How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor For You

This week, Maggie is chatting with Pam Krueger, who is the founder and CEO of Wealthramp. In this episode, they talk about how to choose the right financial advisor for you, what red flags you should be looking out for, when you might need to seek out a financial advisor, and why more people than ever are looking to hire financial advisors who are women.

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Pam Krueger is the founder and CEO of Wealthramp, an SEC-registered referral service that connects consumers with rigorously vetted and qualified fee-only financial advisors. The company launched the only network of independent, fiduciary, fee-only financial advisors who don’t sell products and work solely in the interests of their clients.

Wealthramp was built on the foundation of consumer advocacy and born out of viewer questions from Pam’s investor-education television series MoneyTrack. She is the creator and co-host of the award-winning program seen nationally on over 250 PBS stations and funded by the Investor Protection Trust. She is the recipient of two Gracie Awards for educating the public about personal investing, and finding the right financial advice, and author of The MoneyTrack Method: A Real Person’s Guide to Successful Investing.

Pam is a respected journalist with her perspectives regularly appearing in MarketWatch, Forbes, NerdWallet, and via her podcast with Terry Savage and Rich Eisenberg, Friends Talk Money, on PBS’s Next Avenue.

A fierce champion for financial education and empowerment, Pam has served on the board of directors of the California Jump$tart Coalition, an organization dedicated to increasing financial literacy among children and teens, and received the Financial Educator of the Year Award from the Financial Literacy Institute. She lives in both Tiburon, California and Cape Cod.

To join the Money Circle Community, visit

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with Pam Krueger, who is the founder and CEO of wealthramp. wealthramp is an SEC registered referral service that connects consumers with vigorously vetted and qualified fee only financial advisors. In this episode, we talk about how you can choose the right financial advisor for you. What red flags you should be looking out for when you might need to seek out a financial advisor and why more people than ever are looking to hire financial advisors who are women. This episode is for you if you want a partner you can trust and collaborate with while you’re on your financial journey. Enjoy.

Okay, welcome. Pam, thanks so much for joining us today.

Pam Krueger 2:00
Thank you, Maggie. It’s great to be here.

Maggie Germano 2:03
So why don’t we get started by having you just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Pam Krueger 2:09
Sure, okay. Um, the reason that I’m where I am today is because I started out my career with a lot of people doing financial services as a broker, which really says you are a sales rep working for a brokerage firm, to in order to, you know, basically help sell their products to investors now, way, way back in the Wayback Machine. When I first started, I was very excited. I was 24 years old. And I thought that I was being thrown into this world where I was going to be advising people. But I really kind of found out that my role was that of a telemarketer. And I didn’t like it. And this was a major brokerage firm, great reputation on the street and all that I didn’t like the role. So I basically wanted to get fired, and didn’t get fired, I got promoted. When I got promoted, I found myself managing between 40 or 60 brokers depending upon how we were expanding. And I realized something that, to me was tragic. It was that the more aggressively, the brokers are now they’re called advisors, or selling the products and the investments to the public. And more complaints we got about the aggressive sales tactic tactics, the bigger my bonus. So I made more money by doing things that were not good in the best interest of the actual end user, I quit. And then I got into the independent fiduciary, registered investment advisor world. And that’s why I really realized the difference between Oh my god, how did I not know this, that one group of advisors is held to a higher legal standard, then the sales reps at the brokerage firms that seem like they would have the reputation, and they would be the ones that intuitively you would feel like are the safer bet. So fast forward. My career switched entirely after that to television, because I wanted to take what I had learned. And I wanted to share it with the investing public to help people manage, save and invest their money better. So that’s when I created the money track series on PBS. We were on 255 PBS stations. And then finally, what brought me to what I’m doing now with Wolfram is that our viewers during the last financial crisis, were feeling that they needed the help of a professional advisor and they didn’t know where to turn. And they kept asking me for referrals. And that’s how well through it was born.

