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Summary from webinar held May 27th focused on:

Steps women can & should take NOW more than ever to be in control of and OWN their financial lives.

Elisabeth Cullington & Leslie Geller


A big thank you to those who attended our first “Getting Financially Fit” virtual discussion! We had a great turnout and very informative discussion, which highlighted planning opportunities during the current economic environment and offered steps women can take now to become best prepared for their financial futures.

Our fitness coach of the day was Capital Group’s Wealth Strategist, Leslie Geller. Leslie has 12+ years of industry experience, including a prior partnership at Elkins, Kalt, Weintraub, Ruben, Gartside, LLP, where she advised high to ultra-high-net-worth clients on all matters of taxation, wealth transfer, and family governance. Leslie speaks frequently at wealth management and strategy conferences and is a big advocate for empowering women in finance.

Hosting Leslie was HoyleCohen’s very own, Elisabeth Cullington. As many of you may know, Elisabeth is co-founder of the Women & Wealth practice and a partner at HoyleCohen. She has 30+ years in the finance industry, including running her own practice, Cullington Hill Advisors. Elisabeth advises business owners and entrepreneurs, many of whom are women, looking to grow, preserve, and transfer wealth. She is passionate about empowering women to build the confidence and knowledge needed to identify their life goals and make sound financial decisions to achieve them.

Here is a recap of their discussion:


While no one could have predicted this current situation, it has provided us with opportunities to learn from and better prepare ourselves for the continued fallout and future implications. The unfortunate consequences of COVID are very real and have affected everyone in a myriad of ways. As such, this environment has also created openings to discuss issues surrounding money, death, taxes, and planning in a very real and constructive way. Changes brought about by the SECURE and CARES Acts can also have significant effects on retirement planning, charitable giving benefits, and taxes; providing additional immediate motives to pay attention to your financial picture.


Now that the market shock has settled down a bit and people are adjusting to a more home-based working situation and less travel etc., it is a good idea to use the time you are home to consider your whole financial picture, including:

  • Investment portfolio – re-balance if necessary; take advantage of losses for current year or carryforward for future years.
  • Retirement strategies and plans – how to best leverage or incorporate the changes created by the SECURE and CARES Acts (both highlighted in more detail on our blog):
    • Elimination of the Stretch IRA (SECURE ACT) – affects how long non-spouse beneficiaries have to stretch the tax liability on an inherited IRA (reduced from lifetime to 10 years).
    • Changes in RMD age increased from 70 ½ to 72 (SECURE ACT)
    • Temporary waiver of RMD for 2020 (CARES ACT)
    • Tax-favored withdrawals from retirement plans (CARES ACT)
    • Qualified plan loans – plan specific, can take up to $100k without early withdrawal penalty (CARES ACT)
    • Advantages of Roth Conversions (affected by the CARES ACT)
    • Charitable Giving Opportunities – Cash contributions made directly to a 501(c)(3) for tax year 2020: individuals that do NOT itemize deductions (file Schedule A), you may deduct, above the line, up to $300 of charitable cash contributions. If you DO itemize deductions, the tax-deduction limit has been increased to 100% of your 2020 adjusted gross income (AGI) for direct charitable cash contributions. – (CARES ACT)
  • Estate plans – Ensuring, at a minimum, that these documents be looked at and updated to reflect your current plans and goals:
    • Financial POA’s
    • Healthcare Directives
    • Named Executor
    • Beneficiaries


Due to a longer life span, divorce, or other events, the statistics clearly show that most women will at some point be responsible for their finances. Coupled with the fact that, even today, 59% of women still defer to their spouses for financial decisions, many women can find themselves blindsided with this daunting task if not prepared. Additionally, women tend to care for aging parents and help them manage their finances.

With that being said, when it comes to planning for your financial future, there is no time like the present – have the conversations now! It might be uncomfortable to have these with family stakeholders on your own, so one idea is to include a neutral third party – someone like an advisor, to help facilitate the conversation.

It’s also important to get the foundational aspects of your financial plan clear FIRST before moving on to other items, like transfer of wealth and charitable giving, for example. Many couples do not clearly define ownership of assets or understand how assets may be treated differently depending upon the state you are living in or where the assets are held. Often, people aren’t clear on what rights they have to assets in the event of divorce or death of a spouse. It is important to ensure you understand your particular asset ownership and title them accordingly.


We had a wonderful time highlighting some top-of-mind discussions and we are truly grateful for these great women, Leslie and Elisabeth, and their sharing of ideas. How you can best leverage these unique planning opportunities for you and your overall financial strategy, depends upon many factors. Please consult your tax specialist, estate planning attorney and/or wealth management professionals to ensure you are making the best decisions for your individual situation.

Your Hosts:


Elisabeth Cullington is a Partner at HoyleCohen and co-founder of the firm’s Women’s Practice. Elisabeth has been providing complex financial advice to professionals, business owners and women for more than three decades. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, she also specializes in helping women in transition (resulting from divorce, widowhood, and career advancement).



Leslie Geller is a wealth strategist at Capital Group. She has 12 years of industry experience and joined Capital Group in 2019. Prior to joining Capital, Leslie was a partner at Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP where she advised high- and ultra high-net-worth clients on all matters related to taxation, wealth transfer and family governance. Leslie speaks frequently at women’s conferences and is a big advocate for empowering women in finance.




Wednesday, June 3rd:  12 – 1 pm (Click to Register)


Next week on June 3rd, Elisabeth will be joined by J.P. Morgan Funds Managing Director, Chief Retirement Strategist, and Head of Individual Retirement, Katherine Roy. While women have made strides in planning for retirement, they still face many challenges including living longer and competing priorities. Join us to hear Katherine’s insight into the changes that have impacted women, and steps to take towards building a plan and saving with confidence. She will highlight key take-away’s such as, how to:

  • Focus on what you can control
  • Expect great things in retirement – and plan for them
  • Maximize your Social Security benefit
  • Understand and participate in the market
  • Ignoring the headlines and staying invested


Wednesday, June 10th:  12 – 1 pm (Click to Register)


On June 10th, Elisabeth will be joined by industry executive, entrepreneur, and author of “WE CAN: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement”, Robin Toft! Robin has helped numerous organizations attract and retain innovative and diverse talent. She has also mentored and coached countless individuals to supercharge their careers, by helping them become essential value creators within their companies. This discussion is not to be missed! Some of the hot topics will include how to:

  • Become the CEO of YOU
  • Build Confidence & Courage
  • Demonstrate COMPETENCE
  • Keep the Oxygen at the top


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