If you need proof that you don’t have to live for eternity with money fears, Mary Beth Storjohann – founder of Workable Wealth – is that proof. After landing a job in a boutique financial planning firm at age 18, she turned her negative money beliefs on their head and changed her major. Known for her tech-savvy, fun and compassionate approach to financial planning, Mary Beth brings it back to the basics for her Gen Y clients. She is a proud military spouse and lives with her husband, Brian, and their two rescue dogs, in San Diego
What initially drew you to this profession?
I grew up with a lot of uncertainty, fear and confusion around money – I learned about the problems money can cause early on.
At age 18, I headed off to college with negative feelings and money beliefs. Having to pay my own way through school, I got a position in a boutique financial planning firm. It was there that I began to see that I wasn’t the only one with money fears and confusion! And not only that – here was a whole industry helping them get organized and gain confidence.
In that job, I learned what having control of your money, instead of letting it control you, really means.
How do you approach financial planning and why?
I’m shaking up traditional financial planning by making it fun, affordable, and accessible.
I work with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s across the country to help them get on the right financial track. I leverage technology to help them to make smart, educated decisions with their money and get confident in their financial lives.
I start every relationship by getting down to the basics. I follow an educational approach with my clients to help them understand their goals, the steps that will get them on track and the action plan we create.
How can financial planning lead to greater well-being overall?
Financial planning gets you into the habit of understanding what is going on with your money.
By creating more awareness of your spending and savings habits, you are more likely to question whether your actions are truly aligned with your values. For example – if your goal is to travel, is this reflected in your spending? Or, are you spending more money on possessions you may not value as much in the long-term?
Please, tell us about the last major risk you took.
Starting Workable Wealth was by far the biggest risk I’ve ever taken and I’m so glad that I did.
Being a business owner before the age of 30 can be a scary thing, but following my passion and being able to build something based upon my beliefs and values has been huge!
Why do you think there are so few women in this profession and what needs to happen for this to change?
It’s well-known that this is a male-dominated industry and it can be hard when you’re trying to break into a “boys club.” In reality though – women excel in this industry. Our listening and relationship management skills make us well suited to deal with the emotions and concerns our clients have.
When I speak with college students about career paths, many of the women who want to get into this industry are aware of the benefits of owning their own businesses, being able to service and help others while simultaneously having work/life balance.
The industry needs to do more to promote the relationship side of this business – instead of focusing on the sales aspect – in order to attract more women.
What’s your ideal work environment?
I run my practice out of my home and I love it. But, I have so much fun when I pack up my “office” and head to a coworking space for the day. There’s something refreshing and energizing about sharing a space with other entrepreneurs who are working to run a successful business or start-up and working side-by-side with other creatives.
What does success mean to you?
Success means having clients who are grateful for the work I’ve done and who are now on the right financial track for them.
Success is also being able to head to pilates at 2pm because I make my own hours. It’s about being able to live the kind of life I desire along with flexibility for travel and time with friends and family – all while pursuing my business goals.
Mary Beth will be rolling out an online newlywed money bootcamp later this year. You can check it out here.