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Women and Money with Kara Duckworth


If you’re a woman, but especially if you’re a man, the latest episode of the Science of Economic Freedom podcast, “Women and Money: The Kara Duckworth Interview,” is a must.

Why especially if you’re a man? Well, because if you’re a man, you likely have women in your life that you love. Whether it’s a wife, girlfriend, mother, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, etc., you have women in your life you cherish, care about, and likely feel responsible for.

Yet to help the women in your life address money issues, you must be aware that, generally speaking, women view money and finances differently than men do. This is not just my thesis, it’s the thesis of one of the smartest women in the wealth management business, Kara Duckworth of Mercer Advisors.

Kara has an impressive background that includes professional designations such as Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. Yet perhaps more impressive is Kara’s ability to clearly explain some of the most important issues specific to women and money.

Topics covered in this podcast include:

  • Why women are no longer a “niche” market when it comes to money and investing.
  • The four “personas” of women when it comes to money and investing, and how Kara has experienced each first hand.
  • The critical need for women to be prepared for unexpected, life-changing events.
  • Why women tend to focus on life goals vs. percentage returns.
  • The importance of knowing the “why” of investing, and understanding the nuts and bolts of balance sheets, cash flow, investment strategies and estate planning.
  • The importance of cyber security, passwords and communication between spouses.
  • Why it’s critical that women (and men) understand their personal risk profiles, and why risk changes with new life circumstances.
  • How men can approach the “hard conversations” about money that so many people tend to avoid.

Doug: When it comes to money, how are women different than men? Guys, have you had a successful money conversation with your moms, daughters, and spouses? Today’s show is all about women and finances, with our special guest, Kara Duckworth.

Announcer: The Science of Economic Freedom is intended as an investor education resource. The views and opinions expressed on this program should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any specific security. Consult your investment advisor and read any investment perspectives carefully before making any changes to your investment portfolio..

This program is sponsored by Mercer Advisors. Mercer Global Advisors Inc is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delivers all investment-related services. Mercer Advisors Inc is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc and is not involved with investment services.



Doug: Welcome to The Science of Economic Freedom. I’m your host Doug Fabian. This podcast is all about helping you achieve your financial dreams. We call that economic freedom. This program is about your journey to achieve economic freedom for yourself and your loved ones. Today we want to help you identify your next step on that journey.

A few announcements before we get into today’s podcast. If you’re looking for current market commentary, please check out the bonus episodes of The Science of Economic Freedom. We now have a web page with a complete list of all podcasts by category, including the bonus episodes. You can access that complete list from the home page by clicking on the Podcast in the menu bar.

Remember, if you’re new to The Science of Economic Freedom, sign up to become a VIP member and listen to the first 11 shows in sequence, for they are the fundamentals of economic freedom.

This is Episode 23. We have a special show today, an interview with Kara Duckworth. It’s a show all about women and finances. Now, before all you guys tune out, let me tell you why this show is a must-listen for everyone.

All of us guys have women in our lives. We have wives, moms, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, women we love, women we care about deeply, women we feel responsible for. For me, this includes my wife, my sisters, and my daughters.

Now take a moment and think about the women in your life. Now, are you communicating with these women on money as effectively as you can? Maybe yes, maybe no. Women view money and finances differently than we do. This show will help you do a better job of communicating, mentoring, and preparing the women in your life for the management of their finances.

Joining me on the podcast today is Kara Duckworth. Kara is a client advisor at Mercer Advisors, and she has been providing comprehensive wealth management services to high net worth clients since 1998. In addition to her role as a client advisor, Kara leads Mercer Advisors’ Invest Hers initiative, focused on providing customized financial planning to serve the specific needs of women, and working to increase the number of female professionals at our firm.

Prior to joining Mercer Advisors, she was a Principal and Chief Compliance Officer at Duckworth Wealth Advisors. She’s a certified financial planner, certified divorce financial analyst, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix, and is a member of the Financial Planning Association. Kara, welcome to the Science of Economic Freedom podcast.

Kara: Thank you, Doug. I’m delighted to believe you.


Woman and money: Kara’s background

Doug: Now, Kara, before we get into the subject of the day, just a little bit more background on you if you don’t mind, how did you get into this business?

Kara: Well, Doug, I’m a second-generation wealth manager. I actually built a business with my father. The financial services industry, as you know, is largely male-dominated. You may see many companies that have father-son combinations, but not many that are father-daughter.

I became interested in investing while working for the Walt Disney company in their direct investment plan. My dad is a CPA and he was starting a wealth management firm, which I joined at its founding. We built a successful business together, and I would like to say that we still like each other even after working together every day for 20 years, which I think we’re both pretty proud of.

Our firm was acquired by Mercer Advisors in April of 2017, and my practice has grown even further and deeper since then.


Women are not a niche

Doug: That’s awesome. Now, Kara, you have had many client relationships with families, I’m sure, as most advisors have. But you have put in more time with women than most advisors. Talk to us about that.

Kara: My client base does have many female clients, both single women and women with their spouses and families. My father’s CPA firm specialized in litigation support for family law. He was the expert witness that was called to consult when clients were going through a divorce.

Because of the family law focus, we naturally developed an expertise with divorced clients, many of whom are women because, traditionally, the husband would keep the business and the wife would have more liquid assets after the divorce. This is changing now, of course, with so many women being business owners and being the primary breadwinners in their family.

I also have many clients where I work with their entire family, and the focus with those women is that they want to be ready to handle their finances on their own in the future when and if they need to, and that they want to make sure that their children or grandchildren are prepared for their future inheritances.

I think the important thing, Doug, to realize about women is that they are not a niche in the financial industry despite what you may hear in the media or in advertising. We women make up more than 50% of the workforce now, and we make more than 80% of the consumer purchases in the united states. We control $5 trillion of the investable assets by ourselves, and jointly control another 6 trillion with our spouses and partners.

Given our longer lives, we stand to inherit some $29 trillion in the coming decades, which is quite a staggering number. Women who have the money, they need to own their money, and my job is to help them do that effectively and efficiently.


The women with money Kara works with

Doug: Now, there are unique personas of women that you work with. Talk to us about that.

Kara: There are. I would say that there are four main categories, and each one of these personas have their own specific financial planning needs.



The first is the breadwinner, women who own businesses, are career-focused, and have complex needs around taxes, stock options, and business consulting.


Stay-at-home wife and mom

The second is the stay-at-home wife and mom, and these women mainly need to continue how they’d continue their lifestyle if something were to happen to their spouse, focus on income planning, disability planning, and estate planning.


Divorced women

The third category is divorced women who need consulting on reestablishing their financial lives. They need financial planning on things like cash flow and investments, and they may also need family office services like bill payment or setting up a home office or exploring how they want the rest of their lives to look.



And last, given that women typically outlive their spouses, we serve a lot of widows. Widows have a unique need for wealth management in that they now may be managing trusts, planning for future heirs, long-term care needs, all while they’re dealing with some difficult and painful emotions.


Kara’s personal experience

My own personal experience actually covers all these personas. I was raised by an awesome stay-at-home mom, and I watched how my parents handled their finances and their partnership. As we discussed, I’ve got a great deal of experience in the area of divorce planning. I have my own professional career, and, quite unexpectedly, I was a widow at the age of 34.

It’s because of that experience, Doug, that I’m so committed to making sure that women are fully invested in their own financial lives. We all think we know what’s going to happen in our lives, but life can change in an instant.

In my case, I was 31, I’d been married just over a year, and my late husband and I were happily planning to start a family. We thought we’d covered everything. We had a career plan for both of us worked out, a good handle on our finances. We talked about how we were going to deal with our parents getting older, what we wanted to spend our retirement years doing, pretty much looking forward to all the things that our life together was going to bring.

And then I got a phone call that my very healthy husband had a seizure while running up a hill for exercise, and then at the hospital, I heard two sentences that changed everything in an instant. “I’m so sorry. Your husband has terminal brain cancer.”