Maggie Germano 4:50
That’s really wonderful. And I love that story because it wasn’t like you, you saw the behavior that would get you I think head in your career and financially and you thought, Oh, well, I don’t agree with it. But that’s just how it is. You change your career trajectory completely. It’s really cool that you decided to do that. And then just what you’ve been able to do with that since then,

Pam Krueger 5:16
I think that yeah, I think what I learned from that was that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to a lot of people back then when I changed my career, because I was making a lot of money. My parents, you know, they were they were aghast, or they were saying to me, you can’t quit your vice president, you know, you can’t quit. I said, I have to, I have to walk away from this. It’s too icky. So what I’ve learned from that, and I was really lucky to learn it at an earlier age is that you need money. We all need money. We all want money. Of course, we don’t want financial stress in our lives. But when you’re passionate about what you do, even if you make less money doing it, it’s just so much richer. Yeah,

Maggie Germano 6:00
I’m totally with you there. I definitely relate to that. So when you’ve been talking, you’ve been mentioning, you know, financial advisors and brokers and fiduciaries. Before we get too much further, can you explain what a financial advisor actually is and what they do for their clients?

Pam Krueger 6:19
Exactly. Okay, so we, in telling you my story a little bit, you get the sense that there’s two worlds, which there are when it comes to financial advisors. Now, let’s take the entire US population of everyone who self identifies as a quote unquote, financial advisor. Now take 90% of them, okay, which is roughly 400,000 individuals in the country, the 90% of them work for a brokerage firm, or an insurance company, selling their products, selling your investment strategies. So therefore, they’re not really financial advisors, because they don’t work for you. They work for their brokerage firm. Now, 10%, that leaves us with, you know, a little spark and 10% of advisors who are independent, and they are held to that higher standard. And their role is financial advisor, which means that they provide robust financial planning. They’ve got the capabilities, they’ve got the background, there’s not every one of them has that. But I’m saying what I look for a really good financial advisor is going to be able to advise you on your financial planning and your decision making when you’re in your 20s 30s and 40s. mid career, right through retirement, help you with estate planning helps you with your real estate, evaluate your insurance without selling insurance, and be able to give you an unbiased, totally in your best interest, a set of guidelines and how you can go forward with a game plan and roadmap for your investments. So they’ve got both the investment in the portfolio expertise. And they’ve combined that with the robust holistic financial planning. That’s the definition of what if you were looking for a financial advisor, that’s what you want that financial advisor to be able to do not be limited to certain investments, not be not be limited in their education, and their background, you need to have that deep bench of expertise to get the full benefit of working with a financial advisor.

Maggie Germano 8:38
That makes a lot of sense. And then I feel like there would be a lot more trust maybe in that scenario to have like, because I when I have people reaching out to me and asking about financial advisors, they’re like, Why don’t want someone who’s just going to be trying to sell me this thing or that thing. And so it sounds like if you’re working with one of the 10% of advisors who can be more broad about their recommendations, and really focus it on what you need and what you’re looking for, then the client can have breathe a little bit easier knowing they’re not they’re being recommended what they really actually need, not what is going to be, you know, pushed by their financial advisors, employer,

Pam Krueger 9:19
right. So the key when you’re working with a real financial advisor, who is fiduciary, legally, and by the way, vetted for competency, because just because they’re independent, and just because they’re failing doesn’t make them competent. So that’s kind of what I do for a living with welfare because I help determine who’s an A and report card A, B, C, D, there’s a lot of C’s, there’s a lot of mediocrity. So But getting back to what you can expect from a relationship with a real financial adviser. It’s collaborative. It’s not you turning over the keys to your car, and saying here, drive to the destination and let me know when you get there and let me know how much money I’ve made or lost. This is where you’re in the car, with the driver, looking through the same windshield, and discussing what you’re seeing that’s coming at you, and making decisions together, but you have this person to lean on, because they’re watching out for your best interest. And guess what, the younger you start, the more education you acquire through the relationship. Whereas if you were just looking to turn your whole situation over to someone else, you’d say, I don’t want to be bothered knowing anything. Just do what you do. That’s not in your financial best interest. In in the long run, it won’t help you become more confident, especially as a woman, what helps you become more confident is you don’t have to become an expert and read compendiums of financial digests overnight. But if you’re working with a really good advisor planner, you’re just going to learn as you go. Because you’re going to discuss the decisions that you have to make as you have to make them across taxes, real estate, portfolio, stocks, bonds, and emotional decisions, you have to make tough choices sometimes.

