We’re continuing our conversation with Sara Lyday, as she explains why she loves working in the financial industry, her favourite parts of being a financial advisor, and the greatest lessons she’s learned working in that field…
For part 2 of this 2-part episode with financial advisor Sara Lyday, we’re diving into what it’s like working in the world of finance.
Sara explains how she found her passion for financial advising, and what exactly it is that she loves about the role.
She also shares with us some crucial financial lessons she’s learned while working in the field, and explains how her dad has helped her along the way…
“People really just want to be seen and heard.” – Sara Lyday
“It’s ok to not know, you don’t have to have it all figured out right now.” – Sara Lyday
01:06 – Different careers Sara considered and how she found her passion for being a financial advisor.
05:14 – The difficulties of entering the financial industry and what attracted Sara to that world.
06:48 – How Sara found the key values that are most important to her.
11:43 – The most important lessons Sara’s learned in her financial career.
15:59 – The power of having multiple different viewpoints, and how Sara’s dad acted as her mentor.
18:40 – The importance of using your logic before your emotions when making financial decisions.
Connect with Ben Jones:
BEN: We had Sara’s dad Lance on the show several weeks ago who is a well seasoned financial advisor. Sara is just beginning her career in a field that has been historically dominated by men. And she’s doing well. As we’ll find out, Sara brings a unique view of how she approaches the world. She keeps her dad’s simple message of spending less than you make, having an emergency fund and no bad debt. But she also adds a couple of her own insights along the way. Join us as we hear how Sara made the jump to being a financial advisor, and what it means to her now.
SARA: I am very much in my 20s, because I’m still having those existential loops of just like, am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
BEN: So you get out of school, then you turn around and say, work for a year and a half, then you go to Aruba and do intense yoga. And then you’re just going, what do I do now?
SARA: What do I do now? So I do what I do. And I was like, I’m just going to interview everyone that I know that I think is smart and that I would want to be like. And I interviewed, I was looking at jobs as a therapist or as a counselor, or construction project management so I could have my clipboard back and direct all these people. And I was working for one of my grandpa, he’s like my, like, grandfather by choice. My grandparents have best friends that had kids, and their family lived far away so they kind of took us in. And so you would have chosen them? Oh, my gosh, no, but my grandparents are really awesome, too. But I’ll just take the third. Okay. But I worked for his construction company. While I was searching, I was just doing marketing and stuff that millennials know how to do and doing social media stuff.
TONY: Lots of social media stuff and why is that important?
BEN: Why is it important to put a book on a face? I don’t quite get it. Exactly. What’s a tweet?
SARA: What’s a gif? Yeah, so I was doing that while I was interviewing all these people and I really liked Construction Project Management. I like running around, spinning multiple plates at one time, putting out fires and all that. But when contractors didn’t show up on time and my whole plan got derailed for something that wasn’t mine you probably didn’t like that. I lost it. I was like, I can’t do this.
TONY: I know people like that.
SARA: It didn’t work for me and my dad was like, just info interview me. Like, just give me a shot. I was like, I worked in his office through high school. I was like, I’m not going to have a cubicle job, I already did that. I’m not just going to call people all day and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just not for me, right? Want to be out in the world. He’s like, it’s not all that I do. And so I don’t know.
BEN: So, your dad is crazy smart because he let you flounder and do your thing.
SARA: He knew I had to find my own way.
BEN: Because if he forced it on you, then you wouldn’t be as happy and hold it against them. But since you let you go through it, I love that.
SARA: Oh my gosh. So yeah, I followed what felt good. We get to meet the coolest people and solve problems that are important and face the scary monsters with people. And it’s just a combination of all the things that I wanted to do and going back to feeling like a rock star. Like truly whenever I solve a problem, like I feel like I rock and I get to teach people things and I also get to go through the fear and the ups and the downs with people.
BEN: So, it’s pretty awesome. So he essentially talks to you about hey, this is what I do, we talk to people. You’ve already discussed a little bit, there’s such an emotional side to money, right? And so your ability because you’re already thinking about being a therapist, right? What a great lead in to doing this because people make decisions based upon facts that aren’t really real and you got to hang tight. What are you going to say Tony, you’re about to say something?
