Over her more than fifteen years with Mosaic, Mary Ballin, CFP®, CDFA® has become known for her gracious character and talent as a close listener who respectfully meets her audience at their level.
How does your identity shape what you bring to Mosaic?
At my core, I love to educate. I have always been a nurturer and leader of sorts, going all the way back to high school when I was editor of the newspaper and class president. The most enjoyable parts throughout my working life have included a mentoring or educating aspect. That is no different then what I do here at Mosaic. I believe my most important function is to help my clients understand what their wealth can do for them and how financial decisions and tasks can happen most efficiently. I want to be the person they can turn to for answers.
My personal fondness for working specifically with women in transition came from my upbringing. My mother always told me to learn to stand on my own two feet financially; she advocated for me to be financially self-sufficient. I believe this is important for both women and men. For many, it doesn’t work this way, and I want to be there for those people.
I want to be the advisor they can trust implicitly, one that can provide the education and advice that they need to make financially-sound decisions.
How does earning the Certified Divorce Analyst® (CDFA®) designation help you in your work?
Many individuals, women in a lot of cases, need assistance to understand the importance of thinking strategically when negotiating a divorce settlement.
Making sure to understand what my client needs post-divorce in order to achieve their goals is of utmost importance. I want to help spouses that are going through divorce understand that every dollar is not created equal. To the extent possible, emotion needs to be taken out of the negotiation so you can be smart in thinking about what you want from the property division.
For example: hard assets, like a home, come with expenses and maintenance. Will you be able to afford the family home post-divorce as a single person? What is the difference between receiving a dollar from a retirement account and receiving a dollar from a savings account? Knowing that alimony, if you get it, most likely won’t be forever; are you thinking through how you will supplement that income reduction? And what about child support? There are a whole host of angles to consider. As the financial professional, I am the team member that can help set the newly-single spouse up for financial success after divorce.
I view my position in the divorce process as the voice of planning and reason, and I am honored to help separate reason from emotion that surrounds financial decisions made during divorce. Financial planners help instill a forward momentum, and a CDFA® is no different in that regard.
What is your ideal retirement?
My ideal retirement will include travel, both domestic and international, and living within a short distance of my children. It will hopefully include being close to the water and someplace that is tranquil and has beautiful surroundings including mountains and forests.
I could see myself still advising and consulting clients—probably not in the same way I do today, but in a similar capacity because I do love what I do.
My career allows me to be the educator, nurturer, compass and counselor—and that gives me purpose and fulfills an important core value.
Mary is also the co-founder of Mosaic’s Women’s Circles, a quarterly conversation circle covering a range of financial topics.