About the episode
In episode of the Mom Owned and Operated podcast, Rita Suzanne and Tammy Trenta discuss raising a family, running a business and remembering yourself.
As founder and CEO of Family Financial, Tammy empowers families and business owners to keep more of what they earn while preserving and growing their wealth. She takes a holistic, approach to wealth management, integrating financial, tax, and legal guidance to help her clients’ achieve their financial goals often saving them time and money.
Listen to the episode
Rita Suzanne, Tammy Trenta
Rita Suzanne 00:01
Hi, this is Rita Suzanne. And today I have my guest Tammy with me. Tammy, thank you so much for joining us. And please tell everyone about you, your family and your business.
Tammy Trenta 00:39
Hi, Rita. Thanks for having me on. My name is Tammy Trenta. I’m a certified financial planner. I’ve been in the industry for 26 years. I am married I live in Los Angeles, and I have a five year old son named Jack.
Rita Suzanne 00:57
Yes. And what do you do for what’s your business that what? Tell us all about that.
Tammy Trenta 01:02
So I own a wealth management firm called Family Financial. And the goal of the firm is to help business owners keep more of what they earn. The the model is based on what I would call a family office model. And a lot of people don’t know what that is. But it essentially combines investments, tax, legal, and everything else all into one. So it’s a very holistic approach to delivering financial advice for people.
Rita Suzanne 01:37
And who is who do you love working with the most? Like, do you have a target audience like who is your favorite type of client to work with?
Tammy Trenta 01:48
Well, my favorite clients are business owners that are trailblazers, they’re busy, they’re fun, they motivate me, they’re young, I get a charge for working with those kinds of people.
Rita Suzanne 02:08
And what made you decide to start your own firm, because I remember us talking and there were some things that you were saying that really motivated you to just take that leap and go out on your own?
Tammy Trenta 02:23
Well, to be honest, Rita, um, I, I our financial industry, in the US is is severely flawed. And what I mean by that is, when we all start in the business, you know, the first license that you’re supposed to obtain is the series seven, and it allows you to buy and sell stocks. And oftentimes, you know, someone just starting out, their first job is going to be with like a big firm like JP Morgan, or a Morgan Stanley, or even a Wells Fargo because now the banks are in the brokerage business and 90% of our industry is they, they operate under a broker model, meaning that, you know, if you’re my client, my job is to sell you something where I’m going to make a commission. And that is not common in other countries, it for some reason, it’s the predominant way of managing someone’s financials in the US. And so when we all start there, you learn things about that model. And you start to feel like, Am I doing this? Because it’s the best thing for the client? Or are my sales targets such that I have to hit this goal? Or am I you know, if I have two things that are equivalent, which one puts more money in my pocket, and so, that never felt right to me. You know, once I, you know, few years into the business, I decided to get my MBA and finance and also my CFP designation, which is certified financial planner. And my goal was really to help people from a planning perspective, you know, and, and so I would continue doing that under different models. And I remember one day, I was working in the Beverly Hills office at a very well known financial institution, and was told by the Managing Director, that we, as a firm make more money on our proprietary funds, and we have an accountability to our shareholders to sell the proprietary funds. And I just kind of was turned off by that whole thing. So that forced me to look outside of the broker model and to go into the independent space, in the independent space in the financial industry, I would say about 10%. In the independent space, well, 10% of the industry is in the independent space. They’re called Investment Advisor representatives or registered investment advisors, we call them RAS. And in that group, you get independent advice. So you don’t have an investment bank, you’re not pitching stocks, you’re not pitching proprietary funds. Now you can elect to affiliate with a broker dealer and sell commission products. And it’s unfortunate that about 90% of that independent industry, in fact, does that. So there’s this tiny sliver of independent advisors who don’t have conflict of interest, and they’re called fee only advisors. And that is the space that I’m in. So that is, that is the space that I’m in because I want to be in and I never want to feel like I have anything that prevents me from delivering advice that is not an absolute best interests of my clients. Now beyond that. In working, we know like I said, I, I’ve been with 26 years in the business, you just kind of learned things. And as I’ve evolved, I started to feel that everything I know I can help people with. But my vision is, maybe I should just take a step back.
