BW 018: Financial Planning with Daniel Kopp

industry interview Jan 24, 2023
 

Watch the video here or on YouTube; listen anywhere podcasts are played (Apple, Spotify, Google…)

The Transcript is below.

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Daniel Kopp is a fee-only fiduciary financial planner and founder of Wise Stewardship financial planning, where he helps young widows and widowers, as well as service members organize their financial lives by aligning their money with their deeply held values. He is an Air Force veteran after almost nine years as an officer on active duty.

On the personal front, Daniel is a widower After his wife Sarah passed away in late 2017 while he was still on active duty. Daniel is now married to his wife, Anna, and lives in the Sarasota, Florida area where they love to explore new places and learn new things, try interesting cuisines and serve in their local church.

 

We talk about:

-Working with money is not about dollar and cents.

-The financial pyramid

-Identifying goals

-Now, Soon and Later buckets

 

Quotes:

"The thing that I've found over the years working with people is money is not really about dollars and cents. It's about the hopes, the fears, the dreams that we attach to that, the goals, the values that are lived out. And money is just the tool in our modern society that many of these things come to pass."

"I fully believe that any widow can be empowered to learn about these things and do it on their own, but it sometimes it can be a very steep learning curve out there."

 

Links mentioned:

https://wingsforwidows.org/

https://www.napfa.org/

https://www.xyplanningnetwork.com/

https://financialtherapyassociation.org/

https://www.hhs.k-state.edu/pfp/

https://modernwidowsclub.org/

https://soaringspirits.org/

 

You can find Daniel at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WiseStewardshipFP

Website: https://wisestewardshipfp.com/

 

 

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The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

 

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter @brave_widow

Instagram @brave_widow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube@bravewidow

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Transcription:

Emily Jones: Hey, welcome to episode number 18 of The Brave Widow Show. Today we're gonna speak with Daniel Kopp. From Wise Stewardship FP, financial planning.com, and when I was reaching out to some folks to give advice to widows and widowers about financial planning, about investing, about how they should consider their options.

I originally wasn't connected with Daniel. The kind person that I connected with when he heard what I was trying to do with Brave Widow and the education we wanted to put out there, said immediately, Hey, I can help you. I'm happy to help you, but. Daniel is really your guy. Daniel's a widower himself and his main business focus is helping widows and widowers.

And sure enough, the instant I pulled up Daniel's website, the first thing I saw was I help widows and widowers with financial planning.

After connecting with Daniel, I knew that he was the right [00:01:00] person to bring on the show to share with you his insights, his heart for helping widows and widowers, and what advice he may have for us. So let me introduce you to Daniel.

 Daniel Cop is a fee-only fiduciary financial planner and founder of Wise Stewardship financial planning, where he helps young widows and widowers, as well as service members organize their financial lives by aligning their money with their deeply held values. He is an Air Force veteran after almost nine years as an officer on active duty.

On the personal front, Daniel is a widower After his wife Sarah passed away in late 2017 while he was still on active duty. Daniel is now married to his wife, Anna. And lives in the Sarasota, Florida area where they love to explore new places and learn new things, try interesting cuisines and serve in their local church.

Daniel shared with us many different resources, links and tips for finding the right financial planner [00:02:00] for you or things to consider. So please check this show notes. You'll have access to all of those links. Again as to the link of where you can find Daniel if you wanna work with him directly. Let's dive in.

All right guys. Welcome back to another episode of The Brave Widow Show. I am so excited for you to get to hear from Daniel today and his story and some things that he's going to share with us around financial planning and what your options are and some of those things to look at. So, Daniel, thank you so much for joining me today.

I'm really excited to have you

Daniel Kopp: Thank you, Emily. It's an honor of privilege to be here.

Emily Jones: If you don't mind if you'll share a little bit of your story and background. I have to admit, when I first asked for some folks to come on the podcast and talk about financial planning, I connected with another person, and when I explained I really wanted something for young widows. I really wanted, to talk about topics and basics. He said, I would do it and I would be happy to, but I know just the [00:03:00] person that you need to talk to. And then we got connected, which was really great. So if you don't mind to share part of your story, I think people will love to hear that.

