Deborah Meyer, CPA, CFP(R)
Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I’m Deb Meyer, founder of two companies and mom of three young boys. WorthyNest, my new fee-only financial planning firm, empowers and educates families to make great long-term financial decisions. The other company, SV CPA Services, originated in 2014 as Statera Vitae LLC (meaning "balance of life"). I just finished the rebranding of this accounting firm that serves visionary entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators. Given my background as a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial PlannerTM professional, my specialty is working with family-minded entrepreneurs on both business and personal financial matters. In 2017, I plan to launch online courses through WorthyNest to support mothers nationally.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
When most people think of accountants, they stereotype. They picture the nerdy, middle-aged man with no social skills. Well, I'm the opposite of that stereotype. While technical expertise is important in accounting and financial planning, soft skills are even more relevant. Regardless of the business, my focus is actively listening to clients and responding in a thoughtful, objective way. Empathy, honesty, and integrity are equally important to be successful in these professional service industries.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
Starting WorthyNest is my most memorable career accomplishment because it is a true professional calling. I had no built-in client base -- just a dream and desire to create my own financial planning firm. Traditional financial advisors are stuck in the past: they serve an aging client base, focus on stock market performance, and require in-person meetings. WorthyNest challenges those assumptions. We leverage technology to meet with families and family-minded entrepreneurs nationally. We discuss the financial history, values, and goals of clients to create a comprehensive financial plan first; investments come later.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
Most of my career was spent in public accounting and wealth management, serving families of very significant wealth. However, I do not think a person's worth can be measured by the number on her or his balance sheet. My company, WorthyNest, is a natural extension of my legacy goals. Every family is worthy of a bright financial future, and I want WorthyNest to be the premier resource for families looking to build that future. Regardless of age or asset level, all families should be able to access quality, affordable financial guidance. WorthyNest gives client families the resources they need to build long-term wealth and create the lifestyle they have always envisioned.
What is your morning ritual?
My morning ritual incorporates family and professional obligations. My oldest is 7 and youngest is 1, so mornings are hectic with three boys. I typically rise at 6:15, pray, do some quick yoga poses, and then take my youngest downstairs for breakfast. The other two boys will join us around 6:45 while my husband gets ready for work. Working from home is the norm, so I throw on sweats and get the boys to school or daycare by 8am. Daily exercise is a must. I typically don't start "work" until 9am. When I start working, it is full steam ahead.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
Perceptive problem-solving. I love to read and went on a journey of self-discovery last year and the early part of 2016. Took every Kolbe, StrengthsFinder, and Myers-Brigg test possible. What came of this? One of my natural strengths is taking complex ideas and breaking them into simple, actionable steps. This means I not only have the capability to map out a strategic vision but also follow-through with concrete milestones to make that vision a reality.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Work-life integration is always a struggle. I prefer the word "integration" over "balance" because there is no true equilibrium.
Working for someone else in a traditional corporate role made it difficult for me to juggle work and family responsibilities. Mom guilt and long commutes opened the door to entrepreneurship.
As a small business owner, flexibility is great! If my oldest son is going on a field trip, I'll be there with him. If my youngest is sick, I'm rearranging appointments and taking care of him. Up until this point, it hasn't adversely affected my business. 99% of the time, clients can rely on me. But for that 1% where I need leeway, I get it.
Having a consistent routine is also helpful. Missing part of my morning ritual typically throws off the rest of the day.
Now, please don't misconstrue my words. Not everyone should quit their jobs and become an entrepreneur. It just happened to be the best situation in my specific circumstance. I'm probably working more hours at half the pay, but it doesn't feel like work. That's happiness.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Start small and find a mentor. Get your foot in the door through networking and personal connections. Financial services and public accounting industries need help. Less than 25% of Certified Financial PlannerTM professionals are women. I'm a CFP Board Women's Initiative advocate and mentor. Even if your particular firm does not have great female mentors, broaden your search to national organizations like the CFP Board.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Stop with the mom guilt. I fell into that downward spiral of thinking in 2013; it took a lot of strength and courage to shift my mental state.
We are so hard on ourselves. So many of us look at "successful" friends and think "If I could just be like her." Do not compare yourself to others. In between the social media feeds and perfect family pictures, she is struggling just like you. Get together with other working moms and share your vulnerabilities.
I have a group of friends from college, and we get together about once a month for "book club." We've stopped talking about books and mostly focus on the challenges and successes of juggling work and family. We are in a wide range of professions: nurse, educational psychologist, adjunct college faculty, and so on. I feel so uplifted after every gathering, sharing some laughs and tears and then returning to my sweet family.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I joined Ellevate Network because of Sallie Krawcheck; her story is inspirational to women like me. Women who want to break the glass ceiling and have true gender equality -- regardless of occupation. Since there are no live Ellevate meetings in my area (St. Louis, MO), online jam sessions are especially helpful.
I really enjoyed Sallie's recent interview with Claudia Chan, founder of the S.H.E. Summit. I attended the 2016 S.H.E. Summit virtually, thanks to a complimentary ticket from Ellevate!
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
My professional mission is to help families and family-minded entrepreneurs build a brighter financial future. WorthyNest, a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory firm, empowers and educates families to make great long-term financial decisions. SV CPA Services, an accounting firm, serves visionary entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators seeking accounting, business consulting, and tax guidance. Business and personal finances are so often intertwined, and I walk alongside family-minded entrepreneurs as they explore these intricacies. To find out more about... Continue Reading
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