Episode 2: Financial PPP - Planning Prevents Problems

with Financial Advisor, Rhonda Schwartz

Rhonda Schwartz is a Financial Advisor at The Quintessential Experience in Financial Services.

Rhonda learned at an early age about the importance of having a life insurance policy when she saw how having one helped her mother pay off the mortgage to their home after her father passed away.

Whether you have questions about Retirement planning, Investment services, estate planning, Insurance, tax strategies or the living benefits of life insurance, Rhonda and her team will help you prepare for your long-term goals.

Linkedin: Rhonda Schwartz

Click here for The Quintessential Experience in Financial Services website.

Life Insurance Information. 

Listen to this episode on Apple, Spotify, Google, Pandora, AmazonGoodpods and any other podcast player or follow my link here:  pod.link/1555616158


Need a  little mindset reset? Check out my interview with Certified Mindset Life Coach, Beata Zdanowska.

Avis B 0:05

Hey there beautiful people. I'm Avis Boone. So glad to have you join me here on That's How We Role, the podcast where we go behind the curtain up on stage or out in the world and talk with professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, organization leaders, creatives and artists, about their business, their creativity, their goals, and about their lives. And hey, whatever else we want to talk about, so sit back, relax and enjoy.

I'd like to welcome today's guest Rhonda Schwartz. Rhonda is a financial advisor at The Quintessential Experience in Financial Services. Rhonda learned at an early age about the importance of having a life insurance policy when she saw how having one helped her mother pay off the mortgage to their home after her father passed away. Whether you have questions about retirement planning, investment services, estate planning, insurance, tax strategies are the living benefits of life insurance, Rhonda and her team will help you prepare for your long term goals. So welcome, Rhonda. So glad to have you here.

Rhonda Schwartz 1:21

Thank you, Avis, it's a pleasure to be here.

Avis B 1:24

Just to give people a little bit of information about yourself. Can you talk about are you have a story about something that has happened in your investment career that made people glad that they met you?

Rhonda Schwartz 1:35

Well, I have a few stories. And I know we don't have a whole day here. So I'm going to give you the most recent one. A friend of mine's husband passed away a few months ago in July. And when she was mourning him, people came to pay condolences. And almost every single person told her she needed to get a financial advisor. And of course, they had recommendations. And my friend looked at them and said, I don't need recommendations. My friend Rhonda is a financial advisor, and I'm going to call her. And she did call me. And I was saddened by the situation, but grateful for the phone call because she knew that she could trust my recommendation to make sure that not only would she be financially secure if she listened to my recommendation, but she would also be able to take care of her obligations and her two children. One of them is in college now and one will be looking at colleges next year. And it's interesting to note that my friend always shied away from getting involved in financial decisions in her home, and is now inundated with bill paying and questions about where the money should go and what she should be doing. And I'm here to lend a helping hand and to give her sound advice to make sure that the proceeds from her husband's life insurance because thank God, her husband did have life insurance. And she's going to be all right. She's going to be alright financially, and she's going to be alright mentally and physically. Because her husband took the time to do proper planning. And I'm there to help every step of the way.

Avis B 3:23

Wow. So the key is to just have proper planning like to take care of that before the need arises. And we know that but we don't always do that, unfortunately. What should people look for when choosing a financial advisor?

Rhonda Schwartz 3:38

People should look for a) someone who was a fiduciary as I am, which means that I have to take into account, the best interests of my client. So formerly, the recommendations were that the financial advisor had to give proposals and recommendations that were suitable for the client. That's a lesser requirement. Now the new requirement is best interest, which means not just that the proposal makes sense, like i.e. is suitable, but it is in the best interest of the client, meaning this is the best possible recommendation that I can make. And that's holding all of us to a higher standard, which I'm proud to be part of because I was always acting in the best interest of my client even before this requirement came into effect. The second thing that a person should look for is someone who is compatible with them. Meaning someone you're comfortable with, someone who not only is going to be serious, but someone who has a sense of humor, and a sense of empathy, who understands what it's like to be a real person with real obligations and real stress and someone who can help you get through tough times. As well as the times, I personally love hearing from my clients when there are good things going on, milestone occasions, marriages, births, grandchildren coming along, children being born, and sending kids to college and buying that second home. But I'm also here for the not so great times, when God forbid someone is ill, where someone is helping the parent who's deteriorating physically or mentally. And I am here to give advice and to help and to empathize with life's, expected and unexpected moments. And that's really what you should look for, someone who not only has the professional standards, but has the personal investment, as well.