TONY: I was just saying the word ‘facts’ doesn’t even belong in that sentence.
SARA: You’re right, you’re right. It’s part art, part science, but a lot of it really is art.
TONY: Well. I mean, look at people growing up, like even in my household and I grew up in a household where my mom and dad started a business in the kitchen, you know, the dining room table. Did they talk about money with me? No. Was I allowed to ask how much money my dad made? No, not really. You could ask but you would never get an answer. None of your business. You know, so you grew up without knowing anything about money. So then you get all this misinformation. I can tell you this is inappropriate for young people, you know. Can you make it clean? Yeah, where did kids learn about how you know, where babies come from and all that stuff. I didn’t learn from my parents, I learned from my buddies and that’s not a great way to learn. It was way wrong.
SARA: Yeah, there’s so much misinformation. And that’s why I thought the financial industry was intentionally vague or like the language was intentionally hard to keep people out. And I’m not saying that that’s not true, because that’s there too. But it’s hard to approach something that you don’t know about and you don’t know what you don’t know. Or so touchy too. You can finish this everyone knows these things are cultural norms. Money is the root of all evil. Yeah, money doesn’t grow on trees. Like what are some other ones like? Yeah, I mean, there are so many that we just kind of absorb. Don’t ask the neighbor how much their car costs. Yeah, exactly. Don’t ask someone how much they make but that doesn’t really serve anyone.
BEN: But when you’re talking to your dad, and you’re making this decision, what were some of the aspects of that type of work, or of the type of work that you do that you really resonated with or drawn to? I personally think, you know, you want to be a camp counselor. Yeah. Is the counselor part of helping people out?
SARA: Yeah. So to go back to yoga teacher training, and I see why you ask people about their past.
TONY: Are you a yogi? Hey, booboo!
SARA: I do yoga, I practice. I’m a student, I would say I’m a student,
TONY: And I don’t even know what I was asking there but…
SARA: I like yogis in IU. It’s not there anymore. I miss it. The breadsticks were awesome. Yeah, that shows my epitome of a healthier diet. That’s okay. But yeah, along with falling, it feels good.
BEN: To be named, like five things of your job that you really like?
SARA: The yoga teacher training had us, right? They had a list of like, 100 values, basically. And we went and like, kind of, she was like, okay, cross off 30 things. Now cross off 20 things now cross off 10. And we ultimately got five that were our key values, right. And freedom was a huge one for me. It ended up being my number one value.
BEN: So that position gives you freedom.
SARA: Yeah. And it puts me in a position to help other people find their freedom.
BEN: Oh, yeah. That’s better than I was like, helping other people find their freedom, which is even better.
TONY: I was having a conversation with a high schooler the other day, and I use part of the Evans scholar caddy program. So these guys do you know, they caddy, they have to get 100 loops, and then they’re in the running to get a free scholarship for the four year scholarship. So let’s tell him that I’m going to get this a little wrong but I said,hey, what’s the number one attribute of financial independence? What’s the most important part of calling yourself financially independent? So what would you say that was? And he was like, he thought it was a trick question. And it was. So you probably see your money, right? Because well, yeah, I go, No, it’s time controlling your own time, the freedom to do what you want. This has got to be higher and I know it’s for people who don’t have money probably might not agree with that. Because I always want to have the money.
SARA: Well, it’s a multifaceted question. All of those things go together. So to go back to that binder in my childhood, there are different pillars, right. And for me, I think it’s health, physical fitness is a big part of freedom, spiritual freedom, like being able to connect with whoever and wherever you want, and the community that you’re in. So social freedom too and then financial freedom. I mean, all of those things and here’s my corny business thing that I’m always thinking about, but it’s fly. So financial planning, lifestyle planning, and yoga for you. What’s your yoga, why do you do what you do, how do you connect with something in you? And you need all those pieces to transcend, to soar eventually to fly. So yeah, but like birds, like you’ve got to build the nest and that takes practice, or like takes all these tools, time and energy. And then once you have the nest, you fly off and you have to flap your wings to get there. And there’s energy that’s involved in that. And then eventually, you can soar, you can see and you’re looking out, okay, where do I want to go, where do I want to land, this feels really good. When you have to come back down to Earth because you got a resource. And then that process goes over and over again and you’re able to resource and you know that these berries aren’t as good as these berries and sticks work better than dried grass and all this but just you’re constantly ebbing and flowing and finding.