Maggie Germano 11:15
Yeah, I think that’s a really, really important point that you were just making that it’s not when you’re hiring a financial advisor, it’s not that you’re just handing over, like you said the keys and saying, Okay, now I just have someone else to manage this. For me, it’s more of that collaboration. It’s more of that communication, where they’re learning about you and your needs and your goals, and you’re learning from them about the different decisions that you should be making or can be making and the different options there. So it’s, it’s more of a give and take than a Okay, now I never have to think about this again.

Pam Krueger 11:48
Exactly, exactly. That’s it has to be that way. Because by the time and especially as a female, you know, by the time you are, you know, 50, 55, 60. And you’re considering shutting off the switch of getting the income from, you know, the job you’ve been doing at the companies that you’ve been working at, and you might want to make a switch in your life at that point, it might not mean retirement is stopping work completely, it might mean that you’re just going to kind of take it down a notch and work part time, how are you going to know and feel comfortable about stepping into retirement, if you really don’t know where you stand, and you’re going to feel a lot better about where you stand, if you understand, and if you’ve been getting educated all the way along. So not everybody needs a financial advisor, Maggie on my show money track that I had on PBS, I, I probably went overboard, trying to tell people you don’t need an advisor, you don’t need the advisor. And I was a little tone deaf. And I had after that last financial crisis, not this one. But oh 809, I had so many viewers that were saying to me, hey, Pam, give me a name. I know that I probably could do all this myself. But I don’t feel comfortable doing it on myself. Finally, it got through to me. And I went, Oh my god, I need to develop a way a tool that people can get matched up with and aligned with and referred to the right advisor for them at the right point where they are in life. So that’s why I created wealth ramp. And then I thought it was going to take me about two and a half years to curate enough of these kinds of advisors, different sizes. I want diversity to cover the entire United States. And it didn’t take me two years, four years, because I insist on interviewing every single advisor, but they all come from that 10% independent fiduciary investment advisor planner channel. So we don’t i don’t work with any buddy who sells products or insurance or any kind.

Maggie Germano 14:02
That’s really interesting. And so I have several follow up questions related to what you were just talking about. But the first one is, can you explain what a fiduciary actually is and what that actually means legally.

Pam Krueger 14:17
Legally, it is a definition and it means that the advisor is registered very, very, very important with either the state or the securities exchange commission. And that by registering, those regulators can monitor and know every year that those advisors have to file and keep up with the filings etc. Now within that, the SEC requires as does the state that if you are going to be a registered investment advisor for real then you have to accept the fiduciary legal definition of accountability which means you must act legally Your clients best interest at all times. And the problem with the fiduciary, legal definition of that, believe me, there’s a lot of advisors who have found ways to work around them. You will hear advisors who are not fully fiduciary, you will hear them say things like, Oh, yes, I believe in the fiduciary philosophy. But the true test is, if you’re going to say it, you have to meet it. If you’re going to meet it, you have to be able to put it in writing in your on your firm’s letterhead. So, an advisor who works for a bank or brokerage firm that sells annuities can look you straight in the eye and say, Oh, yeah, I feel like I’m a fiduciary. That’s not the same as legal, fiduciary, it needs to be in writing in the form of a fiduciary oath that they’re proud to put on their firm or their company’s letterhead.

Maggie Germano 16:08
Thank you for that explanation. That’s really helpful. And what are so it sounds like, you know, some of the language that some people might be using, like, I feel like a fiduciary versus I am a fiduciary. What are some of the other potential red flags? Because you also mentioned that, you know, not everyone is competent, and that you do a lot of vetting. So what are some of those other red flags people can kind of look out for as they’re considering a financial adviser interviewing financial advisor themselves?

