Creating an Intentionally Equitable Hiring Process

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Cait Howerton, MBA, AFC®, is relatively new to the financial planning profession - but she’s already making waves. Cait is an advocate for inclusion and equity in the financial planning profession. She’s an LGBTQ+ and student loan money specialist. 

Cait is incredibly passionate about helping other people find purpose and meaning in their finances, and wants to help the financial planning profession grow to start connecting with people from all backgrounds and sexual orientations.

In this episode, Cait is sharing her story. Cait was interviewed at a larger firm, and immediately connected with the interviewers. However, upon meeting her in person, she was told she wouldn’t resonate well with their clients, and they thanked her for her time.

When I first heard Cait’s story, my blood boiled. It’s hurtful that discriminatory hiring is still going on in the financial planning profession (and beyond). Unfortunately, many firm owners aren’t sure how to align their hiring process or their metrics with their diversity goals. Cait is about to give listeners some amazing, actionable tips to start implementing better hiring practices today, and other ways financial planning firms can start to pursue inclusivity.

Ready to go? Tune in now!

Show Notes:

Episode Transcript

Rianka: 00:00 Cait, welcome to 2050 TrailBlazers.

Cait: 00:04 Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm excited.

Rianka: 00:06 I am so excited too, oh my gosh, we are officially kicking off season four of 2050 TrailBlazers. This season we are going to be talking about best practices, you know, every season I like to have a theme and you know, this season's theme is best practices and with this season's guests, we're gonna be, you know, speaking about an array of topics such as hiring retention, inclusion programs. You know, what do the leaders in these top organizations, what do they need to be doing and all of that good stuff. So I'm really excited for this season. There's going to be so many actionable takeaways and this episode is no different,

Cait. So thank you so much for joining us.

Cait: 00:52 Of course. Of course.

Rianka: 00:54 So as you all know, I like to start off with just sharing how I meet these wonderful guests that I have on the podcast. And so Cait and I actually just met, we just met, it was in May. FPA retreat.

Cait: 01:14 Yeah, April May, I guess. Like it wasn't a, yeah, we'll absolutely, yeah.

Rianka: 01:19 So it was May, May this year at FPA retreat again, output FPA retreat in the show notes. Listen, if you are one of the movers and shakers of the financial planning world and you haven't attended FPA retreat, you need to because you'll meet bad-ass women like Cait and you know, and see what they're doing and see what other folks are doing and see how can we continue to move the profession forward. So I met Cait there. There's a part in FPA retreat. The first day is called open circle or open circle and at open circle. You have a opportunity to just become present, you know, just with all of our lives and everyday distractions it's a chance for us to kind of silence, silence our mind, become present and set our intentions for the week.

Rianka: 02:15 And so people have the opportunity to stand up and share their intentions. You know, what did they learn since their last retreat? What do they want to learn for this retreat? And Cait, I think you are one of the last ones to stand up and I just saw you over there. Like, I mean, I saw you and you look like you had something to say and so I'm so happy you, you stood up. And when she shared her story, and I'll paraphrase here, but the part that stuck out to me was, you know, she's, you know, newish in the profession and, she went and interview at this firm in Pensacola, Florida and oh, but before you went to go interview, you had a phone interview. Am I right? Am I remembering?

Cait: 03:01 Yes. Right.

Rianka: 03:02 Okay. You had a phone interview. The phone interview went well, like exceptionally well and they was like, okay, we're going to fly you in and we want you to, you know, interview with our team and all of this.

Rianka: 03:15 And you're like, alright, bet that's, that's what's up. Let's go. So you go to the firm, you interview exceptionally well again, but then at the end you share it with us that the person that was interviewing you said, while I think you are an amazing planner, you have a passion for financial planning that's undeniable. However, you are not going to resonate well with my clients. And so thank you for your time. And Cait then said some more things and my blood just started boiling because it made me flashback to some points in time in my career where if I did put my value and other people's opinion of myself, I would not be a financial planner either. I would have left this profession. And so it was very serendipitous that the next session Cait and I sat at the same exact table and I went up to Cait and I was like, listen, I see you, you belong here and we need you, and take my information.

Rianka: 04:33 And whenever you need something or need to speak or need a sounding board, I'm here. And that was the beginning of a really cool relationship that has formed, Cait. So Cait, you bring a very important perspective to our profession. Not only, how you identify, but also how clients who identify similar to you and how we can be supportive, how we can be better planners, how we can be more inclusive. You know, the concept of intersectionality is very important. Which is getting talked about more, you know, last season we talked about the intersectionality of money and culture and now, you know, I wanted to continue to take a step forward and continue to talk about this. So Cait, you know, did I, did I get all of your story?

Cait: 05:27 Yeah. Except for they didn't fly me in. That's the only thing. They, they I had to drive, Rianka I had a drive, but it wasn't too far. It was a couple of hours.

Rianka: 05:36 Okay.

Cait: 05:37 But yes, for the gist, I mean that, that is my story and, I, I almost quit. You know, I really almost kind of duced out of the financial planning profession because of that experience. It had already been kind of challenging for me as I grew up in Arkansas. And so being a member of the LGBTQ plus community in Arkansas, isn't really readily accepted still, even in 2019. So seeing myself in the, in the profession and having visibility, was something that I didn't have at that time. And so it really was, it kind of almost quit after that point.

Rianka: 06:23 MMM. Yeah. So what made you stay

Cait: 06:27 I think my own passion for what we do. I think that I didn't want someone else to be the end of my story. That wasn't a period, it was a semicolon, like, you know, kind of like the semicolon project, but keep going. It gets better. And so I know that that's a bit, you know, kind of symbolic of, of many different things. But for me that was the point that I was like, I have to keep going because there are people out there who need to, who needed help with their finances and they need help with their money scripts and they need to be able to see people like us in this profession so that they met. They know that they also are not alone.

Rianka: 07:14 And I think that's a, a good piece. I mean, you're hitting on two points. One, clients I think need to see their selves and financial planners in order for them sometimes to feel comfortable to even share some of the things that are happening in their life. Some of the things that are happening in your life I can't identify with. Although I'm a minority, in various aspects, in many different facets. And so are you, right? But we have different paths and different lives. And with your story, I want to kind of share that is definitely what not to say to someone. At a person who has this burning passion and fire for financial plans, to say you're just not a good fit. That's something that I do not like. I don't like the word culture fit. Okay. So everyone who's listening, let's get that out of our vocabulary.

Rianka: 08:18 I'm gonna write an article here, soon. And I'm gonna talk about the difference between finding a cultural fit versus a culture add and Cait, you would have been a tremendous asset to that firm. And so you've gone through, you know, you interviewed at, you know, different firms and so you have some, some say some, some knowledge around some hiring practices. So with the firm that you're with now what are some of the best practices that you can share? So for some of those firms out there that are looking for the minority financial planner, whether from a racial perspective, from a social economic perspective, from a, sexual orientation perspective, you know, what are some of the ways that, you know, planners can find the Cait's of the world.

Cait: 09:10 Yeah, for sure. So I, I think probably starting with in order to be able to go to the point of hiring, you have to first start with yourself. So I won't go deeply into, into this, but I would say first and foremost is go to go take, go take an intrinsic bias test. You know, one of those quizzes online. Harvard offers a really, really good one and go check that out to see, we all carry biases within us that were ingrained since we were kids. It's very, very hard to break those things, but we can at least start with addressing them, being aware of them, seeing how those, subliminal things pop up within us to see how we would see someone else and then how we would also present ourselves.

Cait: 10:03 So having some self awareness first and foremost before you hire, because you, you have to be acutely oriented with who you are as a person. And as a firm owner, that's kind of where I would start. But from there I would say a, the next place would be your job posting. So check out, check out the language that you're using when you're running your job posting. Is it heavily feminine? Is it heavily masculine? And so some people may be listening and they're like, what are you talking about Cait? So the usage of language is there's this kind of feminine words which are lighter than there's masculine alert words, which are kind of hit harder. So when you put a lot of words like dominate, aggressive, things like that, it starts to lead the job posting in a, in a more masculine direction. And so you can throw those through, a screener online, just several that are available and you can see kind of business popping up to be more feminine, more masculine.

Cait: 11:08 And there's studies that have been shown that by using fewer masculine words, you attract more women and other minority group members, but it doesn't have a negative impact on men. So that's kind of like men overall that's not necessarily segregating between men of color, you know, white men, so on and so forth. But that, that whole masculine energy. So if you're focused on gender equity, which you should be, that's where you want to start. The next thing is, you're posting location and that that kind of comes down to more men are hired based on word of mouth. They kind of use their network and, and talk, and kind of the old boys club versus more women and, minorities use more third party listing sites. So make sure you have an online presence.

