Elisabeth Dawson is the founder of Copia Wealth Management & Insurance Services and Copia Wealth Management Advisors Inc., organisations that provide comprehensive financial advising with education to help clients achieve their desired wealth goals. Having spent 23 years as a financial adviser, Elisabeth believes that the cornerstone to her success is the vigilant recognition that losses hurt you more than gains help you.

Finding creative ways to protect and grow the assets of her clients has been Elisabeth’s professional passion as she specialises in helping those that desire consistent stable returns that deliver solid growth but want to see their principle protected with as little risk as possible. Her organisation’s macroeconomic approach begins with a comprehensive evaluation of a client’s “Wish List” and financial engineering strategies to achieve successful results with minimised risk. Unlike other traditional financial planning firms, the team at Copia focuses on educating and counselling their clients through every financial task and decision in their lives.

Tell us about Copia Wealth Management’s mission and approach? 

Having worked for Nordstrom for 10 years, the first rule of business was always customer service and that is what I chose to bring with me into this new endeavour. Many within the financial industry may have the technical aspects well in hand, but fail to combine that with customer care, which is where I believe the distinction lies. Conversations about finances and how one relates to money can reveal very personal information. Because of this, we strive to build relationships with our clients that create trust in our abilities with the confidence to openly discuss assets and goals, or as I prefer to describe it, their “Wish List”.

Money is emotional and is one of the top causes for emotional distress in a person’s life. There’s a psychology that comes with really understanding a person’s relationship to their money, and why they behave and think the way that they do. So many of us have anxiety regarding money.  We work hard for it, we tell ourselves we have to have it, but rarely do we understand it. This is why I became a Certified Money Coach through the Money Coaching Institute. My passion is to truly unveil the possibilities of having a great relationship with money and why it is important to simplify the complexity of money and financial issues in all areas of life. That is why I wrote the book “Wealth By Design” and why I continue to write every year.

I want to do great things for great people; to create an amazing life by design and not a life by casualties and therefore have made it my mission to consciously analyse, strategise, find solutions and support people in avoiding the worry and emotional suffering that is commonly attached to the psychology of money. This creates clarity and gives back power over one’s finances, life and future. It is our privilege and mission to support that financial journey and freedom.

Money is emotional and is one of the top causes for emotional distress in a person’s life.

What makes your company unique?

We want to welcome people to talk about their most vulnerable relationship in the world, money. Each person on the planet sacrifices and works so hard for the money that they earn, but most people have a negative relationship with money, whether they want to admit it or not. Most parents don’t talk about money with their kids and the costs associated with managing a household, so those same kids grow up not understanding how money works. Some people are better than others in being able to make money, but the majority of people have no idea how to create true wealth with money and keep it. Each and every day we sacrifice our time with our loved ones to achieve the “American Dream” of financial wealth and independence. We work incredibly hard for money to provide our lifestyles, but we are scared to death about having a conversation about money whatsoever, as a fear of being judged. As a certified Money Coach as well as a comprehensive financial adviser, I want to help my clients build a healthy relationship with money through education and a sense of peace.

What are the main mistakes people make when it comes to wealth management?

Having no strategy and living way beyond their means. Creating a strategy may increase your potential for success, both before and after retirement. Chasing “hot” investments often leads to despair. Create an asset allocation strategy that is properly diversified to reflect your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon; then make adjustments based on changes in your personal situation, not due to market ups and downs.

And lastly, having a fearful and anxiety-driven relationship with money. It is important to know your relationship with money and to make sure it is working for you. Many people struggle with this and it is one of my greatest pleasures to help rid people of the constant worrying they put on themselves and their finances!

What are your top tips on effective wealth management?

The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone is for them to really focus on having that healthy relationship with their money. My book, Wealth By Design, is the best tool I have in that it helps simplify what can be a rather complex understanding of money and how it affects us. We like to have our clients create a “Wish List” of goals that they would like to achieve in their lifetimes, then we build a plan that will help them achieve those goals, free from anxiety and stress.

Really look at what you want and by when and then consider what you are willing to sacrifice to get to that goal. We need to have these conversations with our partner. We need to have an open and honest communication with our children that is healthy so that our children can have an abundant relationship with money in their future with their children.  The wealth you want to create is based on strategies for success and psychology. If you put the work into it and become educated about how to do it right, you will succeed. There is no magic bullet, success is created with discipline and commitment to a savings and investment plan to achieve the financial goals you want to achieve.  You need consistency in your growing of wealth without imposing more risk than you are willing to experience.

