Spotlight: Michelle Morris

Hometown:
Currently Quincy, MA. I grew up in South Dakota. If I had a dollar for every time someone said “I never met anyone from South Dakota”, I could probably retire.

I live with:
My husband and a geriatric English Setter. We have a son in college.

Tell us about the work you do. How did you wind up here?
I am a career changer. I used to be a Physician Assistant (PA) and decided I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my working life. I’ve always been interested in personal finance. I took a tax course, got hired for a tax season and I was hooked. I went on to complete the coursework, exam and experience requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner® and opened my own independent firm.

Being a PA and a CFP® aren’t as different as you might think – both are people jobs and require good listening skills. I joke that now my clients keep their clothes on.

What did you want to be when you were a little kid? How does that play into the work you do now?
I don’t remember having a career goal as a little kid. I always liked math and science. I majored in Microbiology in college with a vague idea of doing something “sciencey”. I did a summer internship at a research lab and learned that being an actual scientist was not for me. But I met my husband there who IS an actual scientist so that all worked out. Then I went to Physician Assistant school.

What problems do you solve for your clients?
Life is full of money questions. Savings/Debt, Investments, Taxes, Estate Planning, all sorts of Insurance, Medicare &Social Security, Mortgages, Roth vs Regular IRA, the list goes on and on and on! Life transitions in particular are fraught with money decisions.

I specialize in working with single women. Usually my clients come to me at a pivot point in their life: the loss of a partner either by death or divorce, contemplating/recent retirement, a recent inheritance. Figuring out all your money stuff all by yourself can be overwhelming. I work with my clients to look at the big picture and help them answer their money questions so they can go live the rest of their life.

Tell us the best part of what you do.
That’s a hard one because there are so many things I like about this work. One of the best things is giving anxious frugal clients permission to spend. “Yes, you can replace the 24 year-old(!) carpet in your condo. No, you are not going to be a bag lady.”

What’s your personal motto or mantra?
Save, Invest, Repeat!

Who’s your role model?
Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard who brought the index fund to regular people like you and me. If you invested $1000 in Vanguard 500 Index Fund on the day it started, August 31st, 1976, and reinvested dividends you would have nearly $90,000 today! It’s a marvelous age we live in where someone with as little as $5 can participate in the wealth creation of the global capital markets.

Where’s your favorite place to relax?
The White Mountains.

Tell us a favorite accomplishment.
I ran in a 5k race last summer. That was huge for me.

How can clients work with you?
You can set up a 30 minute phone call with me here.

We’ll talk about your money questions and whether I might be a good fit to help you answer them.