For nearly 20 years, Main Line resident Joslyn G. Ewart has been working with individuals and couples to guide their finances. Seeing a void in the female perspective in wealth management, Ewart set out to fill the gap. A certified financial planner and a certified divorce financial analyst, she founded her own company, Entrust Financial, based in Wayne, in 2000. Earlier this year, she published her book, Balancing Act: Wealth Management Straight Talk for Women. Written from a cheerleader perspective and providing a step by step guide to help anyone take control of their finances, Ewart hopes to encourage readers to gain an understanding and confidence about financial choices.
MLT: What made you pursue a career in wealth management?
JE: I love to plan, I love a challenge, and I love people. I knew at the time I got into the business that money was a hot button in many relationships. I felt like if I could help people get their arms around their financial lives and get them working in the ways that were most important to them, then that hot button aspect between couples and in life in general would be ameliorated and could become a resource, not this object of contention and worry.
MLT: Why did you decide to found your own financial advisory company?
JE: Traditional financial services are delivered from a very male perspective. It’s very product focused. What people need, especially with today’s longevity, is a much longer term perspective. They need not just astute investment planning, but also need to address financial issues that go beyond investing if they’re truly going to be protected. It’s really what is your life about, your values, what interests you, what you hope to accomplish.
MLT: How is the book structured and what was your inspiration?
JE: The inspiration was the wonderful people with whom I work. I’ve worked and continued to work with some fantastic people for whom I have a lot of respect. Every couple, family or individual has different needs, interests, are trying to accomplish different things, and they all have different problems that need solving so the can use their money to do what they want to do. I wrote out story after story that addressed different financial problems and needs that people commonly face. Then, I threaded the book from beginning to end based on assuming the person wants to get a sense of financial confidence. The book is very step-oriented. If somebody just has one particular need, they can turn to that chapter.
MLT: What are some common problems people have with wealth management?
JE: A common problem for women is that they don’t understand risk. I talk about risk, time and compound returns being a woman’s BFF. If somebody’s going to be successful, with the longevity we have today, they have to embrace all three and understand them. Beyond investing, how does one protect oneself, one’s family? How does one have the income one needs in retirement, comfortably, and not have to worry it will run out?
MLT: Why gear it towards women?
JE: When I started writing, women controlled less than half the wealth in America. They now control more than half, and that’s growing. Another reason is, 80 percent of men die while married. Women live longer. Today’s younger people probably aren’t going to have social security. They have to create their own economic safety nets. The book was written to empower women to help them grow their confidence about making the right financial choices. The book is filled with basic fundamentals that anybody—man or woman—needs to honor if they’re going to be successful.
MLT: Wealth management can seem daunting—what do you recommend as a first step?
JE: The first step I recommend is to gather all of your financially related documents. That was easier when you had hanging files or a binder. Now, especially in couples, if one spouse is used to taking charge and the other spouse wants to learn, you have to start by asking passwords to different accounts. It’s gotten much easier for transparency to disappear. It’s more important than ever for couples, before making a commitment to each other, to have financially transparent conversations. The next step is to identify income sources and expenses. Anybody I work with who knows what comes in and what they spend it on lives within their means. Anybody who thinks they know, but it’s sort of vague, before they know it they’re in debt. It’s very simple math. You just need to pay attention.
Proceeds from the book will go to a scholarship fund at Temple University, established in honor of Ewart’s late husband. Visit balancingactbook.com.