The WISE CLT Financial Fitness event, in partnership with Ally, was a huge success in 2019. For nearly two hours WISE CLT members listened intently to the wonderful moderator and panel from Ally, taking notes on the countless nuggets of information they offered up. Following the event, we caught up with panelist, Lindsey Bell, Chief Investment Strategist for Ally Invest. Not to talk finance, but to find out what her road looked like. We all can learn from one another so have a look at what motivates, inspires and scares Lindsey as she walks her path to success.
Q: What led you down your current career path?
Lindsey: I had always worked in finance. I went to college and got a degree in finance and marketing. I wanted to follow the finance path because in my mind I had a cousin that worked in investment banking and I just saw that he was doing really well financially early on, so I was like, I want to follow in his lead. So that’s how I got into investment banking.
Then I did a couple other things within banking, but I really have a passion for helping normal people understand investing. I got a taste of that when I worked with Jim Cramer at thestreet.com helping to manage some of his charitable trusts. So, these were trusts that were portfolios of stocks. We were really teaching normal people how a professional would manage a portfolio of stocks and he wanted to be very transparent about that. That’s what we were doing, anytime we would buy a new stock we would write up our analysis on it, why we were buying it, and what price we wanted to buy it at. Then we would send it to our subscribers before we would even buy the stock. We would tell them why we were selling it, etc. Just really showing them how we did it. I really liked being that close to the customer.
After that I worked more with institutions but when the Ally opportunity came around it just felt like the right fit for me. It was, once again, really talking to the normal person. That consumer who wanted to learn about investing. Also, the Ally brand too was really attractive to me. Working in finance for so long I felt like I had to speak in that jargon-filled language and here I feel like my voice is very similar to that of the brand, so I had a really great opportunity to marry the two together.
Q: In terms of your career, what do you do to make yourself better?
Lindsey: I think it’s really all of the above (reading, attending conferences, networking). I have a really great boss that’s able to point out in a really kind way different areas that I can focus on that would help me do my job better. At Ally our core value and goal are to be better and do it right. Anything you can do to improve what your job is to do. Whether it’s going to a conference to meet other people and hear different views on the subject matter you are focused on, or your signed up for a class that teaches you how to think about the behavioral aspect of investing. For me, that’s something that I’m working on signing up to do and learn because it’s something that I haven’t been exposed to before, but I think it will help me do my job better. Of course, it’s networking and getting to know people. For me it’s also getting out there and talking to our customers to really understand what they care about and making sure that we’re doing what they need so that they can invest better or make their financial lives a little easier.
Q: What’s the one thing that scares you in your career and how do you overcome it?
Lindsey: Right now, I’m a little nervous about my current position because at times it feels very overwhelming. What I’m trying to do and build with invest is content to help educate our consumers about investing. It’s this big blank slate, it didn’t exist before, so I’m creating something that didn’t exist which in and of itself is scary. Second, there’s so many different ways and channels of distribution to really educate people. Whether it’s through social media, a financial blog, TV, YouTube, or podcasts, or attending those events and presenting at events our ideas and thoughts, there’s just so many different ways that our consumers are consuming information in all those different ways.
To me that means there is so much content that can be built and that’s really scary because when you have a small team you have to pick what are the most important ones. We’re trying to do our research to figure that stuff out. But we have to kind of wing it too at the beginning. To me it’s a little bit scary but also exciting at the same time. There’s that saying – if it doesn’t scare you a little bit, it’s not going to be worth your while so, I try to remind myself of that.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?
Lindsey: That’s a tough one. I think it is to believe in yourself. I know that I have a hard time doing that. I know I put the work in and put in my best effort to make sure that I put together a good product or good presentation or whatever it is. But sometimes I think that little extra push is just believing in yourself and knowing that you can do it and knowing that you can do it well because you prepared for it. It kind of gives you a little bit of edge in your job or your personal life or anything just as long as you're prepared and believe in yourself.
Q: When it comes to finances, what is the one thing people should keep in mind?
Lindsey: I think it’s to not be afraid to invest and to start small. You don’t have to throw all the money you’ve ever saved into the stock market or into crazy investments. I think it’s just to start small and to not be afraid to talk to your family, your peers, your friends about money. I think that’s important.