BEN: So you just really love to help people find their freedom, which is one, that’s a high value, your own freedom, flexibility. What are a couple more?
SARA: Yeah. Social responsibilities are a big deal to me. Making sure that the people around me feel welcome to be where they are and feel comfortable where they are is really important to me. And I don’t know if that’s what word goes with that empowerment. I try to be open, openness and curiosity and wonder is kind of the best summation of that, like, how do I find something every day that surprises me or blows my mind? Like that is my ideal living where I can wake up and be like, what am I going to learn today? Like, what am I going to see today? What am I going to feel today? Who am I going to meet? Like, I mean, that’s why I go out. Like, that’s why I travel. That’s why I want to be free so that I can connect with people and learn something new and get my mind blown. Like we’re talking about studying abroad and everywhere you look. It’s like somebody can cook a duck like, oh, people eat grasshoppers. Like, “No” means yes and “Ano” in the Czech Republic means yes. But yeah, you’re constantly getting your mind blown, or like, oh, there’s bullet holes in the wall, why? It’s mind blowing, and like, oh, I get so much peace and freedom at my home and again, can I get to live mine.
BEN: It’s very different from something to be grateful for, for sure. And now you’ve got quite a few clients, you’re working with them. What are some of the great you know, the pearls of wisdom that you might be able to share from individuals that you worked with, because one of the examples I always use this guy calls me and says, hey, Brexit went on, sell all my stuff. And I was trying to talk him off the edge because the market was down 30%. I told him to just hold on. You got to work the plan, the plan has to hold on. And, you know, a week later, he was back to above where he was, but he would have taken a huge hit. So like, yeah, what kind of pieces of wisdom and do you actually help kids as well? Do you do any kind of training or talking to kids and families together? You know, can you give us a little piece of that?
SARA: Ultimately I would love to have a quarterly retreat, basically, for anyone that, no matter what the age, just have different kind of hot topics. So you would qualify. I would love to.
BEN: We’ll be on site and do lots of podcasts and to get insights.
SARA: To answer your question, it’s what I learned, like observing, it’s never too early to start learning something or investing or open your mind, saving for sure, key, it’s in the three.
BEN: Sell off 70. I call it little law, rule 72s, you know, the whole idea that the earlier you get started.
SARA: Yeah, it’s never too early to start. It’s never too late to start. It’s never too late to ask questions, and what I am learning a lot right now is whenever somebody calls me scared, or calls me curious, or calls me, just calls me, that’s usually for a purpose. And people really just want to be seen and heard, which isn’t different from any other industry. Or be valued. Yeah, yeah. And they want to know that they’re taken care of. So how do I do that? Try to see and hear as much as I can, I don’t know if that’s a vague answer. But people usually have the answers that they need, they just need to be walked through it.
BEN: And part of it you and I talked about early on on the phone was last week. And we said, hey, you know, there are all types of financial advisors that we need out there, because people are drawn or attracted to individuals sometimes that are just like them, sometimes maybe are a little bit more assertive, or otherwise and having more women in the field is an absolutely great thing. Because I saw it, one of my partners in Chicago, she was a female and it was just great to see because anybody can learn this. That’s why we’re doing it. And giving the confidence to the people we spoke to, it was just really fulfilling for me. And having you kind of be a light for individuals coming to you, I think it’s just fantastic as well. Being heard, being able to work with them, giving them confidence.
SARA: If you can make money, you can learn how to use it, and you can learn how to save it and everyone, everyone is worthy of knowing how to use the tools that they’ve gathered.