Daniel Kopp: Yeah, it's a passion project of mine now, but ultimately born out of personal experience. So my brief version of the story is that I am a widower as well. Sarah and I were married for almost five years before she died in August of 2017. At the time, I was an officer in the Air Force and had been doing that since I graduated from college and on a different career trajectory.

But in the last two years of her life, I had become more and more of her primary caregiver as she became homebound. And so the career calculus and my side started to change and that point in time I was starting to plan to get out of the military rather than stay in it for a long career. I'd always been interested in personal finance ever since I was a kid.

Like my grandpa taught me to read like the stock tables and I opened my Roth IRA with my lawn earnings that like at [00:04:00] age 18 , you know, so that was always a personal finance nerd. I majored in economics in college and I just didn't know that there was this career of like personal financial planning until much, much later on.

So as I was thinking about what's next long before I realized what Sarah's ultimate lifespan was shorter than expected, I started to make plans for a career transition. So part of that, I enrolled in the Certified Financial Planner coursework. That's kind of the CFP is the gold standard of financial planning, covering all the primary aspects of it as it relates to helping clients with their finances and then exploring career options ultimately. Things got kind of turned upside down when Sarah went into hospice. And then we spent that last bit of time together in 2017 before she died. And then my world was turned upside down as any listener of this podcast who's gone through the experience, right?

Life shattered every dream disrupted. Ultimately, after so many months of taking the time to [00:05:00] process and heal and go on a sabbatical. Just taking that time to rest, to grieve, to work through brain fog talking with career counselors and mentors and friends. Ultimately, I realized, well, I've been given a gift, a bitter gift in many ways, but the opportunity to take what I've learned personally and now the professional training and education and start helping widows. So that's what I did. I launched my own financial planning firm in late 2018. So I've been doing this for a little over four and a half years now, working one-on-one in what I call a comprehensive holistic financial planning. So that just means that we talk about everything that relates to money and it's meaningful work.

It's deep work, and I love it, but also recognize that it came at a bitter cost.

Emily Jones: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. And much like you, I never thought necessarily I'd be doing this and something working with widows, but I think it's just a beautiful way of putting a purpose behind the pain or feeling that we're able to help other people who are going through some of [00:06:00] those really difficult moments and a lot of people just in general don't think about financial planning or they think maybe you have to be really wealthy or that's something that's not really meant for them or just feels overwhelming because there are so many options that are out there. So I'm really looking forward to being able to share with people just some basics of what they should know and how they can help plan for their own financial future and be able to survive well into retirement and also provide something for their kids and grandkids in the future.

Daniel Kopp: Yeah, it's a certainly multifaceted topic and the thing that I've found over the years working with people is money is not really about dollars and cents.

It's about the hopes, the fears, the dreams that we attach to that, the goals, the values that are lived out. And money is just the tool in our modern society that many of these things come to pass. So that's really what I love. Working with the numbers are one thing, but the people's lives and the values is far more [00:07:00] important to me.

Emily Jones: Yeah, I think money is a tool that gives us options. , like you said, to create the life that you want or to be able to do the things that you want and advise us options and freedom. So, where would you suggest that people start? So maybe they've never really thought about financial planning, or they're not sure.

Is it stocks? Like that's the first thing people tend to think about. Is it 401k? How would they even get started in thinking about financial planning.

Daniel Kopp: No, that's a very good question because there's so much as a part of this. Investments are a piece, but only that I often think about it as like the base of a pyramid.

So, many things go into that, but as you get closer to the top, there's less that goes into that. So, if I had to pick where like stocks, investments, fit in that pyramid of financial planning, I'd say they're somewhere in the middle. So like things down at the bottom that's more. What is important to you?

