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If your target savings number isn’t uncomfortable, you’re likely not saving enough — especially if you’re a younger person just beginning your career...

Look for advisors who share your values, whether it is a financial advisor or your accountant, and make sure you have an “accountability partner” — someone close to you who can hold you accountable to stick to your goals...

Begin discussions about money with your children as early as you can. Children observe our behaviors and attitudes; we are always teaching, even when it comes to money. So we need to be mindful and intentional in our actions...

Those were just a few of the nuggets of wisdom shared in a wide-ranging conversation between TC Trustee Charles Desmond and Myah Moore Irick (M.A. ’06) during a recent webinar on financial management, hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations.

“Building Your Financial Confidence,” a conversation between Myah Moore Irick (M.A. ’06) and Trustee Charles Desmond

For the most part, Desmond, who heads the nonprofit Inversant, which empowers low- and moderate-income families to invest and to succeed in higher education, posed the questions, often deftly framing issues facing minority and low-income individuals and families. Irick, who in January launched her own private wealth management team, The Irick Group, within Merrill Private Wealth Management, provided answers that were both pragmatic and addressed social justice concerns.

[Read a profile of Desmond that appeared in TC Today magazine in 2019. Read a profile of Irick that appeared in TC’s 2016 Annual Report.]

For example, Desmond asked, what does Irick’s team mean in proclaiming a commitment to “elevating” its clients?  

“There are not a lot of women or people of color in wealth management. In the world, and in our country, the face of wealth has changed — but our industry has not,” replied Irick, a first-generation college student who comes from a multiracial family. “I have strived to build a team where we are led by our values and where we represent diverse perspectives. I ask myself, how can I better serve clients with the impact-oriented philosophy of doing well by doing good?” While her job description is wealth management, she often describes it as financial coaching.  “TC helped me understand what it means to be an advocate for others, and I’m still in the business of education and empowerment. Now it is even more important than ever.”

More and more people, and not just people of color, want to support diversity and inclusion and have more of an impact strategy for their investing.

—Myah Moore Irick (M.A. ’06), Senior Vice President, The Irick Group, Merrill Private Wealth Management

But, wondered Desmond, who spent 30 years working in higher education and also served as an advisor to then-Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, might folks with fewer resources have good reason to consider a financial advisor an extravagance?

“I believe purpose is what drives all of us,” Irick said. “What you want your legacy to be should drive all your decisions.” She described a female executive that she recently spoke with whose avowed purpose is to ensure that women and girls get equal access to education.

“We’ve talked about how to align her charitable giving with that purpose. And we looked at her spending. I said, how do you define which companies to support? Maybe redirecting your spend to support companies that are women-owned or have diverse representation in the C suite. We also discussed realigning her investment portfolio. You have to be willing to be intentional and spend more time doing your homework and being an informed consumer, especially when it comes to your investments.”

Maybe the best investment is to spend the money at a crucial period of children’s development... because these early investments in your children’s lives are the best ones you’ll ever make.

—TC Trustee Charles Desmond, CEO of Inversant

More broadly, Irick added, “more and more people, and not just people of color, want to support diversity and inclusion and have more of an impact strategy for their investing.”

The session closed with Rosella Garcia, Senior Director of Alumni Relations, asking questions submitted by the online audience. One viewer asked for suggestions on how to save for both childcare and children’s college education. 

“When thinking about your finances, you have to prioritize your goals and come up with a plan. Look for benefits that your company might offer, such as taking advantage of any dependent care flexible spending accounts,” Irick said. “The flex accounts often allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars that you can use towards childcare. Every dollar saved helps.” She also emphasized that “your children are your biggest assets — they’re not something you can skimp on. So maybe that 529 plan gets a little less in the early years so that you can afford quality childcare.”

Desmond amplified that thought.

“This is another of those value choices you have to make. Maybe the best investment is to spend the money at a crucial period of children’s development and worry about summer programs and the like later on. Because these early investments in your children’s lives are the best ones you’ll ever make.”

 Joe Levine


Disclosure: This material does not take into account a client’s particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or investment strategy.  Investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal investment.

Impact investing and/or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) managers may take into consideration factors beyond traditional financial information to select securities, which could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Further, ESG strategies may rely on certain values based criteria to eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.

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