Avis B 5:47

That's really, that's really true. Because it's important when you're looking. And I and I think this is true in anything. When you ask for someone's advice, I always think that act like you're talking to your mom, or your sister, or your best friend, don't give me the, the book advice. Because if I just want the book advice, I could just look in a book. But I do think it's important for the person that you are seeking advice from, to want to give you the same advice that they would give someone very close to them, and that they would give themselves, you know, and you don't find that all the time. So I appreciate that. That's great.

Rhonda Schwartz 6:24

That's very true. And I do treat my clients as if they are my family, meaning I care. I care what happens after we put a plan into place, I care about what happens a year from now, five years from now, and even 10 years from now. And it's important because to me, it's not the job. It's, it's a calling.

Avis B 6:48

Yeah, I believe that from the way that, that you've said that and laid out how you are and wha, t what your clients can expect from you, I see that that is so true and having and having had many conversations with you. During this pandemic, we found out that there's there's a lot of gig economy people. Now I'm a gig, I'm a gig worker, big time gig worker, I'm an actor, and there's so many creatives and, and, and people that needed money during this pandemic, you know, with everything that was happening with unemployment benefits, and and now we found out that gig workers, they are important, and now that they will be getting unemployment benefits as well. So you know, that was really that that was really a big step forward. But for those of us that are gig workers, there are actors, and creatives, you know, you don't always have a steady income. And you could go, you could have a lot of money one month, and then you could go three or four months, and you're not have any, you know, any money at all. So what are some of the benefits of having a financial advisor first, let me start there. And then how, how can actors and gig workers benefit or have the same type of benefits when we don't have a steady flow of income?

Rhonda Schwartz 8:03

That's a great question. And I have some thoughts on that. So I think one of the most important things is to have a safety net of six months of expenses, put away and liquid. So I would say during the good times, when there is steady work, and the paychecks are coming in, I would try to be mindful of keeping my expenditures low, and concentrate on savings during those months. Obviously, you need to pay for your essentials. But I would think twice without doing anything overly expensive in terms of travel, recreation, and things like that. The first thing that I would recommend is having as close to six months of expenses, saved and liquid as possible. And while you're doing that, I would work on a budget. You know how sometimes when people are on a diet, you're supposed to write everything down, you'll eat, you'll eat standing up, or you're you know, go grazing somewhere. And somehow you forget about that little frozen yogurt or, you know, the bowl of spaghetti you were making for the kids and you wolfed down low, you know, they were eating before dinner. So it's the same thing with spending, you know, we're used to paying our bills, so we know about that. But you know, there's the TJ Maxx and you know, I'm speaking to the to the choir over here, there's a little things, there are the little things that come up, going out with friends, you know, I'll give everybody the benefit of the doubt. And those things can add up. And if you're not paying attention to what you're doing, money could seriously be flowing out, in a big way and you're not aware of it. You just know there's not very much left at the end of the month and you have no recall of where it went. So it's important to work on a budget and stick to it because that's going to catch that gonna carry you over and give you good discipline and get your balance towards saving and spending in line. And within you want to be,

Avis B 10:09

you know what, within this budget, you would actually budget for whatever your, if you want to have money to put in an IRA or, or some other kinds of...Yes,

Rhonda Schwartz 10:21


Avis B 10:21

So that was that should be. So that should be just just as important as your Starbucks latte, correct?

Rhonda Schwartz 10:27

Well, it should be more important than you thought, right. Because, you know, you'll get me started on Starbucks, I'll get, there'll be a whole mob against me. Dunkin Donuts, people come on, we need to save for retirement. But um, I like to joke around with people and say, you know, if you add up the Starbucks a day, you can afford life insurance. You can afford to make that contribution to the IRA. It's just one little area, no, like, not bring, I'm sorry, like bringing lunch to work instead of going out all the time. If you do these small tricks, and discipline yourself, you would be surprised how much money you can save without changing your lifestyle very much.

Avis B 11:12

Wow, it's so much easier said than done. And I have a feeling that after being pretty much sequestered for the past year, that people are going to go a little crazy with traveling and you know, going out spending time with their friends just because they've been, they've been apart from everybody for so long. But that is that's that's really great advice.

Rhonda Schwartz 11:35

I agree with you on that. And I also want to say something, if you speak to people, at a party or at a gathering, you would be shocked how much time people will put into a Disney vacation and planning this Disney vacation. And let's say they're going away for three, four or five days, they will spend hours with a travel agent planning everything from the hotel to the car to which parks they're going to go to and where they have their Fastpass and this, that, the other thing, and that's a three day trip, and people will spend hours and hours planning for that trip. Well, let me tell you something people out there, I would like everyone who's hearing my voice, to commit to planning for the next few decades of your life, and to commit to spending an hour at an introductory meeting with a financial advisor. And you will be pleasantly surprised at how much value you can get in that one small hour, sitting down with a professional and actually making plans for decades rather than days.

