Financial Fitness

The Expert Q&A: Managing Change
With WSFS’ SVP Cindy Crompton Barone

Cindy Crompton Barone

Q: The changes we have experienced this year have been so significant, it almost feels like change is managing us. And yet, that is not a helpful way to think about it, especially if you are in a position of leadership. How do you think about managing change during this time of great changes in society, the economy, and workplaces?

My role as a leader at WSFS focuses on the wellbeing of our Associates. I have strong relationships with our lines of business and understand our Associates, their experience working at WSFS, and their needs to maintain a good work-life balance. This past year, I’ve broadened my focus, proactively addressing the changing landscape and Associates’ needs as we all respond to events such as the pandemic. A great company like WSFS is nimble and accepting of different strategies to provide flexible work arrangements, supplemental paid leave benefits and special incentive pay as opportunities to support our Associates through these changing times.

Q: Many people believe that remote work will continue to be a big part of our lives, even after Covid-19 is brought under control. Is that good news for professional women, or are there downsides we should think about now?

My vision is businesses will forever need to consider work-from-home as well as flexible work schedules for every Associate. Although women predominately may be the primary caregiver, I have responded to men, as well as women, who identify themselves as needing to provide childcare and learning assistance now that schools are utilizing virtual learning. I’ve researched and learned that children up to 6th grade need three hours a day of a parent’s time to assist them with their education. We are addressing flexible work schedules to provide time during the day that parents will need to provide this attention to their children. Our children are our future and we will provide the opportunities to retain our talent, which includes women who may consider leaving the workforce to care for their families.

Q: What are the most important tips you can share with people who may have lost their jobs and need to think about making an unplanned career transition?

Those in transition should complete a personal inventory of their talents. Job seekers tend to look for the same position they held previously or for many years. If they completed a self-assessment of their experience, they would realize they have knowledge, skills, and experiences meeting the requirements for other positions in different industries that are hiring. In addition to job search sites such as CareerBuilder and LinkedIn, networking with colleagues, community organizations, family and friends should be in their toolbox of sources when managing their job search. When in transition, be open to learning new skills as well as considering a position that may not be the exact level you held if that position is with a good company that can provide a sustained future to continue their career.

Q: What is one idea you have heard that has helped you personally adapt to change during this time—or one thing you have learned about change that might continue to help you in the future?

Working with our Associates, I’ve learned they all react to dramatic change differently and we need to be attentive to their emotional wellbeing. As an example, everyone adjusted differently to working from home and having limited accessibility to physically spend time with family and friends, and time outside their homes. We need to learn how change impacts someone and provide support if they are having trouble adapting. When working remotely and communicating through video conferencing, we need to be conscious of behaviors that are signals that tell us someone needs help. Out of care for one another, we need to develop our ability to ask those difficult questions to address others’ needs, should they be reluctant to ask for help themselves.


CINDY CROMPTON BARONE is SVP, Human Capital Management at WSFS Bank, where she has spent 16 years caring for the Bank’s Associates.


SPONSORED BY

WSFS Bank logo
WSFS Financial Corporation is a multi-billion-dollar financial services company. Its primary subsidiary, WSFS Bank, is the oldest and largest locally managed bank and trust company headquartered in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region. As of June 30, 2020, WSFS Financial Corporation had $13.6 billion in assets on its balance sheet and $20.8 billion in assets under management and administration. WSFS operates from 115 offices, 90 of which are banking offices, located in Pennsylvania (54), Delaware (43), New Jersey (16), Virginia (1) and Nevada (1) and provides comprehensive financial services including commercial banking, retail banking, cash management and trust and wealth management. Other subsidiaries or divisions include Arrow Land Transfer, Cash Connect®, Cypress Capital Management, LLC, Christiana Trust of Delaware, NewLane Finance, Powdermill Financial Solutions, West Capital Management, WSFS Institutional Services, WSFS Mortgage, and WSFS Wealth Investments. Serving the greater Delaware Valley since 1832, WSFS Bank is one of the ten oldest banks in the United States continuously operating under the same name. For more information, please visit www.wsfsbank.com.