Rianka: 12:05 Yeah, and something that I have, seen frequently, here recently is that there are firms, you know, small RIAs reaching out to folks like myself or, or other planners of color asking, you know, are there any planners of color who, or students who are looking for jobs? And if so, can you please share this job description with them? Which I think is cool. However you are then putting the onerous on us to help you fulfill your job vacancy. I know Quad-A has, a job posting that you can post your, your jobs there and of course African Americans are going to see it. I'm not sure if the LGBTQ plus community has a forum for, you know, job postings so that these firm owners can go to these various organizations or various sites and then post their job description there so that people in these various, minority groups can see your job posting.

Cait: 13:18 The thing that comes to mind for the LGBT financial, like within financial planning, would be through the FPA through the Pride Planners Knowledge Circle. But then that kind of puts it on the job candidate. They have to be a member of the FPA to have access to that. So there, there are several recruiters out there within the financial planning industry. And so maybe we can even talk, you know, they, we can talk with them about beefing up some of their diversity efforts, making sure that they understand, what they need to be to do to be inclusive within their recruiting as well.

Rianka: 13:52 Okay. So we spoke about, or you spoke about job postings and just the job description itself and making sure that if you have questions, well yeah, if you have questions about your job description and you notice there's only one type of planner, you know, responding to your job posting, you may have some biases in there that you may not even know. So just like Cait said, you know, send it through a,

Cait: 14:19 Like, an intrinsic bias test,

Rianka: 14:21 An intrinsic bias test. And if you have some examples, Cait, send them over to me and I'll make sure to include them in the show notes. So just, you know, kind of self-check on the job description and then the posting locations. You know, making sure that you are actually posting your job. And as Cait said, I mean, and this is something that is so true. Rianka: 14:45 Most jobs are found via word of mouth in your community. And so if your community is, homogeneous and everyone looks like you and everyone has the same traits as you and everyone thinks just like you, then you're gonna just have more people just like you being hired. So what are some of the other things that these firm owners or you know, people who are in the hiring space can do now? You know, they've posted the job, you know, they've made sure they posted it at various locations. What's next in the process that you want to bring some insight to?

Cait: 15:25 Yeah, so I think the next thing is your screening and interview process. Are you doing an open resume, a closed resume? What that means is when you get resumes or applications coming through, passes off to an assistant, passes off to someone who's not involved with the hiring process and asks them. So if it's, if you, if you print them off, you know, kind of old school and, and go through every single paper copy, have them cut out the name, or if you're going through it in a, in a digital form, which is a little more difficult, but have someone else screen those resumes out and, or even print them off. I don't have the electronic solution to that just yet, but take the name off of it because a female person or someone who has, a black or brown name, there's that intrinsic bias that's going to pop up again and they have less of a chance to get hired just because of their name.

Cait: 16:27 I mean, you talked about that, in your previous episode with Roberte, like how important the name is, but when your name is used against you, that's, you know, kind of counterintuitive as well. And then the other thing is make sure that you have diversity metrics within your screening and interview process. So one of the really cool things that my firm, SmartPath does within our, within our recruiting is we actually have our diversity report. We measure it quarterly, but then we talk about it as an entire corporation. What are we doing for diversity once a year? And then we show it like we hold ourselves accountable, top down to show how many women have, how many female resumes have we received. And then if people have chosen to self-disclose within their, their race, we see what is the distribution of kind of racial equality within our application process. And that's something that's like heavily, heavily important. And so making sure that your metrics align with all, with also with your diversity goals.

Rianka: 17:35 Wow. Okay. So I'll let you know. I don't know a lot of firms doing that, Cait. I actually, I don't know any firms that's doing that. So if you are, and if you want to share your process and in your scorecard or report card, send it my way. I would love to share on the 2050 TrailBlazers platform so that other firms can not have to necessarily reinvent the wheel and can try to implement this in their firm. So yeah. So Cait, I mean, if your firm is open to sharing that, that, I mean that is a huge step in the diversity and inclusion and equity direction for sure. Cait: 18:19 Yeah, that, that is something I our COO is pretty bomb about it. He's, he is a white cisgender man, but he's a huge ally. And that was one of the things when they founded the company, they wanted to make sure that it was incredibly diverse. Rianka: 18:33 So you mentioned some terms and maybe this is a, the first 2050 TrailBlazers podcast episode that you know, someone is listening to. So you said cis gendered male, let's, let's break that down for the listeners who may be like, oh, what is Cait talking about?

