You can find as many different definitions of wealth as people you ask about it, and your own individual perspective on wealth may change throughout your lifetime. Our Ally Consumer Research study from September shows most people associate a threshold of $1 million to being wealthy, but it can be so much more than a numeric value. Understanding what “rich” means to you is often the first step to achieving your personal version of financial success.
At our The New Look of Wealth Digital Conference on November 3, we brought in a variety of financial experts to talk about how your mind, social media and the post pandemic environment play a role in reaching that million dollar threshold. We also debated if financial advisors are worth the cost and talked strategies for becoming wealthy or building generational wealth — whatever that might mean to you.
If you missed the live event, or want to rewatch any of the sessions, you can access it all on-demand on our YouTube channel. Or read on for a quick recap of three conference highlights.
1. The post-pandemic world is different.
Job loss, surging home prices and soaring markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to reevaluate their financial priorities and strategies to achieve their goals.
Fortunately, a lot of people used the opportunity to make positive changes. A poll taken during the Money, Priorities and a Pandemic session showed that 61% felt their money habits improved during the pandemic.
Ally Invest’s Senior Director of Wealth Advisors, Nicole Cope, experienced a shift in her own perspective on money in the wake of her husband’s job loss during the pandemic. She began to see money as not the “end-all, be-all,” but rather as one tool to achieve security and peace of mind. Taking a similar more holistic view of your own situation can help you recalibrate in the new post-pandemic world.
2. Use social media strategically.
Money can be difficult to talk about, but social media has made the conversation more accessible than ever before. With the rise of meme stocks and investing apps, more people are turning to YouTube, TikTok and other social media platforms for financial guidance and discussion. But is getting advice from a “finfluencer” (aka a financial influencer) as effective as more traditional methods? It can be, if you’re strategic about it.
Minority Mindset Chief Executive Money Nerd Jaspreet Singh (who has more than 1 million subscribers on his financial education YouTube channel) suggested people remain skeptical of social media influencers offering financial advice. “On my channel, I talk a lot about real estate investing, and I share my own personal experiences with real estate deals,” said Singh. “If an influencer is unwilling to walk you through what they’ve actually done, that might be a red flag.”
As long as you’re confident about the credentials of the source, social media can be an interesting and engaging way to learn about money management. Many people also find it helpful to learn from someone with a similar background whom they find relatable.
“When people watch our videos, it’s like learning from their brother or their best friend,” said Singh. “We don’t speak in boring financial terms. I talk on YouTube the same way I talk to my friends.”
Another advantage of social media is the diversity of opinions, which enable you to take what you learn and make your own decisions. Singh recommends checking out a number of different “finfluencers” to both find one that speaks to you and to benefit from differing views.
Watch the full session: Money Talks: Social Media’s Influence on Your Financial Life
3. Financial advisors are not one-size-fits-all.
Many people feel intimidated by the idea of working with a financial advisor. They worry they don’t have enough assets to qualify or aren’t sure if the advisor’s fees will be a worthy investment.
As the experts on the Financial Advisors: Are They Worth It? panel explained, working with an advisor does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, according to Lake Avenue Financial CEO, Alex Chalekian, most of his clients utilize a hybrid approach. They work with him on some of their financial needs but take a DIY route for other aspects. Chalekian explained, “We have no minimums at my company, and we want to help anyone and everyone. The only thing I ask of my clients is a willingness to learn.”
Ally’s Cope added many of her family and friends are surprised to learn she works with a financial advisor herself since she’s a professional in the industry. However, as she likes to joke, “It’s cheaper than a divorce attorney.” Finances are so often the root of many couples’ arguments, and advice from the neutral, third-party voice of a financial advisor is invaluable in helping people navigate complex financial issues — from saving for children’s college to buying a home to planning for retirement.
A financial advisor provides knowledge, experience and insight and can save people a lot of time, enabling clients to allocate more time to their individual priorities, whether that’s their career, spending time with family and friends or hobbies.
“People don’t necessarily want to learn about new tax laws or take a deep dive into the market. They’d rather focus their time and attention elsewhere, and working with an advisor allows them to do that,” said Ally Invest Senior Options Analyst Brian Overby.
Keep learning to achieve your own version of wealth.
We’ve recapped just a small sample of the valuable information, opinions and unique perspectives shared during The New Look of Wealth Digital Conference. Stream the entire conference on demand to take a deeper dive and begin your own journey of defining and achieving wealth.
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Lindsey Bell, Ally’s chief markets & money strategist, is an award-winning investment professional with a passion for personal finance and more than 17 years of Wall Street experience. Bell’s unique ability to connect the dots between data and real life and craft bite-sized money ideas that people can use and apply stems from her deep background as an analyst, researcher and portfolio manager at organizations including JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. She is known for demonstrating why and how an understanding of all things money improves a person’s finances and overall wellbeing. An ongoing CNBC contributor, Bell empowers consumers and investors across all walks of life and frequently shares her insights with the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Kiplinger’s, Forbes and Business Insider. She also serves on the board of Better Investing, a non-profit focused on investment education.
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