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009: Jennifer Rayner – Feel Better, Do Better: A New Perspective on Money & Financial Wellbeing

Jennifer Rayner is a retirement plan consultant and the founder of Moniwell, a revolutionary text-based financial wellbeing program. She and Jonathan share a passion for financial literacy and a recognition that people need easily accessible education customized to their needs at a particular time.

Today, Jennifer and Jonathan engage in a discussion about employer-offered retirement plans, how to differentiate between participation and engagement of these plans and what inspired Jennifer to launch Moniwell. Jennifer speaks to the importance of financial self- efficacy, provides some sage advice on what employees can do right now to enhance their financial wellbeing and discusses her non-profit organization, Mindfulness of Money.

Watch on YouTube

Key Takeaways

01:11 – Jennifer Rayner shares some of the financial mistakes she made in her early life, her resiliency as an entrepreneur, and her passion for financial literacy

09:48 – What employees should expect to be educated about with regards to their retirement plans

13:24 – Engagement vs. Participation in retirement plans such as a 401(k)

16:14 – The inspiration to create Moniwell and what Moniwell offers

30:01 – Financial self-efficacy and other content that’s covered via Moniwell texts

33:41 – The work Jennifer is doing through her non-profit organization, Mindfulness of Money

36:43 – Two things employees can do right now to enhance their financial wellbeing and financial content to ignore

44:46 – The last thing Jennifer changed her mind about and one thing she wishes people knew about her

47:45 – Jonathan thanks Jennifer for joining the show, lets listeners can go to follow her

Tweetable Quotes

“That’s when I started thinking about how can I make a difference, do something that I’m passionate about and find something that truly I have passion in and that I don’t ever really want to retire. And that’s when I fell into this idea of a different way to approach employees about their financial situations.” (09:18)

“So, obviously participation rates in 401(k) plans are much higher. The average is – don’t quote me on this – like 70% are actually participating. There’s a difference between engagement and participation. Participation is they’re in the plan, they’re putting something in, they have a balance. Engagement is engaging in other financial wellness products that will make a difference outside of ‘did they put anything in their 401(k) plan or are they saving enough?’ Those are two different things. That’s apples and oranges as far as I’m concerned.” (14:03)

“Moniwell is this concept of feel better, do better. If employees feel better about their money situation, they will be motivated to do better.” (19:07)

“There’s an underlying concept of financial self-efficacy which is your belief in your ability to succeed. And, if you don’t have it, you’re not gonna get anywhere.” (30:16)

Guest Resources

Jennifer’s LinkedIn– https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferrayner/

Moniwell Website – https://moniwell.com/testdrive/

Moniwell LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/moniwell/

Mindfulness of Money Non-Profit – https://mindfulnessofmoney.org/

Mindfulness of Money Twitter – https://twitter.com/Moni_Confident

Mindfulness of Money LinkedIn –https://www.linkedin.com/company/mindfulness-of-money/about/

Other Links Mentioned:

The Disruptors Documentary – https://disruptorsfilm.com/see-the-film?gclid=CjwKCAjwp7eUBhBeEiwAZbHwkTIoYY0XyCK95_wLrPJPggWKaHTDOU0ZrHPfJJW5iW75sKbVkdUdYhoCpjkQAvD_BwE

Mindful Money Resources

For all the free stuff at Mindful Money: https://mindful.money/resources

To buy Jonathan’s first book – Mindful Money: https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Money-Practices-Financial-Increasing/dp/1608684369

To buy Jonathan’s second book – Mindful Investing: https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Investing-Outcome-Greater-Well-Being/dp/1608688763

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Newsletter: https://courses.mindful.money/email-opt-in

Capture the most important benefit of an advisor – behavioral support – without the 1% fee: https://courses.mindful.money/membership

For more complex, one on one financial planning and investing support with Jonathan or a member of Jonathan’s team: https://www.epwealth.com/our-team/berkeley/jonathan-deyoe/

Website: https://mindful.money

Jonathan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathandeyoe


Podcast Production & Marketing by FullCast

Episode Transcription

Jonathan DeYoe: Welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money Podcast, I’m chatting with Jennifer Rayner, who I discovered in, uh, a search for other advisors who have combined mindfulness into their practices in some way. She’s a retirement plan consultant and the founder of Moneywell, which is a revolutionary text based financial well being program. Now, we both share a passion for financial literacy and I think, more importantly, a recognition that people need easily accessible education customized to the particular need at the particular time. Jennifer, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Jennifer Rayner: Thank you, Jonathan. I’m excited.

Jonathan DeYoe: Uh, good. I’ve enjoyed our conversations today. We’ve spoken a couple of times, and, uh, I’m hopeful that I’m going to be able to match your energy today. I have had my coffee, so I’m in good shape. Where are you calling from?

Jennifer Rayner: No pressure.

Jonathan DeYoe: Where are you calling from? Where are you connecting from?

Jennifer Rayner: I am in San Diego, California, where I lived for probably 27, 28 years now. But I’m originally from Texas, so I moved here in my late twenty s from, uh, Texas. I went to University of Texas. It was a whim. I moved here on a whim, and I stayed because why not?

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, a long time ago.

Jennifer Rayner: Yeah.

Jonathan DeYoe: So the move from Texas to California, southern California, so it’s not quite the stretch it would be to move to northern California. But what did you learn about money.