Cait: 18:57 Yeah. So, I mean, that's the first thing I want to kind of to, to tell people is like, if you haven't heard these words before and you think you're going to mess up or something like that, that's okay. First off, like you, you're gonna learn it's a learning process in diversity. So, and if you also don't understand it, that's okay because I didn't understand a lot of this stuff either and I'm in the community. But to be cisgender in layman's terms essentially means that you identify with the sex and gender that, that you were born, that you were born to. So you're a, you're a male, individual and you also present your gender presents as male. And so, transgender maybe means that you were born as a female bodied person and you present yourself as a male so that you're, you know, you've have transitioned to the gender that you more appropriately identify with in that, that you knew that is your core essence.

Rianka: 20:07 And I'm sure there is a multitude of other words that we're probably not sharing here today. I'm remembering a conversation that we had with Brian Thompson and David Ray and they shared a, I think it was a GLAD report, a pdf of different terms and all of that. So I'll repost that. So if you are, seeking to be an ally to the LGBTQ plus community like myself and trying to learn and give voice and space for it, I encourage you to read that pdf. I mean it was very enlightening. So I'll repost it this episode in the show notes, something else that you had mentioned that I wanted to make sure that I go back to is the resume and wow. Yes. I 100% agree with everything that you mentioned as far as with the resume. We have some biases that, you know, unconscious or conscious, whatever the case may be.

Rianka: 21:07 We have, we all have them, period. And I'll take a step further with removing the name. I will also remove the school as well because there are some, there is only a few, but there are maybe like five HBCUs, which is historically black colleges and universities that have a CFP board registered program, undergrad. And so again, just you'll see Clark Atlanta and maybe think something or a Delaware State University and, and think something. And I just don't want that person to automatically be pushed off the list just because like, yeah, no, so that's, that's something, you know, as you're going through the interview process to, not only remove the name but the school.

Cait: 22:05 So I mean that's even something that going back to that intersectional perspective that we sort of touched on the beginning is, so that affects African American people. The, discriminating based upon which school they attended. That also affects LGBTQ individuals in a way. There are more LGBTQ youth on the street than any population of youth that are homeless. So I mean, just imagine yourself getting kicked out of your house because of who you love and then trying to get yourself into a university. You're probably not going to get into Yale, like, it's just not gonna happen. It also affects people who are second generation college students. You know, you spoke about that within your most recent article about, first, did I say second? I meant to say first, but nonetheless, first generation college students have, kind of moving yourself forward. A lot of times those students aren't going to attend an ivy league school because shoot, their parents didn't even go to college.

Rianka: 23:09 Right. Wow. I mean you said something, let's not, let's not gloss over that, that the highest youth that are on the street are LGBTQ youth. And so even, you know, for them to go to a university to be able to, you know, get support from whatever community that they can outside of their family to then go to a university and then being shied away because like, oh, this person went to a community college. That's not fair. So these are some of the things that you can do that cost you nothing, but a little bit more time, maybe two minutes per resume to get it printed, printed off, you know, let's remove the name, sharpie it out, sharpie out the university and let's start making some objective decisions moving forward. Something else too. Also with the interview, let's have interview panels instead of one person making a decision and make sure your interview panel is diverse.

Rianka: 24:12 If you have a homogeneous firm, they make sure it's both male and female on, on the interview panel. I think that will help as well. Something that I speak about often is that, you know, some people are not, they don't move forward in a, in an interview because like, Oh, you know, this person handshake wasn't firm enough or I just don't like that person. Like, well, what do you mean this person is highly qualified, they're here for an interview process and the, and his or her handshake wasn't firm enough or you just didn't like the person or you didn't like what they were wearing. That's bias. Cait: 24:55 Absolutely. Rianka: 24:56 On the, on the positive side. Right. So you've gone through the recruiting process, you've posted the description, the job, they've gone through the interview process, you have some metrics that you're meeting, and now the person is hired. So what type of benefits should firms be looking for? When thinking about the inclusiveness of all types of planners that we want to bring into our profession?

Cait: 25:21 Yeah, so I think the first thing that comes to mind is parental leave. So I say parental, you notice I didn't say like maternity leave or paternity leave because it's parents, you know, and it's, we have a bunch of diverse family types. And so this isn't just about LGBTQ family types. This is, you've got a single mom, you potentially have a mom and aunt, you have a nuclear family, you have an extended family like the people that you call your family are your family. So that, that is something that's very, very important when you're considering drafting out your part. Excuse me, your parental leave policy is that if, if a woman carries for a child and she gets 12 weeks, does their partner also get 12 weeks do, they get to be home when that, that baby is brought into the world and as their family is the most crucial moments of, of time.

