Values Added

Vanessa Lowe

Summer Fellow
What do you love doing outside of work?

Dancing, live music, and in-person hangouts with friends… all things I REALLY missed during the worst times of the COVID pandemic. A friend and I had been hosting a community dance for more than 10 years and COVID turned it into a YouTube based Zoom dance, all in our separate homes. In 2024 I saw 5 live concerts, trying to catch up on lost opportunities. I now lean into Yes for every opportunity for face-to-face connection. Deep gratitude for Zoom and other online technologies, but I want to sit next to folks and shake hands again.

Why did you decide to become a financial advisor?

I want to help other activists and change agents retire comfortably like I did. The financial advisory field, while not yet welcoming of all, has tools to help many more people achieve that dream. I spent my early career in small non-profit legal service agencies and didn’t have access to a workplace retirement plan until I wrote the guidance memo advocating for one at my last agency. After grad school and during my career in federal financial services, I developed my own set of financial models and tracking tools. At first this was focused on understanding and paying down my $78,000 in student loan debt, but then, after reaching $0 net worth (yaaayyy!) the focus was on growing my net worth by taking full advantage of each and every workplace benefit. I developed a workshop and started offering classes to share my “Top 10 Tools for Financial Success”. Since 2000, I’ve offered several classes and coached individual clients on budgeting and debt reduction among other things. My newest workshop, “Investing for Justice” offers tips and learning resources for those interested in aligning their money with racial and other justice focused values.

What’s one of your favorite things you’ve helped a client change in their life (financial or otherwise)?

I’d always hoped I could retire by age 60, even made it part of my login password for my retirement account ; ). My first and favorite client is me and I’m so glad I made the financial moves that allowed me to retire at age 56, 4 years earlier than I thought. This leaves me with years in my new career helping others build secure futures and generational wealth.

What experiences do you bring to your work helping clients?

More than 20 years of financial coaching, personal finance class development and public speaking, ChFC(c) designation and a commitment to and understanding of values alignment resources and strategies.

I love making a difference in my community by…

Learning and spreading the word about opportunities. I host guests on my radio show, Vanessa’s Money Hour, where we discuss programs, resources strategies, and legislation supporting financial security and wealth-building. My most recent “Solar Experts” episode included 3 local experts explaining opportunities for solar installation, industry job training, and other benefits already available in Philadelphia, and more on the way as a result of the federal Inflation Reduction Act funding.  My PAGE Hurdle episode, the most popular to date, profiled a grant program to help small businesses scale their operations by procuring large university, government, or other contracts.

Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), The American College of Financial Services
MBA, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
BSTemple University