For the next two years, I juggled caregiving, health insurance battles, grieving, and working full time, since I knew I needed to be able to support myself in the future. It was really difficult to deal with all the financial issues involved. Even for me as a financial professional and someone who spoke that language, it was so hard to do under such emotional stress.

And then, after he passed away, I had a lot of work to do to redefine who I was by myself and finding a joyful life going forward. Can’t imagine how a woman who is not knowledgeable at her own financial affairs would be able to deal with the stress of losing a partner, and then moving forward in a positive manner, and I want to make sure that our clients are empowered and secure in their future no matter what it may bring.

Doug: Well, Kara, that is quite a story, and I wanted to say thank you for sharing that story with us, and I can tell that you’re just a fantastic asset for our firm and for all the women in the audience, and I want everyone to know that there’s a lot of work that is going on behind the scenes that Kara’s going to leading relative to women and money. But, again, Kara, thank you for sharing your personal story.

Kara: Thanks, Doug, I appreciate that.


Women and money vs. men and money

Doug: Kara, talk to us about how women think about money, and how this is different than the way men think about money.

Kara: I don’t think it’s any surprise that women definitely think about money differently than men. In my view, women view money as a way to reach goals and not necessarily just as investing or wanting to beat the market, which is more of a generally male mindset, I would say.

If I tell a female client that a particular investment strategy has the potential to outperform the market, it’s not likely to be very compelling to her. But if I can put it in context in her life goals, like, this strategy should allow you pay for your grandchild’s private school tuition, or make it possible to take your entire family on a dream vacation, that’s probably going to be far more meaningful to her than just seeing an extra 1% return on a performance report.

I would say, for women, financial independence is power. It’s the power to live our lives on our terms, let’s say power to start a business or to make a career switch to decide to stay home with children or taking care of aging parents.

It’s the power to decide to go back to school to get an advanced degree or maybe to explore a nontraditional job, but it’s also the power to leave a bad marriage, decide to become a single parent, to travel, to support a charitable cause in a meaning way, or to retire early, maybe even on a beach somewhere.

I believe that only when women are truly secure in our finances can we fully live our lives, and that’s what our goal is.


What and why do women need to know about money?

Doug: So let’s talk specifically to the women in the audience. What do they need to know about money, and maybe most importantly, why do they need to know it?

Kara: Doug, I think you make a good point there. Really what I think we need to focus on is the why. You meet with your financial advisor and they’ll probably tell you things like, we need to update your balance sheet, or we want to look at your cash flow, or I need to see your tax returns.

The best thing that you can do, I think, to understand what it is that you’re trying to accomplish with your financial life is to understand why you need to know those things.


Why do you need a balance sheet?

For instance, with a balance sheet. Why does it matter? Well, in the first place, I think you need to write everything down. Most people are surprised when they write down all of the assets that they have about how much they really own, and how successful they’ve been, and keeping track of it on an annual basis will help you keep track of the growth and see if things are on track to what it is that you wanted to achieve.

Doug: Kara, let me add to that, we’ve obviously talked a lot about balance sheets here on the podcast. I’ve done a podcast episode on balance sheets, I’ve got a special report at the, and it has a forum on how to create a balance sheet.

But a balance sheet is an inventory of all your stuff, and if I could reinforce one particular important aspect of a balance sheet, is you also want to have an inventory of all of your accounts, your account numbers, know where these things are.

Imagine if you were faced with a fire that was near your home and you had to evacuate, or there were some other sort of natural disaster. We’re certainly seeing that around the world these days. You want to be able to have this important information in one place so you could take it with you and still be able to access all of your stuff in an emergency.


Why do you need to focus on cybersecurity?

Also, one of the things that is a threat to our families these days is cybersecurity. So if you could comment just a moment, because most of us are accessing our accounts online and we’re using passwords, what’s some of the best practices that we might use relative to the handling of our accounts on our balance sheet and our use of passwords, especially between a husband and a wife, a couple?

