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MLT Leaders Discuss Wealth Management at William Blair

Got wealth?

Contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t need massive amounts of money to start planning your wealth strategy.

That’s why current and aspiring MBAs took the time to explore wealth building strategies on a Friday night- even when some are swimming under water with loads of student loan debt.

How is that possible?

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a non-profit organization that equips talented African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans with the resources needed to transform their career and life trajectories, is helping the next generation of leaders understand the importance of wealth planning in their career strategy.

MLT teamed up with William Blair to host a wealth building event featuring two of Chicago’s leading financial planners: Taria Graves Buchanan, Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual and Melissa Mendoza, Wealth Planner at William Blair.

The two panelists shared their insights on the wealth building process:

What are some money mistakes individuals under 35 make?

Mendoza: Some individuals don’t maximize the retirement plan contribution. You’re leaving free money on the table. If you’re in your late 20’s and early 30’s, you have the power of time and compound interest on your side.

What advice would you give to those who are new to investing?

Buchanan: Investing is the sexy part. But there are a few foundational things you should take care of. You should consider having 3 months of your net income saved. Make sure you have your safety nets in place and your cash reserves set aside before you start investing.

What’s the best way to start investing if I have student loan debt?

Buchanan: You can start small. Let’s say you allocate $200 towards investing every month. You invest no matter if the stock price goes up or down. By committing to invest $200 a month, you will benefit from dollar cost averaging. You can look at this money as funds you are not spending but investing.

Should I think about estate planning right now?

Mendoza: Estate planning is not just for wealthy people. Everyone needs to think about a will and power of attorney. A will allows you to distribute your assets to family members and friends accordingly. It also allows you to avoid probate. A power of attorney will allow someone to act as your agent for health and financial matters if you become disabled or incapable of handling your own affairs.

How important is insurance as a wealth building strategy?

Buchanan: Wealthy people spend their pennies to protect their dollars. Insurance allows you to play defense. It enables you to bring in money if you’re unable to due to an unforeseen disability.

How should I think about my money during my MBA program?

Buchanan: If you’re pursuing a full-time MBA, you most likely won’t have any money coming in. So your goal is to manage your expenses. You’re either going to live like a CEO today and a pauper tomorrow or you can live like a pauper today and a CEO tomorrow.

Event Sponsor: William Blair

William Blair is a global investment banking & wealth management firm headquartered in Chicago.

Do you want to get updates on the latest wealth building events? Are you ready to build a stock portfolio that’s bigger than your shoe collection? Subscribe to Wealthy Women Weekly to get wealth tips delivered to your inbox.

Disclaimer: Wealthy Women Daily is solely educational and informational, and is not intended to give investment or trading advice of any kind. Not all asset classes are suitable for all investors. Wealthy Women Daily is a research academy that provides you with the data and analysis you need to make an informed investment decision. It is your responsibility to talk to an expert to understand how specific investments will impact you during tax time. 


About Charlene Rhinehart, CPA

Charlene Rhinehart is a Certified Public Accountant, Founder of Wealthy Women Daily, and Editor-in-Chief of the Dividend InvestHer and The Wealthy Woman Investor. Charlene is currently the Chair of the Illinois CPA Society Taxation Individual Committee. With over a decade of experience in the financial services industry, Charlene is one of the few leaders who design insights specifically for the woman investor. Charlene’s work has been featured in a variety of publications including the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In 2019, Charlene released her book “Dividends Are a Queen’s Best Friend”, on Amazon.

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