Cait: 26:23 You, you, you only have a couple of kids most of the time in your lifetime, this is a once in a lifetime shot at getting this right. And what about adoption? So that that can be for female individuals for male individuals. Do you offer the same benefits to people who adopting and even if it's not 12 weeks, four weeks, is it six weeks? And, even I've seen things like primary caregiver and secondary caregiver. So, you know, what does that mean? Because I, I, I know for sure that both people or all three people are care giving in that house. So, I think that that's really, really important to visit that because what you're doing there is making sure that it's a level playing field. Everyone's receiving the same financial benefits from your company, but you're also making sure that their family unit is tended to so that they, when they come back to work, you know that they're good. Like they're not worried about getting home. I mean, a parent who's just had a child two weeks ago, they're not going to produce a lick of anything productive for you in that third week coming back to work. It's just not going to happen.

Rianka: 27:41 So Cait, you hit on some really good points there. And, as far as just leave period, you know, that's either bringing another human being in the world or adopting, you know, a new, just family member into your family. And with this also something, one of the biggest things here that we are all worried about is insurance, health insurance. And so are there some ways that again, that we can be looking at this, so that we can make sure that we do hire on individuals that we are providing them with good benefits?

Cait: 28:20 Yeah. So the thing that comes to mind for me is for people with disabilities. Does your insurance have clauses about preexisting conditions? I know that that's a hard feat now in this day and age, especially with so much change with the affordable care act, but, and even proposed legislation change. But if you have people coming in with disabilities, how much is it going to cost for them to tend to their disability? And, something that I get checked on by my significant other is hidden disabilities. So we were at the mall last night and I was like, that Camaro has a handicap sign on. And I was like, what do you think their disability is? And she was like, what if they have asthma? What if they have a cardiac condition? She was like, check, check your bias. And I was like, she's like, you have ADD, you should understand that.

Cait: 29:09 And I was like, man, that, that is right. Like I have a hidden disability when someone rolls in to meet me. They have no idea that I have to take medicine twice a day to keep myself in check. You know, even like I sent you an outline yesterday before this podcast, that's, that's part of me tending to my disability. I wanna make sure that I'm good, that I'm going to be here and be present. And so how much will it cost for them to take care of themselves? The next thing I think about is, family insurance. So if you offer really good insurance for the individual and it's like $19 a paycheck or something for a high deductible plan, but then it costs an arm and a leg for them to add a child that is not good, that is not good health insurance. How much will it cost for an individual to have a child or their spouse on your insurance as well? And then the, my last thing is, for LGBTQ individuals, especially the T in the LGBTQ, is how much will it cost for someone who's transgender to be able to either transition or, or just continue to take care of themselves after they have transitioned physically and emotionally.

Rianka: 30:30 One of the, the things that is front and center as you know, like, I have a firm, I'm growing my firm. I'm a small business owner. And so for the firms out there who are small business owners, just like, but it costs so much and, and my who I understand, you know, I'm growing my firm and it's one of the things we have to do our due diligence on is like, let's find really good medical insurance so we can take care of our people. And that's something that I'm in the process doing right now. As I continue to grow my firm and my team, I want them to know that this is something that I'm paying attention to and this is something that I want to make sure that I am, you know, providing a benefit. You know, it's getting a paycheck. That's, I mean, they go to work, right? So it's, that's a given for them to get paid. Right? However, to provide, you know, some good health insurance. Unfortunately that's not a given in a lot of firms. And so in a profession where we talk about the whole self and, and we review medical benefits and we let them know if they have a crappy policy or not. Like you don't, you don't want to be a firm with a crappy policy, period.

Cait: 31:53 And that's kinda the thing is like, I, I think while you're building a firm, our, our firm came to us and were like, what's important to you within your health insurance policy? What's more important to you when we're talking about benefits? Is it disability or is it health insurance? Can you go find a disability plan outside of the, you know, outside of us, outside of your employment. Can you, can you find that through a trade association and we can give you some better health insurance. Having those open conversations saying like, look guys, this is our budget. This is what we're limited to. But we also understand that this is important and as we grow together, we can revisit this next year. And then like don't just slough it off, next year you revisit it. And I think it's even just those open conversations, especially for small businesses because, I mean I know it's expensive, but, having the vulnerable, the vulnerability to say, let's revisit this again. I know that this is important to you all and it's important to us and so we will come through and make this better and better every year.