Kara: You’re absolutely right that passwords are such an important thing to know. Oftentimes we sort of divide and conquer. One person may pay the bills, another person handles the investments, and if you need to be able to get to a bank account to pay the mortgage, let’s say, in an emergency, or you need to be able to look at the balance on an investment account, you need to be able to communicate to each other what those passwords are.

But you don’t want to just leave them sitting on the…written down on a notepad on the kitchen table, where anybody coming by could see them, so usually I recommend that people have either a specific notebook or maybe they have a sheet in their estate planning documents that they’ve written down all their passwords, and then they put it in a home safe or someplace that’s secure but still accessible.

The other thing I think you need to remember is, once you’ve written them down once, that’s great, but every 60 days or 90 days it seems like you’re constantly getting prompted for an update to your password. Make sure that, when you do, that you’ve updated those questions because an outdated password list is no help to anybody.


What women  should pay attention to regarding their money

Kara: I think women really want to make sure that they understand what their cash flow is. Sometimes it’s the dreaded “budget” word that nobody likes to hear, but what we’re really trying to accomplish when we’re looking in cash flow is that you’re spending your money consistent with what it is that you value.

Yes, we’re trying to make sure that you’re measuring it so that you can achieve your goals and you’re not spending too much, but I really think, for women in particular, looking at that as a tool to express your financial values is important.

Do you really want to travel the world, but when you look at your cash flow, most of your spending is going into a house that you really don’t want to live in? Well, that’s time to reconsider and reevaluate what your cash flow is telling you in terms of what you want your financial life to look like.


Tax returns

Doug: Talk to us about the tax return, something we all seem to worry about once a year, but really we should be talking about and thinking about that process a little more often.

Kara: Most definitely, and I think there’s a lot of things, particularly if you’re signing a joint tax return, that maybe one of the partners may have been more involved in preparing it and the other one just signs it as it’s put in front of them, there’s some things that I think you really need to look at.

You do need to understand what is on your tax return, mostly because it’s just a good check to make sure you realize where all of your income sources are. As you noted, Doug, if you’ve got lots of accounts, making sure they’re all included, because nobody likes getting the IRS letter in the mailbox.

But really what you’re doing when you sign a tax return is you are declaring that you are responsible for everything that is on it and the tax owed. Even if it’s a joint tax return, you are responsible for 100% of the tax liability and all the information that is on it, so you don’t want to just sign something withing taking the time to review it.


Where assets are held

Doug: Now, many times, and I’ve seen this throughout my career, that a family ends up with an account at one company, an account at another company. This was really prevalent back in the days when mutual funds were quite a popular investment and they weren’t aggregated together under a brokerage account where people had assets everywhere.

So this does somewhat tie back to the balance sheet, but also about where assets are held and people worry about custodians and the like, but what kind of coaching do you have for us relative to the custodial relationships that people have with their money?

Kara: I definitely think that you want to make sure that you’re aware of where all of the accounts are, both because you want to make sure that you’re including them all on your balance sheet in your cash flow if it’s something that produces income or if you’ve got an IRA that you need to make sure that you’re taking a required minimum distribution from.

You want to make sure you know what those balances are and when you need to do with them. You want to make sure that, if there’s a taxable event, if it’s something paying interests and dividends, that you’ve included that on your tax return, but then I think you also want to consider it for estate planning purposes.

How many times have you heard that someone was cleaning out their mom or dad’s house and that they found, tucked in the back in some drawer, that there were all of these stock certificates and nobody has any idea how long they’ve been there or what the cost basis is, or were they in a brokerage account and these have just now been deposited? No one has any idea what it is that they’re supposed to do with them.

So those are really the things that you want to make sure that you’ve got lists of and that you’re actively keeping track of, both in your own financial affairs, and particularly if you’re working on aging parents, that’s something, if you’re going to be tasked with being the successor trustee or the executor of an estate, that you have a good handle on.