BEN: So do you have some other stories, like some stuff that you help people through if you know, like somebody came to you and I don’t know, they’re crying and it was on this or, they didn’t have quite didn’t know what to do, and you help them through it or any kind of interesting stories. I always love to hear them because some of them are just fascinating, you know. What we used to talk about a lot, you know, just to give you an understanding is we had a considerable number of women that we actually were helping, and what would happen is my partner was a divorce counselor and it was from a financial perspective. And what I thought was very interesting about it is, they would split the house up, and they’d say, okay, who’s going to get the house? And then the guy would normally say she can have the house but the problem was, the cash flow to pay for the house wasn’t there after the divorce. And so it set people up for a devastational failure. And so she was great at seeing those huge potholes in order to get it done and it seems like oh, yeah, I really want the house but there’s a lot of value that you can add to help people realize what’s going on and make sure that the transition is a lot better. So those kinds of stories are both awesome.
SARA: You wouldn’t just like small tax implications. Like it’s like, who gets the Roth account, who gets the after tax account, who gets the pre tax account like that stuff matters.
BEN: Because I remember them arguing about it, I want the $1 million taxable IRA and the other one was $850,000 Roth. And we’re trying to explain to the listener, we got to look at this thing, because it could be a huge difference depending on what’s going on. But you’re absolutely right.
SARA: So I work with my dad. And that I started thinking, I started out solo with my company, because they have a great training program. And my idea was that my dad would be one trainer and mentor of many. And he still is, I still have many mentors, but I’m with him a lot more because of a situation that brought us into more teamwork. And I can’t believe I ever resisted this. But of course, I had to do things my own way. But seeing him advocate for having multiple heads at the table has been such a valuable lesson. So having the CPA, having the estate planning attorney, having the wife and the husband there and getting the kids involved and having like you would talked about this on that podcast of the education that you’re teaching your kids how to invest in like, and having them be roped in with a conversation with a financial adviser early. The dollar brick. Look at all that money. Yeah, seeing my dad bring in, seeing him rope in many people and satisfaction and peace of mind that comes from somebody seeing that there’s so many people in their court to solve their problem, lets them focus on the emotional thing that they’re dealing with and takes the structural problem, the weight of that off shoulders, because they don’t need to worry about it.
SARA: I love, I mean, I read a lot of books about the tax implications or the total are very huge that nobody thinks about. So if you sometimes have a financial advisor who doesn’t understand or bring in the tax component, it can be a real issue. And we’ve had situations in the year where we’re trying to do the taxes and we find out oh my god, they did this other thing with this other individual that it’s a whole plan.
SARA: If you don’t know, ask. And there is no shame in asking somebody that is smarter than you in your problem.
BEN: If you think shame is losing money because you will lose money, be asked the question. There’s no shame in it. Absolutely. Yeah. And it can be very, very costly if you don’t, for sure. One of the things that I found out, which we’ve kind of already touched on, but I’m going to hit again is the emotional side. You know, as a financial advisor, it seems like I don’t know the right percentage. 70% counselor 20%, you know, investor 10% tax person. Yeah. But the bigger portion was actually just dealing with people and trying to get them you know, comfortable.
SARA: Speaking from personal experience, I’m not immune to this whenever I approach my money, like I always have to keep the emotional robot on this side, talking to the logical one on this side. And I just have to kind of rebalance the party.
TONY: Animal House was created before you were born, right? Yeah.
BEN: Well, what do you say my nickname was, the guy with a propeller? Flounder? Yeah, you said Flounder. I was like, who’s that Flounder? That’s not a good reference. I know. But we’re just talking about it. But you’re right. From a financial perspective, trying to get people comfortable is a big part of your job and the educational side. And we’re trying to help out with that.
SARA: The most rewarding side. Yeah, for sure which I quite talk about a lot.
TONY: Yeah. It’s funny, because, you know, you were talking about freshmen like, you go and act like you know, you’re doing. And people sometimes get money. And then they think they’re supposed to act like they’re supposed to know so they don’t ask for help like you’re talking about it. And we talked in another episode about angel investing, right? And we only let accredited investors invest and what’s that. Well accredited investor is somebody who makes so much money, more than $200,000 a year, has a million dollars net worth. So that’s what it takes. And the assumption is, if you have that much money, you know what you’re doing. And if you lose the money, it’s on you. So then that kind of translates into lottery winners, like how many lottery winners end up broke years later, because they had all this money and they don’t know what to ask. They’re like, oh, I have money. Now I must be smart about money. And so I don’t need to ask for help and ask for help, you know, being big in the golf, Tiger Woods, like he has a coach, he has coaches, he has people helping. You think that you know, one of the best golfers on the planet, Phil Mickelson. All the Olympics athletes.