Pam Krueger 16:42
Well, the good news is, is that all of the records that the advisors have to file with the regulators every year and keep us up to date, that’s public, it’s in a database, if you go to the SEC’s website, that’s the Securities and Exchange website, And you can do an investment advisor search, either by name or by firm. Now, when you plug in the name, it’s going to either pull up some really good looking stuff, where it’s gonna pull up some stuff, it’s gonna make your, you know, hair on the back of your neck go up. So even in this independent channel, right from the get go, my very first stop, is I checked out all the filings and I read it tip to tail, it’s not exciting stuff to read. It isn’t a narrative form, but it’s boring. And you know, frankly, even though it’s all there, and it’s available to the public, you have to know what you’re looking for. I’m looking for hints and indications of practices that I don’t like. Now, let’s say that I screen all of that. And I say, Okay, I don’t see any disciplinary history, I don’t see that the supervisor has been taken to court three times for trying to sell seniors, you know, l people were aging, you know, all kinds of all kinds of things. Because the tricky part about this is that the very first thing you’re looking for when you look at those records is do they sell any products. And even though I just told you that these are independent advisors, that are not working for brokerage firms, some independent advisors can make agreements with mutual funds and annuities, and sell insurance. So that’s what I look for. First and foremost, I want to screen away salespeople. No salespeople, please, advisors only. Okay, so once I get through that negative screen that, then the next level of betting is if I really love what I’m reading, then I want to jump on the phone. And I want to talk to the founders of the firm. And I want to understand the backstory, how did they come together? Why did they come together? There’s a lot of nuance that comes from I’ve been in this business since I was 24. That it comes from my years of experience of just talking to them. And I want to know what kind of software they use, I want to know why they use that software. I want to know their client rate, their their client retention rate. I wanted to be above 97% in all kinds of vetting questions that I have. But as far as what people can do for themselves is first just go to the to the records and look to see about relationships that they may have, where they get paid or they get compensated any other way other than you and that’s a big question that you’ll you’ll ask an advisor when you do finally get on the phone and decide you want to have a conversation.

Maggie Germano 19:43
That’s really good advice. And and I think just knowing that you’re able to look at records and see that for yourself. I feel like that’s not necessarily something people would actually know.

Pam Krueger 19:54
It’s so frustrating because I want to make it as easy as possible. The regulators want to make it as easy as possible. But no matter how you slice it or dice it, when you go to the background records are called a d. v, like alpha David Victor, ADV part two, look, you’re going to read it, it’s dense it is there’s just no way around it. I wish there was just an easy snapshot. They’re trying the regulators to try to make it easier to capture information that you need to know, in the different filings. But you actually do have to look at it. And but but you know, that’s that next line of defense for any, anybody who’s looking to hire an advisor or planner, is when you get on the phone with that planner, or zoom, you’ve got to ask some key questions right up front.

Maggie Germano 20:49
So what might some of those questions because I know that not only are you wanting to make sure people are working with financial advisors who are fiduciaries and who are working directly for them, and not for an insurance company or a brokerage. But I know you also want to help people find the financial advisor who’s actually right for them, and is going to be you know, a good fit for them. So what how might people go about making sure that someone’s going to be the right fit for them? What are some of those questions?

Pam Krueger 21:16
Right? Well, when when there’s two sets of questions. So if someone comes to me, through, which is my tool, if someone comes to me, I’ve already done the vetting. So the I’ll tell you those questions in a second. But if you if you’re doing the vetting, and you haven’t done it yet, you don’t know really who you’re talking to, then the very first question has to be tell me exactly how you’re compensated. I want to know every way that you’re compensated. And legally, they have to disclose that. So unlike a brokerage firm or insurance company, where they’re not held to the fiduciary standard, they don’t have to tell you, and they won’t tell you. But well, they will if you force them to, but they don’t want to tell you upfront, but with this kind of advisor, the magic word is Tell me please, exactly how you get paid. It matters to me. Okay, then they have to outline that now, if you hear them say, we do have arrangements over here with certain mutual funds, we do get paid this. But you know, that’s why I say it, I’m not interested. Okay, then the second question that whether you come especially if you come to me that I think that people should ask an advisor upfront is in tone, tell us a little bit about yourself, him or her just enough of a thumbnail, so they get who you are, and like where you are in life? And then ask them, please describe who are your typical clients? And what are you doing for them year in year out? In other words, I want you to force the advisor to describe and draw a picture of who they work with, and how they’re helping those people, because that’s going to give you a really good vision as to whether it meets with what your expectations are. And then the second follow on question is, can you please explain your fees? advice, costs money, can you please explain what your fees are based on how you charge and what your typical fees are for your typical clients. That way, you get the elephant out of the room right away. And by the way, one of the ways that this kind of advisor, when they wind up being an A on a report card especially earns their key is by immediately looking at your investments. So Maggie, let’s say that you’ve got a 401k, you’ve got two Roth IRAs, and you’ve got, you know, let’s say you were married, you’re in your and your partner, your spouse has investments as well, the advisor will look with sort of look and audit those funds and say, You know what, I just found $1,000. Here, I found $2,000 there a year that you’re paying in Barre fees for expense ratios, and for management fees in these funds that you didn’t even know you were paying. So there, we just found you a couple $1,000 a year right there. So that could cover a good part of that advisor fee right off the bat. Just by examining and auditing what you already have and what you’re already paying for it because remember, this advisor is on the same side of the table as you he or she wants your fees to be as low as possible.