Investment strategy, risk, and asset allocation

Kara: I think that the interesting thing when you’re looking at how women invest, and this goes back a bit to the goals and how women evaluate risk as a measure of those goals. If you’re looking at your investment strategy and you think that there’s something that you really want to do that’s really important to you, women tend to look at it in terms of, would I be willing to risk giving up this important goal in order to achieve a little higher return, or am I fine with getting this return because it gets me to my goal?

That’s where I really think that women need to be involved in their investment decisions and really understand the risk profile of what it is that they’re invested in, because that does have a huge factor in achieving the goals that you’ve set out.


Money management questions women should ask

Doug: Add a little bit more color to that, Kara, just in terms of questions that women should ask in terms of their investment strategy or risk. One of the things that we have a tendency to focus on as advisors in this business, you and I, is asset allocation. So what are the questions that should be asked relative to investment strategy, risk, and asset allocation?

Kara: I think that really what you want to make sure that you’ve discussed with your advisor and going forward is that they understand what you’re trying to achieve and what you’re comfortable with.

There are a lot of conversations with your advisor that just need to be had around your goals. Most people seem to think that you can just pick a single investment strategy at one point in your life, and that’s going to get you all the way through retirement, and don’t take into consideration, well, when you start to…maybe you start working less as you get close to retirement, maybe as you get older you’re going to get an inheritance, and so this money that you’ve saved in this account isn’t really going to be needed for income in retirement, so maybe you have a charitable intent now for it or you want to do something maybe a little more aggressive with that because you’d like to have it grow and be given to a younger generation.

The keys for me, I think, on investment strategy, are to really not set it and forget it. That’s something that you need to be actively involved in as your life changes, as you get married, as you have a child, as you’re considering starting a business or buying a home. Those are all investment strategy decisions and conversations that need to be had with your advisor or when you’re doing your own planning, because that formulates what the best asset allocation mix could be.


Plan for going forward

Kara: Going forward plans, to me, are about being able to describe effectively where you want to head towards. You can’t really, I think, do effective financial planning, effective investing, without knowing what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. That saying about goals have to be specific and measurable or they’re just a wish.

So what we want to do is have an idea of what it is that we’re trying to accomplish, and acknowledge that those things are going to change all the time. There may always be one goal that is the anchor, but maybe you decide that our plan was to have a beach house when we retire, and then you realize that you really don’t like the weather at the beach, it’s too cloudy for May and June, so maybe you’d rather have a desert home, and that changes the parameters of how you’re going to invest or what the prices are that are going to be there. But you know that you want to have a second home, and that’s what it is that we are trying to accomplish.

So, I think being able to have a vision conversation with your advisor or your spouse or whoever it is you’re doing the planning with, that really is an important thing to be able to articulate.

Doug: Well, there are certainly also milestones that come along in someone’s life, and you can look at this… I’ve done a number of podcasts for people who are in their 30s or 40s or 50s. You can do it on an age continuum like that, or you could also do it, you know, when you’re looking at, well, when should I take Social Security? When am I going to retire? When am I going to start taking my required minimum distributions?

80 is another key age milestone for people. Things are going to start to change for them when you move into your 80s. So, do you advise and recommend that people look at those kind of milestones?

Kara: Absolutely, and I think there are some things that happen in everyone’s life. Age, obviously, is a good marker, but there are also, I think, just some life events that happen that should generate conversations when you’re thinking about getting married, the kinds of conversations you should have with your future spouse, when you’re thinking about if you have children, or if you get divorced, or if you decide that you want to make a major charitable contribution and how you’re going to structure that.

Those are all different things that happen at different times in your life that prompt some good conversations, I think, both between your advisor and also between your family members so that you can share what your values are and what you’re thinking.


Estate planning

Doug: And then, lastly in this round-up of important subjects that women need to know about relative to money and the why behind them, we have the estate plan.

Kara: The estate plan is a critical component for things that you want to make sure that you’ve shared. I think there’s a couple of ways to think about that. It’s important that you’ve established your own estate plan so that you’re very aware of how you want your own assets to be distributed and what the plans are, and making sure that you’ve communicated that with the people that you expect to be your executor or your successor trustee.