Jennifer Rayner: Growing up in was my background as a child was that of divorced parents living with a single mom without a lot of support from my father. And so what I learned about money early on was that things were not going the way everybody else, or at least you believed socially that everybody else was living life, right. So I spent a lot of time in, I wouldn’t call it poverty, but without a lot, right. And was made well aware of that quite frequently by my mother, who was constantly telling me, your father’s not paying child support, so therefore we have nothing. Right. And I don’t know that I ever realized how that impacted me until I was much older, right. So it wasn’t until I was much older I just sort of built up this sort of resilience in life that I just got to figure out how to overcome whatever comes my way. So most of my busy trying to just overcome the obstacles that kept seeming to get in my way from not having your traditional upbringing and when it came to money, I made all the mistakes, all of them, every last one of them, in my 20s.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m curious, when you were young, what were the indicators that you didn’t. Because I have a similar background and I’ve explored not as quickly as you, I didn’t get over in my 20s. I’m still getting over it in my, I’m fifty s, so I’m still struggling with some of these things. But what were the indicators as a kid that you had less than we.

Jennifer Rayner: Struggled with, literally not having? I moved from place to place, so I never lived in one place. We moved from apartment to apartment. I lived in situations where my mother took the couch and I had the bed times when we had no furniture. So I would also refer to, um, situations where I used to say we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we had them on tv trays, but the tv trays were laying down on the ground because there was no couch. And that’s how I was brought up. Right. That and Riceroni, I think, were my two staples that I remember eating. So when you were in school, you see that that’s completely different, right? You see that even the people around you that are in the next apartment have furniture, they have certain things. So I don’t know that I spent a lot of time thinking about it when I was little. But as I got older, into my teen years, it didn’t stay that way. Right. There were reasons why I had different levels of wealth, family wealth, throughout my teens and into my. But I remember distinctly when I was younger, it was that constantly moving. It felt like now somebody would describe it as a military family, right? And it was just always moving from place to place, never really setting roots, never really getting a good education, those kind of things. And maybe I didn’t really realize that it was bad at the time, but you could tell something was different.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. You bring up the idea of resilience that does actually build character and build resilience. Do you think that’s where the entrepreneur in you comes from?

Jennifer Rayner: Now, looking back on it, yeah. But the entrepreneur part of me didn’t really exist until 2017, so that didn’t come about for me until older, much older, almost 50.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: So I was in a situation where I worked as a, I kind of fell into the financial industry. I was not a finance major. I was actually a journalism major. And the reason I was a journalism major was because I was terrible at math. I got into my first business class, and I was like, oh, this is going to be a problem. This is not something I can handle. And quickly went to my counselor and said, what degree can I do where I never have to take another math class? And they were like, journalism, communications? And I was like, sign me up. So people are like, oh, did you want to be a journalist? No, I just wanted to get through college and not have to take math again. And that’s where they directed me. So I was actually a pr major, and it fell into that communications department. Anywho, so I was never really destined to be that. And I moved to San Diego, and I sort of fell into a career as an executive assistant, working for a financial advisor. He was an insurance agent, financial advisor, and needed somebody that was organized and willing to try anything and do anything and figure out what had to be done. And that was me. And so I stuck with it for about 20 years, got all my licenses. He sort of pulled me along and was like, don’t you want to get licensed? Don’t you? And I was like, uh, I even got my series seven, which I failed twice. Well, failed once and passed the second time. Didn’t realize how hard it was. I just thought I wasn’t very good at it. So I know I’m capable, but math is just not my thing. So I was like, I don’t know if this financial thing is my cup of tea. And it wasn’t until we got into 401K plans, when I was dealing with one on one with individuals that lived everyday life, that I was like, I have found my purpose in life. It is to relate to everyday people, uh, about their struggles with money and try to figure out ways to create those 401K plans, to do everything for them and not expect them to be experts at it. So, uh, I never really was even into being a financial advisor. I sort of fell into that, and then I fell into entrepreneurship after I bought the RIA in 2000.

Jonathan DeYoe: And in that 20 year period, was the person that you worked with that you were the assistant for? Would you call them a mentor? I mean, it sounds like they were kind of. Not necessarily pushy, but pulling you along to get the next license, the next thing. Were they a good mentor for you?

Jennifer Rayner: Absolutely. He was more like a father figure, 20 years my senior, saying, jennifer, I think you’ve got this. Why don’t you do this? I think you can do that. So that’s why I got all the licenses where I felt somewhat comfortable. Right. Which was learning something. But please don’t make me go sell anything, because that I do not understand, don’t want to do. Please don’t make me. Right. It was hard enough to get him to get me to stand in front of employees, and when I did that, I was like, uh, I’m okay with this. I’ll do this part. You do the selling. Right. So, mentor. Yes, in that sense. But when it came to sales, I don’t think he really ever mentored me into a sales position. So I never really got comfortable with, how do you build business? Right. So then I fast forward. He says, I want to retire. I say, okay, well, this is what I’ve done for the last 20 something years. I’ll buy it from you. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I knew all the clients. The clients knew me. Every bit of business I bought from him, they knew me. I was, like, the point person for the most part. So that was really comfortable. But then I realized I got no sales experience. How exactly am I supposed to grow this practice and grow this business without that? And I struggled. I struggled with for a couple of years. At the time, I had other things going on. I was caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s here in my own home. So I wasn’t too focused on going out and building business. But she passed away at the end of 2019, and my kids are now grown almost and older and really don’t need me. So I was like, what am I going to do? I have all these opportunities because I own the practice now. I guess I get to make my own destiny. And that’s when I started thinking about, how can I make a difference? Number one, do something that I’m passionate about. Find something that truly I have passion in, that I don’t ever really want to retire.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: And that’s when I fell into this idea of a different way to approach employees. About their financial situations.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So I know this leads right into money. Well, but before we go there, I have a couple of other questions. So, as a retirement plan consultant, employee education is the thing. And you talk about standing up in front of the employees and doing some education. So three things on this one, what should employees expect to be educated about?

