Emily Lassiter is a lawyer turned financial advisor and mother of two who’s on a mission. After losing her husband at a young age, she started helping other widows with legal matters, but soon those conversations turned to questions about finances. That’s when Emily realized she was ready for a career change. In 2019, she became a financial advisor at Somerset Advisory, a planning and investment management firm. But she wanted to do more. She wanted to find a way to help women become more confident about money management. In 2020, she teamed up with Lauren Pearson, the founder and managing director of Somerset Advisory, to launch The Wealth Edit, an online, membership-based community for women looking to learn more about personal finance. Emily’s commitment to helping other women has us thrilled to introduce her as our latest FACE of Birmingham.
How did you decide to leave law to become a financial advisor?
I practiced law for 15 years and then lost my husband in 2014 in a plane crash, and at that point, I decided to stay at home with my girls. When I started thinking about going back to work, I knew that if I went back into private practice, the schedule was going to be hard on a working mom, and I didn’t feel very passionate about it. A big life event gives you a lot of perspective, and I felt called to do something that helped others based on what I’d been through.
I found myself talking to many widows after someone would give them my name, and it was healing for me as much as, hopefully, my advice was helpful to them. A lot of time they would ask me legal questions but there were also many financial questions being asked. My dad, who is a financial advisor in Montgomery, AL, would help me answer a lot of those questions. I started talking to advisors and sharing with them what I was seeing in the industry with widows and really trying to brainstorm what I could do to help in that space. I started getting job offers, and I realized there really is a need for more female advisors.
What was it about financial advising that you enjoyed the most?
I loved helping them get things in order and teaching them what they needed to know to move forward with confidence. What I found was that lack of confidence in their finances was leading to a lack of confidence and forward-moving in other areas of their lives.
How did the idea for The Wealth Edit come about?
Lauren and I often see women who are completely overwhelmed. They don’t know what they don’t know and a lot of times don’t have the funds to hire an advisor, but they really are hungry for the knowledge. In our private practice, we couldn’t serve everybody. So Lauren had the idea of The Wealth Edit. It allowed us the opportunity to have a resource for women that we knew needed the help and knowledge to get them on their feet financially and to feel confident discussing wealth and all the things that come along with it. We launched on March 8, 2020, and five days later we went into quarantine. Our original business plan was to do pop-up events around the Southeast, have events with speakers, local groups, and maybe have conferences. Because we couldn’t do any of that, we decided to take this thing online. We’ve been building the car while we’re driving it.
What makes The Wealth Edit different from other personal finance resources?
We’ve been taught all our lives that talking about money is tacky, especially in the Southeast. What we want to do is start normalizing the conversation. The financial industry was built by men for men. The industry has been trying to figure out how to talk to women about money and to connect with women, but many of those efforts have just been putting a pink bow on it or sending out pink goody bags before a conference, but the content is the same. Women learn in community. We want money to be discussed in that context: women sharing their stories.
What’s the biggest financial mistake you feel women make?
The biggest mistake I see is women believing that they will never be able to master [personal finance]. Women have this preconceived notion that it’s too complicated for them to ever really understand. Women can learn anything. Women are fast learners. If we just start putting it in conversation and engaging in the discussion, it’s amazing what we can pick up and really master very quickly.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to travel. Three years ago, I homeschooled my two daughters for a semester and we traveled all over the world — London, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, France, Hong Kong, Russia, and India. It was very healing for us to go on a new adventure as a family.
I’m also an avid reader. I read anything I can get my hands on.
What’s your favorite book on money management?
The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins. It’s a great starter. It’s written from the perspective of a father writing letters to his daughter in college. It’s extremely informative and very relatable, and as parents, it gives us a lot of conversation starters for our teenage children.
What’s the best advice you have to give to women looking to switch careers or try something new?
The best advice that I have to give is that if you want to do something, start telling people that you want to do it. In my situation, becoming a financial advisor in my mid-40s as a widow with two kids was an anomaly for sure, but I just started going out and telling people what I wanted to do, and it was amazing what happened. As I started talking to more and more people, every time they would say, “Do you know Lauren Pearson?”
Other than faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
My Kindle, my reading glasses, and my passport.
Thank you, Emily! All photography by Mary Margaret Chambliss.
To meet more inspiring Birmingham women, visit our archives.