It would be a shame not to pause this June and recognize that we are coming to the end of a year (plus a quarter) that was one of the hardest we have ever faced as a community while at the same time one with blessings like we’ve never seen before. As the world was attempting to come to terms with what exactly Covid-19 was, how it could be transmitted, and how it would impact our health, the Woodward team went to an entire work-from-home environment on March 16, 2020. Prior to that we all worked almost exclusively in our office and met with most clients in person for meetings. That changed overnight, and in the ensuing days, weeks and months, we all had to learn how to not only survive, but thrive in a whole new normal. Looking back over the fourteen months since, there is much to be grateful for and appreciation to be given:

Thank you to my team at Woodward. While juggling the home-schooling of children, family demands, personal health concerns and so much more, you showed up every day with a team first mentality and servant's hearts. We met as a team every morning at 9:00am via Zoom for about a year, which wasn’t always easy, but allowed us to come together as a family and deepen our bonds. There isn’t a better team in the profession, and I’m humbled to be a part of such a wonderful group of folks.

Thank you to our clients. While juggling many of these same concerns and demands, you allowed us to service you in new and different ways over the past year. Maybe you didn’t own a webcam or hadn’t heard of Zoom prior to the pandemic, but you also adapted and allowed us “into your homes" in innovative ways to help strengthen our relationships and do our work. Your flexibility over the past year is appreciated, as is your eagerness to refer friends and family to us, knowing that we can’t meet them in person just yet.

Thank you to our fellow professionals. Facing the same - if not more - challenging circumstances, you’ve reimagined how to deliver great advice and counsel to our mutual clients. Whether it is figuring out how to do drive-by estate planning document execution, how to flawlessly prepare hundreds of tax returns in a remote environment or implement a brand new insurance plan, you’ve all handled things with such grace. We love collaborating with you and cherish the conversations we’ve had over the last year knowing “we’re all in this together.”

We greatly miss meeting with clients and professionals in our office, and we are frequently reassessing when and how to reopen our office for meetings. Part of our value system is to meet the needs of our clients where they are, and the current environment requires continual judgement calls on what is safest for both our team and client families. In a time when clarity is scarce, please know that we are constantly taking in new information and talking about the next steps in our reopening. You’ll hear from us very soon about our plans to meet again, in-person.

Jim Miller, CFP®
Introducing WFA's Newest Team Member: Jessica Hobbs-Mullins!
We are excited to announce that Jessica ("Jess") Hobbs-Mullins recently joined Woodward Financial Advisors as our dedicated Client Experience Specialist. In addition to managing various firm projects, Jess will be the go-to team member for anything related to custodial paperwork and assisting clients with distributions and deposits. Her presence enables WFA to continue to elevate our level of service to clients.

Please join us in welcoming Jess to WFA! The following "favorites" and questions will help you get to know her a bit better.

Pepsi or Coke? Soda or Pop or Coke? Pepsi and Pop.

What was your high school/college mascot? I went to the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) for my Junior and Senior years of high school, so my mascot was the best-a unicorn. For college, I went to Appalachian State, so my mascot was Yosef, the mountaineer.

What was your first job? My first paid job was mowing my neighbors’ grass when I was in middle school.

What are your pet peeves? #1 People who don’t return their shopping carts at grocery stores. It’s a sign to me that someone may not be thoughtful. #2 People who yell at coffee shop baristas when their coffee is late or not perfect. We get it, you’re running late, and you’re frustrated, but nobody gets a pass to treat others like they don’t deserve respect.

Do you have pets? I currently have 3 pets: 1 dog (Border Collie) named Charlie, 1 house cat (Maine Coon mix) named Bean & one barn cat (Calico) named Pumpkin who is 16 years old.

Favorite board game? Cards Against Humanity.

Who do you admire/look up to? My mother above all others. I am so grateful to not only have a good mother, but one who supports me and inspires me to be a strong and resilient woman through her actions. I don’t know where I would be in life, if it wasn’t for her love.

You’re up at a karaoke bar, what song do you pick? If I Could Turn Back Time - Cher.

What is your favorite recipe to make? My grandma’s homemade recipe for chocolate fudge. It’s also my favorite thing to eat. 😊

Favorite movie? Fried Green Tomatoes.

Favorite quote? “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” -Teddy Roosevelt.

