Financially Fit

Elizabeth Hansen shares the power of financial education

Does finances feel like a dirty word? Financial health is so integral to each facet of our lives, and like any type of wellness, education is the fastest way to get there. Senior Vice President of Five Rings Financial/Big Sky Agency Elizabeth Hansen talks in dollar signs—how to save, how to spend, and where to do both.

1. Elizabeth, can you give me a snapshot of what you offer as the Vice President of Five Rings Financial with Big Sky Agency? 

We offer anything from help with budgeting, retirement planning, college savings plans, to life insurance with living benefits. We specialize in retirement plans that go up when the market goes up and when the market goes down, they just stay level. I love protecting my client’s retirement dollars from any market loss. I also really love protecting all of the wealth that they are growing with living benefits. Our living benefits allow our clients to access their life insurance dollars if they get sick or injured. Overall, I’m here to show you the avenues on how to reach your money goals. 

2. I understand that you curate free financial classes for men, women, and children. Financial education is such a huge opportunity for lifelong decision making. Can you share how someone can access these curated classes?

We offer three classes every month: Money101, for anyone to learn the basics of how money works. The second class is Wine, Women & Wealth. Historically speaking, women have been very under-served in the financial industry so this is a place for us to get together, talk a little about money, and then we get an opportunity for networking and growing our community. Lastly, we have Money, Mommy & Me, for anyone who wants to learn how to teach the next generation about how money works. We also talk about saving for college. All of our classes are free to attend and we post all of our events on Facebook, Meetup, and LinkedIn.

3. I'd love to know what the biggest financial mistake you see on a regular basis is, and how best to fix it.

Honestly, the biggest mistake I see is not asking for help. I think we all feel like we have to just be innately good at handling money but no one is teaching us how to do that. If you didn’t have parents that were good with money, who would you go to? Build a budget and stick to it, check it every week and budget for everything you spend money on, and track it.

4. What's the easiest, simplest, daily way to save money?

The best way to save money is to make it habitual. If you are offered a retirement plan at work and your employer is matching—that’s free money! Take it! Most banks will also do automatic, scheduled transfers to savings accounts but if your bank doesn’t offer that, just think of contributing to your savings as another bill. On the same day every month, you owe your savings account a set amount of money. Budget for it. The old saying goes: pay yourself first, so when you get paid, save first before you spend.

5. Everyone has their "guilty pleasures" like a hobby or favorite drink/snack. Can you tell us what yours is and why it's worth the money?

Well, I actually really like the craft beer scene here in Billings. Our good friends own Thirsty Street Brewing and they have turned me into a total beer snob! I also used to have an office inside of the Last Chance Cider Mill and was spoiled with getting to try all of the ciders there as well. We have such great local small businesses right here and I think it’s always worth it to put back into someone’s dream. I especially love our downtown and whenever I want to give into temptation, the restaurants and breweries here are just fantastic. 

6. If you could broadcast one thing about financial health, what would it be?

Give yourself some grace. We all make mistakes. That’s what makes us human and that’s how we learn. The problem arises when we do make a mistake, we beat ourselves up so much because we aren’t perfect and then we miss the opportunity to get better. When we are embarrassed about our financial past, or about our future, we avoid getting help. I hope that I can provide the Billings community with a place to feel welcome and to have a support system, and to find that roadmap on how to reach their financial goals.

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