Serving our communities since 1832, WSFS Bank is one of the ten oldest banks in the United States continuously operating under the same name. Other subsidiaries or divisions of WSFS Financial Corporation are listed below.

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The Expert Q&A on Women, Money & the Markets with WSFS Wealth Investments Advisor Amy Solano

Amy Solano

Q: The stock market has been extremely volatile since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19. How do you recommend that women think about their money, the markets and volatility now?

A: Even though it is unsettling to watch all the news surrounding this virus, it is important to maintain perspective. One of the biggest risks investors face over time is overreacting to events and market volatility, which can negatively impact their savings. If you are investing for the long term and you have an investment plan that includes a well-diversified portfolio, it generally makes sense to stay the course. The markets will recover—just as they have done in the past. It’s understandable to be anxious about how recent market fluctuations will affect your savings goals. It can be beneficial to establish a relationship with a financial advisor who can help you navigate through volatile periods such as this.

Q: Women investors have a reputation for being more conservative than men. But studies have shown that our investments tend to outperform men’s. What are women doing right?

A: I have found this to be true. I have very different conversations with men and women about investing. For example, at a dinner party it’s not uncommon for a man to approach me inquiring about the latest “hot stock” or with questions on technical data such as a stock’s PE Ratio. I generally don’t get these types of questions from women. A woman is much more likely to ask goal-based questions, such as has she saved sufficiently for retirement and allocated enough funds to cover the rising costs of healthcare.

With goals in mind, many women invest with a broad-based, longer-term view. When you plan, you are less likely to focus on short-term movements in the market, reducing transaction fees associated with trading and tend to diversify your portfolio more. Transaction fees can erode returns over time. Usually, long-term investors aren’t putting a lot of dollars towards one type of stock. If the price of the stock falls, there is a temptation to hold onto a stock in the hopes that the stock price rebounds. Of course, sometimes the stock price rebounds, and sometimes it does not.

Many women are known to be budgeters. If you are regularly allocating funds for investing as part of your budget, you are using a strategy that is called “dollar cost averaging.” This means you are placing a fixed dollar amount into an investment on a regular basis regardless of what is occurring in the financial markets. This can reduce volatility and remove the emotion of market timing.

This steady approach is a great way to reach your goals.

Q: Women now control more than half of all U.S. wealth. But we still invest less than men do. Why is that? And, are there signs this is changing?

A: Many reasons have been given why women invest less than men do. Investing can be intimidating. It can seem confusing unless you are well versed in financial jargon. Quite often the analogies used to make investing easier to understand don’t resonate with a lot of women.

Also, finding a financial advisor that you trust can be challenging. Traditionally, it has been a male-dominated industry. Many women seeking financial advice often feel more comfortable with someone who understands their experiences. Women typically live longer and are usually the primary caregiver both for their children and parents. Shared experiences help to build trust.

The Internet and social media have aided in building confidence and connections. They are great tools to locate and connect to financial advisors who share your values. They have also given women the opportunity to educate themselves. There are several websites that offer investment education and tools. Once you understand investing, you are less likely to be intimidated by it and more likely to do it.

Q: Should we think about investing as a smart way to advance wealth equity?

A: There are so many factors that come into play on both pay equity and wealth equity. They are closely related issues. It’s true that certain low-paying industries do traditionally attract female workers. It is also true that many women earn less than a man for doing the same job.

Working in a male dominated industry like financial services, I have either experienced or been witness to many instances of inequity or inequality. I have one piece of advice that I have learned along the way: Be assertive. Volunteer for that project, ask for the pay raise, express your worth and educate yourself. I know that is easier said than done, but by doing these things you are potentially growing your income. More income gives you the opportunity to save and invest. And, investing increases your wealth. If women can do this on a consistent collective basis, things can change.

Q: Businesses still have a long way to go to make gender equity a reality. As women, should we be thinking about investing in companies that have made clear commitments to gender diversity?

A: I am a big proponent of women in leadership roles. Women bring a different perspective to the workplace that is beneficial. I wish more companies would establish programs to develop a well-trained, diverse workforce. Diversity is one of many factors that investors should consider when investing in a company. Research has shown that companies that have a diverse workforce are more productive than companies that don’t have one.


