It’s the end of the summer. The Labor Day holiday. One last time to go on a road trip. Recently, my husband and I decided to go wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, near Santa Barbara, California. It’s a beautiful ride. A drive along the beach and then through the forest.

Usually, we’re planners. We know where we’re going and what we’re going to do. Instead, this time, we winged it. Completely off the cuff. We were open to options and detours of our choice. Our flexibility led us to both familiar and new places. We had a great time.

I bring up the road trip because frequently I analogize with my clients that working with a Financial Advisor should be similar to creating a financial roadmap for your life. It’s an opportunity to map out where you want to go and who (if anyone) is along for the ride. I guarantee, no two trips are alike. Your Financial Advisor is your ride-or-die partner!

My clients hire me to help them get out of their rut, make better decisions, and feel more confidence about their money and financial situation. As you can imagine, there is no one-size-fits-all. Every single client is different. What they want, their values, their expectations. All different.

In an ideal world, the road to financial freedom is straightforward. No bumps. No bruises. However, I know that for most women, especially Black women and Women of Color, the pavement is inconsistent, at best.

For many women, the financial opportunities in our lives are amazing. However, our uncertainty, our lack of financial education, and how we are treated by men in the financial services industry creates these literal roadblocks that keep us from merging onto the financial highway of our dreams.

Sometimes, the road to financial success is full of detours and potholes. But I also know there are opportunities to travel straight-ahead roads with beautiful vistas.

During any road trip, you learn about yourself and your companions. You learn likes and dislikes. You learn how you both handle unexpected situations. You learn about musical tastes and favorite movies. You learn whether you like to buy food at McDonalds, a diner, or a gas station. You establish a bond. Like a traveling partner, I listen to your preferences, make recommendations, and provide strategies.

As an advisor, I guide my clients as they put these personalized strategies in place to support their interests. I help them be super-intentional about every dollar they have. They create their personal financial roadmap.

This means my clients are open to super-fun detours of their own choosing. And prepared for those over which they have no control—like COVID-19.

During our recent road trip, my husband and I were able to be super-flexible. We ventured off to the familiar—Los Olivos—and explored a winery new to us in Santa Ynez. This trip was after months of being locked-up by COVID-19—the unplanned detour.

What made this work? Knowing each other’s preferences. Knowing what makes each other feel comfortable. Although we’re living in a time of turmoil, we were able to create an easy and fun day.

Talk to your Financial Advisor. A little knowledge and understanding can make the ride so much easier.

About the Author

Diane Manuel is a former UWM advisor. She worked closely with René for 5+ years, helping grow the Smart Women/Savvy Money Club. In 2021, Diane joined Adasina Social Capital as Director, Foundation & Client Relationships, pursuing her passion of creating investment strategies that support racial and social justice. Diane has been active in service and philanthropy most of her life, from her first job at the Watts–Willowbrook Boys’ & Girls’ Club to current roles with the Carter Center Philanthropy Council and the Women’s Foundation of California. Diane holds a BA from USC and a PhD in Psychology and MBA from Claremont Graduate University. She has authored articles in Investopedia, MarketWatch, and Financial Planning Magazine on finance, women, and philanthropy. An LA native, she enjoys 5Ks, the beach, wine tasting, photography, and walking with friends.