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For this month’s spotlight, we’re profiling our Director of Financial Planning Julie Betchwars, CFP®, who has been a part of our team since 2014.
What is your role at CAISSA?
As the director of financial planning, I work with our clients to help them envision their financial lives from where they are now out to what we call their “end of plan.” There will be many goals and milestones met along the way – like having children, helping those children (or grandchildren) through school, creating your “paycheck” for retirement and providing for our loved ones in case we hit potholes rather than milestones. We identify potential risks and offer solutions. But not only do we offer potential solutions, we also help you execute. You can put together a fabulous financial plan or estate plan, but if you don’t put it into action, it will fail. We help our clients take action.
What gets you excited about your work?
Have you heard the saying “look before you leap?” Good advice, right? Ten thousand baby boomers turn 65 each day and a large percentage of them are afraid to “look” and instead just take the leap. In my opinion, knowledge is power, and if I know the facts I can figure out a set of options. I get excited about finding those solutions. Will a someone’s portfolio provide income through retirement? What can I do it make it work? So, give me a set of investment statements, a tax return, social security statements and some pay stubs and I can put together a pretty good projection of what someone’s retirement plan might look like. Of course there are lots of variables, many levers we can pull to either make it work or show you the “torpedoes” that might derail your plan. But planning is what is important – don’t just take the leap.
Why financial services?
I went to work for a firm that did investment management, accounting and income taxes for individuals and small businesses. The owners were both Certified Financial Planners™ and one was also a CPA. I spent the first 20 years of my career working there, learning about income tax and earning my CFP®. While income taxes might not be fun, it is an excellent foundation to build on. I also handled portfolio performance reporting for our clients, using the same portfolio software that CAISSA uses. I didn’t set out from the beginning to work in financial planning, but it evolved over time and I enjoy helping people.
How do you pass the time when you’re not in the office?
From spring through fall, it is all about going to my cabin in Crosslake, Minnesota, with my family and friends. We boat, fish, kayak, ride bikes and just enjoy the outdoors. There’s nothing like a beautiful day out on the lake with the sun making the water sparkle, listening to the loons and experiencing all that nature has to offer. I also enjoy gardening, quilting, crocheting (still determined to learn how to knit) and reading a good book.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Minnesota during the winter?
I love hiking through the woods or cross-country skiing on a pretty, sunny winter day when there’s fresh snow.