Jennifer Rayner: So I differ in a lot of ways for most advisors because I believe in building 401K plans that are done for employees. So basically think, uh, a defined benefit plan where the only real difference is the employee has to fund most of it, right. But in gap statements, automatically investing people at a percentage that they need to, to get to a certain goal, automatically investing for them, having an option that is fully managed to their individual situation to get them to, uh. So that kind of takes the advisor sort of out of the equation, because what I found is that employees literally are going to start falling asleep on you if you’re talking about the difference between a bond and a banana. They just don’t care. The majority of employees don’t want to have to do it. And a lot of times I get pushback from employers that will say, ooh, uh, I don’t want to force my employees to do anything. Choice is the american way. I need to give them. And I say, just give me a chance here and let’s do this. And I’m going to show you that 85% to 90% of your employees don’t want to touch it, don’t want to have to look at it, don’t even want to have to make the decision to get in. But once you do that for them, then the financial literacy discussion doesn’t really come up because you’ve solved all the problems. They’re doing what they need to do as long as they stay in.

Jonathan DeYoe: So how seriously do you think employers take the, uh, requirement to educate employees about not just retirement plans, but their benefits and other elements of financial literacy? Do employers really care, or is it just, hey, I have to offer four hundred and one k because I got to compete with other businesses?

Jennifer Rayner: It depends on the employer. I found that all of my employers, uh, tend to fall into the, we care.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: And so we really want to make a difference in our employees lives. I have esop plans. They’re like the ultimate, we’re all one. We all want to care for each other. So how do we do that, right. To manufacturing firms that we can only do so much, but we do care about them and we want to make a difference. Right. But they become more frustrated in the sense that they offer options and the employees don’t take advantage of them. And so they sort of throw up their hands and go, look, the best I can do is X. But for the most part, I think employers, you got to give them credit. They really do want to help.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: They just get frustrated or they have so much on their plate and so many things that they need to cover and take care of that they get the sense that, well, there’s only so much I can do, Jennifer, and maybe it just becomes a check the box. I’m supposed to have it. So here you go. Right. And I get where they’re coming from because for the most part, people aren’t engaging in it and not, for the majority of people don’t engage. So you see, where that goes is, well, how much effort do they want to put as an employer in either funding that or promoting it when they have seen that nobody uses it? So it’s frustrating. They get frustrated. And I like to believe that most employers care, but I do talk to people outside the employers that I have that are like, my employer doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about me, and I know it and I can sense it. So don’t even try to tell me.

Speaker C: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: So I know they’re out there, but I think the majority of them, given the opportunity, want to make a difference.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. And giving the opportunity and the time, I mean, I think you said this, they’re overwhelmed with the responsibilities of running an HR department, the something they need to offer. But it’s like, how much time can they really spend on it? Especially when there’s no uptake, when people aren’t really engaging it? That’s so frustrating. And at the same time, if you are ever on a stage, you’re a public speaker and you’re on a stage, I hear people say this all the time, hey, if I’m up on the stage and there’s 500 people in the audience and five people take the message and learn from it and do something with it, that means I’ve made a difference. Do you see that same kind of a percentage, like if 1% of employees engage the successful plan, or does it need more engagement?

Jennifer Rayner: Well, see, what do you call engagement, right? So I know, I’m like, no, Jonathan, that is not good enough.

Jonathan DeYoe: I don’t know what, I’m baiting you. I’m baiting you. M.

Jennifer Rayner: Obviously, participation rates in 401k plans are much higher, right? They’re much higher than that these days. But the averages, don’t quote me on this like 70%, something like that, are actually participating. So there’s a difference between what I hear you saying of engagement and participation. Right. Participation is they’re in the plan, they’re putting something in. They have a balance. Right. Engagement, I feel like when you’re saying it is engaging in other financial wellness or well being products that will make a difference. Right. Uh, outside of, did they put anything in their, are they saving enough? Right. Those are two different things. That’s apples and oranges as far as I’m concerned. The part of getting people to participate, if you do, if you design a plan correctly, you will get people in the plan. You just have to be willing to say, we’re just going to put them there and make them opt out. Was it Richard Thaler won a Nobel Prize for opt out versus opt in, right? Genius, right. It works if you just let it work. And you can’t be scared that employees are going to be upset that you put them in it. Inertia kicks in. And I’ve been in situations where employees that are making $15,000 a year at some casino in Arizona come to me and say, you know what, ten years ago, I got auto enrolled and, oh, my gosh, I have $20,000 in my account. It wasn’t until I had about twelve that I realized they even had any money. So I get, some people are living paycheck to paycheck and notice it and are upset and need something else because they just can’t do that. But there’s a ton of people that won’t even notice that small little 3% that’s going in. And even the increases over time, they don’t notice them. So it just takes some inspired employer thinking to be like, let’s do this. And Jennifer said she’ll take all the heat if anybody’s upset or complaining. And it rarely happens. And I’ve had general managers and HR people start making bets when I’m doing the enrollment. What percentage of people are going to say, take me out of this, and, uh, the people that bet against me lose because it works. Even two, three, four years later, you still have 80% plus of people in plans which you would not have gotten if you said, please sign up for this.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, inertia, it’s opt in versus opt out. People are. So in terms of automation, there’s three big automations, right? There’s auto enroll, there’s auto invest, and there’s auto increase. Are there other automations out there that employers should consider?