Why should more people consider working with you?

We specialise in creating a vision for the ultimate goal of retirement and helping people retire right the first time. No one should have to go back to work once they are retired. I read an article in the World Economic Forum that stated that the typical 65-year-old only has enough savings to cover 9.7 years of retirement income. Based on the average life spans of men and women, that leaves them facing 8-11 more years with no savings left! And that is assuming you live an average lifespan. What if you're one of the "lucky" ones who live longer, and you outlive your money by 20 to 25 years or more?

Once we begin to create solutions for our financial goals, we create building blocks to take care of our family in the event we are no longer here.  If you are your “money person”, then we need to have strategies in place for your spouse, partner, children to be wise with what you have worked so hard to create for them for their lifetimes.  This is where certain financial tools will help to create the estate that our families need and you can have peace that your family will be taken care of.  Again, the relationship with money is crucial.  We want to create a better relationship with it and then pass down that knowledge and education to the next generation so that we can all be good stewards of it.

Once we begin to create solutions for our financial goals, we create building blocks to take care of our family in the event we are no longer here.

What have been some of your main recent achievements?

Earlier this year, I had a vision to create a Financial Education Portal based on my book, Wealth By Design, for clients, prospects and other advisers in the financial services industry.  We have been working on this since February 2021 and it is now fully operational. The name of the site is WealthByDesignBook.com and I encourage everyone to get a copy of our book and go through the educational course to work on building the Financial Plan that you want to create. This is a step by step of our process and helps the “Do-It-Yourselfer” accomplish this planning on their own. Or the consumer can reach out to us and we can take them through the process together. This has been a huge undertaking and a passionate work of mine. I’m so grateful for all the support and our team's hard work to create such an amazing educational platform.

I have had the privilege of being recognised as a nominee for Woman of the Year and Industry Leader through San Diego Magazine. I was also recently awarded as a Power Woman of San Diego for Discover Magazine and someone to watch out for.

What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught you?

That we need to take it seriously. My husband, daughter and I were diagnosed with COVID-19 last year and it is very real and very scary. It’s brought the importance of how precious every moment we have is.  How much our relationships matter and how important it is to have those support systems, both at home and at work. Peace of mind that we will survive this and become even better people when this pandemic passes - because it will.

Initially, when the pandemic was announced and everything shut down, there was fear and anxiety for everyone on the planet. It touched every person in the world. We had to bring up our customer service to a completely different level than ever before. We work with people’s hard-earned money and assets. It is a huge responsibility and we take that responsibility extremely seriously, so we made sure to call each and every one of our clients to offer support and provide them comfort in knowing that their financial plans remained safe and in a good position. Now, doing this from our homes at the time was a bit of a challenge. Setting up home offices at a moment’s notice and using Zoom for communication required some adjustment, but our clients are grateful for it and in the end, so were we. We made sure to take care of our clients during one of the most vulnerable times in our history, and in return, they referred us to more people to help. We all got through this together and continue doing so. This year in so many ways has been a complete miracle of persistence and finding joy in every precious moment.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

I want to continue to grow the Copia team so eventually, they take the firm well beyond in the years to come. I’d like to keep growing our Podcast Ways To Love Your Money, bring on more guest speakers and complete my next book. I want to continue working with individuals as a Money Coach to discover their fears and anxieties about money and to conquer them and find more ways to educate on the importance of having a knowledgeable relationship with money. Personally, I am finding more ways in which I can spend more time with my husband Carl, our family and our two chocolate labs.

What does this award mean to you?

This award is an honour and privilege to receive. I have been blessed with a very unique gift that allows me to help educate and counsel people to have a profound long-term relationship with their finances for their lifetimes. This is my passion and my purpose. Changing people’s lives for the better and giving hope where there was no hope before is what motivates me each and every day. There is no cookie-cutter approach for this. It must be unique and detailed to what our individual goals are. This award validates the integrity and attention to detail we give to each of our clients, that we have the privilege of working with. It is a long-term journey and as our lives change daily, our plans need to adapt daily as well.  We need clarity and a clear vision to create the life path we want personally and financially. Having respect for money and hard work to build, protect it, spend it and pass it along for your legacy is so precious and so important. We have a responsibility to ourselves and those we love. This award is a true honour and compliment to my Copia Team and the clients we serve. It’s priceless!