Rianka: 32:58 Yeah, I love that. I love that. That's brilliant. Brilliant. Let's just have a open conversation. What's important to you? Because again, we have within our head as firm owners what we think is important to our team member and we may be so far off base that when we provide this benefit, like alright, now we gave you x benefit and they're like, great, but I don't need this. Right, right. So you want to be in front of that. Well, okay. I think this is awesome advice as far as the, the recruiting, you know, bringing in diverse talent and checking our biases. Is there anything else, in this space that you want to share where, you know, sometimes we go through things so that the next person behind us doesn't have to go through it. You know, the strides that you're making, the conversations that you're having just like here on this podcast. And so that the next Cait does not have to go through what you went through, at that firm in Pensacola. So is there is there anything else that you wanted to share that maybe that we haven't touched on?

Cait: 34:11 Yeah, you know, I think there are retention efforts that would probably be the next prong within hiring, but I think that is it for another time of the day. I don't know that you have a ton of brilliant minds on your podcast, so as you go through this season, I bet you're even going to have some people talk about that, how you retain good new hires and continue to build on inclusivity within, within your practice. So I'll, I'll save that for someone else.

Rianka: 34:38 All right now. Right, so now we, we, we brought Cait into the firm. Okay. We, we hired Cait and now, so that's from an employee side, right? But what about the client side, and Cait, she did not, when she mentioned she sent in an outline. She is for real, like this outline is the most, I told her she just needs to take this and like write three articles. With this, the content is already there. I mean girl you are, I mean this is awesome. I told her, I was like, Cait, this is the most prepared I had for all four seasons thus far.

Rianka: 35:17 This is the most prepared I've seen any guests and I'm just like, wow, okay, well here's what we're going to talk about. So next on our list of things is offering inclusive financial planning and I think it's brilliant to, to go to make sure we are not only talking about the employee that we want to hire it, but the clients that we want to support and making sure your presence is, she's basically saying we welcome you to our firm. And, and Cait, what you mentioned in this beautifully typed prep doc here is your website. So what should, what should we be thinking about when we get, when we're thinking about our website and wanting to be planners to all types of clients?

Cait: 36:10 I think first and foremost, so you have to understand what, what is your website for? And if you guys don't know what a good website looks like, you need to go check out Brianca's presence online. She's girl, you're doing it right. So your website is your front door to your business in this day and age, we have a presence that is larger than just the, the town or city that you're currently in. And so you're able to generate clients and to show who you are online in a way that we never have been able to before. So I guess the thing that I want to start with is who and what are on your website? Go, go look at that copy and go look at those photos on your website. You want to see that you have representation of white, black, Brown, Asian, Middle Eastern, everybody. Like you

Cait: 37:06 If you want to show that you are willing to work with any person, and not just someone who looks like you. So, and, and that's, you know, that like dives often to other, you know, to other things as well, such as like, do you have any LGBTQ individuals on your website? Do you have any people with disabilities on their website? Like seeing, seeing yourself within a page and within a space creates, an initial safety in your subconscious. And so, same thing with your copy. You know, if you focus on working with women, you're, you're probably gonna say something about it. But if you also want to focus about that, hey, if you're LGBTQ, you're, you're absolutely welcome here. Throw that up within a diversity statement and potentially even create a landing page. Talk, write some articles, write blog posts, show that like you understand the issues that have potential or particular community faces.

Rianka: 38:10 Yes, Cait. And if you, some of the, some of the things that I hear from planners is like, oh, well I don't want to say something that's offensive or, I don't know how to work with this subset of people, this, this group, season three. If you feel that way, if you honestly feel that way, season three was created for you. In season three we talked about the intersectionality of money and culture, how money intersects culture. And start with the very first episode with Sandra Davis, how she talks about, it doesn't matter who is sitting across from you, they are a person. And she talks about just various questions that you can ask to get beneath the surface, whether they're a first generation college graduate. And I, I called, I have a lot of those clients and they're who I call my first generation wealth builders. And just the, the, the mental toll and financial burden that it puts on someone you think, someone from a community where it's just like, oh, I made it. No, you have survivor's remorse. And it's like how to deal with that. Building your own financial freedom, but also helping those who literally helped you. Or, if they are a first generation immigrant and they may have family still back in the country in which they, which they came from, you know? And so if you fall in that category of I just wanna make sure I'm doing this right, go back to season three, it's for you.

Rianka: 39:48 So also you talk about who can access your business. I think this is so important, the who, right? And the reason why I decided to start my firm was because the who was very small, the who could access, most traditional type of financial planning firms are folks who had $1 million plus, where we charge AUM 1% on $1 million. So they have a $10,000 a year fee with that firm. And that was that. And I'm like, well what about all these other people who they, they are saying they need our help but yet we are not having alternative fee structures such that so they can work with us. And so when you talk about the who, what are you talking about Cait?