So identifying goals, and I realize that sounds super scary and hard. It's like, how do I provide for my [00:08:00] kids while I figure out what's next, but I have to sell my house now that I'm widowed. I don't even know what to do next. And if that's what you're feeling, you're not alone. But part of that is just it identifying where you're at, right?

Just like anytime that you're traveling on a trip, on a map, you have to figure out where you're going by first, figuring out where you're at. And I often help clients think through this with what I call the now, soon, and later buckets. There are many financial decisions. Things that relate to this idea of money in the near term right after a spouse dies that have to be done.

Now, some of that might be things like filing death benefits claims, or responding to employer HR correspondence or contacting social security to file for benefits for the surviving children and things like that, as well as estate planning. Oftentimes that's just a whirlwind. And then other decisions start to come in like, well, should you take the 401K that was at the workplace and roll it into an inherit ira?

Or put it into an IRA in your name. Many of these decisions [00:09:00] don't have to happen right away, so that could go say into the soon bucket, and then maybe that would be assuming you have some sufficient cash flow. evaluate, selling the house soon, or things like later, like, well, how do you plan for your own retirement?

Sometimes here's to triage, and that can go in the later bucket for now while you just survive financially. So financial planning is not, like I said, not just about stocks, but it's about that identifying where you're at. Risk management, which would involve. Insurance, but so much more savings. Estate planning documents as a piece of that.

Anything that is a risk that can be mitigated or avoided. Real estate, I mentioned kind of that related to selling your own house, like if there are other properties involved. Education, planning. So I love helping clients like think about funding for college or even if they're getting ready, like.

Filing fafsa, understanding employee benefits, estate planning I mentioned earlier, I'm not an attorney. I don't give legal advice, but I help clients either work with their attorney or find digital solutions out there that help them implement their own estate plan if they haven't already done so with Will [00:10:00] trusts, power of attorney living will, things like that.

Investment, cash flow management is a huge piece of that. Like determining expenses, how much can you spend, how much do you need to save? And then that kind of ties directly into with retirement. Tax planning is a key piece of what I do, so I don't help clients prepare taxes per se, but rather than looking back at what happened last year, primarily what like most tax repairs do help clients look ahead to identify things.

And then so much more, I mean, personal finance is just that. It's far more personal than it is finance.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's great. And I'm sure there are several things that you listed that people hadn't even really thought about. I know estate planning is usually something, even though as widows we should know we have that in place.

We may really put that off until, we think we'll just deal with it at some point. But where would you say if someone's trying to figure out where to start, or trying to determine, what's a good resource for them, or should they work with a financial planner? At what stage would they work with a [00:11:00] financial planner?

What? What advice would you give to people there?

Daniel Kopp: That's a very complicated question. A good one. An important one is things like clarity and confidence. For many widows that I've worked with, they were not necessarily the CFO, the chief financial officer of the household, or maybe they just handled some aspect of it, like spending or cash flow management or, but maybe not all the aspects like investments or estate planning.

So I fully believe that any widow can be empowered to learn about these things and do it on their own, but it sometimes it can be a very steep learning curve out there. Many times there. Nonprofits out there. One of them I can highly recommend is called Wings for Widows. It's a 5 0 1 charity that helped provide some of this initial financial coaching, counseling planning work for free.

They partner with CFPs across the country to help provide some of that pro bono work. So if you feel like you're just in a financial position where maybe you couldn't even think about affording to pay for it. That could be a good place to start. [00:12:00] Generally speaking, like the more complex your financial life is, so the larger an insurance payout or the number of assets or things like that, it might make more sense to work with a financial professional.

And this is where it can get a little tricky because the financial services industry encompasses some 300,000 people with confusing titles and employer structures and things like that, and companies. So the work that I do, Obviously a little bit biased here is what I call a fee only financial planner.

So I'm one. I never take money off of commissions. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but nobody goes to the car lot knowing that of course agent's gonna get paid on commission and expecting them to give you the advice that's in your best interest about the car that you need.

So similarly, when you're working with professionals who as part of their business model, they may have some conflicts of interest if they're selling products to you, whether that's insurance or investments, things like that. So my work, I only get paid by clients, and so I never take kickbacks or anything like that.

