Misty Lynch of Beck Bode: “Investing During The Pandemic; What Should I Do With My Money Considering All of the Volatility and Uncertainty Today”

Jason Hartman
Apr 21, 2020 · 12 min read

I think now more than EVER people need to understand basic skills about budgeting, saving and investing can change their life completely. Money should not be such a difficult thing to talk about. It impacts nearly every single decision we make. Parents should talk to their kids about money and not pretend like everything is fine — especially in times like this when you may need to cut back on expenses or make sacrifices. Seeing this and understanding it at an early age has made it so much easier for me to make smart decisions as an adult and help others who are scared and uncomfortable when it comes to their finances.

a part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Misty Lynch.

Misty Lynch is a Certified Financial Planner™, Behavioral Financial Advisor, Certified Life/Business Coach and Financial Advisor at Beck Bode, LLC. She helps people handle their money with confidence for the betterment of their life, family and business. Misty is also a personal finance expert and a resource for media outlets. She has been featured in The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Investopedia, Business Insider, Real Simple, Student Loan Hero and many others. US News and World Report named her one of the 9 Women in Finance to Follow “because sometimes you need life advice, not just financial advice”.

Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

oney always fascinated me growing up. I started working when I was about 14 and wanted to figure out how to do more with it than just work and pay bills. I think I read every single book that had “rich” in the title that I could get my hands on. I didn’t know anyone personally that invested or felt good about money. During college I waited tables and bartended at a country club over the summers. A few of the women that would golf on Wednesday nights were successful businesswomen. One was an Insurance Agent and she worked her way up from the mailroom to one of the top sales agents at the company. I got a lot of free advice in that job. I studied Political Science at UConn but decided not to go to law school. I began working in Insurance and Financial Services soon after I graduated in 2002 and never looked back.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

One year I was asked to emcee the annual sales conference for the Broker Dealer I worked with at the time. Public speaking used to make me extremely nervous. I didn’t want to pass up a big opportunity, so I accepted. There were about 20 pages of scripts written out for the event and I memorized every single word. When I got to the event there was a teleprompter set up right in front of me. I didn’t end up using it because I was so prepared. I was watching TV years later and saw that Dolly Parton memorized the entire script for 9 to 5 because she thought she had to.

Practice makes perfect. If you are given big opportunities, you should say yes! It is easy to spot when someone is winging it. If you want to look and feel like a professional put in the hard work. Being prepared and confident makes it easy for other people to listen to what you are saying.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

This year I left my corporate job to be a fee-only Investment Advisor and Financial Planner. Even though this career change happened in the worst quarter in stock market history I’m still very happy to be where I am today! This will always allow me to put my client’s needs ahead of corporate needs at all times.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My parents used to joke that my inheritance was what was in the change compartment in the car. Even though I wasn’t born with a silver spoon I do owe a lot of my success to them. My father has been self-employed my entire life. I joke that Bruce Springsteen was the only “boss” he ever listened to. There didn’t need to be a perfect job opportunity to be able to go out and make money. I’ve seen him transform his business several times to meet the needs that were out there. This helped me realize that my brain and time were more important assets than money or real estate.

My mother kept us going. During all those times that my Dad’s business was going through a rough patch or transformation she would be the one grinding. Even though she worked in minimum wage jobs her paycheck kept us safe and fed. She also is a great negotiator. When we struggled to pay the bills, she would be the one calling utility companies to keep the lights on or get what we needed. No matter how stressed out she was she never showed it and was always friendly. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like her. Those skills are not taught in school. The ability to connect with everyone on some level is a skill I lean on all the time.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

What we are experiencing right now is a perfect storm for anxiety. First, a virus is spreading across the globe that is extremely dangerous and the only way we know how to fight it is to isolate ourselves. This caused our economy to come to a screeching halt. People are being laid off in droves and and we can’t even be near our friends and family to help us through it emotionally. Also, a lot of us who are still working must home school our kids at the same time.

Things have never been more uncertain for a lot of us. We don’t know if jobs will come back or even if all our loved ones will survive. That is terrifying and if you feel anxious you are completely normal. Also, people may feel guilt and shame about not saving more before this happened. The few of us who have several months of expenses saved are probably the unlucky ones who have been through a time like this before. Don’t be too hard on yourself — but see what you can learn from this as well.

Controlling our thoughts is the only way to get through this. We cannot control the circumstances we have been given. However, we can control how we think. Our willpower is likely used up by 10 am thanks to all the extra thinking we need to do about who will go to the store, is our health at risk, will my spouse have to quarantine, is that cough allergies or something worse etc., etc. Inventory your pantry and plan what you are going to eat ahead of time. Use technology to your advantage by putting your bills on auto pay if you can. Maybe schedule time to video chat with your friends and family to feel connected. Don’t make it harder on yourself by staying glued to social media and the news.

One thing that should come from this is clarity around what matters to you. If your health or family is #1 but you are spending your life commuting maybe you won’t want to rush back to the same normal you had before. Also look at where you spent your money in January of February vs now. Is there room to adjust some of your budget so you can save and invest more? Maybe you start new habits once things turn around. Things may get worse but now might be the time where you think about creating a future that is better a year or two from now.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know the stock market and the economy in general have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

First, I’d congratulate them for having this habit in place. I think that can be the hardest part for some people because it is hard to picture a future goal being more important than something you want right now. If they haven’t done any financial planning aside from saving money, I would encourage them to do that next. When I work with clients that have great saving habits sometimes there are blind spots that they are missing when it comes to insurance, estate planning or tax advantages they aren’t aware of. There may be a better place for that $500 to go one month instead of into their account depending on what their goals are.

Eventually the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

Picking individual stocks is tricky and trying to time the market is even harder. However, I like stocks and there is a lot of opportunity right now. The firm I joined in January actively manage stock portfolios. The reason I like the way Beck Bode LLC operates their portfolios is that we have strict guidelines around what we buy, when we sell and what we do with the proceeds. Trying to pick winners is difficult but we use research and data to invest in companies we believe will perform well in the future. What did well yesterday doesn’t matter as much as what is going to do well tomorrow.

For someone who is just starting out there may be index funds that focus on a sector of the market that could be worth looking into. If you feel that technology is the way of the future choosing a Tech ETF could be the way to go. It would give you exposure to most of the companies you might have in mind with less risk than picking one stock.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

Absolutely. It would be hard to ignore how important health care is and will continue to be as our population ages and we clearly are a global society that can be impacted by events that happen anywhere. Technology is the only way some of us who are social distancing can work or communicate with friends and families.

I’m curious to see if businesses shift away from having employees work at their headquarters after running virtually for an entire quarter or more. That could boost technology, communications and utilities but hurt other sectors like corporate real estate. People might spend differently after this so consumer discretionary spending might decline as people focus on saving or paying off debt they acquired to get through this time.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

I’m a stocks and cash kind of girl but I do own a home and during a crisis like this I’m very happy about that. After being isolated in our homes for months I could see people wanting to make changes to where they live when we can move about again. Buying and selling homes has slowed since no one is looking to have a stranger tour their home right now but I think that could change once the pandemic is over. If interest rates stay low, it could be an interesting summer and fall for the housing market.

There could be a lot of innovation coming out of this economic crisis the same way it has in the past with Disney, Netflix and Apple (sort of) with the release of the iPod. Private equity and venture capitalists might make a lot of money in the alternative space but unless you are Shark Tank level rich this might not be accessible for the average investor.

Alternatives like jewelry, gold, guns or art should be purchased more for your own desires rather than a hedge or a way to make money. If you can’t explain blockchain or how cryptocurrency works, it might not be a great place to invest your money either. While an alternative currency that is not paper or controlled by central banks might seem ideal for this type of environment it has substantial regulatory and legal risks.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

If someone today told me they had $10,000 I would suggest they put that in a high yield savings account and leave it alone. That answer is boring as hell but I have maintained my sanity over the past few weeks because I know that no matter what happens with mine or my husband’s job there is a savings account ready to pay the mortgage and the bills like clockwork until we get back on our feet.

Now if they have savings and an “extra” $10,000 I would tell them to invest it right now. A broad-based index like the S&P 500 would be a great place to start. Depending on how much they make it might be smart to max out a Roth IRA with $6,000 of that money for the tax advantages and invest the rest in a traditional brokerage account.

Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Live below your means — When you start making more money you don’t need to upgrade everything in your life. If you can increase your saving and investing but keep the expenses level, you will be in a strong financial position.
  2. Don’t charge things you can’t pay for in cash — After I graduated college, I spent years paying off drinks and food I charged in college. Taking on debt should be done intentionally and with a plan to get out of it.
  3. Understand your credit score — Everything is cheaper for people with great credit. Having a high score has saved me thousands of dollars. It isn’t impossible to improve your scores either once you understand the components of it.
  4. You don’t have to be rich or an “expert” to invest. My favorite story is about Ronald Read who was a janitor that built an 8-million-dollar portfolio by buying and holding stocks on a modest income.
  5. If you are looking for reasons “not” to invest your brain will help you find them. However, if you want to make a real change in your finances you need to have a plan and stick to it. Read books that help you understand how money works, talk to people that have had success investing, work with professionals that can help you learn skills and stay consistent. Don’t buy into narratives that you aren’t good with money — you can change that if you want to.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“One day or day one. You decide”

I love this quote because it shows how much power our perspective has. Things are hard right now, but we all have the power to shift our thinking and decide what we are going to do next. If one day you want to be in a different place financially, physically or emotionally — you are going to need to start someday and why not start now?

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I think now more than EVER people need to understand basic skills about budgeting, saving and investing can change their life completely. Money should not be such a difficult thing to talk about. It impacts nearly every single decision we make. Parents should talk to their kids about money and not pretend like everything is fine — especially in times like this when you may need to cut back on expenses or make sacrifices. Seeing this and understanding it at an early age has made it so much easier for me to make smart decisions as an adult and help others who are scared and uncomfortable when it comes to their finances.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

Thank you 😊

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Jason Hartman

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Author | Speaker | Financial Guru | Podcast Rockstar

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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