Avis B 12:37

Yeah, that's very true. We spend our time on the wrong things and a lot of in a lot of cases. And And And yes, it's fun. The Disney vacation is fun for for three days. But then what about the next three years or the next 33 years? So going back to the pandemic, people were using their savings and tapping into their IRAs and 401 Ks and some kind of similar fun like that to survive. How can those of us that did that, how can we begin the recovery from that, and to put money back in as we start to reopen?

Rhonda Schwartz 13:12

The best way to do that is to jump right in and not to think about what you did. But move forward. Don't get bogged down in what you had to do, because of an unexpected pandemic. I mean, the word pandemic, it's not even like an unexpected occurrence. It's a pandemic, which is so many times worse. So in terms of the global, the global effects of what we've been going through. So number one, psychologically, I think it's really important to applaud yourself, that we've gotten to this point. It's a year, we're about a year I remember March 9 of last year, was when I first heard about it. So we're, we're going into year two, we already of this. And we are doing the best that we can as people, as families, as workers, as friends, and as communities. And what we need to do is pat ourselves on the back and say, You know what, we've come a long way. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and let's move forward. Don't get bogged down by what happened in the past. You've done the best you could, you're here. Thank God, right? You're here. Yes, you survived. And you're thriving, and the best thing to do is to get excited about the future. The vaccine is here, people are getting vaccinated, numbers are going down. Work is opening up people are more positive. Some people are actually traveling, and what we need to do is build up again, and to do so you need to take that right foot and go forward and look towards the future and become disciplined again and say you know what, I did the best I can. I did what I had to do. And now let's talk the time to get back up on that horse and save like a mad person. And you will get you know, the market to doing well, things are going to recover in your account. And you know what, just go on from there. Don't get bogged down by what what happened and don't start taking out more and say, you know, I'm despondent and the number isn't what it is. Don't go there. Move ahead.

Avis B 15:18

Yeah, that's the that's the best advice is, you know, you just you just, you just put on your, you know, you say, Get on the horse, that's right saddle up and get rid and just do it again, you know, you have to cover the same ground again. But we've never been through anything like this before. So we have to start over. And that's just as simple as that. Let's go, let's talk about life insurance. So and I'm, and I'm going to, again, focus on the gig workers and actors because you were talking about people that are not going into work every day, every week, just explain a little about the importance of life insurance, and every life insurance plan is not going to cost the same and and how having a financial advisor and helping you to set this up, that you will get a good outcome and you will get a good plan. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Rhonda Schwartz 16:07

Sure. So I want to explain a little bit about life insurance. And I don't want to get too technical and scare away my new friends here. So life insurance, originally was created to protect families and loved ones, if someone were to pass prematurely. And I would say a few decades ago, most people got life insurance to protect the mortgage, and they actually called it mortgage insurance. But the newest thinking is that you know what, it's not just about staying in the house, you've got to pay for taxes, electric bills, insurance, food, clothing, shelter, tuition, need I go on, there are so many obligations that we all have. And it's not just about people who have children or people who are married, or people who have a nine to five job with a salary. It's also people who are gig workers, who have to take care of themselves, and their families. And their incomes can be kind of flexible in terms of, you know, good months, and not so good months. So the new thinking in insurance is to make sure that income is covered. And that's really what we go by we go by income times how many years left, you have until retirement. So there are two ways to go. There's term insurance, which is kind of like when you rent a home, it's kind of like renter's life insurance, meaning it's only for a few years. And when those years are up, it's over. And there's nothing, there's no coverage. But it was the most efficient way, it's less expensive. And then the other side of life insurance is permanent insurance, which is like homeowner's insurance, meaning you have it forever. You have it as long as you pay for it, you pay for life. And when I was explaining it before, I was explaining that life insurance used to only be when people pass away their beneficiaries, the people who they designated would get a lump sum tax rate, and that would help them financially move on. Well, today's life insurance is different because today's life insurance has something called Living benefits. And this is super, super important for my gig workers out there. Because living benefits allow you to tap into that death benefit early if something were to happen to you. For example, if you were diagnosed with a critical illness, like cancer, heart attack, stroke, Ms. Als, Lou Gehrig's things like that, or a chronic illness, meaning a condition where you need help with your activities of daily living, like eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and continence. And if you needed help with two of those, due to a chronic condition, something like arthritis or similar, you again could tap into this benefit early and use that for your own care. And the last one would be terminal illness. If God forbid you had less than 24 months to live. You again, you could tap into this death benefit early. Now this is a fantastic idea. That's actually come to fruition because if you had this coverage, you would not have to worry about where is the money going to come from to care for me, while I'm here. And I think this is really an innovative idea that is helping a lot of people, who previously, would have to go through their life savings to get the proper care and move forward when they have an unexpected illness or condition that comes up out of nowhere.