SARA: They have teams behind them. So it’s more heads thinking about one problem or one skill.
TONY: Exactly. So that translates right. So, money is like, the big thing, everybody, you know, not everybody is a great golfer, or a great swimmer or whatever. But everybody’s got to deal with money. It’s just a tool.
BEN: And it does, it does cost money to get financial advice. And I get it. And you want to be careful about how much you pay because there are different pay setups and schedules and stuff. But you could be losing significantly more money if you don’t have the help. And so always evaluate that situation because there is stuff. There’s stuff out there to know.
SARA: There’s so many tools at so many levels, and you really have to figure out what makes you comfortable.
TONY: Back to being comfortable is like hey, you don’t need to know what are your fears, what are we going to deal with here, the emotional side, because we don’t want that always being in front and center is covering up the emotional piece. He’s fixed that, like you said, like, even you know, doing the yoga training. Like you come back, and you’re like, very clear on certain things that you just didn’t have before that. Yeah.
BEN: And the monster in the closet, I think that’s a great analogy, too. Because, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that you just don’t need to know. I mean, you and I were talking about, I’ve got all these credentials and stuff, but 90% of that, most people don’t ever need to know.
SARA: Yeah. And it doesn’t matter where you got the tool or if the tool is DeWalt. Or what’s another tool brand? RYOBI. It does the job like people don’t buy Nine Inch Nails or they don’t buy some length of drill, they buy the hole in the wall like that, it doesn’t matter what the drill is, like, what matters is can it go into the hole in the wall. Quarter inch drill bits, they buy the quarter inch hole or something like that. What are we doing here, what’s actually getting done, not how are we doing or who’s doing it. It’s how I feel about it.
BEN: So your line to get to where you are today, helping individuals with your financial advising was not a straight path and you’re glad that you took the time. You had to take the yogi or the yoga and think about it, but it sounds like you’re on the right track and you’re enjoying doing it with your father sounds like, and you’re enjoying it. And you’re using some of those interpersonal skills.
SARA: Yeah. It’s okay to not know if I could give anybody any lesson, especially people younger than me, it’s you don’t have to have it all figured out right now.
BEN: You don’t. Just get started though. You know, just try to stay away from the bad debt, reiterate it, the emergency fund, get it put together and rule number one in my opinion is, spend less than you make.
SARA: 1,000%. Can’t do anything else before you do that.
TONY: So you have the yoga training. What’s next? What’s queued up for when there’s time? What kind of stuff do you do nonfinancial kind of, you know, what do you want to do to make you feel better?
BEN: Because you got like less than two minutes to put that out there.
SARA: Let me consult my heart real quick. Cheese or vision board? Yeah, I actually was able to buy a condo over COVID and by not spending more than I made and taking the time to save and because rent versus owning now is cheaper. My mortgage is cheaper than renting in the area that I am and it wasn’t.
TONY: So high enough that you can base jump or something crazy.
SARA: Oh my gosh, no, it’s actually finding a headboard or like making my home comfortable. I moved around for the past eight years from college and then for my jobs and stuff. I’m just going to lean into learning to be comfortable. So that’s kind of what I’m on my path. It doesn’t sound glamorous but…
BEN: Hey, it’s what you came up with right now and it’s excellent. So thanks for being here. We really appreciate it. And hopefully maybe in the future we’ll like to start asking people back and how things have changed since we have another show. Talk to Julie. We may have to do that. Okay, we may have to do that.
TONY: We could do a music centric deal here. We might have to. We have to tie in the money somehow. How much do you pay for Spotify? No. How does money management work with music?
SARA: I mean, that would be an interesting conversation.
BEN: I know a little bit about that. We’ll have talked about that in a different podcast, but thanks for being here.
SARA: Are you a rockstar harmonica player?
BEN: I actually played the blooper down in Nashville, Tennessee, which is number one singer songwriter, country credential!
TONY: Anytime he starts talking about it, credentials!
BEN: Credentials, okay. So thanks for being here and we’ll talk to you really soon. Goodbye!