Maria Xavier and I recently discussed her role as a financial advisor and working with clients in the Bethel area.
Brad: When did you become a financial advisor?
Maria: I started my studies in April of 2018 and officially became an advisor in August, 2018.
Brad: What attracted you to financial advising?
Maria: By the age of 23 both my parents had passed. It dawned on me that I had no more "safety net" and that the only person that could take of me was me. I set forth on doing on building my financial fortress from then on until I married and then continued to do so with my husband. In 2014 my husband had to stop working due to a major back surgery and disability. In 2015, my brother was diagnosed with leukemia. My husband and I were able to care for him during his treatment and transplant.
We were able to get through two difficult circumstances and come out the side without losing our home or going into debt. I was grateful that we had prepared for the 'unexpected' as part of our overall plan. Once things had gotten back to normal, I realized that I could use my experiences to help others build their financial fortress so they get through the challenges we all must face and to be able to enjoy the good that can be had.
Brad: What brought you to the Bethel area?
Maria: I don't live in Bethel but I frequent the shops and the downtown area quite a bit because I adore the old fashioned feel to it when times were simpler and more innocent.
Brad: What's your funniest client story - names are optional?
Maria: I had a lady ask me if it was hard being an financial advisor because of my age. Turns out she thought I was in my early 20's! (I am 43)
Brad: What should people always try to do, or avoid doing, when managing their money?
Maria: Figure out what you value. Is it self-reliance, family, security or something else? Winning with money is hard to do if you don't know what it is that you are striving for.
For younger people its never too early and for older people its never too late to pay off debt, create a emergency fund and invest for retirement. You can always make things better than they would have been if you never started at all.
Brad: What are some best practices for managing money?
Maria: People hate it when I say 'budget' but it does make a difference understanding expenses, income and will help you have a clearer path of getting your goal - whether its retiring, sending the kids to college or enjoying a cruise around the world. Think of a budget as a smooth road with painted lines, guardrails, posted speed limits and street lights. These features sometimes may make you feel restricted but they help you get to your destination in a timely and safe manner. Think of budgeting in the same way and it won't feel restricting but liberating.
Brad: What do you like most about being in the Bethel area?
Maria: The people! I have met so many wonderful and welcoming people in Bethel. Also, there is a sense of a community from the library with so many activities, a thriving Chamber of Commerce and again the wonderful and unique shops across Bethel.
Brad: What do you like most about what you do?
Maria: I love learning about my clients' lives, what's they want out of it and then helping them on their path to achieving their goals.. And when someone becomes a client, the relationship does not end there - rather it starts. We may have a few meetings and conversations to create and implement their plan. Then we meet once every year so we can review their goals, adjust as needed and serve deeply. I truly love what I do.
Brad: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become a financial advisor someday?
Maria: Choosing to be an advisor is a vocation. You have to have it in your heart to help people with their plan just like a doctor helps his patients stay or get healthy. If you are doing it for any other reason then it isn't the right career choice. But if it is, reach out to several advisors, sit down with them and get an idea of what it takes to do this work.
Brad: Do you have any special offers or advice for our readers?
Maria: My door is always open to those who want to have a confidential and judgment free conversation about their life, their plans for it and the kind of help they want.
19 Church Hill Rd #2
Newtown, CT 06470