So that'd be something to evaluate. There's an association out there called NAPFA. The [00:13:00] National Association of Personal Financial Planners and X Y Plan network would be another one. They only have fee only financial planners in there. So that's one thing. And the other thing is fiduciary. So this is a big, fancy legal word that just means that I and others who are fiduciary are legally obligated to always work in our client's best interests.

And if we don't do that, we can be sued. We can be held financially liable for some of the choices that are made there. Now talk can be cheap, so I always recommend everybody can ask somebody to put it in writing. Will you be a fiduciary to me at all times? And if they tick those first two boxes and have expertise maybe working in a widow situation, that might be a great way to kind of interview it.

There's some checklists and things like that you could have to help understand. Some of these questions I can give 'em to you that you could put in like a show notes area just to help people evaluate. . And then the last thing I'd say is, if you're not sure, interview several people. Most financial planners out there will offer some kind of no obligation free consultation process.

Go through it, know, don't be, feel pressured to say yes to anything. Think about [00:14:00] it and determine if that would make sense for you.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's great. And as you're thinking about your pyramid what were your three categories I've already forgotten. Soon.

Yeah. Now soon and later.

Now. Soon and later. Then can you share just a little bit about typically what is in each of those categories just recap that for people of what they should be thinking about.

Daniel Kopp: Yeah, so generally the now would be things that have to get done because there's some kind of deadline. So the probate process, filing employee benefits claims, getting some of that initial life insurance money applying for social security survivor benefits cause you wanna start these benefits early, whereas other things that can wait, i e if you wait, would it be.

Hurtful, impactful to you. And if not, then start putting it into the soon and later buckets and go from there. I mean, you mentioned it on many of your podcasts before. Brain fog is a real problem. Don't feel like you have to go this alone too. Find a trusted friend, a family member, or maybe [00:15:00] even a fellow widow or a part of the community that Emily, you're building here, that you can ask other people who have gone through similar experiences.

What they did when they kind of triaged and made these decision choices.

Emily Jones: And if somebody's just needing to get started, let's say they've never done a budget for the first time, is that something you help with? Is it something they just download a template, like an Excel spreadsheet or?

Any thoughts that you have there around there of if they're just even trying to figure out what are my expenses? Am I thinking of everything Like the electric bill, the cable, all of that. And then, how long of a, how long of a runway do I have with my current income? And, if I need to consider making a decision like selling my house.

Do you have any recommendations?

Daniel Kopp: Yeah, there's a lot of software providers out there that can help take a snapshot of what has happened in the past, even if you've never used one of those before. So, some of my favorites are like Mint, which is free. [00:16:00] The caveat being that you're gonna get sold services as a part of that.

So you can link your financial accounts and it will import data from the past, and you could use that to see, maybe you've never tracked it before you could look at it. Monarch money would be another one paid. But similar to a financial planning light. So they're gonna give some advice as a part of the, almost like a robo-advisor kind of thing, and then helping you manage spending.

And then I have a lot of clients who really like WINAB stands for, you need a budget. I know you and I have talked about some of the Dave Ramsey personal finance stuff before they have Dave Ramsey has a personal finance app as well. I'm spacing the name of it at the moment. Every dollar. Every dollar.

Yep. So these are things that you could use to kind of, and it's not like you have to have a hundred percent solution of everything that happened over the past 3, 6, 12 months that's probably overwhelming. So, start where you're at, back to that idea and then figure out, okay, well what did we spend over the last 30 days?

Well, what would that look like if we did it over the next 12 months? How's that match against income? Most [00:17:00] people that I know when it comes to budgeting and cash flow, it can get overwhelming when you try to get it every down to the penny or the dollar. To start. Right, and that may be a goal that you work towards, but just figure out 80% solution , what can you get today that will get you a good enough until you can put it into that soon bucket and maybe narrow it down even further.

Emily Jones: So, let's say somebody now they're a little further out or maybe much further out and they're in a good routine with their budget and they're feeling good about understanding, income versus expenses and they haven't maybe thought about talking with a financial planner before, or they're just really starting to dream about what their future could look like.

Is there anything that. Any dreams or visions or any particulars that they should spend some time really reflecting on, like how they want their life to look like before they meet with a financial planner to say, this is my ultimate goal of what I can accomplish. Is this even possible?

Daniel Kopp: Well, Google is a powerful tool [00:18:00] to ask questions and there's a lot of information out there, challenges that can sometimes be overwhelming when you try to google to that, like million results. Oh, great. What are you gonna do with that? So one of the best things that I've found working with my own financial planner over the years and then helping clients is that thinking partner.

Because when your spouse dies, that's a void that's suddenly there. That was that person that maybe you bounced ideas off of, whether personal finance or otherwise, about like what's important to you. So there's certainly nothing that prevents you from doing some of these own self discovery exploration exercises.

But it can be challenging and maybe that's again, a trusted friend or another widow or community of widows that have gone through something similar. Ask like, well, who do I want to be now? Oftentimes I'll use some exercises with clients about like analyzing, like, what would be a perfect day? So think about like a literal 24 hour period.

What are all the things that when you've had a day, that was a perfect one, and then bump it out to [00:19:00] a week or a month and start visualizing like, well, what about I want to happen the smallest of things like a good cup of coffee or the meaningful dinner with friends or spending time with your kids playing games or watching a movie, right?

And you kind of start to dream and visualize at the smallest level, like what would be a good day? And then what are the things in your life that maybe that you could change or start moving towards to help implement that happen? Now, oftentimes there's a price tag or a money associated with that, but not always.

And that's a starting point, right? And again, take the smallest possible step forward today. and the future's uncertain. We as widowed people know that more than anything, so don't try to imagine that you have to plan out the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years. It's a magical straight line. You know you're gonna learn something new when you take one small step forward by trying something out and pivot when new information arrives.

Emily Jones: And I think it's important to tag on there where what I would find myself doing kind of early on is going, okay, do I wanna sell my house? Do I wanna keep it, it's a lot of [00:20:00] land to keep up with. It's kind of a big pain. But I like, where I'm at for the most part. And. , even just certain decisions around the house, I would almost delay thinking like, well, you know what if I meet someone and they don't like this or they wanna do that, or you kind of almost go back into this default mode of wanting that other person's opinion and thinking about, well, not only am I making a decision for me right now, but how does that affect where I may be five years from now and what if that works or doesn't work for someone else. So it was just a really weird like cycle that I kept going through there for a while. So I don't know if you have any thoughts there, like if people are delaying decisions or if they're worried, maybe they make a decision now that's, they can still change it later.

I don't know if you have any thoughts there.

Daniel Kopp: Maybe this is where you have to be careful about injecting too much of your own opinion because what's right for me or you is not always right for everybody. I finished my master's last year from Kansas State University in their [00:21:00] Financial therapy program.

So a lot of the work that I do with clients is about borrowing from the world of mental health, of counseling, of decades and many lessons learned from that and applying it to the realm of money. We've kind of hinted at that money's more about hopes and fears and dreams than dollars and cents.

And so when we think about this, what's next and making decisions, it comes down to analyzing. You who you are at your very core. One of the papers that I helped co-author and was published in the Journal of Financial Therapy, looked at this idea, especially for widows who are dealing with money avoidance.

So a lot of what we talked about today is maybe easy for some listeners, but maybe some of you out there are thinking like, I couldn't even imagine looking at my last three months or 12 months of expenses or so overwhelmed that you don't even know where to start, and some of that may come from your past.

Our money stories are interwoven into our lives, oftentimes at the very subconscious level. And so. If you keep running into the same stumbling blocks about being able [00:22:00] to move forward with this, that may be a clue that maybe you need some extra help or support to get through that. But back to this idea of figuring out, kind of what's next in these resources is don't do this alone. Widowhood is so hard all by itself. Find that community, and I love that what you're building here in Emily and, there's others out there. Modern widows clubs, soaring spirits and others where you can find support and get ideas and resources from other people that go beyond just your own personal experience.

Emily Jones: The Bible talks about their safety in a multitude of counselors. . And I definitely have embraced that in many areas of life, and I think it's a great point to, like you said, talk to different financial planners and see which one's right for you, everybody's gonna have their own opinion and provide a different perspective or input.

And ultimately what I've learned is that I just try to compile all of them and make the decision that I think is best for me. But I always like hearing all of the different thoughts because [00:23:00] people may point out things that I've never even thought of before. What would you say, at what point should people start thinking about things like putting money into a college fund for kids or thinking about retirement and saving up for that?

Like when is the right time to start wanting to think about that and planning for that?

Daniel Kopp: For most widows, this probably falls into the soon bucket cuz you don't wanna wait years and years to kind of analyze this. The time value of money. A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow and next year and so forth, because you can put that money to work now.

So if your kids are young, say in elementary age, yeah. Now is an excellent, a perfect time to start thinking about that once you've triaged some of those early decisions. College is a complicated topic though, and how to fund it and be a part of this. It goes to far more again, than just the dollar cost of it.

One of the best books, resources that I found is a book by Ron [00:24:00] Lieber. He's the New York Times Personal Finance College. It's called The Price You Pay For College. And if you are starting to seriously think about college funding, I can highly recommend this book cause it helps you analyze a lot of the emotional considerations that go into saving for college.

I can't give generic advice here, like, well, we should invest in a 5 29 and save enough to pay for an in-state school, cuz there's so many nuances that come along with that. So again, what is important to you, first and foremost, and your family? And then part of that is what are your financial capacities?

I've seen many widowed clients who for one reason or another, overextend themselves trying to pay for the most expensive school or whatever their kids want. And that's so doing to the detriment of their own retirement, where now suddenly they've drained accounts or overspent there, and now they're looking at working well into their late seventies and never being able to retire on their own.

So just finding the balance is the theme of so much of personal finance, right? There's never, [00:25:00] always, oftentimes one perfect right answer. It's about trade offs. So college funding and retirement are often one of those things. Heavily intentioned in putting more money towards one can often be at the expense of the other.

Not always, but that's one of the things to be aware of. So certainly saving for your own retirement is gonna be a piece of that. Based on income history. So the younger that a widow is, the more human capital that they have. That just means earnings potential. And maybe that's not right away, especially while kids might be younger.

And so if you could have the ability to earn on your own for many years in the future and save out of that income, that gives flexibility then having to make, say the initial life insurance money fund both interim years and those future retirement Social Security survivor benefits play a role of course, while kids are in the house and in high school up to that age.

But then later on, social security survivor benefit, claiming strategies come into play most often a widow has two choices. So, You can claim [00:26:00] survivor benefits as early as age 60, and then potentially delay taking your own benefit under current law until age 70. So if a widow worked for many years and has sufficient income earning history to claim a benefit that might be higher, that can often be the ideal strategy.

So you claim survivor benefit as early as age 60, cuz you can only have one at a time and then you delay taking. Own benefit until age 70, whereas the reverse might be true. So maybe you worked a little bit, but not so much. So your income would be less than what your survivor benefit would be, in which case it can generally make more sense to claim your own benefit.

Age 62, the earliest most people can today and delay taking the survivor benefit until age 67. And that allows that delayed one, whether your own or the survivor benefit to grow the most. So that's just an example of some of the trade-offs and when you start analyzing that now that can help give guidance for what to prioritize with that trade off of college now, retirement later.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's a great example. And I know a [00:27:00] lot of people don't tend to necessarily think about retirement anyway, but to your point, even if you can just save a little bit now towards whether it's the college fund or retirement, I do think it's a good idea to start thinking about it.