Avis B 20:14

I didn't even that didn't even know about that, that. That is, you know, something to think about and something that because we we're not going to live forever. We think that that some of us may think we are invincible, but but we're not. I mean, just look at the past year, and what the past year has shown us and no one saw that coming. No one expected, what has happened, you know, with the loss of work, but the loss of income, we didn't see any of that coming. So this is the again, this is something that is vital. And and thank you so much for sharing that.

Rhonda Schwartz 20:48

And I also just want to point out one more thing, these living benefits are available from National Life Group, which is the company that by represent, it's available on term policies as well as permanent. And we're the only company that offers these living benefits on term insurance. Usually, they only go with permanent insurance. So I want to say that it's a super opportunity for people who thought they couldn't afford insurance, to have these riders built in at no additional cost.

Avis B 21:22

We have to get with Quintessential here and, and take care of ourselves and our finances.

Rhonda Schwartz 21:28

Absolutely. And please, don't be scared everybody out there. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, I've never gone to a professional, I'm going to be embarrassed, it's kind of like going to the doctor and disrobing, and you know, all the blemishes are out there for the doctor to see, well, don't worry about that, you know, everybody is doing the best they can. And there's, you know, like Planet Fitness has the no judgement zone. So when you come to me, it's not a judgment zone. It's a judgment free zone. You know, I'm very happy to see that people really, really are serious, and they want to do better. And that's the most important thing. And don't get bogged down in, I haven't done this yet. I haven't done that yet. The fact that you're making that phone call and the fact that you want to do it, that's going to propel you to do it. So again, like with the savings, that other things, don't get bogged down in the past, put that right foot forward, make the phone call, make the appointment, and really do the best you can continue to do the best you can and move forward and do some good planning for your future. You'll feel better, you'll sleep better at night. It's a good thing.

Avis B 22:42

That's, that's very true. And and you and you know you don't have to go in, you don't have to go into the actual office either to, to talk to a financial advisor, can always reach them over on the phone, right, Rhonda?

Rhonda Schwartz 22:54

That is correct. And I also want to tell you a little bit about PPE versus PPP if I may.

Avis B 23:01

Okay, yes, please.

Rhonda Schwartz 23:02

Oh, you know, during COVID, we all found out what PPE is I can't even say it, PPE is personal protective equipment. And that's what the first responders needed. And that's what most of us use every day in our lives. And what is PPE, gloves, masks, face shields gowns, cap ecetera. So I want to tell you today about PPP. Okay, PPP is Rhonda Schwartz's personal philosophy, and PPP stands for planning prevents problem. Okay, so, during COVID, we all found out about PPE and why we needed to protect ourselves from the virus. Well, I'm going to tell you what is in my PPP toolkit. In Ronda Schwartz's planning prevents problems toolkit, you will find advice on life insurance, disability insurance, long term care, insurance, annuities, and brokerage. And I want to explain a little bit. Life Insurance, as we talked about, is not just about people passing away it's about people living and taking care of them. When unexpected diagnoses come up while they're alive. Disability can help you in case of an injury or an illness. It will replace your income up to 60% and keep you going until you can go back out and work against Long Term Care Insurance. I don't know if you've heard people talk about it. But don't believe the hype. It's not expensive, expensive is paying for care from your own pocket. Let the life insurance company take care of your care needs by purchasing Long Term Care Insurance. That's for extended care when you can't do two of six activities of daily living or you have a cognitive impairment. Next is annuities. Annuities provide guaranteed income for life. Did you hear that guy's guaranteed income for life, and you can get an annuity for retirement or just regular savings. And the last is brokerage brokerage provides you with growth and diversification. So when you're investing, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Because if the basket falls down, all the eggs break at the same time. So when you're investing, do so with a proper advice and know that diversification is the key.

Avis B 23:04

Wow, that's great advice. Really, really good advice. Just another quick question to about that the company because I know that because of everything that happened last year, did you notice that more people were contacting you, that more people were contacted the company, just just to make sure that... because they didn't know what was going to happen, none of us did? So just in the midst of everything? Did they come? Did you notice that you got more calls, or received more, you know, more clients because of that?