I also strongly encourage people to not only have the estate plan document listed, but if there are specific decisions that you’ve made that you feel like you want to explain… For instance, let’s say you have three children and you’ve elected to give one of them a particular family heirloom that you know maybe was very valuable, but you’ve decided you want to give it to one specific child because they have a particular affection for it or a plan for it, but you certainly don’t want to have any hard feelings between any members of your family—that’s one of the things that I hear most commonly that people are concerned about when they do estate planning—we can set the terms and make sure things happen that they’re going to do financially, but they’re always worried about, I want everyone to still get along and still cooperate as a family, and oftentimes that doesn’t happen, there are fights about money or specific slights that maybe someone would feel, so if you can provide some context around some of the softer side of the decisions that you made, I think that that’s important.


Conversations to have

And then I also think that you want to make sure that, if you do have aging parents, that you have talked with them about their estate plan and what their expectations are of you. I realize that that’s sometimes a hard conversation to have, and maybe your parents are private and don’t want to discuss it.

Maybe a tip on an easy way to bring that up would be if you just finished your own estate planning or you’ve documented some of these particular things about your wishes, is to be able to say to your mom, “Mom, I just went all through this because I wanted to make sure that my kids understand A, B, and C, and this is what I wanted, and I was thinking it’d be great if I knew those things about you, that would really help me and bring me comfort at a time that would be stressful.” Sometimes giving yourself an opening like that allows for some great conversations.

Doug: Great advice. Kara, let’s return to the men in the audience and what they might be doing right or wrong in their communication with women and money. What kind of coaching do you have for us?

Kara: I certainly think any communicating is good communicating, and so anything that men can do with their loved ones, their spouses, their daughters, their mothers, their sisters, is all very positive. I do think that there does need to be some awareness that bringing up these topics with your loved ones may be a little sensitive. I think sometimes men can say, “Well, you know, if I get hit by the bus, then you’ve got all the stuff’s in the safe and I took good care of you and it’s all handled.”

Well, that may bring up a lot of conversations that they don’t want to have, like, well, I don’t want to think about you getting hit by a bus and that’s terrifying and paralyzing, and so I don’t want to have that conversation and it just stops there.

But if you continue to say, “The reason why I’m sharing this with you is because we’ve worked really hard together, I’ve made good financial decisions for us because I care about you, but if you don’t follow through with, and I need to explain it and know that you’re going to be able to handle this in the future,” then you really haven’t taken very good care of your loved ones, and I honestly don’t think that there are any men who would like to feel that way.

So I think that that’s what you really want to do. Communicate, understand there may be some resistance, because sometimes these are hard conversations to have, and if they don’t go well the first time, then maybe consider a different approach or explain why it is that you want them to know about that.

Also, again, make sure you write down those passwords. They’re important.


Action steps

Doug: Awesome. Kara, I always end our podcast discussion with some action steps, and so I thought it would be good for us to talk about some of the different women in our lives and also to the women in the audience, for them to think about the importance of having conversations and asking questions and getting more involved in the money discussion.


Number one

So let’s begin our first action step. For those people in the audience that have a partner, they have a wife, they have a life partner, what’s your coaching relative to discussions about money and the potential of some resistance?

Kara: Try, try again is probably the first thing that I would say, and, depending upon if you are the person who is not necessarily the one that has the division of labor and handles the finances, to know that this is important and that you want to pay attention to this and be perceptive to that is good.

And if you are the person who handles all of the investments and finances, certainly as women in many relationships that that’s an important thing for you to go back and make sure that you’re communicating as well, not just assuming that you’ve told everything that needs to be known about those things.


Number two

Doug: Let’s go to action step number two and talk about the daughters in our lives for us dads. I’ve got two adult daughters that they’re in their first jobs, they have 401(k)s. What else should we be talking about relative…and, again, I try not to do it for them, I just try to explain and talk about it and discuss it and ask how they’re doing, and certainly want to make sure that they are participating in that very important savings process, so trying to give a lot more encouragement, but that’s kind of been my tact on it. Any coaching for me there?