Let's say that, as someone who a widow who wasn't the C F O of their household, they're listening to all this. They're thinking, oh man, looking at my budget, like old school check register, like going through everything to see where all the expenses are. That sounds so time consuming. I don't know if I really would have time to manage all of this financial planning stuff.

Do you have any thoughts around, once you get into a routine of reviewing a budget or meeting with a financial planner and working on some of your goals, is there a certain amount of time per week or so many hours that you think people typically spend towards those financial review type things?

Daniel Kopp: Definitely it can vary based on your experience and desire, but once you've kind of got into a good [00:28:00] routine, checking in monthly is probably the minimum that you would want to do for kind of a cash flow. So you're monthly budgeting. I kinda use those words interchangeably. Many of my clients, the ones who don't necessarily want to get down to the dollar and everything, as long as you have identified your savings goals.

So I call it the pay yourself first strategy. Not original. To me, that's just what it's called. And so as long as you know your. Say X percent or that amount of dollars every month, everything left over can be confidently spent. Keep in mind some of those biannual or annual or quarterly bills.

Setting aside for that. So you save what you need to and then just spend the rest, and then that might be a monthly check-in. And then for some of your other big picture goals like investments or insurance or estate planning review, you do those say quarterly or annually based on an as needed basis.

Emily Jones: What are your thoughts on things like an emergency fund or rainy day fund that people might need in case, a car breaks down or in case something happens, which we know will happen in life. It's just a matter of at what point, but do you have any general advice that you would share for [00:29:00] people or any thoughts there?

Daniel Kopp: Yeah, this is certainly something that can make a huge difference for people on knowing both the sleep well at night factor, the swan factor, but also just the ability to handle financial emergencies. And in fact, one of the studies of financial literacy that's gone on throughout the United States in the world is if you had to come up with a $400 expense right now, could you do it?

And for many people who answer no to that puts them into the category of financial fragility. I heard you talk about, in one of your prior episodes about this idea of resilience. So financial resilience is empowered and helped many times by having an emergency fund. So we mentioned Dave Ramsey earlier, but like his order of operations, right?

You have that thousand dollars cash sitting in the bank, kind of, and if it's a starting point now for some of you that might be a good starting point. You might wanna have maybe more. Especially when you're starting to triage immediate decisions, knowing that you have some cash there so that if you had to come up with a sudden expense, now you're not being forced to put it on a high interest [00:30:00] credit card or go to some of those high interest payday loans that can get you behind the power curve is that interest is accumulates and accumulates. So having a good emergency fund is a solid way to build financial resilience. So a thousand dollars would be the starting point. Maybe the end goal where you'd be much more financially resilient is, three to six months worth of living expenses.

So if you're spending $3,000 a month, having anywhere about 18,000, so that'd be six months worth that you could have cash in the bank and maybe that might be a high yield savings account where you're earning a little bit more interest. But just something there that's ready to go if and when you.

Emily Jones: I actually started several years ago following Dave Ramsey's plan, and I can't say that I follow it a hundred percent today, but I think it was really helpful around understanding, how consumer debt and being in debt is harmful and about how you having that emergency day fund just really alleviates a lot of stress and anxiety and those worries when all that stuff starts popping [00:31:00] up. And then of course, building out into a larger, ready day fund. So I would definitely reiterate that with anyone who's watching is if you haven't taken the time to do it, your needs could be very unique and different than everyone else's, but it can provide you a lot of less anxiety, a lot more reassurance to know that you have at least some funds set aside specifically for those emergencies and those things that pop up. So, I love that. Well, Daniel, anything that we haven't touched on or anything that you really would want people to be able to walk away from this episode with?

Daniel Kopp: Actually you just brought it up a moment ago where you used the words financial anxiety and grief and financial anxiety can often get intermingled in this process and my experience, at least working with people is oftentimes the most financial, anxious people are where that grief is coming from a place of widowhood.

Half of you is gone, and that maybe have been more than just [00:32:00] the income earner, but somebody who managed the money. So being able to manage that financial anxiety can be helpful. So a lot of things we've talked about are a good starting point, but also then some of the things to consider.

