Wealth Manager, Principal
Having been widowed at the age of 43, Jennifer has a particular passion for working with other widowed or divorced women faced with making financial decisions on their own for the first time. Jennifer’s shared experience with her clients allows her to uniquely connect with them, understand their perspectives and help equip them with the financial tools and confidence they need to not only move forward but also look toward their futures with a sense of security and peace of mind.
Before joining Modera, Jennifer was the founder and principal of Stonebridge Financial Advisors, LLC, a fee-only financial planning and investment firm, where she served clients for over 18 years. Prior to that, Jennifer worked for over 20 years in the financial services industry.
Jennifer holds an MBA from Pace University, Lubin Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in General Science/Business from Villanova University. Jennifer is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
What sparked your interest in financial planning? What fuels you every day in your work?
My father taught me to be responsible with my money going back to my high school days when I was a waitress. While in college, he encouraged me to fund an IRA and learn about investing. Over the years, my dad continued to mail me newspaper and magazine articles on financial planning topics with handwritten notes signed “Love Dad”. I still have several of them. It wasn’t until I started the CFP® program in 1995, some 20 years later, that I realized what a major influence he had not only on my own personal financial journey but also in helping me discover and pursue a career that I love.
How do you feel you help to create impacts for clients?
Early in my career, I realized that I could have a profound impact by helping women — especially widowed women — find both confidence and peace of mind in making financial decisions that would affect their quality of life.
One of my widowed clients came to me about a year after her husband passed away because she was trying to understand her cash flow. She struggled with how much she could safely spend now that she was on her own. As a result, she spent very little. I spent several hours with her reviewing her sources of income and piecing together how to support her new lifestyle. After that meeting I called her a couple months later to check in, but she did not return my call for a week. She later apologized and said that she had been in Ireland visiting her son — something that she had been reluctant to do prior to her meeting with me. She thanked me for giving her the confidence to plan and take the trip.
What to you feel is a strength that you have?
I can deliver pragmatic advice with sensitivity. When I have to lead difficult conversations, I want people to know that they can count on me to be straightforward and honest, even if it isn’t what they want to hear. But I never want my clear and concise analysis of the finances to overshadow the human side of a situation. I believe my ability to balance my financial acumen with my empathy is a strength that has served both me and my clients well over the years.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
II am definitely a New Jerseyan. I grew up in Sea Girt, New Jersey, a small town on the Jersey Shore where everyone knew each other and half of the residents only lived there during the summer. Currently, I live in Chatham, New Jersey where I have made roots for 25 years. It is a small town, and yet no matter how far I travel from it, I always seem to meet people from Chatham.