Cait: 40:39 Yeah. So I think that's, kind of dynamic with their, like who are you offering your, your, your services to? And that is incredibly important to me is that everyone should have equitable access to financial planning. So if that looks like financial coaching, first and foremost, go take a course from Sandra Davis. Go find out how you can coach some, someone along to where the point that they're ready to invest and then keep them throughout their lifetime. Are you charging in a way that, you know, potentially is a sliding scale or a subscription based offering, you know, monthly, quarterly, yearly, et cetera. And so that, that I think is kind of point 1, which you very, very well summarized. The other thing is going to be if you have a brick and mortar office, where's it located? Is it safe? Is it safe for a woman to come to at night?

Cait: 41:41 Are, is a, someone who is, disabled. Are they able to get into your firm? I mean, if it's on the top floor up a flight of steps and there's not a ramp or an elevator, which thank goodness for, you know, ADA requirements and so forth to help mitigate quite a bit of that. But look at where your handicap ramps are. In relationship to the parking lot. I went to a coffee shop the other day and I was like, oh my gosh, you have to walk like half a mile just to get here if you are, if you were in a wheelchair. And some of the cool things with creating inclusivity for other people is, I mean, when you think about like universal design ramps on sidewalks or most often designed for like ADA compliance. So they're put there for people with, for individuals in wheelchairs, but they also benefit parents with small children, for, you know, for blind individual individuals, people with suitcases. I mean like everyone benefits and rises up when you create a firm that is more inclusive,

Rianka: 42:52 100% 100 100 if we had the emojis right now, I would be that 100 sign you can't, you can't say 100, you have say 100 that's you're right. You are so right. And so the who, the what and the how they can access your business is extremely important. Okay. And then also once they're in your business, now you've welcomed that client. What does your forms say? So this is something, I think I spoke about this very briefly or maybe it was like an offhand comment I mentioned to someone as I have become more enlightened with the terms of cisgender and binary and all of that. And I'm just like all of our financial planning softwares just have male or female.

Cait: 43:44 Mm.

Rianka: 43:44 We can not put nothing. We only have the choice of male or female. What if they want to put something else or I know there are some people out there, it's just like, I don't want to identify as male or female. I'm a unicorn.

Cait: 43:58 Right

Cait: 43:59 So I mean that, that's where that, you know, having un-gendered language becomes incredibly important in our field. Male and female are kind of that binary are there are a lot of restrictions, an example, life insurance. But even just this week I saw a life insurance company that is now allowing their intake forms and their forms on their, their life insurance policies. You can identify your gender and your sex. So your sex is what you're born with, your gender is who you identify yourself as. And so offer that, you know, if there are things that you have to choose a sex, then then allow that to be an intake question. But then say, you know, what is your, you know, what is your gender? And just that can be as easy as, you know, male, female, non-binary or gender fluid. You know, choose to self identify with a blank or prefer not to disclose. You don't, you don't have to make it hard. It just, if you have no idea, just give them a blank and then that way you can, you can really address that person as a human being, as to who they are.

Rianka: 45:17 Right. And it goes back to what are your pronouns? Which was something that was eye opening for me. Again, as a person who is an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, I saw that I had blind spots, in this space. Right? And so that's why I'm making it very intentional for myself to, open my community and me go into other communities. So that is, I can just listen and figure out, all right, how can I support and understanding that a person's name is important to them, as well as how they identify, and asking what are your pronouns are something that just means a lot to people who have been basically, you know, shied away from their family because of how they choose to identify, which is very sad. Rianka: 46:20 which is very sad. So something, speaking of family, estate planning, are there, are there areas of estate planning that we should be aware of that we may not be? You know, that may not come to mind immediately as we're talking about the LGBTQ community?

Cait: 46:38 Yeah. You know, so that is a lot of the stuff was right. Starting with the passing of marriage equality in 2015, there there's a, another bill that's kind of the equality act, not to make this too political, but for you guys go check it out, go check out the equality act and kind of the movement that's happening right now within the house. So which is so some of your protections and your title seven, they're really trying to define what that means as far as whether or not on the basis of sex also protects kind of sexual orientation and so on and so forth. But within a estate planning you, you want to make sure that you have everything buttoned down. You have your will buttoned down, you have your power of attorney, you have your beneficiaries listed because heaven forbid anything ever happens with marriage equality, that gets in this back to a day and age prior to, you know, and prior to those marriages being recognized.