Jennifer Rayner: I believe that there’s a way for us to auto enroll for, uh, participants in financial wellness. Right. So that’s part of the reason that I created money. Well, it’s actually not the reason I created it, but it was the reason why I said, I need something different. So, stepping back a little bit, I decided that in about 2019 that something was missing. I’m sitting down with employees, right? And I’m saying to an employee, here’s your balance. And they’re like, yeah, that’s good. You take care of all that. I’m not really worried about that. Let’s talk about. And what they would do is they would talk to me about their personal circumstances. I may have to get divorced because I’m having troubles with debt and my wife and we’re struggling, and all the blames on me or things like, I still live with my parents. Is that okay? Those were the kind of conversations that were coming at me. When you take everything off their plate and have. Don’t expect them to do anything, and you sit down and you say what it matters to you. It’s the emotions around money. That’s what they want to talk about. I’ve had advisors say, nobody ever talks to me about that. And I was like, well, uh, maybe I bring that out in people. I’m a natural social worker or teacher, and they just want to share, right? But what that made me realize was, that’s what they’re missing. That’s what they want to talk about. And all I could think was when that would happen is, I didn’t get hired for this. I’m not trained to be a therapist. What do you want me to do? Right. And I would talk to them, but I still felt inadequately unprepared for that kind of conversation. I could give my best friend conversation with them, but that was inappropriate.

Speaker C: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: So I realized we need something, right. So I started talking to my employers about what if I had a way to create something that addressed that? And they immediately go to, yes. Is that going to get them to learn more about money and invest more? And I was like, I don’t know. But what I know is they need that support right now. It will make them better prepared. It will make them mentally more capable of handling going to work. The productivity side, there’s so many benefits of helping somebody feel better. So I realized, I fundamentally believe that if people feel better about their money situation and the choices they’re making, they will start to do better. And if they’ve been supported and have a resource that helps them feel better about their situation, I believe they will be intrinsically motivated to start doing things better without us, uh, having to say, you need to do this or else, because I don’t know about you, but that didn’t work with my kids, and it’s not going to work. It’s not going to work with employees know they need something different. And so they said, yeah, jennifer, I’m willing to try. I don’t believe it’s going to work, but I didn’t believe you about auto enroll either. So let’s try it.

Jonathan DeYoe: So, tell us about Moneywell. Tell us what Moneywell is. What’s it capable of right now?

Jennifer Rayner: Right? So it is this concept of, uh, feel better, do better. If employees feel better, or people in general feel better about their money situation, they will be motivated to do better. So if that’s the case, then we need tools. We need resources and tools that we can put in front of these people that support them where they’re at, where they’re at right now. So think in terms of things like, some are negative money behaviors like emotional spending or financial apathy, just not looking at it, head in the sand kind of situation. There’s all sorts of things that we do, financial anxieties that put people in, like a stupor of not being able to do anything. If we address those things and we start to talk about those things without ever believe it or not saying, here’s what you do, I believe there’s a need for that. I believe there’s a tool that we need to create a tool for that. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve basically said, look, let’s create something. And I started with a course. I started with, hey, I think I just need to create this course that everybody can go through. And then I realized, nobody’s going to sign up for this course. It’s called inertia. They’re going to see it and be like, yeah, sure. So, last year, uh, I don’t know if this is too much for this podcast, but last year I had a near death experience where I almost died. And this is how I got to the next step of how I wanted to deliver this content. I had what they call a pneumothorax. Somebody was in a medical procedure and they accidentally punctured my lung, and I ended up in the ER getting an emergency chest tube, just like on ER, sticking a big old garden hose into your chest and had the full experience like falling through a tunnel thinking, I’m going to die, those sort of things. And when I got out of the hospital, one of the things they did was a social worker called me up and said, so we’re concerned about you. We offer this program, it’s a texting program to be supportive for the next six months after this traumatic experience that you had. And I was like, light bulb? That’s it. Because I started getting these texts and it wasn’t that I looked at every one of them, but that some of them applied some of them, and it was good resources and it felt supportive. Right. It didn’t feel like, you better take that medicine the doctor gave you, or you better go exercise. It was just a very supportive type in program.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Were the texts, just do this, do that, do this? Or did they say, here’s a link, go read this thing, watch this video? Was it just immersive or was it just here, just a comment?

Jennifer Rayner: It was a little bit of both. Asking in questions that were sort of rhetorical, that if you answered them, you sort of saw what the potential answers were and tell you if it was right or wrong. Providing resources, giving little baby steps of things you could do to help recover after being in that sort of situation. But it wasn’t so much that the program itself was like, oh, I want to do exactly that. It was this idea. That’s how we need to be delivering this sort of content to employees, instead of expecting them to sign up for a ten week course on how to be mindful about your money or how to get in control of your emotions. And I’m sorry, these are all good things, but people have the attention, nats, including myself. So how do we get that kind of interaction? How do you build something? And that’s when I just decided to start over, practically, and figure out how to create this sort of texting environment where I could put employees into a texting program that delivered that content little tiny pieces at a time.

Jonathan DeYoe: I noticed that, uh, there’s a different delivery structure. It’s not just the texting delivery structure, but the idea of, you have a course, it’s up on a course platform, someone’s got to go log in, and it’s an individual doing it. Whereas if you go through the employer, then the employer can say, yeah, we’re going to sign up all of our employees for this text based program and all employees. And I’m sure that the first text is, would you like to keep getting these texts right? There’s an opt in, opt out function there as well. Or maybe not. I don’t know. Maybe I’m making an assumption, but the idea of it’s spoon feeding. Rather than expecting, here, take this nine month course. And that spoon feed is something that people can do. That’s how we digest data nowadays. Right.

Jennifer Rayner: I don’t believe that it’s a good idea to have logins and passwords and all of those sort of things. So the idea here is you get around that by saying, remember, the first step is to deliver this via employers. Well, people for the most part, trust their employers, right? So what we’ve done is we’ve white labeled it to the employer. This is a program, we call it money confident, and it is white labeled to the employer. So when texts are coming through, they are specifically coming from the employer. So we are delivering them as if the employer is delivering this content to them. So it has this level of trust and, okay, I’ll give it a try. It’s a program without them feeling like, oh, they’re going off into this other program that their employer is buying for them.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: The idea is it’s messaging coming from your employer. They’re supportive type messaging, and we’ll try this and then links out to their existing benefits. So we talk about things like your future self, right? So you’re being cute about it and trying to make it fun and light, but then maybe ten days, 14 days later, two months later, there’s a, uh, hey, knock, knock, knock. This is your future self. Did you know your employer offers a, would be a great way for me as your future self to be able to go on vacation someday or things like that. So you’re linking out to that which they already have. So you’re constantly reminding them of things that the employer is offering them. And I hope to develop it out to where it becomes even more so that if the employer adds things like emergency savings plans or things like that, we can link to any of those, right? So, uh, that’s the idea, is that you’re dripping on them slowly and then integrating it as a message directly from the employer. Versus Moneywell has this great idea for you, right? It’s not about Moneywell. It’s about this program that your employer wants you to. Then if you want to get into the auto enroll feature that I realized was definitely needed, we could talk about that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Well, yeah, just hit that really quick. The auto enroll of the texting program.

Jennifer Rayner: So my first. Thank you, Maria. My first HR director, that said, yeah, I’ll be your guinea pig. 600 employees in a construction company, um, here in Corona, California. And she’s like, leary. Okay, so you’re just going to start texting everybody I’m going to give you their number, and we’re just going to start texting them. And I don’t know. And so we went through the whole process. She communicated it. I gave her lots of materials that she could put out there. There’s also, we believe in doing, like, an assessment. So we do an assessment of the employees. Lots of questions, like how they feel about their benefits and do they think their employer cares about their financial well being?

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m sorry to cut you off. Are they specific to the employee or not everyone gets the same text.

Jennifer Rayner: No, they’re not specific to the employee. Eventually, that’s the goal. But to launch the program, we’ve created an assessment for the employer. So you get to pick and choose which questions you want in it. What kind of questions do you really want to know? And we’re going to gauge a little of their, how are they feeling about money and how do they feel? We’re going to ask some of those questions just as a baseline and to introduce this idea of, uh, we care about your financial well being that’s separate. That’s just like the first. There’s going to be a texting program coming, right. So you’re introducing it in that way and to give some really needed information for the HR department or the C suite.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: About their employees and how they’re feeling. Then we launch the first time, and we launch it out as this, uh, is from your employer. So the employer’s name is in the text, and all you have to do is say leave if you don’t want in it or say go if you want to start it.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: Well, first of all, the first one, because I developed the whole texting development in the back end, so a lot of it hadn’t been tested yet. And the first message that went out, it was missing the placeholder for the employer’s name. So 605 people got a text. It’s actually genius, because now I can show what happens when. Right. Uh, in one group. So it went out and all of zero said, sign me up, I want it, right. Even though we had been communicating that there was a texting program coming, it didn’t have the employer’s name in it, and nobody signed up. She was like, jennifer, jennifer. It’s not on. The name isn’t. I was like, oh, my gosh. So we fixed it. She’s like, okay, send it out again, like, in a couple of days. And I was like, okay, so we send it back out with another messaging. This is from rice services. We care about you. Blah, blah, blah. Sorry. I said the person’s the, uh, company name. I didn’t mean to do that. You’re going to have to bleep that. So they basically sent out this text, right, that said their name in it, their company name in it. And out of the 600 was like 50, people said okay. Because they still had to say okay. They had to type okay. I go back to Maria and I say, so we got 50. That’s like almost a little better than the five, the measly 5% or so that actually engage in financial literacy or anything else that’s offered, right? And she’s like, she’s invested now. She thinks this is amazing. She’s done the little test drive. She’s like, I want my employees to have this. So I said, well, Maria, the only other thing I could do is if you agree that you’re okay with texting your employees like you’ve signed off on, it’s okay to either you’ve communicated with them, they already know that you, as their employer, texted. We could just skip the confirmation. She’s like, let’s do that. And I’m like, okay. Which means basically they’re just going to start getting the text and they have to text leave if they want out. And so that’s taken more development and wait and see that’s coming. May 9, we’re going to send out the next text to the remaining 500 and something people that either didn’t opt out the first time or aren’t active in it and just start the text and see how many people say, get me out. So now think about it. If we can auto enroll, people literally start sending them texts a couple of times a week with great information, and they just don’t say leave because it’s not intrusive. It’s coming from their employer. They know they can trust it. It’s giving them. Maybe they look at some of it, maybe they don’t. Some of it, they look at some of they gauge in.

Jonathan DeYoe: I think we’re onto something, and I hope you’re right. I wonder how much employer trust is out there. I think it may have ebbed a bit in the last maybe decade. I think there was a ton of trust up to ten years ago. And you’ll test it and you’ll find out. I hope there’s more, especially in this kind of circumstance than I think there is. So tell me just real quick, what are the content that’s covered? I’m imagining you’re not just talking about the 401K, but what’s the content that’s covered in the text program.

Jennifer Rayner: There’s four or five main topics that we try to stick to, right. First is this underlying concept of financial self efficacy. It’s your belief in your ability to succeed and if you don’t have it, you’re not going to get anywhere, right? So starting to sort of engage and give this. It’s more like giving new perspectives on money, right? That’s the whole concept of the first twelve months of texting is how do we engage with them and provide a different perspective. And the first one being, it’s just like any sport or anything like that. If you don’t believe that you have it, then you’re never going to get anywhere. So you have to start, uh, figuring out how to build that self efficacy or that belief in yourself, regardless if you’ve learned anything, right? Regardless of if you understand how to do it. It’s just the first step is understanding that. And then things like emotional spending, it’s behaviors that people maybe know they have, but being able to see something about it and watch a little video on what it means and that it’s okay. And small little steps to maybe address it. Long term, I want the program to be not a static delivery of content, but to be interactive so that when someone engages in that sort of content, they then are put down a path of getting content specific to that. Think about texts like when you’re in a stressful situation and you’re thinking you want to spend some money, just text the word spend and we’ll give you some words of encouragement. So then it just, oh yeah, if I text, let’s see what they have to say.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right?

Jennifer Rayner: So it’s a supportive, it’s still text based. We’re not talking about individual coaching, we’re not talking about having. So part of it is it’s not going to cure everything that ails everyone, but it’s supposed to be some sort of tool that allows somebody to think twice about it and have some sort of way to deal with it when it happens in the moment. Yeah, let’s see. So we’ve covered emotional spending, financial self efficacy, financial apathy. That tends to be one that if you ignore it, little examples would be you have a gym membership that just keeps charging and you haven’t been to the gym in two years.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: It’s not paying attention to those sort of things. So it’s giving them this little grain of, hey, maybe you could go look at that. But it’s also sort of m for me, the financial apathy one, when I was developing out the course, I would show these things to my husband, and my husband is not. I’m the financial person. Right? I’m the one that does all the bills. And he says, oh, that’s me, isn’t it?

Jonathan DeYoe: You have a good model.

Jennifer Rayner: Um.

Jonathan DeYoe: You got a good model.

Speaker C: Yeah.

Jennifer Rayner: But he’s like, now that you put it out there and I saw that, I realized it’s probably not fair. We don’t talk about it not being fair to the other person, but you hear it and you get it pointed out to you, and maybe that makes a small difference in your relationship at home or in a way to discuss things. And another one that we cover is, like, money talk. It’s important to talk to other people about money, whether it’s, uh, a friend or a spouse or you got to have somebody. You got to have somebody that you can share something with. So it’s finding ways to help people engage just in a discussion.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: Instead of hiding it as this shameful thing that we’re not allowed to talk about because we’re not very good at it.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Jennifer Rayner: It’s being able to have those conversations. So it’s things like that. Those are the kind of things we cover. No financial literature. We never tell people how to save, how to. None of that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. It’s eq stuff, not iQ stuff. It’s how to think about money, how to build it into your life, which I think is fantastic. And if you just think about regular therapy, you’re just noting, hey, this is an issue for me. And by noting, this is an issue for me, you’re actually starting to solve the issue, which is a beautiful undertaking.

Jennifer Rayner: Awareness.

Jonathan DeYoe: So I want to ask this, and I realize we may have to cut, um, this out, but how does the nonprofit mindfulness of money fit into the big financial education goals? Because I know that it may or may not exist forever, but. So I’m going to ask the question again. How does your nonprofit mindfulness of money fit into the big financial education goals? Are you thinking, buy one, give one? Are you thinking that kind of a thing, or is it something bigger than that?

Jennifer Rayner: I feel like it’s bigger than that. But I’ll start with the fact that I started mindfulness of money first. So it was this idea that I know what I want to do, and I actually wanted to focus solely on financial self efficacy, but in underserved youth, so finding ways, I work with tribal plans. Indigenous youth have a big obstacle to overcome when they go out into the world. There’s lots of different, uh, scenarios, but there’s actually tribal organizations and indigenous organizations that already have financial literacy for those youth, but they don’t cover, hey, we know that you come from this culture. We know that that’s an issue, and we want to help. So that the idea would be to build, use this texting program as something that comes first to get these kids ready or engaged in the financial literacy that these organizations already have, and then have it be a tail end. So they’ve gone through this financial literacy. Now there’s a supportive resource that keeps texting to them over time to help them support them on their journey long term. So that’s the thought process behind mindfulness and money, was to create this sort of thing. And then I realized, oh, yeah, in order to have a successful nonprofit, you have to go out and raise money. And isn’t that selling? I don’t like doing that.

Jonathan DeYoe: There’s a theme here.

Jennifer Rayner: So I said, uh, I know I’ll start a for profit and have it fund the nonprofit. And that’s when I got completely swept up in this idea of money. Well, and going to employers, and it’s a big undertaking. B to b anything is a big undertaking. And I realized I’ve got to focus on that first and then take whatever we have created in money. Well, all these texting back end programs, and then integrate that back into mindfulness of money. Because deep down inside, that’s what I really want to do, right. Is find ways to really benefit underserved populations, especially youth, in this idea of your thoughts and emotions around money and how, before they even get launched, how to try to overcome some of those things, just the emotional part, not, uh, the literary part, because lots of that is out there. And when I started Moneywell, I basically said, well, I still want it to be a social purpose. So Moneywell was created as a social purpose company in California. And so the social purpose of Moneywell to start with is, for this initial offering, is that whenever we offer it to an employer and they offer it to their employees, they’re paying for their employees to be in the program, but we allow the employees to give it away to a friend or family member, and we pay for that. So that’s our give back.

Jonathan DeYoe: Awesome. I know we’ve talked about this in the past a little bit, but we’re very much about being mindful of differentiating between the things that we all hear about in terms of financial services and financial anxiety and things that move the needle, that actually provide a, uh, benefit long term. And then those things that you may hear about in social media that are kind of a waste of your time, and you shouldn’t even weigh in your own personal financial, uh, scenarios and situations. So, working with clients or working with employees of your clients, what would you say to the employees that they should work on first? What are the first two things they should be really working on to get to a place of more financial success?

Jennifer Rayner: When I’m working with employees, it’s first, they should be saving, right? So they should be saving more. And your employer is doing x, y, and z for you. Just let it happen. So, number one, whatever it is that your employer has decided to just automatically do for you, that doesn’t require you to do anything, do that then. Secondly, now that all of that’s done for you, start to think about how money impacts your personal life, your relationships, which ultimately is your job performance, and it affects so many different parts of your life. Start thinking about how you can interact more with those around you to try to create discussions that ultimately end up happening, helping anybody that’s in your space, right in your circle of people. For me, those are the two things I know it’s not. You should save this much for the next however many years, because I know as well as many people know, life happens, bad stuff happens. We won’t even get into Covid. But what really matters is your underlying feelings around money. Because if you can feel good, really, no matter what happens, you’re like. So it gets into that mindfulness thing. If you just stay in the moment and you’re doing everything you can, stop looking, don’t look. It really is important for you to do certain things, but if you haven’t figured out how to deal with what’s happening inside, the way you think and the way that makes you feel, you’re never going to get very far if you haven’t addressed things.

Jonathan DeYoe: Belief drives behavior. So managing and understanding what you believe and those kind of things, that changes outcomes. So, the second part of the question, we are inundated with financial media and press and social media. What is it in the financial world we should just ignore? That doesn’t actually move the needle. That doesn’t help us long term.

Jennifer Rayner: So I have to admit that I haven’t been on social media since 2017, so it’s really hard for me to envision that which you’re speaking of. I kind of have an idea. I think you’re talking about TikTok or any of these places where they say.

Jonathan DeYoe: If you just do this, consider even CNBC. I mean, consider even financial press. What is it there you should ignore? There’s all kinds of stuff that we’re inundated with.

Jennifer Rayner: Well, in the press, I always just say, don’t look. But again, you have to.

Jonathan DeYoe: Any of it, it’s all a waste of time.

Jennifer Rayner: I mean, think about it. So I live in a world where when I’m talking to an employee, when it comes to their retirement, their employer is providing them this opportunity. If they just do that, let’s just do that and then full stop, go about your life. At least you’re doing that, right. If you’re not ready for anything more than that, that’s okay, that’s good. And once you’ve done that, because it’s not up to you to decide how to invest it or when to move out of this or that. Don’t look. Just don’t. And what I’ve found is that when you create that environment for employees, you’ll come back, and nobody’s asking about performance. Nobody’s asking about what do we do because the market’s bought. The only discussions I ever have are with those that are getting really close to retirement. I need to understand where you’re at and what you’re thinking your next step is going to be and is the way this plan is investing you. Because remember, it’s not Jennifer building those portfolios. It’s a vendor that has taken on that responsibility, that liability. Do it. We need to make sure that’s in line with what you really think you’re about to do. Because some people want to retire at 60, some are going to work till they’re 90. I run into employees in some of these blue collar type environments that are in their happy to be there, casino workers that are like, if this person asked me one more time when I’m going to retire, and you’re like, just keep working. But everybody’s different, right? So you just have to have those conversations. But other than that, when it comes to employees, just don’t look, right. I have some private wealth management clients, and again, if you’ve built a portfolio that is specific to their needs and it’s taking care of it, and again, didn’t build the portfolio, I hire outside third party managers to do that. And most of my clients are high net worth, so they’ve got other assets and everything, so I don’t deal with everyday people. So it’s really hard for me to gauge how. I would suggest that it’s finding a way to have it invested for the long term that fits your goals and objectives for, uh, an extended period of time, and then it’s still, it’s about, how do you feel? Because I have employees and I have clients that say to me, oh, great example. I have a, ah, 93 year old client, private wealth management client in Arenda, in your area. And Ingrid, love her. She will call me up and say, this portfolio they built for me, it is amazing. I saw that I got 2% last year. This is just amazing. And you’re like, because expectations were set. I don’t want to lose one red dime, and I want to make more than I can in the bank.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right?

Jennifer Rayner: She did it. And she was just, this is a year when 18 20% returns. If you set the expectation for it, exactly what it is, and it’s a reasonable expectation for what it is that you want to accomplish. You, uh, can’t say that everybody’s not going to be happy with 2% because there’s going to be somebody that’s happy with 2% because how they got there. So as long as you start with how people feel, what is it going to feel like if you lose 20%? What’s it going to feel like if you don’t get the 20% that was in the market and come to some reasonable expectation, then you just let it ride? Is that something you should say in the financial industry?