Maggie Germano 24:47
right because they’re charging their fees, their fee only that’s not coming out of commission or anything like that. So if they’re recognizing that they can help you save money in any fees that you’re currently paying, then you’ll be able to more readily be able to afford to hire them as a fee only financial advisor?

Pam Krueger 25:07

Maggie Germano 25:09
that makes a lot of sense. Um, so you mentioned earlier that, you know, and when you had your show that you talked a lot about how not everybody needs a financial advisor. And it sounds like you’ve you somewhat changed your view a little bit on that. But what, what would kind of determine when someone needs a financial advisor? I know, there are a lot of people who would really benefit from it, there are other people that maybe don’t need that as much, but when might that be the right decision to make for someone,

Pam Krueger 25:42
I find that there are two catalysts. One is positive, and one is not so positive. One is positive, where you’ve gotten to a certain point in life, and you feel like you’re doing okay. And now you’re thinking about maybe you know, you’re gonna buy a house, or you’re going to sell a house, or you’re going to get married, or you’re going to transition into retirement, and you kind of just want to check in with somebody who can tell you side by side, you know what, Maggie, you’re doing, okay? You’re doing okay? Or, Hey, you know what, a little less of that a little more of this, and get some get some nice collaboration going. Because you want to make sure you stay on track. The second catalyst is the opposite. It’s when something happens, and it could be a divorce, it could be that you just you’re scared, you’re worried your spouse has been furloughed, you’re worried about your job insecurity, you worry that you don’t have enough money in your 401k you’re not sure. If you’re working against yourself or for yourself with tax strategies, you’ve got big decisions that you’re making, that you’re just not confident about. So that is where the fear based kind of reach out is from someone who is really concerned that they’re not doing it right, and that they want help and that they recognize. So that’s when they reach out. And they they come to me, you know, a lot of times with money with well prepped. Every day I talk to people every single day. And usually, it’s some combination of the two. It’s, it’s, hey, look, I think I’m doing okay. But you know, I’ve never really checked in to know that I’m doing okay, how do I know. And they want to know if they’re saving enough. They want to know if they’re invested the right way, if they’re duplicating their investments, if they’re paying too much in fees. They want to know if they really need all that insurance that Joe Blow down the street is telling them they need. And by the way, one third of our users now who come from our partnership with Jean Chatzky and her money, one third of those users are asking for female advisors and planners. Interesting.

Maggie Germano 28:00
That’s funny that you say that because that was literally my next question was about people looking for more women, financial advisors, I know that as a financial coach, specifically for women, most of the people that I’m talking to, they’re saying like, I don’t want to talk to men about my finances, I really want to be talking to women who will, you know, talk to me more at my level, or at least understand a little bit more about what I’m going through. But when it comes to the financial advisor piece, what are you kind of hearing when people are asking specifically for female financial advisors? What’s kind of pushing that?

