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Equanimity Wealth

Equanimity Wealth


Equanimity Wealth Planning and Investing began as a response to those who needed us the most. Our founder, Carrie Waters Schmidt, began her career in 2004 as a Financial Planner in Madison, WI fully recognizing she was entering into a male-dominated profession. But the reason she chose this line of work was stronger than her fear. We've made a conscious choice to not work with clients who are just looking to “get rich” or “richer” for no reason. Instead we serve a much bigger purpose. 

Our specialties and areas of focus did not come all at once in the beginning, it all came organically. When Carrie first started in the industry she came in under the wing of a seasoned planner who had been working with Socially Responsible investments since the 1980s. Prior to this she had no idea it was possible to invest with such parameters. Once it was known she engrossed herself in that area of investing and found many of her clients felt the same need to invest that way. Hence, the specialty in working with ESG or Socially Responsible Investments. Carrie's since undergone formal training and earned the Chartered SRI Counselor designation (or CSRICTM). As a self-proclaimed “greenie” and she personally gets fired up about the environment, but investing with social screens can be very different. It’s whatever you’re most passionate about. Maybe you first and foremost want to promote diversity in leadership positions within companies. You can do this by investing in companies that have diversity on their Board of Directors, or their CEO, VPs, or other positions of power are held by women, people of color, or someone from the LGBTQ+ community. Or maybe you’re more concerned up about omitting certain companies like gun manufacturers, oil, tobacco, or alcohol companies. Or furthering your commitment to a healthier, safer world? That’s what this type of investing can do. It’s social justice wrapped in an investment package. Check out our page on Socially Responsible Investing to learn more.

Moving on to a few years later, while in graduate school for Financial Planning, Carrie realized the extra hurdles gay and lesbian couples had to undergo just to be able to have the same rights as straight couples. It maddened her to the point where she chose that topic as her capstone project, and shortly after graduation in 2010 she earned the Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor (or, ADPA®) designation to better serve the LGBTQ+ community. Since then, marriage equality has been legalized, and there are less differences than there are similarities now. But let’s not fool ourselves, there are still disparities.

LGBTQ+ financial planning is specialized. There are still circumstances out there that can make it harder for this community to feel comfortable with financial planning. First and foremost we provide a safe place for all clients to be who they are, and our offices are safe-havens where there are no dumb questions, or unwarranted concerns. We are our client’s number one cheerleader. They can always count on us being both their Ally (with a capital A) and their advocate. Click here to go to our LGBTQ+ Financial Planning page to learn more.

As time passed many of Carrie's clients where ending their marriage in divorce and many recent divorcees were being referred to her for planning their lives post-divorce as a single person. There are so many rules that come into play when working with divided assets that it really is important to work with someone who is familiar with them. As a result Carrie earned the CDFA® designation (short for Certified Divorce Financial Analyst), not because she wants to do that type of planning (that's actually a type of planning done during the divorce process where the financial professional calculates valuations of all the couple’s assets in order to provide asset division scenarios for the divorcing couple to choose from). Instead, she advises clients on how to move forward with savings, investments, and helps manage expectations for retirement and other goal achievement. She knows the rules and laws around retirement plans, investment and property taxation, Social Security benefits, and asset transfer rules so we put utilize them to their full advantage to develop a plan and then we stress-test it. Go here to learn more about Financial Planning for recent Divorcees. 

In 2018 Carrie joined a a non-profit Board for group that works with Autistic individuals helping them downregulate their nervous systems through a specific series of yoga poses. Throughout the years being on their Board she met many families with special needs or disabled children who were in desperate need of answers. Families with questions like, "how can family members leave money to my child without pushing them off state and federal aid?" Or, "how much is enough to leave my child in order to make sure they’ll be properly cared for after I’m gone?" Or, even just as basic as finding ways to take care of themselves, the caretaker, and their future when there’s often very little time or resources left for them. We’ve not found these families to be unwilling to plan for their future, instead it's more so that there are just too many competing demands on them to get there. Click here to learn more about Special Needs Financial Planning