Jonathan DeYoe: I’ve got a great client who after four or five years, came to me and said, oh, jonathan, I finally get it. You don’t manage portfolios, you manage people. And I was like, yeah, that’s exactly right. It’s really about, uh, the response. It’s expectations and the fear, greed responses that come after that, and then managing those to.

Jennifer Rayner: Not everybody’s a good client for you. Right? So when you are like you and I, there’s going to be people that I would immediately say, I don’t think we’re a good fit. Same thing with employers. If this doesn’t work for you, then I’m not going to fight for your business, because you got to believe in utopia like I do. If you don’t at least want to try to get to this utopia of worlds, I get mocked all the time by my client. Oh, are we at Utopia yet? I was like, yeah, this is utopia. Somebody else is doing everything for you. You are not sitting down in investment committee meetings every quarter going over, and it’s all, your liability is gone. We’ve harmed that off to people that want to do it, and your employees are happy and they’re saving Utopia. You just had to trust me. And there’s employers that will say to me, I’ve had it said. I don’t think we’re ready for Utopia yet. I think we really just want to be involved. And I’m like, okay, if you want to do it, I’m not your girl because I’m not going to sit down every quarter. But I also don’t charge as much. Right. So I know that I’m bringing a certain amount of value, and I’m not going to be doing some of the things that other advisors do because it’s not necessary. If you hire somebody to do it, then I don’t charge exorbitant fees for it. So, yeah, it’s a good fit. Whether it be in foyers or individual investors, it’s got to be a good fit. I can try to convince and preach all day long that this is the way to go, but they have to be a good fit. Yeah.

Jonathan DeYoe: So don’t look now, but you’re selling. But you’re selling the fit. Someone that’s right for me is right for me. Someone that’s not right for me is not right for me, and that’s perfect. Hey, I’m glad you came on. I’m glad because we had a sort of arm wrestle to get you to come on, which I appreciate a little bit. There are a couple of questions I like to ask people before we wrap, and one of them, they’re more personal. They’re more personal. So, you ready?

Jennifer Rayner: Sure. I’m an open book. I don’t know if that’s good, bad, or. But.

Jonathan DeYoe: So what was the last thing you changed your mind about?

Jennifer Rayner: Changed my mind? I changed my mind all the time. I’m all over the place. Jonathan, probably the biggest thing was, um, how I was going to develop out this idea of money. Well, initially it was one on one coaching. It was getting in front of people, doing a course, having this course. And I spent a good year in development on that before I realized that’s not it. The light bulb went off and I said, I changed course and said, I’m not going to just go out and try to sell 401k plans for the next 20 years, even though that is highly lucrative. I want to make a difference. Right. I want to follow my passion. So I made a change in the money. Well, business. But I also made a change in how I wanted to do business in general.

Jonathan DeYoe: Life goals. Is there anything that people forget about you or that you don’t talk about that you really want people to know about you?

Jennifer Rayner: So I don’t know that people forget about it. It’s kind of anecdotal, but I’ve gone my entire life being this person that is very, um, gregarious and out there and extroverted. And just recently, through a series of issues, I was diagnosed with ADHD. And I was dumbfounded. I thought to myself, I am 51 years old. What do you mean, I have ADHD? And I actually told them, no, I can focus. I’ve created this whole company. I get into these places where I get so much stuff done, people are amazed. And they were like, let’s just do some testing. And they did it, and they were like, no, you’re about as ADHD as they come. And so I would give this to my friends, and I would say, so I found out I was ADHD, and they were like, uh, shocking. So, apparently, everybody in my life knew I was ADHD, and they would say things like, you didn’t know that? No. I’ve just spent all this time interrupting people and jumping from topic to topic to topic, thinking that’s just normal, not realizing that everybody else wasn’t doing that. And people are like, well, we just know that’s how you are, and we’re okay with it. And I’m like, okay. But it would have been nice to sort of know so that maybe I could control some of those behaviors. So, yeah, I learned that about myself, and I like to call it. Have you ever seen that? There’s a documentary out there called the disruptors, and it’s about ADHD. And I realized that’s what I want to be considered, an ADHD disruptor, because it takes somebody who’s willing to just be all over the place and figure out the way that a different way to do things. So I’m okay with it now, sort of.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Changes come from people that want to make changes. Right? If you just go forward as you’ve always gone forward, you don’t make big changes.

Jennifer Rayner: And sometimes you have to be a little here, there. And I think that’s entrepreneurship, too. I think you have to be willing to jump from thing to thing to thing. Like, I have money. Well, I have mindfulness of money, and my ria. People are like, what? I got a lot of. Ah.

Jonathan DeYoe: Know, that wraps right there, just simply because that’s where we started. I don’t know if I did a good job of keeping up with your energy, but, uh, I do appreciate that you’re on the show and chatted with us. How can people connect with you?

Jennifer Rayner: I’m on LinkedIn. Jennifer Rainer, moneywell.com is the know. I guess that’s just the best way, because I’m not on any social media other than LinkedIn. I guess LinkedIn is social media. Yeah, that’s the best way to find me. Thank you so much for having me on. It wasn’t nearly as terribly difficult as I thought it was going to be.

Jonathan DeYoe: Glad, thanks for coming on.

Jennifer Rayner: Thanks.

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