Tammy Trenta 06:48
As a financial planner, your job is to put people on a path to wealth accumulation. We’re Our job is to get them from A to B, where are you now? What are your goals? Where do you want to be 510 years from now? And how can we help you get there. And there’s many paths that you can take. But really the best path is the most efficient one. One that saves you unnecessary fees, unnecessary money, and the one that can incorporate all other aspects of your life. So for example, if I want to retire, I don’t even use the word retirement, I use financial independence because retirement seems like an old person. But if I use the word financial independence, when do I want to achieve financial independence, if that’s age 60. Then if I save if I’m on a savings track, to retire at age 60. And then I decide to have a child and now I’m diverting my income into an education savings fund, that might compromise my retirement goal or my financial independence goal. And so everything is a trade off. And so we have to balance all of those sets of trade offs and move them all in the same direction. As a planner, I’ve always felt that it is it critical to collaborate with one’s tax preparer or tax advisor. And most clients that have come across have a tax preparer, but they don’t have a tax planner. And there’s a difference between the two. You know, a tax preparer is a historian, they look backwards, a tax planner is someone who looks at where you are and figures out how to optimize you going forward. And you know, there’s a very small percentage of the population of tax planners out there. So in trying to join different places and find different homes that align with my vision, I couldn’t find a firm that shared those same beliefs. The only way it was going to happen was if I did it, and so I, I am a tax planner, certified tax coach, I have a tax preparer on my team, that’s a CPA. We do we can also do estate planning, so we have to partner with the legal firm in order to do that. But I offer a holistic approach. That doesn’t mean anything because I think that word holistic is even so ambiguous in our industry, everybody says they’re holistic, but are you you know, are you just a money manager? Are you doing financial planning? Are you doing business planning, so it’s important to really ask those questions if you’re seeking someone for holistic advice.
Rita Suzanne 09:50
So I guess my one of my questions that popped up while I was listening to you is do you find that people come to You when they have reached a certain level of achievement and or success, or are they coming to you, maybe from they have some debt and they want to get out of debt? Like, what level of financial independence? Are people coming to you asked to, like, where are they in their journey? Typically?
Tammy Trenta 10:21
Yeah, well, quite candidly, my clients are high achieving business owners, you know, they’re probably paying six figures in income taxes, because those are the clients that I can really help the most. I can help them keep more of what they earn, and help them create personal wealth faster. That said, I, between you, and I think it is so critical that, that people get advice when they’re just starting out, or maybe they do have debt. And, you know, part of that, I think, is, you know, it could be bad luck. But also, our society doesn’t teach financial literacy, doesn’t teach it in schools, it doesn’t. And so that’s something that I think could really make a difference. But beyond that, people that are just starting out, whether they’re just out of college and wanting to start a business, or they’ve, you know, they’re a mom that wants to start a business, getting that advice is critical. And it just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of resources to help people start a business or start investing, there’s a lot of free, do it yourself tools, which is, to me a blessing and a curse. Because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make some, you know, pretty questionable decisions. So, you know, my, I’m in the process of putting together some online curriculum that can help people that are just starting out like that it’s an affordable entry point that can, you know, whether they’re starting a business that can avail themselves of just the things that I have learned over the 26 years, and can maybe if I can prevent other people from making some of the mistakes than I did, then, you know, I would consider that a success.
Rita Suzanne 12:23
I love that. And I think that it’s really important for you to empower other women to get to the point where they can actually build their financial independence, even whether they are single with kids, you know, a lot, oftentimes, it becomes more challenging, like you mentioned, when we introduce other factors, other you know, people, little people in our lives, because then we have to account for them. And I think that oftentimes, like our financial independence, and or like retirement just becomes an afterthought. And it’s like, I think I mentioned to this to you before that when my, you know, when I started my business eight years ago, all my insurance and everything was under my then husband at the time. And once we got divorced, it really wasn’t something that I was thinking about, because I was just basically trying to survive, right. And so, but it then became important to me, as I realized, like, I’m not covered, I have, you know, nothing. And it, I think a lot of times that we are in that position, where it’s like, well, once I get successful, I’ll start doing these things. And so I think that it would be great for you to come out with some type of resources to share with other women, moms, people in general, just on how to avoid some of these pitfalls. Do you have any specific tips for moms who are maybe just starting their business that you think are definitely things that they need to maybe look into right now?
