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Meet Trailblazer Cady North

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cady North.

Cady, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My “one-day” goal was to change the fact that financial literacy isn’t taught enough in schools at any level and create ways to make finances and wealth building less scary/boring/difficult for people. I never thought I could make money doing it. I envisioned being a public speaker and doing this work on the side later in life. I spent more than a decade advising high-level executives of Fortune 500 companies while working for industry giants such as Bloomberg and Financial Executives International. Those experiences taught me that, despite my success and reaching big milestones, corporate life isn’t always exactly as it’s cracked up to be. I decided that I would change gears to work in my dream of personal finance. I took the leap to start my own business in 2015 and help women in their 30s and 40s with personal finance and wealth building. I specialize in helping women make a similar transition from their successful corporate life to a self-employed life. I’m an advocate and sounding board for my clients on financial issues like how they’re going to replace their benefits, save for the future and maintain their lifestyle while they make the transition.

One of the reasons I love working for myself is I can plan my own schedule and give back time to causes I appreciate. Financial literacy is one of those causes for me and I like to get involved by providing financial planning workshops to local organizations.

Has it been a smooth road?
When I decided to leave my corporate job, I didn’t have my plan fully laid out. I knew I had savings and I had some time, but it’s still scary when you go from full-time paycheck to nothing. I knew I needed to take a sabbatical to think, to create, and to explore. So, I did that for three months. But it was a challenge, and I quickly found that “doing nothing” was a struggle for me. So, I began to set up some small, but important goals and milestones for myself that included conducting informational interviews and putting myself in a place to be curious to learn from others about their journeys in financial advising. The experience was pivotal. I found out that it wasn’t just older, white men in the profession serving the ultra-wealthy as I thought. There was a small few at the time creating businesses to serve my generation. It inspired me to build a niche practice rather than trying to be all things to all people.

We’d love to hear more about North Financial Advisors.
When people think “financial advisor” they might conjure an image of a man on wall street, “making deals” or trading stocks. The term is loaded and frustrating because there are many of us out there who take a much different approach and do so much more for our clients. My approach from the very first meeting is to learn about my clients’ lives. I want to know how they’ve made decisions in the past – the good and the bad so I can meet them where they are without judgment. I want to know, “If starting tomorrow, all your financial needs were taken care of, what would you do? How would you spend your time?” I love questions like these because it encourages my clients to dream bigger for themselves. In the ebb and flow of your life, it is important to have someone who knows you and your situation, someone who can be a thinking partner. I have helped my clients not only start side hustles and full-fledged businesses, but together we negotiate salaries, retire early, take a sabbatical, plan for extended maternity leave, plan for kids or a house purchase, save for fertility treatments, or deal with divorce. All these things acutely impact finances and as life happens, my job is to create frameworks and plans to help keep things moving forward. My clients find this overall focus on financial wellness invaluable.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
I’ve been studying to develop new skills is in the emerging fields of behavioral finance and the psychology of money. Dr. Elizabeth Dunn has published significant research on money and happiness, and it’s provided a lot of inspiration to me in my work with clients. She co-wrote a book called Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending. I heard her speak at a conference last year and have been very intrigued by some of the key findings from her research that I’m able to share with my clients. From Dr. Dunn and others, I’ve learned some great skills for helping my clients spend their money in a way that aligns with their own values.

The Happy Money book is great because it shares research-backed ideas that directly influence lasting happiness. These include spending money on experiences (long-lasting memories) over things, outsourcing when it makes sense for your family, and even ideas for how to increase the happiness and satisfaction you feel when you engage in charitable giving. I was so inspired, I wrote a whole article on my website reviewing and summarizing some of the key learnings and I’d highly recommend reading the book.

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Image Credit:
Stacy Keck

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