Being in community, we mentioned that several times, but maybe on your own limiting more of your media exposure. So some of the research that I've done and looked at analyzes, the less that you get exposure to mainstream media, negative headlines, things like that can help to quiet financial anxiety, especially because you have to understand the media is not your friend when it comes to things like investments in the market, right? They want readers, they want clicks. So they're gonna lead with a lot of that headline that most of the time, the day-to-day noise has very little to do with your financial present or your future outcomes. And then remember too that we've referenced it slightly here but God's in control, right?

Resting in his sovereignty. For those of you who have that biblical faith is recognizing that he will provide, he owns the cattle on a thousand hills and he is not going to [00:33:00] allow the widow of the orphan to beg bread. And then lastly, just considering gratitude. Even though that may seem like the hardest thing, the furthest thing from your mind in the midst of this, just taking the time to appreciate the small, the joyful moments, financial or otherwise as a part of your life, as an antidote to work, to heal some of that financial anxiety.

So those are things that I've found personally. And then working with clients that can make a much bigger difference than you might otherwise think.

Emily Jones: Oh, that's awesome. Thank you for sharing that. And I'll tell you I was the breadwinner of our house and my husband was stay-at-home dad for, 12 years.

But even though that was the situation, it was like once he had passed, I was much more anxious about things and more conservative about decisions. And even when I was. Upgrading like the cameras and security system on our house. I was asking all these questions and one of the guys just kinda looked at me and was like, did something happen to you in [00:34:00] the past?

And I'm like, but no, I just wanna make sure that I'm being like ultra-conservative with everything. And I know that's not always the right answer, but for people who are feeling that I think can also be confusing for people maybe used to be really confident in their decisions or used to really, not worry about those things as much, it's like just not having that person to talk things through with, or the fact that all of a sudden they're no longer there feeds into those routine decisions that can make things really hard, especially when you're not thinking clearly in the beginning anyway. So know if that's you that's completely normal and there are plenty of folks that can help you. So, All right. Tell everyone if they wanna work with you, how do they find you? How should they reach out to you? What should they come to you with? Just tell us all, all about how to find you.

Daniel Kopp: So, my firm name is Wise Stewardship Financial Planning.

So you can find me at Wise Stewardship FP as in financial planning. planning.com. So why is steward [00:35:00] fp.com. You can read all about my story there more about what I do. There's a link there if you're interested to just schedule a consultation directly on my calendar at a time that works best for you.

My contact info is there if you want to just separately email me a question or things like that. I've also just recently launched a new podcast called Widow Life and Money, where we explore the intersection of Faith, Finances and Grief, just to kind of take this to a deeper level. Emily, you're gonna be a guest on there very soon.

And then, other places that I've written, you can Google my name, Daniel Kopp and find out about some of the other stuff that I've done. So that'd be the best way. And what do they need? Nothing but interest to learn more. I walk through a process where it's kind of a three step consultation.

So the first part is just a 30 minute question to answer session where we just determine are we a good fit? No data required or anything like that except interested to learn more, input some information in my planning software, and then we come back for a deeper dive, a preview of what it would look like to work together.

I try to practice the lowest stakes process so that,[00:36:00] Completely free, no obligation so that people can determine if it's a good fit and add lots of value as a part of that. So my goal is to give back above and beyond in the widow community as well. So I do a lot of volunteering and pro bono work.

If you come across a case or a scenario where maybe it's not for you or someone else that you know please reach out. I'm happy to help and see if I could be a fit there too.

Emily Jones: Yeah. That's awesome. I hate that you've had the experience of being widowed, but I love that you also come from a place of understanding and relatability with people and especially that you have that additional lens of faith and mixed all together with finance that's just really great. So yes, everybody please go check out Daniel or send someone his way if you know they're interested. And thank you for coming on the show. It's really been a pleasure to have you.

Daniel Kopp: Thank you for the opportunity. It's been a great.

Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you [00:37:00] take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, binding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.

 

 

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