Tammy Trenta 14:09
Well, you know, I think that the last few years have been a game changer. You know, society has now really accepted the remote work experience. And I think that that opens up a lot of opportunities for moms that are, you know, home with their kids and juggling multiple things. So, you know, I can I can relate to that. i My best advice and, and depends on what you want to do. Right? So if you had a career doing something and you feel that there’s a way to, you know, reignite that or do it on your own, I mean, certainly taking things step by step. Determining whether you should incorporate does it make sense to incorporate? Where’s my money best spent, you have to have a plan. You can’t just, I mean, you can. But I think without having goals without having, you know, a one year five year plan and, and what type of capital investment that might require. That is probably the most important thing to think through that business decision. And the reason I say that is, you know, I’ll give an example of a client that I had met with, she’s the daughter of one of my clients, and she went to a fine arts college, she’s an artist, she’s talented, and she just wants to do art. And it’s a difficult business to just all of a sudden, all of a sudden start making money selling art. So I think, if if you struggle with how am I going to make money? You know, because there’s, there’s, there’s two things to remember. One is what am I passionate about? And two, is it important for me to make money, because those are two very different things. I am passionate about fashion. But that’s not how I’m going to make my money. And if you can somehow figure out a way to make money pursuing your passion, that is the best. That is the best of both worlds. So what we talked about with my artist client, was figuring out a way to be in the art community, she wants to sell art. So you know, there’s something called the power of proximity. I’m not sure if you’ve heard that term, but you surround yourself with like minded people, you surround yourself with influential people, you surround yourself with accomplished people. And you know, if your art fans and you support each other, if you’re off by yourself, which is hard when you’re working from home, right, there’s often that feeling of disconnect. But you know, after my conversation with her, she, she’s, she’s like, well, I want to I want to have a I said, I love you, she can go do weddings. But that’s not really her passion. That’s kind of like she takes pictures. That’s her job, she can make some money doing that. After we talked, we decided where she’s living isn’t serving her at all. She’s living in Iowa. And it’s cold most of the year, she can only do so many weddings. So it’s not that conducive. So she really liked the idea of moving to Savannah, which is there’s an art community there. And she could meet people, and she wants to invest in real estate, where it’s like a community of artists. So it’s like, okay, that could be a potential way to make money. But let’s think through that all the artists have to be making money for them to pay rent to you. So it’s, I think, if, if you are driven by the money, and you can put the passion with it, that’s great. But if you have the passion, but can’t figure out how to monetize, you’ve got to put some thought into it, because going and you know, if you want to be a fashion designer going and buying a bunch of product isn’t going to help you sell the product. So all those things need to be thought through.
Rita Suzanne 19:01
So what are your thoughts then on you have the passion but you do you think that someone should maybe try diversifying their income routes so that they can maybe see which one pays off the most?
Tammy Trenta 19:16
Yes. So I had a client who owned a restaurant. And the way that she learned the restaurant business is she started working in a restaurant, she was the hostess, she became a server, she became a manager, she learned all aspects on someone else’s dime, and then had the confidence to start her own business and similar to my journey, right, I’ve worked for somebody else and then I started my own business. So that oftentimes is the natural progression. I think that that’s the smart way to do it. I think oftentimes business are impatient and they don’t want to work for somebody else. And so if you’re coming up with an idea for the first time, then my advice is, go, that’s your idea. go work for somebody who’s doing it and learn as much as you can. If you’re starting a business that’s unfamiliar, and you’re just going to launch it, there’s too many mistakes that it will have, no matter how smart you are, no matter how smart you are, there are things that you weren’t are not going to be able to think about because you just haven’t had that life experience.
Rita Suzanne 20:38
I agree. 100%. So it’s interesting. When I started my business, my thought was I was going to teach, but I was like, Well, first I need to do I need to do this before I can teach anybody anything. Because I have been working in corporate for all these years. And so I was doing web design. And then in the, in that process learned all about like online marketing, and all of these other things and branding and things that I had never really been exposed to before. And so now that I’m teaching and doing all of these other things, I think, to your point is basically you have to do it in order to move to the next level, because now I can diversify with so many different things, because I learned about different ways to make money in this industry.