Pam Krueger 28:34
What’s the funniest thing? Because he would think that it’s females asking for females, but we actually have, I have a funny note from a guy the other day, he was about 50. And he’s like, Look, I’m not female, not woman. I want a female advisor and I read her money. So that was really cute. And I think what’s happening is that, look, we we’ve seen the result of decades of, you know, I hate to use the stupid term mansplaining. But it does, it really fits if it ever if it were ever gonna fit anywhere, it fits here, you got the charts, you get the graphs, and you get the guy. So no over here in 1956, the market was here. No, we have done that. And you know, they’ve got the power suit on, and a little bit too much Cologne, and they’re leaning into the husband, and they’re like, right, Ralph, and she excuses herself to go to the ladies room, and he keeps talking to the husband, because why should I bother talking to the web? Okay, so we’ve seen like decades of that stereotypical kind of model. Yeah, so now it’s like record rip. You know, we don’t want that anymore. So people are kind of getting it like they understand they want holistic financial collaboration with someone who’s not going to give them a lecture, or try to sell them something. So people intuitively kind of realize that female advisors and this is my Experience Call me crazy. But female advisors do come from a more holistic planning foundation. We’ll talk about investments, yes, calm down, don’t worry, we’ll talk about the market. We’ll talk about all these of the Airbnb IPO. First, let’s get grounded in reality of where we are. And I hate to say it, but not male advisors who are independent. But the old model with that that typical, you know, brokerage firm is, let’s head straight over to the investments. How can I talk about investments, when I don’t even know where it hurts, and what’s bothering me been like literally going to the doctor for the very first time. And the doctors handing out a bunch of pills and saying, Maggie, you’re gonna love this prescription, and you’re like, I hadn’t even met you. You don’t even know anything about me. Yeah, but this prescriptions prevalent for you. This is the opposite. So women, and especially advisors who reviewed any of our things, as you were independent, really have that characteristic. But we think of women, even more so. And that’s why women, and that’s why people are leaning more toward female advisors.

Maggie Germano 31:11
That was a really great analogy with the doctor too. Because I mean, yes, you can’t provide a solution, if you don’t understand what’s going on. And you don’t understand all of the pieces that are working at the same time. Like you were saying, you might be reaching out to a financial advisor, because everything’s great. And you just want to you want confirmation that you’re going to keep going in the right direction. But it also might be the flip side, which is something bad has happened, or there’s a big change going on. And you need support so that the bottom doesn’t come completely out from underneath you. And so yeah, so if your financial advisor doesn’t at least try to understand where you’re coming from in that kind of way, how could they really actually help you?

Pam Krueger 31:54
Yep, exactly.

Maggie Germano 31:56
That makes a lot of sense to me. And it’s good to hear that it’s not just women who are looking for women advisors that it is broadening out there and that men are seeing the benefit as well, I’m, I’m happy to hear that.

Pam Krueger 32:09
Yeah, I think it’s really like I said to Diane, who worked very closely together, we have a small team. And I said to Diane, who’s our CFO the other day, I said, Look, people don’t even realize that the feminine characteristics that they’re looking for in the advice that they’re seeking, they intuitively know they don’t want that heavy handed, you know, male sort of dominating and making a presentation, if you will, but they don’t realize that a lot of the male advisors that are within our vetted network have those female characteristics, it doesn’t mean that they’re female. It just means they’re really good listeners. And they’re really good at grounding in the foundation of financial planning and educating and leading with integrity. So not all men can be painted with the same brush. But those characteristics tend to be more female. Explaining and collaborating.

Maggie Germano 33:08
Yeah, no. And I think that that’s important for people to keep in mind, because I think the finance community in general, and that industry gets a little bit of a bad rap related to like being pressured into things or being talked over or being talked down to. And so making sure that you’re focusing on connecting with the people who really do care about helping their clients and really do want to have that collaborative relationship and have it be a relationship instead of, I know what I’m doing. And I’m just telling you what to do. And it’s more about building that relationship collaborating, providing that education. It sounds like if if you’re really prioritizing that in the financial advisor that you’re seeking out, you’re going to end up getting a much better experience.

