How Did I Get Here?

Hi, I’m Lucy. I’m a wife, mom, PTO President, CPA and Financial Advisor.  I moved to Grand Rapids three years ago with my husband, two kids and our dog.  Our most recent addition is a minivan (say what you want, you gotta love those sliding doors).  Since I’m going to be writing in this space regularly, I wanted to introduce myself more personally and share why I do this work.

All my life I’ve known you should leave the world better than you found it.  My parents always emphasized this to my siblings and me when we were growing up, and they showed us by example.  Even if you’re not off saving the world, just be the best you can be at whatever you do.  That’s your contribution.  So after grad school, I went off and became an auditor and consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and got my CPA and did challenging, interesting work.  But ultimately, until I went off to D.C. to work on the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, I was just helping corporations earn more money or fight over the money they already had.

Working on the personal injury team for the September 11th Fund meant becoming intimately familiar with hundreds of claimants’ experiences on that day and how their lives had been impacted since then.  It was emotionally draining work but it felt meaningful and important.  After we wrapped up the fund and I returned to Chicago, I was not about to go back to helping corporations with their millions of dollars.  So I left PwC and I went to work at DePaul University, where, when I saved the school money, that meant another project we were able to complete or another scholarship we could fund. That work felt meaningful to me, too.  And then we moved to Michigan and I had to leave it behind.

Once my family was settled and I started exploring employment options, BAM!  I was diagnosed with cancer.  That meant major surgery and months of chemo and radiation treatments.  I lost the better part of a year to cancer but I gained so much more.  I received so much love and support during that time that I came away with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and a renewed perspective.  You cannot face your mortality without being changed, and I certainly was.  Fear was no longer a factor in my decision making and I no longer cared what people thought of me.  One my first decisions after finishing treatment was to change careers.

I had often considered becoming a financial advisor, but I just couldn’t get past the “ick” factor, the cheesy sales thing.  I knew I could be great at it and truly make a difference in people’s lives, but only if I could do it *my* way.  A lot of people get into this business because they love investing.  That’s never been my passion – I’m not a stock market junkie and I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple – but I do have a passion for people and financial literacy.  And being a CPA, I’m committed to doing things with the highest level of objectivity and integrity.  To me, this is simply inconsistent with standard operating procedures in most financial advisory firms.  I knew there had to be a better way.

That’s when I started talking to Ben VerWys about what they were doing at Action Point.  Not only was he doing things the right way, but he invited me to come work with him on the spot.  It is amazing how doors start to open when you’re following the right path.  Now I love what I do.  It feels like operating at the intersection of my abilities and the world’s needs, which is a great place to be.  A client recently told me that one of her first thoughts upon hearing she’d lost her job was, “Oh, I’ve got to call Lucy!”  That tells me I’m doing something right.

So that’s how I got here.  If you’re here, you’ve probably already checked out my bio and are looking for some financial advice.  If this resonates with you, I would love to get to know you and talk about how we could work together to improve your life now and in the future.  In the meantime, I’ll be posting here regularly and I’d welcome your feedback, as well as what topics you’d like to hear more about.  Stay tuned for our thoughts on the Fiduciary Rule going into effect this Friday, June 9.  Thanks for reading!