Rhonda Schwartz 26:09

Yes. So two things I want to bring up, during the pandemic, every single life insurance company suspended payments, for clients who are having difficulties, which I think is an unbelievably kind and empathetic gesture.

Avis B 26:11

That's amazing,

Rhonda Schwartz 26:11

So my clients, and myself too, because you know, I walk the walk, and I talk the talk, I have policies as well. And I received letters from the companies saying that payments are suspended, you know, until indefinitely until things calm down. I believe it was six months or more that payments were suspended for. And then when things got a little better with the vaccine coming out and people going back to work, they resumed payments, meaning people paid the six months that they didn't pay if they weren't paying at that time. And I just think that was an amazing thing that the companies did. It showed that they actually care about the clients, and they see their clients as individuals and people who are struggling. And they did something about it, which I think was super. And yes, I did get many more phone calls, people became super attuned to not knowing what's going to happen and thinking about unexpected. You know, it's unfortunate that it took a pandemic for people to start to think about planning. But I know that there's been an uptick in my personal business. And there's been an uptick in the company itself. Because people like I said, are getting very concerned, where, you know, before the pandemic, I think we will all go in across our merry way. And we were very involved in recreation, and travel and socializing, worship and other things. And because unfortunately, those things were taken away from us. It hurt us to such a level. And we started thinking about our own mortality as well. And the fact that there was so much more time on our hands, I think, really played into the fact that people started to think about the future and wanted to start planning.

Avis B 28:20

Yeah, it gave them more reflection time.

Rhonda Schwartz 28:23

Yes, that I'm sorry that it took COVID for us to get to this point. But I won't say I'm happy. But I'll say I'm relieved that people are starting to talk more about planning and mortality and being prepared. So I'm not going to say that it was a good thing. But I'm going to say that the the results were good,

Avis B 28:44


Rhonda Schwartz 28:45

Meaning that it got people off the couch. Well, some people will fall on the couch. But you know, some people got off the couch and got to the phone and made the phone call. And I think that part of it was good.

Avis B 29:00

Well, now going back to the what you said about some of the companies, insurance companies suspended payments, that is very, a very good thing to do. But when you suspend payments, and people have not had income, and still, now even though things are opening up the vaccine is out, did they Institute some type of payment plan? Because, you know, it's just like people had their their rents suspended as well. But the fact of the matter is, is that you still have to pay it, it's only suspended.

Rhonda Schwartz 29:32


Avis B 29:33

And it would help if they talk to the to the insurance company, how do they go forward? You're still not making money the way that you were? And I'm speaking specifically about gig workers. How are they dealing with the clients during this time?

Rhonda Schwartz 29:47

Well, I advise anyone who I spoke to, to go to the longest payment possible meaning a monthly payment rather than an annual, a semi annual or quarterly. I think monthly, even without a pandemic is the way to go because it breaks your payment down into the smallest possible payment that you can make and still keep your contract going. So I would say the option that gives you the longest time period to pay out your policy would be the best way to go. So definitely go monthly. put things on automatic payments, so that it goes through a checking account so that you can set it and forget it. And whatever you can do to minimize your stress and minimize the amount of time you pay paying bills. And this applies to other things as well. If you're computer savvy, I think the best thing to do is go monthly and set things up on auto payments so that it just goes through and you get a notification that the bill was paid.

Avis B 30:51

Yeah, yeah, that's a good idea. Well, Rhonda, I just want to thank you so much for being here with me today, I'm going to include in any of the notes, all the information about Rhonda so that you can reach her, we all want to plan prevent any plan and prevent any problems. So to do that, you really should follow Rhonda on LinkedIn, and any of the other social media platforms to get tips and information on how you can protect your future and your money with life insurance and any other kind of investment advice that Rhonda and her company can give you. So any parting notes that you'd like to give Rhonda before we depart?

Rhonda Schwartz 31:31

Well, I just like to thank you so much for including me on the podcast, and giving me the opportunity to educate people, and to dispel some of the myths that are out there and tell people not to be afraid to reach out for help. That's what I'm here for. Remember, it's a judgment free zone. And that planning prevents problems. And I am here to help you every step of the way. And I look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your personal plan and just giving you Financial Peace of Mind meaning you sleep at night with a smile on your face. Knowing that tomorrow is going to be better than today.

Avis B 32:11

Ah, that's great advice. So thank you again, Rhonda and thank you for everybody tuning in. I appreciate you being here and everybody continue to stay safe. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen checking out the podcast. Thank you for inviting me into your space. And until next time, I hope you will continue to thrive, grow and be kind to yourselves and be kind to others.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai