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Member Spotlight: The Athena Network

After years of working for someone else Lisa Strohm decided she could fill a niche financial advising services market, because she better understands their needs, priorities and challenges.

With more than 15 years as a financial advisor, Strohm opened her own office in December, 2015, with a women-friendly focus. Strohm is president and CEO of The Athena Network, financial and life management services based in Center Valley, Lehigh County.

Strohm believes women approach financial issues from a different position and perspective than men do, and therefore need a different approach.

“Women are juggling a lot of priorities,” Strohm said.

That means it’s important to take women’s values and priorities into consideration, when advising them about financial planning, savings and wealth management.

From raising children to suspending or igniting power careers, dealing with aging parents, death or divorce, women often shoulder the lion’s share of family life, while keeping their fingers on the pulse of household income, savings and investments. They may even be in a position of earning more than their life partners or spouses.

“Men approach financial planning with S&P 500 analysis and statistics, women don’t think that way,” Strohm explained.

“Statistically oriented and communicated results” can be intimidating to women, with the result of “alienating them,” Strohm said.

Her holistic approach takes into consideration where a woman is in her career and earning cycle, where her children and parents may be in their life journey, and how all the pieces fit together.

Beyond bank statements and investment reports, Strohm said offering added value means providing credible resources to her clients, above and beyond the investment picture.

Strohm provides resources and vetted services for such professionals as CPAs, estate planning attorneys, nutritionists, personal trainers, insurance agents, realtors, rental property analysis firms (for investors) and elder care services, among others. This slate of providers helps save her client’s valuable time with focused concierge services.

“These are (benefits) your typical financial planner doesn’t offer. I’ve done the due diligence for (my clients),” Strohm explained of her list of concierge options.

Lisa Strohm’s Take Away Tips for Women and Finance:

#1 Meet with the planner before signing. Financial advisors should be looking out for you and listening to your concerns and needs, not telling you about themselves and what they can achieve.

#2 Fee basis versus commission based- Strohm advocates fee based services over commission based ones. If financial charges for services are based upon a commission, proceed with caution, according to Strohm. Investments may be suggested because of the benefit to the advisor, because that is how he or she will be paid.

Strohm, who offers fee-based services, said her fee includes life management services. “At the least, planning and investment should be part of (the package),” Strohm said. When selecting someone to work with, Strohm suggested “go with your gut, it’s rarely wrong.”

For more information on The Athena Network log onto www.the-athena-network.com

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