Who among us doesn’t worry about financial planning – or our lack of any plan at all? That voice inside your head whispers: I should have started sooner. I should have saved more. It’s too late to start now. I dropped the ball.
“No one handed you a ball,” she says. “You dropped nothing.”
“No one teaches people how to project their retirement needs,” Mahoney continues. “They say: ‘Save money.’ But where? With who? How much?”
Mahoney can answer all of these crucial questions for her clients and put them on the path to financial confidence – no matter their age or income level.
“You shouldn’t have to wait until you’re 55 to start thinking about retirement,” she says. After all, the longer you put it off, the more you’ll need to save each month – into the thousands of dollars.
“Or you can start with $50 or $100 a month at age 22,” she says, “and be set for life, if you’re positioned right.”
Either way, Mahoney stresses, it’s never too late to improve your financial situation – and she can expertly guide you through the best plan, tailored specifically for you.
Mahoney grew up just outside of Spokane, in Nine Mile Falls. She finished her associate’s degree through Running Start just before graduating high school and, after attending several colleges in Washington and Oregon, eventually landed an administrative position at Waddell & Reed’s Bellingham office.
During her time in that position, Mahoney fell in love with the business. She returned to Spokane to finish her degree and all necessary licensing, and returned to Bellingham – and Waddell & Reed, this time as a financial advisor – in August 2013.
She was initially surprised to see how well her interdisciplinary degree in communications, business management, and urban and regional planning translates to financial planning.
Her background in communications has honed her ability to negotiate and present herself well. “And as a communications major, I can get you talking, to say the least,” Mahoney says with a laugh.
Business management is central to her role, as she runs her own practice within Waddell & Reed, sets her hours, directs her administrative staff, manages many facets at once, and is well-versed in marketing and advertising. “It’s helped me to understand my practice as a business and not just a job,” she says.
And urban and regional planning? “Essentially, it’s just being a good steward of your city and having an understanding about what goes into, well, everything,” Mahoney says.
She looks at her role as being able to help not just the individual but also the community as a whole. For example, if a large swath of our residents can’t make it through retirement, they can become a financial burden on the rest of the population.
“It’s been really neat to see that domino effect and translate it into finance: little things here affect a lot of things over there,” Mahoney says. “It’s a kind of ripple effect that I learned well in my urban and regional planning major.”
When Mahoney thinks about her own career span, she expects to take 500 to 600 people from a level of financial disarray to financial independence and successful retirement.
“I think that’s the most important thing I can do,” she says.
For so many people, talking about money is unthinkable – rude, presumptuous, or just plain nerve-wracking. It’s simply not done. And we picked up that idea from our parents; it’s ingrained.
“If we can actually start having that conversation instead of making finance something taboo, more people will be in much stronger financial shape sooner in life.”
And let’s face it: Starting sooner is ideal.
“If you want to retire, it’s going to cost you $1.3 or $1.4 million as an individual, if not more,” Mahoney says. “And you don’t want to save all of that; you want to save a small portion of that – and watch the rest grow for you over a few years or decades.”
Mahoney offers a free, no-obligation, 45-minute consultation – usually in a casual setting, such as a coffee shop – where she runs through a series of questions that get you thinking about money in different ways: your concerns, goals and values; what drives how you spend your money and why you need it.
She then looks at a snapshot of where you currently are financially and identifies the logical next step. “I help you figure out what you’re trying to do and how we’re going to get you there,” Mahoney says.
Mahoney loves to decipher the numbers. “That’s my favorite part,” she says, smiling.
Each plan is tailored to the individual. Some clients are only looking to plan for retirement or their children’s’ educations. Others want both of those things, plus life insurance and long-term care, pension planning, business planning, or to leave a legacy for their children.
“I’m not a stock-picker; I do broad-scale planning,” says Mahoney. “I focus on the big picture, contingency planning, and long-term strategies. My goal is to get my clients to a level of financial confidence for their futures.”
Barron’s List and most others all agree: Waddell & Reed and Ivy Funds do a great job. “Waddell & Reed has an excellent team of managers and are top competitors in the industry,” Mahoney says. “I’d challenge anyone to look up the team I’ve got behind me.”
Why choose Mahoney as your financial advisor over others in the area?
Having sat across the table from Mahoney and gone through a consultation, this writer can attest that it’s an empowering experience. You don’t feel judged; it’s not stressful or negative. It’s actually quite freeing to open up and talk about money – your thoughts around it, your personal experience, and your hopes for the future – and not feel judged.
“That’s the most important work I can think of,” she says. “And to be able to get people on the right trajectory really young? I think we can change what retirement looks like.”
Waddell & Reed, Inc.
4164 Meridian Street, Suite 104
Bellingham WA 98226