AMY SOLANO is a graduate of the University of Delaware and began her career in financial services in 2003. She was first licensed in 2009 while working for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In addition, Amy has held various positions at MBNA, Barclays, and UBS Financial. At WSFS Wealth Investments, Amy combines the experience she has gained throughout her financial services career with a deep concern for her clients’ personal and financial well-being to produce plans and portfolios that help her clients better achieve their personal, emotional, and financial goals. She holds her FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®. Amy earned the AIF® designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies. The AIF® designation certifies that she has specialized knowledge of fiduciary standards of care and their application to the investment management process. She is currently working toward the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™(CFP®) certification. She also holds life and health insurance licenses.


SPONSORED BY

WSFS Wealth Investments logo
The financial advisors of WSFS Wealth Investments offer securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Investments are not insured by the FDIC and are not deposits or other obligations of, or guaranteed by, any depository institution. Funds are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal investment. WSFS Bank is not a registered broker-dealer or Registered Investment Adviser. WSFS Bank and Commonwealth are separate and unaffiliated entities. Fixed Insurance products and services are offered through WSFS Wealth Investments or CES Insurance Agency. WSFS Wealth Investments, Greenville Center, 3801 Kennett Pike, Suite C200, Greenville, DE 19807. (866) 727-6537.
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Two Important Personal Qualities for Navigating Economic Downturns

Jean Chatzky

Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC’s TODAY, once conducted a large study, in partnership with Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive, to identify what separated people who were successful—in a wide range of financial situations—from those who were not.

As you might have guessed, saving and having a financial plan was part of the answer. But so was being optimistic and resilient, Chatzky said in a recent conversation.

And, those are the skills we need now—and can cultivate now, she said.

“You can become a more optimistic person if you want to be. One way is to keep track of good things on a daily basis. Keep a gratitude journal or a happiness journey. You have to show yourself that good things do happen, even in bad times.”

As for resilience: “That boils down to control what you can and let go of the rest. You can’t control what others do. You can control what we do.” Likewise, you may not be able to entirely control your income but you can focus on controlling your expenses.

Keeping Perspective Also Helps

“If you have long-term time horizon and are not going to use your money [in the stock market] for the next five, 10, or more years, then take a deep breath and try not to obsess about the financial news,” said Chatzky who has been a financial writer since 1986 and witnessed at least four down-turns before.

“Continue to put money into your 401K and have confidence that based on history we will come back from this. American companies are good at what they do and will figure out how to come back.”

If you need money in the short term, think about where you can get it where it is going to cost you the least in terms of interest, taxes or penalties. That may mean tapping an emergency fund or home equity loan if those are options for you. Taking a hard look at your budget to eliminate unnecessary costs is also, of course, always a good move.

And, while it’s true that the markets don’t like uncertainty, and nobody knows how long this downturn will last, Chatzky sees another side to the story.

“The story I am telling myself is that when I watch Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “I am confident he is a smart man and people like him will figure this out. Figuring it out in my mind means getting a handle on the health crisis.”

“We have to get a handle on the health crisis to get a handle on economic crisis. And, I believe that even though we don’t know a lot about what’s happening in terms of how long this is going to last and overall economic impact, we are seeing proposals coming from Washington and actions being taken. Day by day, it seems to me that we are moving in the right direction to get this under control.”

In short, Chatzky said: “If you are optimistic about the future of this country, and I am still optimistic, you have to tell yourself that we will eventually get to the right answers and get on back course.”

To learn more, visit Jean Chatzky’s Her Money, a new digital media company focused on improving the relationships women have with money.


More from the April 2020 Newsletter

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If You’re Worried About Money, Think About This

young woman expressing a perplexed look on her face while examining monthly bills and account balances

Sometimes, one simple shift in thinking can help us know that, whatever the challenge before us, we’ll figure it out. This week, economist and Conference for Women speaker Teresa Ghilarducci provides that reassurance on our latest episode of Women Amplified.

Here it is: If you’re worried about money, think about your future self, and take action that supports that self—not the fearful self that may be activated in this moment.

Fear triggers chemicals in your brain that will make you want to do something to blast that fear away now. But those actions may not be in your long-term best interest.