Pam Krueger 33:53
And the advisor wants the same thing, because the advisor does not want turn. It’s expensive. And it’s a waste of time, what they really are looking for, and this is why the 97% retention rate is so important for one of my betting considerations, because that tells me that the clients stick with them for anchor. And you know what we know what else these advisors do that you that you never even think about is if you have children, and you want your kids to become a little bit more money savvy than you are growing, you can bring them into the meeting. at any age, I don’t care if they’re six or seven years old, nine or 10, or high school or beyond, bring them into the meeting, let the advisor help to start to educate them about Hey, what are you doing this summer? Or what are you doing for a part time work above and beyond your allowance? Nothing. Oh, you know, a lot of our clients kids are dragging the trash cans out to the street for the neighbors and they get paid. You know $15 for doing it. Oh really, you know, they start to get them into the conversations as well. Because this relationship is based on you paying them to work with you. That way and not, you know that they’re on a time clock, and they were in a hurry to get you in and get you out. So it’s it there’s, I hear stories all the time, from clients who say, I can’t believe it, you know, the advisor, Jessica, she sat down with my kids who are in high school, it had a real money talk with them, like birds and bees style money talk, and came from the advisor. So they took it seriously. Whereas when it came from the parent, you know, they’re like, yeah, yeah.

Maggie Germano 35:33
I love that story. Because, I mean, Hi, I’m, uh, I’m very passionate about bringing those financial conversations earlier and earlier for kids to because almost I probably every client I’ve ever worked with, in terms of financial coaching, has said that their parents didn’t teach them about money, or they, they learned bad habits from their families growing up. And so bringing the kids into the conversation and providing them with the same education you’re getting, I feel like can only be helpful for the family unit, but also, in making sure you’re sending your kids out into the world with the education they need.

Pam Krueger 36:10
It’s really funny too, because I served on the board of jumpstart California for years, which is our mission to increase financial literacy in K through 12. And kids learn their money habits and their patterns and their behaviors from their parents. Like even if you’re teaching in school, even if your kids are getting in school, which is great. Usually they aren’t because there’s only 20 states that mandate financial education. But when they get the behavior from you, the parent, that’s the behavior that sticks with them, and makes the greatest and deepest impression. And I think that sometimes parents who have had issues, like you know, debt, or not understanding something, and, you know, making mistakes, I think they’re so afraid to share that you’re embarrassed. They don’t want to be a model for their kids that way, but it’s the opposite. After you’re all the way through it, maybe not during when you’re traumatized. But when all of it, the dust has settled, I really suggest people sit down with their kids and teach them a lesson they just learned, especially if your kid is like 14, and you just had to learn a lesson the hard way about debt, explaining it to them, showing them how you pay bills, makes them understand a lot more and appreciate a lot more what you go through to earn your paycheck, and give them what they need, and start getting them to ask questions. And then on the other hand, do you have kids also, who want to learn about, you know, how can I take the money that I would have spent on the latest I watched the latest Apple Watch, and instead, plow that money into shares about the own piece of the company. Believe it or not kids as early as nine years old can understand that concept that gets their brains wired toward thinking about becoming shareholders and investing. What does it mean? What and then it starts getting them to ask a bunch of questions with the stock market has worked, then you think why can’t learn that nine or 10 years old? Guess what I’ve taught it, I know they can.

Maggie Germano 38:20
That’s really great. I love I love both of those scenarios of you, explaining to your kids when you’ve been through something difficult, so that they can understand not only where you’re coming from, and what you’ve been through, which I think probably can help strengthen that relationship. But also teaching them like what maybe not to do or like how to get through those kinds of scenarios if they do find themselves in that. But also the piece of encouraging them to learn about investing and learn about how the stock market works. So very early on in in their age, because I know people much much much older than nine or 10 who still feel completely ill equipped to even start learning about that. So the earlier you start learning, the more confident I think you’ll be over the course of your life.

Pam Krueger 39:07
And that goes for the same thing of working with an advisor when you start later in life and I don’t care if you’re if you’re saying that you’re starting your first you know, financial planning exercise when you’re 55 I mean, really, that’s when the real planning part of it begins. You can’t go back and do it over again and and go back 10 years and you know, say I wish I wish you have to take it from where you are right now. Look at it with open eyes, non judgmental, and say, I’m going to be okay. It’s just a question of how I’m going to be okay. And and by learning even starting later, it’s just going to give you more confidence.

Maggie Germano 39:45
And it’s never really too late. Like even if you’ve wished you started 20 years ago. It’s better to get started now than to not do it at all.

