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This time I need your advice

August 12, 2018

Dear Readers:

Can you help me out with something?

In my day-to-day work, I lead a fiduciary boutique that manages wealth for select families. In my role as a financial columnist, I address a broader audience encompassing any and all financial means. The column, and interacting with you, my readers, fulfills a personal passion: to promote and inspire the pursuit of financial literacy education — armed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

So, that’s the background.

Now, this is my request: I have a sense of you from your letters (1,000-plus emails; 1,000-plus columns), but I’m eager to learn more about you and how to best engage in a dialogue with you through the column.

I’ve got a few specific questions. I’m hoping that you can take a moment to email me (readers@juliejason.com) or to complete a short survey I’ve created to make your feedback easier: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8D2ZYTD.

Here they are:

1. What motivates you to read the column or share it with friends or family? Or, to put it another way, what about the column attracts you to it? Are you reading it because of an interest in financial security? Are you seeking actionable insights that can help you make better decisions?

2. Who are you? Anything you can tell me about yourself will help, from age and gender to education, work, investment experience, what else you read and the state you live in.

3. Surveys: You may have noticed that I’ve been testing the use of surveys from time to time in the column. Would you be willing to participate if you knew that your anonymous feedback could help improve the column?

4. Talks: What about talks? Many of the subject-matter experts I quote in the column could be invited to present to you at a public forum. Under what circumstances would you be interested in attending? Does your employer, club or association want to initiate a presentation?

5. Advisory group: I’m thinking of creating a small advisory group of readers on a national level who would want to be a little more involved in communicating about financial literacy education and how to reach more readers with impactful decision-making topics.

6. Previous columns: Would you like access to previously published columns? For example, I wrote a series of columns addressing little-known public resources that are essential to preparing for college funding, choosing the right majors and finding jobs. The collection is reprinted in my latest (2018) book, “Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management From an Award-Winning Financial Columnist.” The book is now available in libraries and bookstores, and at Amazon.com.

7. Skepticism: My personal approach to financial decision-making is based on having a sense of “healthy skepticism.” Is that important to you?

8. Are you guided by reason more than emotion when it comes to financial things? Are you willing to do enough homework so that you understand an investment before buying? Do you have a good “don’t be fooled” gauge: If an offer sounds too good to be true, you won’t go forward? Can you sense when someone is trying to sell you something that could be better for the salesman than for you?

To all the readers who have written to me over the years, thank you for your questions and support.

As C.S., a reader from Connecticut, says: “Please keep up the good work for all of the people you offer advice to. I hope they listen.”

This is what makes the effort worthwhile.

Julie Jason, JD, LLM, a personal money manager (Jackson, Grant of Stamford, Conn.) and author, welcomes your questions/comments (readers@juliejason.com). Her awards include the 2018 Clarion Award, symbolizing excellence in clear, concise communications. Her latest book, a curated collection of Julie’s columns, is “Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management From an Award-Winning Financial Columnist.” To hear Julie speak, visit www.juliejason.com/events.

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