So, what should you do—especially if you’re dealing with a loss of income or feeling rocked by the volatility in the stock market?

“You have to do something, but you have to do something for your medium-term and long-term self,” says Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Focusing on the future, instead of this more anxious moment, will help you take charge. And from that more empowered mindset, you will be better positioned to take constructive action—on what Ghilarducci says should be three priority areas:

  1. Spending. If you don’t have a budget, this is the time to set it up—and watch it carefully. Fortunately, discretionary spending for many items—from Starbucks to hair care—is down. And we just might discover how many impulse purchases we don’t truly care about, which could help keep expenses permanently down.
  2. Debt. If you have credit card debt, ask the company to suspend payment without extra interest for the next two months—and to lower your interest rate while they’re at it. If you have a mortgage, do the same thing: ask for a two-month suspension without any extra interest accruing.
  3. Investments. If you can, look at your 401k accounts and make sure you know how much more you need to save to get on target. And, says Ghilarducci, remember that your asset values will probably come back in a year and a half. So, be patient.

Tune in to hear the full conversation with Theresa Ghilarducci on the Conferences for Women podcast, Women Amplified.


More from the April 2020 Newsletter

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Creating Financial Health During Crisis

Teresa Ghilarducci

Although life has come to a screeching halt, concerns over money have not—financial fear and distress are at an all-time high.

Our latest episode of Women Amplified features economist and author Teresa Ghilarducci, who offers invaluable and actionable ways you can take control of your finances in the short-term and create long-term financial health. Learn sustainable daily habits to maximize your paycheck and savings, help you budget in crisis-mode, manage debt, and continue planning for retirement. Read More

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What It Will Take for All Women to Advance

Minda Harts

Minda Harts noticed something recently while being on the circuit of women’s events over the past year. When she signed copies of her new book, The Memo, she rarely saw a white woman. That’s not surprising perhaps, given the book’s subtitle, What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table. But it is, in her view, a missed opportunity.

“I often say success is not a solo sport,” Minda recently said. “If we saw each other as resources, we could get so much more accomplished.” But to do that, takes the courage to listen to and understand other people’s experiences—to pay more attention to the intersection of race and gender, among other things, that fall under the commitment to gender equality. Only then, she suggests, can women succeed in doing what is required for true gender equality: namely, turn allyship into action. Read More

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4 Money Tips to Help You Have More Time to Do What You Love

Tonya Rapley

Tonya Rapley, who Black Enterprise Magazine called the “New Face of Wealth Building,” is on a mission to help women break the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck and do more of what they love.

Author of The Money Manual and founder of My Fab Finance, Tonya offers these tips for making better decisions about money: Read More

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ENCORE | Your Money: A Pathway to a Richer Life | 2019 Session

What do we want from our money? Some of us look for independence and security, while others desire more choices and a better way of life. But all of us want to experience less stress around money. So, now that women have more money—and power—than ever before, how can we start making our money work for us? In this session, Today Show financial editor and best-selling author Jean Chatzky will share what she’s learned about living a financially robust life. She will also present her three-part plan for understanding your life in relationship to your finances. Expect to walk away armed with tactical solutions for getting paid what you deserve, making your money last, leaving a legacy—and, most importantly, feeling joyful while doing it.

Read More

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Live Richer with the One-Week Budget | 2019 Session

When “The Budgetnista” started writing her book at age 25, she was a teacher earning $35,000 a year and, within two years, managed to save $40,000. She has since dedicated her life to financial literacy and helping others live a richer lives. In this session, you will learn her invaluable money management system: twelve steps that that can be completed over seven days. You will also learn the practical and easy tools to complete the One-Week Budget challenge and ultimately find a richer life. UPDATED AFTER PRINT: In addition to the One-Week Budget, Tiffany will also be presenting her Ten Steps to Financial Wholeness.

Read More

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4 Proven Strategies that Will Help You Get a Raise

Hot to get paid

The gender pay gap became front-page news last month after presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced a proposal that would require companies to prove they pay women equitably—or pay a fine.

But if you don’t want to wait to see what comes of that, here are four tips that expert Conference for Women speakers say have helped them negotiate salary increases: Read More

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