Pivot with a Purpose

It’s only a little intimidating to jump into writing the Friday Brief with the likes of Geoff, Jared, and Ryan.  I figured the best way to dive into this routine is by way of introduction. So, hi, I’m Ellen, the newest team member at Beacon. I’ll share a few things about me and how they relate to the way I view finances, because what’s a brief without talking about money?

1.  I love (most) dogs and will go out of my way to pet the cute ones. My husband, Wesley, and I have a 4-year-old Brittany named Ollie. If you’ve ever been around a Brittany, you know they have endless energy and are incredibly friendly. Many people think we’re a bit nuts for exercising our dog twice a day, at minimum, but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff for us. The pros of having our spazzy, sweet, intelligent dog far outweigh the cons of annoying walks in the freezing rain.

The connection to finance? We make trade-offs all the time when we’re making financial decisions. What is the potential risk or reward from decisions we make? Do our finances have the capacity to cushion this risk?  Are we willing to live off less of our income now so that we can save appropriately for the future?

2.  I attended the University of Virginia and met so many of my favorite people there. I highly recommend living with 8 of your best friends at some point in your life. When I arrived at UVA, I planned to take all the necessary pre-med classes to pursue my high school dream of going to medical school. Then at the start of my third year, I realized I needed a tutor in only my second week in Physical Chemistry class. I already had dedicated two years of school taking pre-requisites for med school and other classes for a science major, but finally realized med school was not the right goal for me. I had to pivot (I can’t write that word without picturing the Friends scene below) and change majors, fairly late in the game.  This pivot was terrifying in the moment because I had no idea of my new end goal and didn’t want to have wasted my first two years at UVA. But to start figuring out my new goal, I had to start by taking just one step in a different direction.

Ross Pivot Friends GIF - Ross Pivot Friends Pivot GIFs

Looking back, I can see that changing majors allowed me to use my analytical and relational strengths in a career field I previously never considered – financial planning!  It can be tempting to hold fast to our original dreams even when those dreams no longer make the most sense for our current selves. One of my favorite parts of this job is when we sit alongside clients facing their own “pivot” moments. We can help guide them through those moments, and hopefully celebrate together on the other side.

3.  Wesley and I are in the process of trying to make a few small updates to our home after reaching a savings target in our budget a little quicker than anticipated. Since our timeline moved up from our initial target, I didn’t have a set plan for every dollar yet. Initially, I felt very overwhelmed wanting to maximize these savings and update as much in our house as possible. Then a wise friend reminded us to start this process of spending by re-naming our purpose for making changes to our home. Once we did, I no longer felt the same level of pressure on our budget.

So what was our original purpose when we first set that savings goal?  To update parts of our home that were nonfunctional or outdated and to choose finishing touches that felt more in line with our lifestyle.  Our purpose was not to make as many updates as possible or turn our house into our forever home. I had allowed a timetable change to throw me off from remembering the purpose behind our savings goal! When our finances connect to a greater purpose, that’s when they have meaning.


What brings you joy? Are there tradeoffs you make without even realizing it?  I encourage you to reexamine the last time you felt overwhelmed in regards to your financial life, and maybe you’ll find a disconnect between that situation and your purpose.

I’d love to chat if you’re thinking through any tradeoffs or going through a “pivot” moment. Click here to schedule some time with me.

Ellen Martin
[email protected]

After graduating from UVA (go Hoos!), I moved to Raleigh for the Raleigh Fellows program where I fell in love with the city, its people, and a fellow Fellow who is now my husband, Wesley. I worked for another wealth management firm in Raleigh for seven years before joining the Beacon team in June of 2021. When not at work, you can most likely find Wesley and me walking our dog, Ollie, on the lovely Raleigh Greenways, or enjoying a cup of coffee and a La Farm white chocolate baguette.