and then we have some celebrities. We have some women who are married to very high profile very, very successful men. What would you say to women just as the basics of becoming financially independent? Where does she start? What does she need to know?

What are some tools that are needed to become financially independent?

Stacy: That’s a great question. And the first one is the most basic. The most basic is to understand where you’re spending your money, and what that looks like. And so, question, do you know where your money really is going?

Michelle: Like all of the money? The money coming in as well as the money being spent, correct?

Stacy: Exactly. Everything. That’s important because for you to be independent is for you to understand exactly where all the dollars are going. And for you, any woman, that means not only the rent or the mortgage, which is very clear, but it’s also those harder pieces to track. It’s the clothing, the drinks, the dining out. Here in the metro area it’s the taxicabs. There’s a lot that we don’t think about that’s really, really important that adds up over time.

Michelle: Okay, so what type of financial goals?

Once I gather all of the information, once I fill out exactly where the money is coming in, and where it’s going, what type of goals should I create for myself specifically if I am in this situation where I am thinking about a divorce?

I’m contemplating a divorce and I want to prepare myself for that. I want to become educated, so I know that I’m not like your grandmother. I don’t have that illusion that I’m going to be left out on the streets homeless.

Stacy: Exactly. Exactly. The biggest piece we just talked about, and that is understanding the finances because you can’t do planning without really knowing what it costs for your lifestyle, and if you have children for their lifestyle. The second thing is starting to open up the mail. Starting to take those shades off. Those, I don’t want to deal with the finances shades, and I know not everyone feels that way, but a lot of us, a lot of us we do the division of labor. He deals with the finances, you deal with all the other stuff.

Michelle: Yeah.

Stacy: And so take those shades off.

Start to get involved.

And that means understanding what your tax return looks like. Attending the meeting with your CPA. Understanding what all the pieces of your tax return, where the income is coming from? Where are the capital gains, and interest, and dividends coming from? And you can have a conversation with that accountant saying I’m really trying to get on top of things. Can you explain a little bit more about what all of this means?

The other thing you need to do is, need to start to look at where are your investments held?

Where are the bank accounts held? Where is the retirement plan? Was there a 401k that you had a long time ago when you were working? Maybe a 401k that your husband might have had from a previous employer? What about his current retirement plan?

And if your husband works in an area such as finance or technology, and is a highly compensated person, you have an even tougher job because you need to understand the total, the total executive package. And yes, of course there’s going to be a retirement plan, but for many of these people, they have things like restricted stock, stock options. Additional savings plans, where they might even be granted 20, 30, I’ve even seen $200,000 a year in stock of that company.

There are all these other things that you need to understand, and how do you find out that information? Well, you start to get savvy.

You start like I said opening the mail, looking for all the account statements. Also going on the computer, making sure that you can log into those accounts as well, that those passwords are out there, that you know how to use them. And also looking at his W2.

His W2 is something that he has to give to his accountant every year, and that lists all of the sources of compensation from work.

If he is self employed, you’ve got a bigger job. And if he’s self employed, then you need to essentially watch Sherlock Holmes, watch that movie, get some ideas, and take that sleuthing attitude towards better understanding how is he being compensated. And what we find, Michelle, often is we’ll see on a tax return that he might be making, let’s say $60,000, but you’re living a lifestyle, and your living costs may be $150,000, so how is that happening if you don’t have huge credit card debt?

Well, what’s happening is he’s most likely paying for a lot of these personal expenses for the family through his business, and that needs to be imputed income back to him, so that way you understand that, no, it’s not $60,000 that’s available to pay spousal support and child support. Most likely it’s closer to $150,000.

In fact maybe even more so based on what he might be running through the business. These are all things to think about. And there are some great articles out there to take a look at of how to prepare for divorce. The biggest piece is again getting crystal clear on the spending. And getting crystal clear on where all of those assets are.

And even if you’re not going to get divorced, or not sure if you’re going to get divorced. There’s no negative in doing this.

There’s no negative. And the thing you’ll find is that if you do move forward, you’re gonna move forward more confidently, more knowledgeably, and I can guarantee that your divorce will be less expensive because you’re not gonna have to pay an attorney to subpoena numerous financial institutions to cough up data about assets that you didn’t know about, and that can be very expensive. Instead, you’ll know. You’ll know.

Michelle: Right, it’s that whole sense of empowering women to get educated. I remember, it’s like following the breadcrumbs, right?

Stacy: Mm-hmm.

Michelle: It’s looking for the clues, and then creating the time, and the dedication to actually figure out where it’s all coming, and getting the whole picture. Getting all of the puzzle pieces to create the entire picture. I remember I started a war room. Literally, I mean for lack of a better word, where dedicated an entire room with a binder that had all of our financial documents, and just spent hours every day getting online, looking up all of the history, all of the accounts. Tracking everything.

And what I uncovered was there was so much more there than I thought there was.

I think some women might feel a little guilty, or a little deceitful. Sort of like they don’t have the right to this knowledge because they’re not the ones making the money, right? If their husbands were to find out they were snooping around, they might be upset or mad at them. Can you talk to that point about how we as women really do have the right to this information.

Stacy: Yeah, that’s actually a great, a great topic to talk about because there is that fear, and what … We’ve actually had situations where women have been questioned by their husbands of why now? Actually one woman was kind of putting together a stash of information, essentially her war room, but it was, they were still living together, and we talked about what do you say?

And every situation is different, but for her the route that she went that felt right, was she explained

“I’m worried that you’re going to leave me.”

“And if God forbid you leave me, what am I gonna do? I don’t even know what we have. I don’t know if the kids are going to be okay?” And then he’ll say, “Oh, honey, don’t worry. I’m never going to leave you, and of course I’m gonna make sure you’re okay.”

A man will tell you that he will make sure that you are okay, he will promise up and down no matter what, but when the blank hits the fan, funny enough the man you married is no longer the man standing in front of you. It’s often the exact opposite of what you’ve been told.

And so saying that, and saying, “I know, I know you’re telling me this, but I just, I realize I have to be part of this, and it’s really important for me to understand, to feel comfortable, to feel knowledgeable, to know that I can provide for the kids if God forbid you leave, if something happens to you, you get hit by a bus. I mean, I know that’s not most likely going to happen, but I hear these stories of women being left on their own. Whether the husband divorced them, or God forbid he died, and I don’t know what I would do.”

Michelle: So it’s not like this confrontational angry point of view, it’s a very compassionate and just logical explanation of why you’re doing it.

I love that ’cause it doesn’t raise any red flags, you know?

Stacy: It doesn’t. And you know what’s interesting? We have a lot of women who reach out to us that are not sure if they want to get divorced, but are scared and want to get more knowledgeable, to understand what might their life look like if that were to happen. And I will tell you half of those women do not move forward. They give their marriage a second try, and in some cases even a third try.

And the positive is, is that the more involved each party is in the finances, the better chance your marriage has of working.

Studies after study has shown that the number one reason why couples get divorced often have seeds in disagreements or concerns or fears about money. How it’s being handled, or not handled. The involvement, or not involvement. And fights about money are much more emotional, and have much more collateral damage than necessarily about other topics.

We interviewed 150 women. And about 50% said the spending behavior of their husband was a significant factor that led to their decision to get divorced.

Michelle: That’s really interesting. That’s huge.

Stacy: Yeah.

Michelle: Yeah.

Stacy: And it’s the feeling of lack of control. It could be that. And concern about themselves long term, but you know a lot of pieces that went into it that the women told us. But again the more involved you are with the money of your marriage, the more likely your marriage, the more likely your marriage will last.

Michelle: Right. And addiction is expensive, and I think a lot of us just kind of have a tendency, I know I did to have my head in the sand on how much this was costing our household per month.

When he was at rehab, I was in charge of the finances for the very first time, and I had to pay bills. I went into the checking account, and did just simple math. I added up all of the bar bills, the receipts from liquor stores. There was a DUI, so the cost of the lawyers. It was astounding.

It was really, really, a shocking number that I never would have imagined, and that was a huge eye opener to me, to help me understand, A, we have a big problem, and, B, I need to get more involved here, and, C, I am spending a budget of $100 a week to feed a family of five, and cutting coupons, and really trying to make do with very little, when thousands and thousands of dollars were being spent per month on drugs and alcohol.  And so that was a really big eye opener for me.

Would you suggest opening up a separate bank account for women?

Stacy: Yes.

Michelle: I know my mom always said put a little cash aside in a separate bank account. I never took her advice because I felt again very guilty, which was a mistake. Do you recommend that to women?

Stacy: You know I have my own separate bank account, and like I said I am probably the woman who loves divorce the most who is happy married, which is really interesting, but there’s no negative. And I have my own little separate bank account, and I’ve used it for different things. Probably about five years ago, my husband and I were having some tough times financially. We were not going to be able to go on vacation.

I surprised the family by saying, “Guess what guys? I have this separate account I’ve been adding $50 per paycheck for the last five years or so, and I really want to use this. We’re going to visit papa, and papa lives right by Disney World.” So I felt like a hero. It felt really important. It was my money too, which was really nice. And so there’s no negative.

If you’re in an unhappy marriage, I would say that separate bank account is even more important because that is going to be key for you to make sure that you have access to funds, to be able to have the people that you need to represent you to be your team.

And the biggest thing we heard from women that are thinking about, or going through divorce is they really valued having a team, and that team included a matrimonial attorney, a therapist, or a divorce coach, and a financial, someone that could help them, whether it was financial planner, or a CPA, an accountant, someone to help them really digest, and go through and understand all of the financials.

Also if you have accounts that, let’s say you only have one account that you’re in, that your name is on, the joint account, and you have no other accounts in your name, you really are putting yourself in financial jeopardy because your husband could very easily transfer out every single dollar and penny from that joint account without your permission.

Just as you could do that too, but often women are the ones that are surprised, that realize I have access to no funds, and guess where they’ve gone? They’ve gone into his account in his bank, and that’s a problem.

Even if it’s the same bank where you have that joint account, they cannot force him to transfer that money back.

Now ultimately you need to make sure that you have at least several thousand dollars. If you’re in a metro area and divorce is much more expensive, it needs to even be more than that. If you don’t have the right team, the right representation, you’re gonna be going into this severely disadvantaged.

Michelle: Okay. That’s really big advice. What if she is, ’cause we have some women who are actually the breadwinners of the family.

Stacy: Yes.

Michelle: They support the family, and their husbands have been fired, and probably due to their addiction, and are claiming to look for a job, but really sitting on the coach with beer. What would you say, what would you say to them?

What do they need to do to protect themselves if they are thinking about divorce or separation, or even just if they’re not really sure they want to leave, but they need that financial independence?

Stacy: They need to definitely be part of the finances. The tracking the money, where it’s going, how it’s being spent, to make sure that their assets are not being depleted because during your marriage, whoever makes that money, it’s the marriage of the money, so for example if he’s sitting on the couch eating Bonbons, and she’s out traveling six days a week, and getting home, and then less I’ve even had some women say, “And then I come home, and he tells me, he asks me what’s for dinner?”

I mean, it’s unbelievable the stories that you hear. How does God make these men? I don’t know.  But that money, all of the money that is being earned, and going into retirement, into her emergency fund, that is marital money, it is 50% his, so that’s something to think about.

Michelle: Interesting.

Stacy: Now the other thing a lot of our breadwinning women are having to deal with that they didn’t expect is paying spousal support to their husbands.

Because if he is not working, and he is at home taking care of the children, then he can very much be entitled to spousal support, and we’re seeing more and more women on the hook for having to pay spousal support to their ex-husband, and that is one of the most painful frustrating things that women are finding themselves stuck with. And it does make sense, right?

Just as if she’s staying home and watching the kids, there can’t be an okay for her, but not for him. But women also need to understand that if you’re making the decision as a family for your husband to stop looking for work, and to actually become a house husband and look after the kids, you are also taking on the responsibility of potentially paying him spousal support, and child support if things don’t work out.

Michelle: Wow. If he is, let’s just say there are no kids, or she’s caring for the kids in addition to working, and he is not showing any real effort to look for a job. I mean, he might be doing lip service to that, but let me ask you a question, is it reasonable to put him on an allowance, to give him a debit card?

Can you remove him off of bank accounts temporarily until he can prove that he’ll be financially responsible? Or he gets employment?

Or is that? Is that not possible legally?

Stacy: You can do that. I mean, you can do anything you want in your marriage. You may not agree, and he may not agree to that. And that could be part of the stepping down the road to divorce. But I think what you’re talking about is really important to start to understand if he is meant to be working, and he’s not working, documenting that, and showing that you know what? You’re getting home after a 12 hour day, and then you’re packing lunches, you’re making dinner. All of these things that he should be doing is going to be important.

The other piece that you talked about before, being married to an addict is very expensive, and I saw this with my grandfather. He was an alcoholic, my grandfather that I was referring to, and thousands upon thousands, upon thousands of dollars went towards gambling, and went towards buying alcohol, and bars, and things like that.

And that is important for you to track down to the penny because that is something you can talk to your lawyer about, to say does this qualify for dissipation of assets, money that have gone towards drugs, or alcohol, or gambling, or prostitutes, or girlfriends.

That’s marital money, martial money that should be used for the support of the family, so that is really important and key as part of your looking at the budget, to understand how expensive is this addiction? And how much is it draining the financials of our marriage?

Michelle: That is genius advice. I absolutely adore that. It’s just being smart and prepared, even if you don’t have to use it. Just log it, and document it because you’re right. When I was going through my divorce, I needed to document everything. I wish I had started planning a little bit earlier because it would have made my case a lot stronger. And I would have come out a little bit better in the financial picture. So I love this.

Thank you so much for sharing all of this wealth of information. I chose you, Stacy, because I know that you have such a heart. And your heart is on fire for women and helping the underserved. You’re just a huge advocate.

Is there anything that you think I should be asking you that I haven’t touched on?

Stacy: The piece I would talk about is, we’ve talked about, number one, understanding your spending, and most of the people on this call have the skills to figure that out. I want to give you the tool of Mint.com. Mint.com is a free resource, you can link your checking accounts, your savings accounts, your credit cards, and it’s going to actually categorize all your spending for you to make it a little easier.

The second thing is understanding where all your money is, and where it’s invested. You can actually link that up into Mint.com too. It would be a great opportunity for you then to see everything together. It’s a great opportunity for you and your husband to see where everything is all together.

And then the third thing is, is to start to get involved with the long term financial decision making. This is where we’ve found the women who we interviewed had the least amount of experience. Many of them paid the bills and did the budget, but very few were solely responsible or actively involved with the long term investing, and decision making with their portfolio.

As a gift I’m going to be giving a wonderful questionnaire that you can fill out.

It was actually created by Vanguard, which is one of my favorite companies in the world because they are low cost. I am a big believer of low cost investments because the more expensive an investment, the harder it is to make money, right? That makes sense. But this is a fantastic easy questionnaire that you can do in no joking probably ten minutes, maybe even if you’re fast five, and it’s going to tell you what type of portfolio do you need.

What percentage of U.S. stocks, what percentage of International stocks, what percentage of bonds, what percentage of cash. And it will tell you then how to implement it. This is really powerful, and it will help you to start to get involved with your investment portfolio because I will tell you even if you stay married for the rest of your life, there is going to be at some point that you’re going to be on your own because most likely unfortunately your husband is going to pass away before you do.

Even if you have that knight in shining armor, you need to know how to make these decisions.

And if you have a financial advisor, that’s fantastic. Make sure you’re going to those meetings. And if he or she is talking in a language that you do not understand, it is not their problem, not your problem, it is their problem. And so make sure that they talk in a way that you understand.

Just as when I go to the doctor, I don’t know if this has ever happened to you? Michelle, I had a, so I had a lump in my breast a year ago, and went, did all the radiology, and the doctor was using all these terms, and I had no clue. And no one judges me for not understanding what the doctor is saying, right? No one is going to judge me for that. And so I felt very comfortable saying, “What you’re saying makes no sense to me, am I okay? Or not?” Right?

Michelle: Right.

Stacy: But somehow we judge ourselves if a financial advisor, or someone we assume might be smarter about finances than us is talking to us, and we don’t understand. We go to, oh, there’s something wrong with us, right? That is not acceptable.

It is their problem if they cannot explain it in a way that makes sense to you. It’s not about you.

Just as if a doctor is telling you a diagnosis, and you don’t understand, you’re going to ask them to clarify. Really important, you need to do the same thing also with those investments.

And if you don’t have an investment manager, that’s okay. Go to Savvy Ladies. SavvyLadies.org, you will find hundreds of TED Talk-like videos that give you information on anything you need. On top of it you can work with one of the volunteer certified financial planners. This is what makes them excited, being able to help women who maybe couldn’t necessarily work with a financial advisor.

That really if I, in my opinion need that help even more so, because my grandmother would have been one of those women, and she would not necessarily have been able to qualify to work with an advisor who had a million dollar minimum. But my God, if there had been a Savvy Ladies, that is my hope, is that, that something like this, this non-profit could have helped her.

Michelle: Wonderful. That’s so wonderful. Thank you, Stacy. I’m going to link to that questionnaire on our website, on the podcast show notes as well. I think it’s incredibly well done and very helpful.

And so if you are listening, even if you feel like you feel you have your financials in order and in line, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this because it’s very well done.

Stacy: Well, thank you. Thank you.

Michelle: Well, I am so incredibly grateful that you were willing to take the time to talk to our women, and again for being such a pivotal resource for me personally many years ago. Thank you again, and I hope that you can come on again sometime soon.

Stacy: I would love to. I mean, I could talk to you about so many …

Michelle: I know, right?

Stacy: So many different things that we as women need to be doing, and even what we need to be teaching our children. I mean there’s just, there’s so much. This is a, this is a really important topic. I am just so happy that you are covering it because it’s … When you think about the foundation of life, and the peg stool that we all stand upon, finances, it’s one of those pegs.

And it’s the one that many of us feel least prepared for and least confident in.

Michelle: Right?

Stacy: Yeah.

Michelle: And what a perfect time to be a woman in finance. I feel like there’s movement going on right now where women are really expressing the desire, and the urge to be able to stand on their own, be independent, be educated, give themselves a voice, demand to sit at the table. It’s just a great, it’s a great time to be a woman, and it’s a great time to be a leader of women, so thank you again. I really appreciate, and I would love to talk so much more, so we’ll definitely have you on the show again.

Stacy: Well, thank you. Thank you.

Michelle: Thank you, Stacy. Bye-bye.

Stacy: Bye.

Michelle: Ah. I just loved that interview. I loved every single minute of it. And I love when we find women in our world who are helping and dedicated to raising up other women. That is definitely Stacy Francis. How do you find her? She’s located in New York, but you don’t have to be in New York to access her services. You can find her at FrancisFinancial.com. Check out Savvy Ladies, and do not forget to take her quiz.

You can go to our website and download that quiz. Or you can look in your show notes, but please make sure to fill it out. I know you will, and you wanna know how I know you will? Because you are a woman who is not willing to settle. The reason you listen to this podcast, the reason why you’re part of our community is because you have a strong desire to improve your life, to improve yourself.

You have a strong desire to gain the knowledge that it’s going to take to improve your future.

And can I remind you that not every woman out there feels that way? Some women are stuck, and very, very comfortable in their pain, but you are different. You’re willing to take a look at what is really going on in your life, and be unwilling to settle. You are willing to take charge of all of the things you’re responsible for. And I am so proud of you for doing that. I’m here to remind you, like Stacy did for me years ago, this is happening to you for a reason. A very special and wonderful reason. And you will be okay.

Everything that you’re going through right now, it will turn out okay. It will be better than okay. Your future is going to be wonderful. I know mine did. We just have to be willing to gain the knowledge that these wonderfully huge leaders are offering us like Stacy. And we have to be willing to apply it into our life, and then everything will start to change. It takes work, but I am here cheering you on.

I am your biggest fan, and I am here with women like Stacy saying you can get through this. We’ve got you.

I love every one of you. Thank you so much for listening to this. Thank you for subscribing to the podcast, and making us in the top 5%.  That is amazing. And thank you for passing on this podcast and our community, and sharing it with your friends and family, and other women who are in the world that are feeling lonely, and scared, and need encouragement and love that we offer here. I’ll talk to you next week.

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