Certified financial planner Laura LaTourette advises people who may face inequities because of their gender, specifically women and those who are part of LGBTQIA+ communities.
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When her two kids were growing up in the '80s and '90s, Laura LaTourette worked at an insurance company. After getting laid off, she was inspired to further her education and move in a whole new direction—certified financial planning. Around the same time, LaTourette was also coming into her own identity.

"In 1990, I understood that I was lesbian," she recalls. "I was in a marriage, and he was a good person, but it was not what I wanted or what I felt fulfilled in. We were going to stay together for the kids—that's what a lot of people do—but I decided that was not good or authentic for me as a person."

In 1994, LaTourette met her now-wife Susan at a weekend church retreat. "I knew that I had to have a career that was going to be able to give me financial independence because I didn't think it was fair for me to rely on [my former husband's] retirement or anything that we had built together," she recalls.

That's when she decided to go "full force" into financial life planning and wealth management. Her passion: working with women who were going through difficult life transitions, perhaps due to divorce or being widowed.

The couple also decided not to wait until they retired to live the life they dreamed of—on a farm with llamas. Though buying llamas wasn't initially in the couple's budget, LaTourette found a way to pay for them. "I spend money on things that I value," she notes.

She also found she was passionate about working with the LGBTQIA+ community. "I said, 'I need to make sure that my community has a voice and understands what their choices are,'" she says. She wanted to do what she could to support a person's ability to make more money and preserve their wealth.

"It's important for us to find each other so that we are able to open up fully and understand what our options are," says LaTourette. "There have been times with my LGBTQIA+ clients, they didn't have anyone to advocate for them. I knew that that would be an important job for me."

In the end, LaTourette doesn't see her work as just helping to manage other people's money. "The money is part of it, but it really is about the people and being there for them," she says.

Here are several of her best tips for steering your financial ship toward long-term security and success.

Consider What You Value

When she's working with clients, LaTourette asks what they spend, what they save, and what they give away, because that tells her what they value.

"Some people don't understand what they value, so they're kind of unconscious about what they spend their money on," she points out.

That's why one of the first things she says she does with clients is work to understand their money story. "I say, 'What happened when you were a kid like 7, 8, 9 years old?'" notes LaTourette. "Say they're spending all their money on clothes. Well, there's something rooted back on their childhood that we can work on and they work through."

Look For Role Models

"People are afraid of their success sometimes or they're afraid to dream too big because they've been put down or rejected or it didn't pan out," points out LaTourette.

If clients are struggling with this, she recommends that they look for role models who are doing whatever it is they've dreamed of doing. Whether they pick up a biography, listen to a podcast, or check out a panel discussion, the experience could prove aspirational and motivating.

Find Ways to Compromise

If you're in a relationship and making major financial decisions alongside a significant other, compromise is key, says LaTourette.

"If you make decisions with your partner or your wife or your husband or whoever you can have as a trusted person, oftentimes it's different than how you make decisions [alone]," she notes. "My wife pulls back, I push, and we find a way to compromise."

Ultimately, as long as you have money in savings and retirement and to cover other items that are important to you, then it's not as "over-the-top" to buy something kind of splurge-y—like llamas, says LaTourette.

Build a Team To Motivate You

When working with clients, LaTourette prides herself on supporting them in a holistic way. "I will get them to hire life coaches or a physical coach or a therapist," she notes. "We'll put together a team of people for my clients to help them understand what they want to do and how they [can] make it happen."

She continues, "It's really good to have a collaborative team, a circle you build of people that will help you be your best self."