You’re acquainted with “The Money Honey” on TV. Now meet “The Money Lady,” CFP.
That’s what clients’ kids duly dubbed financial advisor Amber Seale, 34, because she hips them to the principles of personal finance — kids even as young as five.
To their parents, the Edward Jones FA is more like “The Money Skeptic,” conscientiously scrutinizing their potential investments with acute awareness and a questioning mind. Four years as an auditor with Ernst & Young gave Seale a bird’s eye view of big companies — and not everything she saw was pretty. Now that educational experience is helping her invest the assets of smart — and skeptical — doctors, lawyers and CPAs.
“It’s very important to be cautious with money. I saw corporate scandal from the inside, so I don’t necessarily believe what companies report. When the market went straight up in the ’90s and the media were saying everything was great, I was coming home like Chicken Little: ‘The sky is falling!’ I tell clients not to have more than a certain percentage in any one company,” says Seale, an advisor for seven years, all of them with Edward Jones, in Dallas.
With her well earned reputation as a straight-shooter, she gets to the point alerting clients to unrealistic goals and financial risks when spending means overextending.
Much of her secret to success is a talent for connecting with clients on a deep level. It is the stuff that builds trust.
“As soon as I met Amber, an immediate comfort set in,” says client Chuck Goodman, president of Goodies from Goodman, in Dallas. “You never get the feeling she has a sales hat on. She’s very sharp — and an advisor about anything that comes up, not just my investments.”
Indeed, Seale is an ace problem solver. “That’s what you’re trained to do as an auditor — look at all the facts and see if things add up,” she says in her native Texas twang. “You’re trying to prove if people’s numbers are right or wrong. When a company [reports] a good rate of return, I show my clients the raw numbers. I don’t just say, ‘Trust me.’”
Seale has always been at ease with numbers — and just as at home with folks.
“I love talking with people, and I’m really good at questioning them to help them figure out: Now that you have some money, what are you going to do with it? I help them dream a little bit. People tend to do better when they have a goal,” she says.
The CFP spends lots of time getting to know clients’ families — and they learn about hers too. “Sharing about my life,” she notes, “makes clients trust me more.”
For instance, last Christmas, she gave $3 to each of her pre-school-age children — Katrina, 4, and 3-year-old identical twins Ashley and Kayley — to buy $1 gifts for one another — and Grandma, too — at the dollar store.
Seale told some of her clients. “They thought it was cute and hilarious,” she says.
“The Money Lady” believes that it’s necessary for all youngsters to get a grounding in saving and investing. She gives clients’ kids ages 5 and up the scoop about mutual funds and how $2 can be turned into $20; kids older than 10 are taught about giving to charity.