Million Dollar Baby
Let’s face it. Talking about money isn’t easy. Until you meet Trudi Kayser.
She’s a financial educator with Life Made to Order Financial in Phoenix, a division of Five Rings Financial. Her company’s workshops offer guidance about everything from saving for college to retirement. She tries to remove the shroud of secrecy from the “M” word and help average Americans achieve their financial goals.
“I realize that money is a taboo subject,” she said. “It’s less spoken about than sex! Our workshops are designed to be fun and interactive. It’s not a boring ‘money workshop.’ I not only empower people with education but also laughter. … Learning about money doesn’t have to be a chore, and with me it isn’t.”
Still, it’s serious stuff. Five Rings Financial aims to educate Middle Americans as opposed to millionaires to set them, and their children, for the future financially.
“The cornerstone of our company was founded on education,” Trudi said. “We host workshops across the nation at least 90 times a month, and also virtually every five to six days to teach people what to do with their money as opposed to telling them what to do with their money. We have found that empowering people with that knowledge allows them to live a life comfortably without worry about money and retire in dignity. We are currently in 47 different states in the U.S. and are growing rapidly due to our model of educating instead of telling.”
One of the topics she likes to talk about is what she and her colleagues call the “Million Dollar Baby Plan.” It’s officially called a Tax Free Savings Indexed Plan for college. It allows individuals to save money, much like a 529 Plan, but without all the restrictions. The money is not invested in the stock market, so there is no worry about losing the money if the market crashes.
“I don’t know if you have noticed lately, but the stock market is like a roller coaster,” Trudi said. “This plan allows you to contribute money, grow it tax deferred and take it out tax free. You do not have to use it for college. You can use it for [the child’s] first business or first house or first bike. It’s also a great way to set them up for an amazing retirement savings plan as well. Don’t our children deserve the best?”
New parents or new grandparents can start an account for a baby as early as 16 days old. But for those parents who didn’t start a college fund at the child’s birth, such an account remains a viable option, she said.
“This plan works just as well for older children as it does for babies,” she said. “I like to educate parents about the ‘time value of money,’ If a child is 16 days old, then the amount of money built up in this plan will be significantly more. If they are older, around 10 years old, they have lost 10 years of compounding interest and savings. It still works. The idea is to contribute more funds. It really depends on your budget and what the result is that you desire as a parent.
“I love to get the children involved as well. Children learn by example. If we teach them the principles of saving money at a young age, they will go into adulthood with that education. Then pass it on to their children as well. It’s the ripple effect.”
So, why is it called the “Million Dollar Baby” plan?
“The idea is to save small amounts of money starting at a young age to fund their retirement over a long period of time,” Trudi said. Parents of a newborn can save “$30 to $50 a month with a decent return” and by the time that child grows up and retires, more than $1 million will have been stashed away.
Financial planning at any stage of life is crucial, she said, telling the story of a client in California who became a military widow at 23. When her husband was killed in Afghanistan, she was left with a sizable amount of money and was unsure what to do with it.
“She attended one of our workshops and was blown away by the education,” Trudi said. “She was able to make a decision about her future and now has a $4.5 million retirement set up because of this type of plan. Mind you, this is tax-free money she will have access to at the age of 65. Not only is she covered with her retirement, if something happens to her health, she would be able to access a portion of the money to cover her in case she needed care. She no longer worries about her financial future. It’s freed her up to heal and start college to get an education for her career. It’s amazing what a life of no financial worry can do for you.”
Trudi said she is ready to help others achieve financial independence, starting with the workshops.
“I promise you will walk away with a sore stomach from laughing, a full heart from passion and a full head of education,” she said. “I love what I do, and I love sharing it with others. My passion is to educate and empower others to be who they are meant to be, especially with their finances. Dreams do not have to go unaccomplished.”
HOW TO CONTACT TRUDI KAYSER: