Leandra Schindler, MTAX, CFP®
I’m Leandra Schindler, President and Founder of Flowering Financial.
Driven by a desire to work primarily with bread-winning and single women, I founded Flowering Financial in 2017. Flowering Financial was created to provide fee-only financial planning with a holistic, modern, and female-focused approach. I’ve found that many women prefer to work with a female advisor and are seeking a professional who is honest, sincere, and puts them at ease. Our female-focused approach allows me to serve my clients as their right-hand woman to teach, guide, and cheer her on. Helping her grow into a financially strong and proficient woman who is destined to thrive in all aspects of her life is what I do best. How lucky am I that this is my actual job?
Did I grow up wanting to be a financial planner? Absolutely not. My career aspirations as a kid were ever changing. My mother jokingly would call me a member of the “Career of the Month Club”. Lawyer one day. Pilot the next. Coming from humble beginnings, I wasn’t even aware financial planning was a thing. So how did I find myself in this field?
Two things drew me into the financial planning industry. One, the need for women. Less than 25% of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ are women. With women making up more than 50% of the world’s population and those women needing financial planning services, I saw that gap and wanted to do my part to fill it. The second draw was the opportunity for entrepreneurship. While being a founding member of the “Career of the Month Club” one thing stayed consistent in my professional ambitions; I wanted to be the boss. I wanted to create something that was uniquely my own making an impact on peoples lives and I knew that was something I could achieve in this industry.
Here is my general educational background and some of the qualifications that allow me to give individuals quality financial guidance:
Bachelor of Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude (The University of Akron – 2013) Major: Corporate Finance & Financial Services
Certificate in Financial Planning (The University of Akron – 2014)
Master of Taxation (The University of Akron – 2018)
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
My Money Story
As part of my client onboarding process, I like to ask prospective clients to share with me their money story. This includes questions such as:
What was your earliest memory of money?
Was your childhood a land of plenty or was there never enough?
Did you parents make good financial decisions or poor ones?
Open any psychology book and it’s no secret that the environment you were raised in impacts who you are as an adult. The way you make decisions. The way you approach relationships. The things that bring you joy and the things that tick you off. The same can be said about money. The way money was talked about and handled in your environment as a child has a direct impact on the relationship you have with money today. Whether positive or negative, the things we do and the way we feel about money isn’t always something we have control over. I’ve found that hearing my client’s money story helps me grasp why they engage in certain behaviors and helps me identify any underlying fears or mental blocks they may have. This allows me to be empathetic to my clients so I can tailor my advice, process, and the financial planning relationship to be more effective. Before you share your money story with me, I’d like to share mine. Hopefully it sheds some light on who I am and why I do what I do.
My earliest memory of money was the awareness that we had less than nearly everyone we knew. My parents worked hard but we were very much “working poor”, where we had too much to qualify for any type of government assistance but not enough for things like daycare, new clothes, or dance lessons. In retrospect despite the stress and worry I saw in my parent’s eyes, we were fine. Our fridge was full, we had a place a rest our head, and we never missed a checkup. Hugs were a plenty and love was never lacking. All thanks to my parents making sure we lived within our means. They paid their bills, kept their credit in good standing, and saved. Even once they later divorced, both of my parents were able to maintain their finances independently.
The love my parents had for me and my sisters was encompassed by their involvement in our education. My parents made sure we went to the best public schools in the area (accomplished albeit in an unconventional manner) and went above and beyond when it came to field trips, school projects, and communicating with our teachers. Our education was their priority because they knew that education would allow us to ascend that “working poor” situation they found themselves in.
Unfortunately, that focus on education surrounded me with peers who had far more than I did. We attended schools on the other side of town, where the average household income was much higher than where our home was. I had friends who lived in 6,000 square foot homes complete with country club memberships, swimming pools, and luxury cars. Was it hard? Absolutely.
I also saw the subprime mortgage crisis and the following global financial crisis hit close to home. A few friends I previously found myself so envious of had parents lose their jobs, homes, with some even resorting to bankruptcy. That was hard to see. Imagine feeling envy and then seeing them lose it all. It made me fearful. If these successful people who appeared to have it all, lost it all so quickly, what hope was there for me in the future?
So how does this impact me today?
I cannot pay full price on anything for myself, even if I love it. I’d rather buy several significantly discounted pieces of clothing that I have neutral feelings for than pay full price for something I adore.
I prioritize spending money on people I love more than on myself. Which means holiday spending has a tendency to get a little out of control. I will spend unnecessarily on small gifts for others. I also spend entirely too much on dining out since that’s one of my favorite things to do with friends.
I worry. I worry about many things but money is the main one. I worry that there isn’t enough. I worry about the unexpected. I worry that it will stop coming. But that worry is what makes me good at what I do. I prepare. I plan. I look at the possibilities. Good or bad.
You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed of financial mistakes you’ve made in your past. We all come from different backgrounds. We’ve all been taught different things. We’ve all been dealt a different deck. It’s okay to ask for help and the earlier you seek out advice the better. Thank you for reading my story and I hope it inspires you to share yours.
When not working with my favorite clients you can find me several places:
In the kitchen, experimenting with Gluten-Free cooking. Not baking. I hate baking.
Struggling to keep the roses and lilies alive in my front yard. I love to garden but doesn’t everyone love something they aren’t very good at?
Adventuring in the Cuyahoga Valley or any nearby forest, national park, or body of water. Either by foot, bike, or kayak.
Exploring Ohio wineries and maybe doing a tasting or two.
Trying to squeeze as much outdoor yoga in before the sun turns to snow.
Time with friends, family, my kind supportive boyfriend (Vince), and my two handsome cats/office mates: Frederick and Hugo.
Teaching part-time at The University of Akron for the Department of Finance. The college kids keep me young!