Pam Krueger 39:53
Oh my god. Yeah, because I really believe that the real financial planning the serious financial planning is You can save up and you can take wild guesses all during your 20s 30s 40s. But when you get into your 50s and 60s, you can’t do the wild guessing anymore. That’s when the real planning begins. That’s when the real, okay, let’s be accountable for where we are, what we don’t have what we do have. And that’s going to be the guide that’s going to tell us when we can stop working. And maybe the news is, guess what, you can’t stop working. But maybe you can switch to something else that you wanted to do. But when you know, you can make changes, and you can do things, it doesn’t matter how late it is, you just have to know it. And you get to get all this noise. And all this crap is not a square, but it’s kind of a square, you’re getting it all the crap out of the way. And I by that, I mean, all of anybody who’s just trying to put something in front of you, you’ve got to get down to the heart and soul of I need to know with accuracy where I stand, and I need to know my roadmap going forward with my cash flow, that’s going to direct me on how I should be investing. It’s pretty simple.

Maggie Germano 41:11
Yeah, I totally agree with you on that with the the knowledge piece it really it gives so much extra power. So you’ve given us a ton of wisdom and guidance and information already about financial advising in general, how to make sure you’re picking one that is the right fit for you. Is there anything that we haven’t covered yet that you want to make sure that wasn’t our listeners takeaway today?

Pam Krueger 41:38
I want more than anything for people to understand that there is really good competent advice, and holistic planning available, even though it seems like it’s just so it is confusing, but they do exist. And there are as on the report card, and they will sit down and help you side by side and they that that service does actually exist. And that I really believe that the goal for all of us, is just to sleep better at night, you know, knowing that we have, you know, if we’re not doing it ourselves completely, that we have somebody that you know, we can call in the middle of the night or call the next day and say I’m freaked out about this or that. And that that that does exist. It really does. It’s hard to find, but it’s out there.

Maggie Germano 42:34
Thank you for that. But that’s a that’s a really good takeaway. It definitely gives me more confidence. And I’m sure it makes listeners feel a little bit better as well. Is there anything you’d like to promote to listeners, I mean, you mentioned wealth ramp, and I’ll be linking to that in the show notes. But anything else that you have going on that you want to make sure everyone knows about?

Pam Krueger 42:54 is a fantastic resource in addition to wealth ramp kermani has built out content that is directed toward women of all ages and all career stages. And it is a fantastic resource. So is fantastic. And I also think that for people who are maybe on the younger side who don’t necessarily they’re not ready for a financial planner, yet, they really don’t need it, they don’t have anything complex, or then nothing’s really urgent. I love there’s a couple of couple tools I’m going to give you. One is called And I’m willing to bet that you talk about that and that you know about that. Okay, I love kind of helps you get into on the right track with financial planning for yourself. And then the other resource is if you have a 401k plan, and you’re not sure, or even your IRA accounts, and you’re not sure whether you’re investing best possible way, and you’re not sure if you’re paying too much in fees. In those funds, there’s a resource called blooom. And it’s spelled with three O’s, it’s And you can connect with your 401k plan. And that little tool will help you figure out if you’re making the right decisions with your 401k. So if you don’t need an advisor, those are two tools that I really like that are almost practically free. That are super powerful tools to me if you do need an advisor, and you know you weren’t fee only fiduciary. I’m your girl.

Maggie Germano 44:36
Thank you and I will link to all of those things on the show notes as well. So people have very easy access to that. If people wanted to more closely follow what you’re doing or get in touch with you find out more How can they do that?

Pam Krueger 44:50
Oh, directly emailing me at [email protected] and I do a podcast. That is it’s called friends talk Money. And that’s because it’s on the PBS website. I do that with Terry savage and rich Eisenberg. And we’re recording in about 10 minutes. So it’s It’s another resource.

Maggie Germano 45:16
Great. I can’t wait to check that out either. So, thank you so much, Pam, for spending the time today. This was a really great conversation. I’m excited to share it with the listeners. And I’ll be sure to share all the other resources that you mentioned as well.

Pam Krueger 45:31
That’s great. I really appreciate you inviting me today. Thanks. It’s so good to meet you.

Maggie Germano 45:35
You too.

Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more. And to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me, subscribe to my weekly newsletter at To learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye