Leisa Peterson is a “pioneer in money mindfulness.” Having spent more than 20 years working at some of the biggest financial institutions in the country, Leisa embarked upon an entrepreneurial journey to connect money management with spirituality. Her company, WealthClinic, helps people to unravel their (sometimes limiting) money beliefs in order to take control of their financial lives.
An innovator herself, Leisa believes that the financial industry is “ripe for women to re-invent this business in a way that offers innovative, cost-effective and client-centric money management solutions.”
What initially drew you to this profession?
I obtained my MBA in finance in the early 90’s. I wanted to become financially independent and I figured that the best way to make that happen would be to understand money and finance. I worked in property and casualty insurance as well as life insurance before taking a marketing position with Wells Fargo in 1998. Since then I’ve worked in just about every area of personal finance and so it was a natural progression to become a financial advisor.
How do you approach financial planning and why?
My new company – WealthClinic – represents a collection of all of my favorite passions; education, money and mindfulness. I recently left my advising position to focus on teaching people how to step back from thinking about money management exclusively as a mathematical equation.
Instead we talk to people, first and foremost, about the psychology, physiology, sociology and mindfulness of money. These discussions are eye opening and allow participants to penetrate their own deeply personal money ‘veil.’ By looking at money with greater objectivity, people become open to suggestions, tools and strategies for changing their relationship with money by gaining clarity of their purpose and goals in life. Once a client finishes one of our workshops they find the process of investing and planning for their future much more meaningful as it supports who they really are.
Why do you think there are so few women in this profession and what needs to happen for this to change?
Financial advising can be a tough area for women to break into. There are many barriers including the amount of time it can take to build a successful business. I had never before worked in a profession where men were such a dominant force and I found it disappointing that there weren’t more women, to say the least.
The industry’s traditional, patriarchal approach is not always an environment in which women can thrive. That may cause many to “throw in the towel” early on.
But I think the industry is ripe for big changes. More-and-more consumers are looking for lower cost and more flexible options than ever before, especially as their returns are going down. I think the time is ripe for women to re-invent this business in a way that offers innovative, cost-effective and client-centric money management solutions.
Do you have any favorite finance apps?
Several of my clients love Mint.com. I finally got an iphone (after using Blackberry for many years) and am just starting to try new apps.
Do you have a personal favorite financial pearl of wisdom to share with the GoGirl Finance community?
Be fully informed about anything you invest or put your money into.
The industry is filled with advisors who are good at telling you what to do, but you need to make your own decisions. When a product is too difficult to understand, don’t buy it. Annuities are a product that you have to be very careful with due to their complexity.
Ask a lot of questions of your advisor and ensure that they are thorough in their answers. Getting in-depth answers to your questions will help you decide if a product is a good one for you. It is your money so you are the one who should always make the final decision. Finally, be sure to work with an advisor who gives you all sides of the story – the good, the bad and the ugly – and, not just what you want to hear.
For you, what’s easy to justify splurging on?
Travel with my family!
What does success mean to you?
Visit Leisa online at her website, WealthClinic.