What’s the last country you traveled to outside the US? Greece.

What is your favorite charity to support? Community Care Clinics, that use medical volunteers to give medical attention to the people who could not afford it or access it otherwise.
The Big Financial Planning Rule and its Corollary
Rule #1 - Don’t Run Out of Money

  • It’s the rule we all know, it’s the mantra for nearly all financial professionals and it’s the equivalent of the doctor’s Hippocratic oath to do no harm.
  • Your investment assets plus your income need to cover your expenses for the rest of your life whether you live until you are 80, 90, or 100+.
  • Once retired it’s unlikely that you’ll be going back to work so when it comes to investments – you’ve got what you’ve got so you need to take a prudent approach.
  • A lot can happen during your multi-decade retirement and you probably want to plan for some contingencies like potentially higher health care costs or possibly moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

Rule #2 – Don’t Be Afraid to Use your Financial Assets to Live Your Best Possible Life, while still adhering to Rule #1

  • This isn’t travelling just to spend money on travel. But if you love to travel and you have the financial wherewithal to take the expensive trip then you should do it, and yes, you can consider flying first class.
  • This isn’t buying stuff just to spend down your assets. But if you need a new car and have the financial resources to get a newer, safer, more comfortable car then you should consider it and yes, you can consider a Maserati (maybe!).
  • This is looking at your work situation if you’re close to retirement to determine if work is optional for you. If you love your job you should continue doing it for as long as it makes you happy and as long as it doesn’t take away from other enjoyable and engaging activities.
  • This is looking at your financial situation to see if you’re able to allocate your financial resources to things that are important to you now if that’s in line with your goals.
  •  In his book, The New Retirementality, author Mitch Anthony suggests deciding what you want your best life to look like and then (re)arranging your financial life accordingly – this seems like a useful construct.

You never want to run out of chips at the poker table but you don’t want to leave too many chips on the table either.

Written by Joseph Marques, CFP®
Helpful Resources from our Recent Positive Psychology Webinar with Brad Steiman
In May, WFA hosted a webinar centered on positive psychology featuring Brad Steiman, Head of Wealth Management Group for Dimensional Fund Advisors Canada.

During the presentation, Brad walked us through the Well-Being Theory and how to increase flourishing through PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning and Achievement). He shared specific strategies, including meditation and mindfulness, keeping a gratitude journal, doing acts of kindness, finding out and utilizing your signature strengths, developing authentic connections and pursuing self-concordant goals to increase PERMA.

In case you're interested in exploring this topic more in-depth, you may find Brad's list of recommended resources below.


The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story by Dan Harris
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin E. P. Seligman
Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B Irvine
The Ripple Effect: Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better by Greg Wells
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E. P. Seligman
What We Are Looking Forward
to this Summer!
The official start to summer is just around the corner! Here's what team members at WFA are looking forward to:

“Being able to enjoy some of the normalcy that we couldn't partake in last summer - travel, social gatherings, spontaneous family activities. I'm also mindful that my kids are aging rapidly and summers as we know them won't be here for long, so we're looking forward to a family trip to Colorado in July.” - Jim Miller

“Getting to see my family for the first time in over a year and a half and decorating a new (to me) house.” - Roni Pflueger

"I am looking forward to visiting with family in Charleston, SC." - Megan McManus

"Raising our 9 four-week-old chicks to egg-laying adulthood and spending a week or so in July with my family in a cabin in Shenandoah National Park." - Victor Colella

“Welcoming the newest member of the Wilkins family – a baby boy arriving in late June and enjoying a (nearly complete) master bedroom and bathroom renovation.” - Maggie Wilkins

"I'm looking forward to spending time with family & friends in the sun, at the lake, or by the pool, after being stuck inside & quarantined for the last year." - Jess Hobbs-Mullins

"Outdoor cookouts with friends and family, moving around in public without a mask now that I am vaccinated, and taking more out-of-town trips." - Austin Brown

"Visiting my parents and sending my daughter off to college." - Joe Marques

We hope that you, too, have things you're looking forward to this summer. If you're open to sharing, we always enjoy hearing from you.
Thank you for reading our June newsletter! Please reach out if there is anything we can do for you.

Your Friends at Woodward Financial Advisors
Woodward Financial Advisors
1504 East Franklin Street, Suite 105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
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