Cait: 47:48 And it's just a whole slew of issues there. But the other thing that can kind of happen is, families are messy when someone passes and family. Yeah. That's just every family. But, families can get real messy when you have a same sex union and there are kids involved. If it's a state that has a lot of issues with marriage equality, so especially southern states that if you put someone through probate, oh my goodness, there's just gonna be. So who do you think they're going to rule in favor of? I'm a white, cisgender man that's heterosexual. Or like, you know, as far as potentially a, a queer man of color. Like there's gonna be so many things that come up with having to go through court and having to go through, someone else making those decisions for you to make sure you have it listed in the will on the power of attorney.

Cait: 48:47 It's, I've, I've heard, I've heard friends of mine say like the minute that I became an mrs versus just ms or you know, the, the Auntie who lives with them, you know, if the minute that I actually said this is my wife, when we went to the hospital, people started acting some type of way with us and you don't want to have those questions being given to you of like, why are you in this room? You know, why are you here when you're, when your partner is sick, you're not a member of the immediate family. I know people who carry their marriage certificates with them and they have.

Rianka: 49:28 And these are for same sex couples. I'm just trying to for the people who may not have connected the dots there. These are for same sex couples.

New Speaker: 49:34 Guys I got, I got a little, hot. Yes. Yeah. So these are the same sex couples that are having to. So I'm speaking kind of in the area of, kind of LG for LGBTQ individuals, have estate planning, legalities and kind of issues that they are facing of having to carry official documents with them just to, to prove the, that, that this is a legal union while they're at the hospital and someone's dying.

Cait: 50:06 I mean, that's, that's the worst. That's the worst thing to happen.

Rianka: 50:09 So it sounds like, although, although we don't want this to be happening, it is. And so again, if you have couples, clients who are same sex couples, these are some of the things that you can probably share with them. One, that estate planning is extremely important. I mean, it's important for everybody, but especially same sex couples where the family may not be, supportive of the relationship and especially if they actually get married. You know, just make sure you have all of your legal documents in order. And unfortunately, like Cait mentioned, you probably have to carry them with you. I mean, to be on a bedside with your significant other or partner or you know, spouse laying in bed and you have to make decisions and being told, can I see your documents? Like what, I will flip,

Cait: 51:06 right? Yeah. And you know, the, especially with, a lot of elder couples, whether you know, within the same, like for same sex relationships or just any couples, if you're choosing to not get married, that's a whole other set of, issues that you want. You'll, need to plan for within the state planning. You'll need to make sure that you have that buttoned down with your financial planner, with your CPA, you know, so on and so forth to make sure that everything that you want to have happen to your assets actually happens in case something you know, happens unexpectedly or, or just within your natural passing. Rianka: 51:45 So Cait, you share with us a lot today. There's going to be a lot of takeaways. Make sure listeners, make sure you go to the show notes. Again, you can find them at and find this episode. And I'll make sure I'll put in, you know, FPA retreat, so you can learn about that pride planners. Cait, if you have the, the link, for the intrinsic bias quiz that Harvard offers. I'll put that in the show notes as well. Also make sure I'll include the equality act. So you've given us so much to think about today. Is there anything else you want to leave us with? Before I, for I'll let you go and I'm pretty sure this is the first of many conversations we'll be having.

Cait: 52:32 Yeah. So, you know, I think, the thing that I would want to leave with is we had briefly touched on the concept of intersectionality. And so what that really means is that to be able to understand an individual and their needs, we have to understand that their identity touches every piece of their life. And we have to acknowledge that identity. So, you know, we've talked about people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, people of color, so on and so forth. And we can't separate these pieces and look at just that individually. And if we do, we'll miss the big picture. So taken together as a whole these, these pieces, of really have our identity determine how we see the world, where we fit into the world and how we interact with it. So by highlighting all of this and highlighting, adopting an intersectional framework, it shows how crucial it is for financial planners to realize how to build that, inclusive practice and how, how to see someone and all of the dynamic beautifulness I said it beautifulness that they are. And so you can't just be like, that's a gay woman or, that's a black man. You have to understand that every part of who they are, including their culture makes up who they are in and address all of those unique needs.

Rianka: 54:04 Yes. Cait. Yes. And, and I love beautifulness and I love the word mosaic and that's exactly what we are. We are a beautifulness mosaic. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much Cait, for joining us and for kicking off season four of 2050 TrailBlazers. Cait, you have been such a pleasure and it's been amazing getting to know you and I am just so excited for, for who you are and what you bring to our profession and what we can just learn from you. So thank you so, so much.

Cait: 54:42 Thank you for having me, Rianka.