Tammy Trenta 21:32
Yeah, and I’ll give you a quick example of my own life experience. But, you know, I took about a year or so off in finance, because I had this great idea, you know, I was traveling for work. And I wanted to create a laptop bag for women that looked like a purse that was very functional, great for travel. And I created I it was my passion. I loved it, I went to bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had ideas. And so you know, anybody who’s had that experience, it’s like, you’re so excited. And there’s no way it’s not going to work. There’s no way there’s nothing in the marketplace. And so you know, I get a designer, I create prototypes, you know, I invest some money. And you know, I come up with this beautiful product. And now it’s time to sell. And so I, I did I mean, I launched the business, I got into stores. And I thought to myself, well, most fashion, people don’t have a financial background. And I do. So I’m going to be so much farther ahead because I already know how to manage the financial aspect of the business. But boy, was I inexperienced on the retail side. And so, you know, many of the companies like Bloomingdale’s will say, well, we’ll take your inventory. But if it doesn’t sell, we want you to take it back. And or you sell it Barney’s and Barney’s tells you that they’re not going to pay you for six months, and you’re this small business that just can’t operate on that level of unpredictability or worse, you know, you go overseas to to monitor the manufacturing of your product. And it’s all wrong. You’ve invested money. You’ve I mean, it’s stuff doesn’t get delivered on time. And just so many things that, you know, after a year and a half, as passionate as I was, I thought, okay, I, I know that I am successful in the career that I have this, I can do it, but I will never get to the point of you know, what I’ve already accomplished and finance. And I love the business. So mean I let it run for a good seven years, but and then I donated the remaining product to dress for success. But that’s, you know, it was something that I learned so much doing, but it cost me It cost me money. And so, you know, anybody who’s branching off, you know, I had a woman who wanted to make belts, okay, belts are not that hard, right? You can have different sizes, it’s easy. I said, Why don’t you get some prototypes made go to a show and check the demand? Right? Because everyone can think that their idea is the best but if the consumer doesn’t think so then it’s a waste of money. Don’t go buy a bunch of product or make a bunch of product without having sales. Right, right. You’re gonna test the market. You know, or I had a client who decided she wanted to design shoes. She As a dentist, I don’t want to be a dentist anymore. I want to design shoes. All right? Well, let’s think through that we need, how many sizes? How many colors? Who are competitors? You know, that business model, you know, in my mind requires a substantial amount of marketing capital. And, you know, if you don’t have financial backing by somebody who’s got deep pockets, then, you know, it’s likely that it will not turn into what you think now, there’s always going to be exceptions. But that’s where the power of proximity comes in. Right?
Rita Suzanne 25:38
Yeah, because I always am talking about networking and how important it is. And, you know, that was one of the reasons why I started this podcast to was really just to connect with other moms. And after being in such a depressive state of mind for so long, and it has helped me and I’ve been able to, you know, surround myself with people who are having the same struggles that I have, because, you know, I think like you said, to your point of, you know, being working at home is it’s isolating, and when there’s no other adults around you, then it can be, it can be just super, super lonely. And I also find that my non business friends don’t understand what it’s like to run a business as well. So we have, you know, people on different spectrums, and I think it’s really good to just surround yourself with other people, and for me, sometimes can be challenging, because I’m a little bit introverted, but, you know, I think it’s, it’s still important even for us introverts to get out and, and socialize and make good establish good relationships. I think that one thing that people need to understand when they’re networking, though, is like, Don’t go in there to sell yourself, you know, straight out of the bat, just, you know, like, build establish a relationship first. Yeah,
Tammy Trenta 27:12
yeah. I think. I mean, that is something that I have learned over time. I mean, I remember back in my big banking days having to go and join networking groups, and I was in my late 20s. And some of these people in the networking groups were in their 60s 70s. Yeah. And, I mean, how much did I really have in common with these people? And, you know, it was, it was challenging, so I had to really force myself to fit in, in those environments. You know, I was, you know, a woman, which is already, you know, in people, you can just tell when they look at you that they’re judge Oh, how cute, what a stretch.
