Nicole Ralph – Financial Advisor

What was your career ambition when you were growing up?

I wanted to be lots of things.  Why choose just one career? I loved reading and people always fascinated me.

I went to university with the intention of being an anthropologist and focused on economic anthropology. I ultimately chose a career in finance when I realized the same holistic, contextual thinking skills could also help cross border families, like mine, make a better life by making better decisions around money.

What brought you to the UK?

I fell in love with a Brit. We met in Germany in 1992 and tried a long-distance relationship for two years but ultimately decided to be together and “see how it goes” and were married in 1994. Three kids and 26 years later, we’re still together.

What do you miss most about the US?

Without a doubt, it’s friends and family. But I also miss the dusk fireflies, the big night skies above the Midwest, and the easy access to vast wilderness, especially the woods. We used to host bonfires in our  back yard where any neighbors who were home would bring their lawn chairs so we could chat, have a few drinks, and make s’mores for the kiddos until the mosquitoes chased us back indoors. I miss that sense of community and the ease of it all.

What is your favourite experience since being in the UK?

We live in Hove and being a 10-minute walk from the sea is like being on vacation every day. The rare occasions when all three of our children (ages 24, 22, and 12) are under one roof with us again are my true favorite moments. This happens at Christmas when our oldest who lives in the US comes to visit.

What is the biggest challenge being an American living in the UK? 

I think it’s disorientating when you move to another country as an adult and have to re-establish yourself professionally, personally, and financially. This is my third transatlantic move and it doesn’t get easier with age but I know from experience the transition period is temporary. Beyond that, being fully present here when social media can keep pulling you back into your former home is a big challenge.

NFL or Premiership OR Cricket or Baseball?

I would have said baseball but attended my first T20 cricket match last September and it was a lot of fun so I might have to switch alliances.

What is it you most enjoy about helping Anglo-American households? 

When I realized finance was going to be my career, I quickly learned that Anglo-American households like mine aren’t served well from either the US or UK traditional financial advice sectors. I decided early on to dedicate my career to help this demographic and I love it because every time I solve a complex problem or put a plan together that realizes a long-term goal for a client, it feels like I’m helping our entire global expat community thrive and prosper.

How is the pandemic affecting your work and the clients you serve?

I’m busier than ever and I think it’s because of a couple of reasons. The volatility of the market always brings out a lot of questions but the circumstances of a global pandemic also gave rise to a lot of clients thinking more deeply about their families, what’s important, and how we’re connected. For some of our clients, this means exploring opportunities to move back to the US and for others, they are thinking more about the benefits of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing or how spending more time with family has become a priority so are now considering early retirement or job changes to allow further flexibility. The pandemic has touched everybody and for many of my clients, it’s been a good chance to reflect, re-discover their purpose and meaning in their work, and think about how best to use their financial resources to create their new future.

Tell me about someone who has inspired you and why?

I’ve always been inspired by my mother. She quietly faced a world of discrimination in small town America as a divorced mother of two when she came out of the closet in the 80s. I have so many stories where she demonstrated bravery, integrity, and dignity in very tough circumstances. She unfortunately passed away too young from cancer at age 63. Her funeral was attended by hundreds as so many of the people she helped, inspired, and cared for told us more stories of her kindness. I can only hope my life has such a positive impact on the world as hers did.

What’s the last book you read?

I’m a huge Bill Bryson fan. My son usually gives me one of his books every year and he’s the only author I read over and over again. The last book I read was one of his called “At Home: A Short History of Private Life” and it was brilliant!

Beatles or Beach Boys?

Beatles, for sure.

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