It wasn't just talking about financial planning at a recent women's forum that helped increase the list of potential clients for financial advisor Jessica Shaulis. It was talking about thrift-store shopping, too.
Shaulis, an advisor with First Command Financial Services, presented two very different seminars at the recent Barbara Hicks Geslock Women's Forum, attended by 360 people in Fredericksburg, Va. One seminar focused on Shaulis' profession -- financial planning -- and the other on her hobby -- thrift-store shopping.
Living as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany a few years ago, Shaulis shopped at thrift stores to expand her budget and wardrobe. Today, working as a financial advisor for First Command, a firm that serves the financial planning needs of American military families, Shaulis still shops at thrift stores. It is no longer out of necessity, but because she is hooked on the value and quality of the items she finds for a fraction of their original price.
The financial planning seminar she presented brought in potential clients, and although she didn't plan it that way, the thrift-store seminar has attracted some, too. “When you think outside of the box, and you let clients see that you are human, that you care about every aspect of their life, it is so important,” she says. The thrift-shopping session also has helped build rapport within the business community by giving positive exposure to the local Goodwill store.
In the financial planning seminar, "Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," she told attendees that nine out of 10 women will manage their finances alone at some point in their life. Shaulis says that with military couples, too often the wives don’t come to financial planning appointments with their husband. It is one of her rules that the woman in the family has to attend the meetings. “I am not going to talk to your husband about insurance unless you are there to tell me what you need,” says Shaulis.
To put things in perspective for the audience, Shaulis talked about four fictional women – a recent college graduate, a married mother of two whose husband is deployed, a divorced woman and a widow. It was an interactive seminar in which she asked the attendees questions such as: What would you do for the first woman, the second and so on? What do you think are some behaviors that need to be managed, some problem areas, some good areas, some opportunities? The seminar is intended to empower the women, to get them to think about things they may need to plan for, to say, "That’s me, my mom, my sister, my daughter."
Shaulis' "Dressing To The Nines On A Dime" seminar focused on building a wardrobe with thrift-store shopping. It included five models, each of whom wore four different outfits purchased at the local Goodwill for a total cost of $208.
In a surprising way, Shaulis says, the financial planning and thrift-store seminars have similarities. All of the fictional women discussed in the financial planning session could benefit from thrift-store shopping. For example, the money saved could help pay for other necessities or could be invested to help secure their future, she says.
And because the seminars worked so well, she plans to give both to other women's groups.