Rita Suzanne 28:07
And they don’t take you seriously, right? Oh,
Tammy Trenta 28:10
and I worked like, I wore glasses. I tried so hard to be smart. And it’s yeah, you know, I think that’s changed quite a bit. That was 20-30, about 20 years ago. So I think, thankfully, we’ve evolved from that. But
Rita Suzanne 28:29
while plus we can do, you know, the virtual networking, which has really just opened up everything, and just it really expanded our possibilities, because, like you when I first started my first business, it was all local, like, it was no, there was no other option, right? So
Tammy Trenta 28:46
it’s a beautiful thing to be able to connect with people from all over. I mean, I have employees and other states. And I love it. And, yes, I mean, we work a lot of hours during the day, and it’s one zoom call after another. But, you know, every quarter, we take a weekend, and we go somewhere, and we have fun, and we relax. And you know, maybe we talk about like what our goals are for the upcoming quarter. But it’s really important when you have this remote environment to connect with the people on your team beyond just work.
Rita Suzanne 29:25
Yeah, I love that. And so that just kind of leads me into the next portion that I want to talk about, which is really about remembering yourself. Like I know that you just took a nice relaxing trip. What are you doing in your day today? That’s just for you. Because a lot of times people will I went I asked them about self care. They’ll say stuff like, oh, every week I go and get my nails done, but I think that you need to do something every day for yourself. As hard as it is, while you’re juggling your kids, and it doesn’t really mean, you know, going somewhere, necessarily.
Tammy Trenta 30:09
Yeah, no, that’s a great, a great. It’s a great piece of advice. So I mean, I will tell you, when I started my business, I tried so hard to create me time. And by the time tax filing season came, like, my brain just felt like scrambled eggs. I was not clear, I was scattered as reacting. And so, you know, for me, I did take the time, which was lovely. And I came back with clarity. And one of the things that i You always take things from, I didn’t realize how bad it was. And when we are in that mode, you’re not even aware of it until you step outside. For me, in the morning, just if if you can take an hour and do yoga, or meditation or breathing techniques, to me that is, go outside, sit on the ground, like feel the earth, that makes such a big difference. And we it’s so easy to do. Right? But I mean, I guess if you’re in Iowa, and it’s snowing outside, you might not go sit outside. But Warren Yeah, but But taking the breaths. So we did a whole class on breath work last week, and I couldn’t believe how constricted my breathing was. And now I can breathe. So but it really is like, sometimes it’s just breathing. And if we can just take an hour, quiet, no, nothing, just you and your thoughts and bring a book in journal. There’s a great book that I read a few years ago called the Miracle Morning. Yeah, you’re familiar with it, for sure. Yeah. I love that concept, half hour, early, maybe an hour early, just to have that time for yourself. And it sets your intentions for the day. So that that really works for me. But admittedly, I was not doing it. And now I’m doing it again.
Rita Suzanne 32:30
I think Yeah. And I think like it works for me for the longest time, as well. The Miracle Morning, I used to get up religiously and do that before my kids woke up, they were a lot younger than and now, my oldest he is up with the sun, he is out before me waiting for me. But I just love the concept of it though, because you can take that half hour, do some stretches, do some journaling, do some, you know, visualization, you know any of these things. And it’s just for you. And I think that sometimes, one of the things that I talk about that I’ll do is I will, you know, lock myself in my room for a little while because I have four kids and their their, their needs are you know can be way overwhelming. And so as much as I want to be there for them, I still need to sometimes just take a break. And you know, really in maybe I’ll take a walk or maybe I’ll just come to my room because I live in Ohio. So I can’t enjoy the Southern California sunshine anymore. But when I did live there, it was wonderful. I used to hike every day for my that was my thing every day. But yeah, I think it’s just important to start to remember ourselves because one of the things that I say is like as you as a woman, you know you are one way but then once maybe if you have a spouse, then you lose a little bit of yourself. Once you have a business or job you lose a little bit more once you have children, you lose a little bit more of yourself. And so just reconnecting with yourself any way or time that you can. I think it’s super vital and especially that business burnout, like you said, it sneaks up on you because you’re just in reactive mode for so long that you don’t even realize how exhausted you are until you stop.
