March 21, 2017

WTOP Interview: Financial Fitness Checkup

LISTEN NOW: Know where you are financially and what you need to address by taking this short (12 question) quiz.
Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, Senior Wealth Advisor

Interview Transcript:

Shawn Anderson: Many of us made New Year’s resolutions to stop eating so much and get back to the gym. When you work out with a trainer, it's easier to stay motivated and meet your goals, but what about your finances, maybe they could use a work out too.

Hillary Howard: Joining us live to talk about it, Dawn Doebler; Senior Wealth Advisor for Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda, cofounder of Her Wealth. Dawn as always, it’s really good to see you.

Dawn Doebler: Thank you, good to be here.

Hillary Howard: Let's talk about the WTOP her wealth financial fitness checkup and training manual, who should get this checkup?

Dawn Doebler: Well we designed this quiz for everyone really, it doesn’t matter your level of wealth or your age or your stage in life. What it is is a list of 12 questions, very easy to answer (yes or no) and it’s designed to give you an opportunity to understand where you are. What we find is a lot of women really don’t know where they are financially and also even if they have a general sense they don’t necessarily know all the components of a financial plan.

Shawn Anderson: Well, you say 12 questions and both Hilary and I took the test and we fall in short on some of these questions, what does your score tell you?

Dawn Doebler: Well, I like to think of it as like a doctor’s test where you go in and you have your annual checkup and you get your blood test results. And you have a list of things where everything is fine and then you have a few areas usually where you need to do a little bit of work. So the 12 questions lead to a score out of 12 and give you a general idea of where you are financially and give you some tips on where you should be looking. So some examples of the kind of people we anticipate could make use of the quiz are couples. What we find is a lot of couples don’t discuss money or when they do they have kind of disagreement on where they are. They might have different perceptions on where they stand or what should be done. So we encourage a couple to each take the test and then compare the results and I'll give them an idea of where they can go next.

Hillary Howard: It was interesting because the questions are very simple, they are very straight-ahead, but I found myself almost struggling over some of them. I know parts of them, but not all of them, so clearly there is a deficiency.

Dawn Doebler: Right and I think as you mentioned, you said in some cases; you said well, I think so but I’m not sure. Those are the areas that you would then want to download our financially fit for life guide and that will give you more details of the kinds of things you should be looking at in that particular area. I also want to mention that even people working with an advisor, we would suggest you take the quiz and then download the guide to make sure that your advisor actually is covering all of these 12 areas which we believe are very critical and indicative of your overall financial health.

Shawn Anderson: It's definitely an easy and simple way to get a load and get a take on your own finances, so we appreciate you sharing it with.

Dawn Doebler: Just so your listeners know, they need to go to The quiz is there on our blog and they can take the quiz and then download the guide from there. And hopefully they get a good grade and they can do something about it.

Hillary Howard: That's Dawn Doebler; Senior Wealth Advisor with Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda, cofounder of Her Wealth.

Take the Financial Fitness Checkup Quiz now!


Shawn: Now you hear all kinds of deals about leasing cars, how can you negotiate a better deal if you want to lease?

Nina: Okay, well many people don't realize that they can actually negotiate the sticker price on a leased car in the same way that you would do that if you're buying a car. And since when you lease -- when you're, you know, your lease payments basically cover the depreciation, the difference between the sales price and the residual value. So it's definitely in your best interest to try to reduce that sales price as much as possible because then you'll pay you know, smaller dollars over the life of the lease. Make sure you pay attention to the down payment at the lease signing. And so here's an example, you might see an ad that says you know, lease payment is only 1.99 a month and that sounds like a great deal for thirty six months. The catch is, is that it might require a $3,600 down payment. So, if you amortize the down payment, then actually that 1.99 special, becomes 2.99. So, you really have to kind of look at total costs. 

And then lastly, dealerships use the term, money or lease factor, when they're calculating your financing costs and a lease factor is not the same as an interest rate. So, you have to make sure the dealer converts that lease factor into a comparable interest rate so you know what your financing charges are. 

Shawn: At the end of the day, does one method wind up being more expensive more often than the other, or can we tell that?

Nina: You know what, it really depends on how long, if you're going to hold the car for a long time, you're better off buying. But if you know, and if you're not, if you just really enjoy driving and you want to have a new car, then go ahead and lease. I mean, there's pros and cons to both, to be honest with you, it's not one size fits all.

Shawn: Alright Nina, great. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Alright, Nina Mitchell is with The Colony Group, for more go to and search Her Wealth.

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Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, Senior Wealth Advisor

Dawn’s experience spans more that 25 years providing wealth management, financial planning and corporate finance solutions for clients. As an MBA, CPA, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), she is uniquely qualified to understand the challenges and financial needs of clients from executives to entrepreneurs, as well as single breadwinner parents. Dawn is a weekly contributor to WTOP radio.