Kara: I think that there’s a couple of things. The good news is, I think as we grow up and we get out of college and get our first jobs, it’s remarkable how much smarter your parents get when you’re a little more open to taking those advice that maybe you wouldn’t have been when you were a little bit younger.

But I think just making sure that you’ve explained all of the options when your daughter does get her first job if you’re talking about, do you have a 401(k), bringing up, do you have an HSA, a health savings account, that you can take advantage of? Are there any other employer benefits that we should consider? Do you have an employer stock purchase program that maybe you might be able to participate in?

Just so that, as you’re kind of overwhelmed taking a new job with all of the paperwork and everything, that nothing gets missed that could really benefit them, and then I think there’s a lot of personal things that need to be discussed, too. You may be at the age where you’re thinking about getting married, and so sitting your daughter down and talking about what your estate plan is and that maybe she’s going to be inheriting some money at some point in the future and what your intent is for her to do with that money.

Maybe talking about, should she have a prenuptial agreement, if you want her to keep assets separate, how that works, so that she’s informed about how all those things work, and, more than that, I think truly what your intent and your hopes were for you and you plan for a potential inheritance.


Number three

Doug: Last action steps, obviously we all have moms. My mom has passed away, but I want to talk to everyone in the audience that does have moms that may need to be cared for. What coaching do you have relative to the moms…to us, I guess, sons and daughters relative to our moms and money?

Kara: The best thing that I think that we can do is try to see if we can get our parents to open up about what their estate plans are and what their assets are. As our parents are aging and may need some care, it’d be helpful to know if they have long-term care insurance, for example. They may have been paying on a plan for ages, and you don’t know about it, so when it comes time for them to need this care, you might not know that they have some options available to help fund some of that.

And then, I think, specific to their wishes, would they prefer to stay in their home as long as they could? Well then that probably makes some different financial decisions that you would make regarding their living situation versus if you knew that it was okay for them to be moved into, let’s say, assisted living, for instance. Those are, I think, important conversations to have with moms.

And also, I think the other thing you want to make sure that they have in place is a healthcare power of attorney. Who is it that they have appointed? Let’s hope that they hadn’t just passed their late spouse and hadn’t listed anybody else so that if there is a medical emergency you’re in a kind of a quandary when you’re trying to get care and you’re being held up by some bureaucratic paperwork. Make sure that you know who’s listed, that you have a copy of the document, and that you understand what their end-of-life wishes are, if they would like to have no heroic measures put in place. Those are important things that you need to know as you’re caring for someone as they’re getting older.



Doug: Great stuff, Kara, great stuff. I want everybody in the audience to know that Kara’s going to be doing a lot more work on topics for women. We’re going to have her back on the podcast in the future to talk about some different subjects relative to women.

Kara and I were brainstorming this today. We’re going to be talking about the different personas of women, breadwinners and stay-at-home moms, divorcees, widows, we’re going to talk about raising financially responsible children, we’re going to talk about strategic philanthropy. We have a lot to talk about, Kara, so I just want to say thank you for your contribution today to our mission of educating and empowering investors, and you’ve just added so much color, context, great advice, to everyone in the audience, women especially, but us men, I think, learned a lot today as well, so thank you very much.

Kara: Well, thank you for having me, Doug. It was truly a pleasure.

Doug: I want to remind everyone The Science of Economic Freedom is all about you, your finances, and if something has come up today that you have a question on, you can send me an email. My email address is, You can include, if you would like, to give us a show topic idea. If you would like to send Kara an email, you can use my email address and I will certainly forward that along to Kara, and if you’re getting a lot out of the Science of Economic Freedom podcast, please tell your friends.

This is Doug Fabian. Thanks so much for listening today.

Announcer: The Science of Economic Freedom is intended as an investor education resource. The views and opinions expressed on this program should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any specific security. Consult your investment advisor and read any investment prospectus carefully before making any changes to your investment portfolio.

This program is sponsored by Mercer Advisors. Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delivers all investment-related services. Mercer Advisors, Inc. is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors, Inc., and is not involved with investment services.

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