Tammy Trenta 34:29
So true. I mean, I have this thing I say to myself just live deliberately. And you know what that means to me is, is if I can have some time in the morning, like maybe it’s when your kids go off to school and you have that hour whenever it’s quiet and you’re not feeling like there’s something out there, right because that’s distracting. If you feel like there’s something competing for your attention. You just have to have that clear head, and then figuring out okay, what, what is my intention for today and doing those breathing techniques.
Rita Suzanne 35:13
I love that.
Tammy Trenta 35:15
And then at the end of the night, you know, my son’s in school, and, you know, as a working mom, sometimes I feel like I don’t spend enough time with him. And then we have that guilt. And so every night, you know, I’ll put him down to bed, and we talk and we spend time together last night. Instead of going straight to bed, we went on a walk, and we went on a little troll hunt outside, and he put on his flash costume and brought a sword. And I just, I loved being present in the moment with him. And like, that’s my purpose. Like, I know that he’s my purpose. He is why I do all of it. And so I need to be present for him. Otherwise, none of it matters.
Rita Suzanne 36:06
Yeah, I agree. I think, for me, I was trying so hard to do all the things and I had to step back and strip away a lot of the things so that I could be in the moment with my kids, because I realized as much as I would tell myself, like, I’m working for them, I’m doing this for them. But really, I was not present for them. And so I said, Okay, I need to really figure out the priorities. You know, my kids need extra from me, because they’ve been through so many traumatic things like they, they need me. And so I had to just really step away, this is why I quit web design. And this is why I quit doing a lot of the things that I was doing, because it was taking too much of me and I needed to give that to them. So I’m so glad to see that you’re doing that as well. You know, it’s so important.
Tammy Trenta 37:02
It really is. And I know, it’s so easy for us of a dishes got to get done. And we’ve got to make the bed and do the laundry. And that stuff’s always going to be there. And for some, I think we gravitate towards doing those things. Because we were just seeking that place of peace, where you’re not looking around and having everything be a total mess. But you know, your your kids somehow they tell you what they need, and they don’t articulate it. But I can tell and like, I don’t need to do the dishes. Maybe he doesn’t have to take a shower tonight. Maybe we just spend time together. And that’s, that’s what fills him up. And you forget about that a lot. I mean, I know I do. So
Rita Suzanne 37:51
yeah, it’s it’s so easy, though, because we’d like you said, we get caught up and all of the other things. So if someone wants to connect with you, another mom wants to, you know, work with you or find you or sign up for these new things that you have going on? Where can we find you online.
Tammy Trenta 38:11
So my website is family financial dot biz, and there’s a link to join the email list. And so I’ll be launching my online course. And I’ll have an ebook coming out as well. So, um, you’ll be the first to know, if you sign up for the list.
Rita Suzanne 38:30
Perfect. And then are you on socials at all? Or not so much?
Tammy Trenta 38:34
Yes, I’m on all of them. So just type out
Rita Suzanne 38:38
your favorite, whichever one.
Tammy Trenta 38:42
I really love Facebook. And I know from a marketing perspective, you know, we’re told it’s not the best, but I think I like it the most because I incorporate a lot more of my personal life with the business stuff. And so I just feel more connected to people on that than maybe I would on LinkedIn where it’s all just, you know, very professional.
Rita Suzanne 39:08
Yeah. I think that a lot of moms and families are on Facebook. And that’s probably why you feel more connected to it as well. And your they can find you just by searching your name Tammy Chenza on. Perfect. Alright, thank you so much, Tammy. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for joining me.
Tammy Trenta 39:28
Thank you Rita. It’s been a pleasure and have a wonderful day.
Rita Suzanne 39:33
Thank you too.
Tammy Trenta 39:33
Okay, bye. Bye, bye.
Rita Suzanne 39:37
And there you have it. I want to encourage you to remember that being a mom who runs her own business is not easy. We all struggle, but just keep moving forward. And don’t forget to make time for yourself. As moms we are usually the first thing to go to the bottom of the list. If your business is overwhelming you and you need real solutions, not just some sugar coated suggestion and apply to work with me at https://ritasuzanne.com/apply/