Here’s Why Jennifer Hipkiss Wants to Empower Her Clients to Align Finances With Life Values

by Anne Holmes on September 21, 2019

A huge NABBW welcome to Jennifer Hipkiss, one of our newest members. Jennifer is the founder of Vidyavest, an independent, fiduciary advisory firm dedicated to coaching clients toward their unique life purpose. Jennifer tells us she founded Vidyavest in order to add an oft missed value to the financial services industry.

Why take the risk of starting her own firm? Part of her answer is found in her firm’s unique name: Vidyavest. In Sanskrit, VIDYA means “science, learning, philosophy, and education. The pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and continued growth.” With VEST coming from the word “invest.”

Jennifer explains that her firm’s goal, is to assist her clients to align their finances with their personal life values.  To do this, she asks her clients what she refers to as “the deep questions.” Their unique answers to these questions allow her to develop a plan for their money and future financial needs that meshes with their personal beliefs. She has a very personal reason for this focus:

“My first investment experience was when I was in my mid-20’s. I understood that it was important to save money for my future but I did not have the experience and knowledge as to how to invest and when investing was appropriate. I reached out to a well-known company I had heard about to get advice. I opened an account and the advisor invested my $500 deposit. This was a very well-known firm that I felt was trustworthy. The advisor invested my money and, at first, the investment grew. Within months, the investment began to drop and finally, after a few years, this $500 investment became worthless.”

Jennifer Hipkiss, founder of Vidyavest and one of NABBW's newest members.

“My initial experience, thankfully, was a relatively small amount of money in the big picture of my life. But, for me, at 26 years old, the loss was significant.

“I quickly began to read and learn all about investing. This experience led me to realize there is a significant difference between investing and financial planning. My first financial advisor never asked me important questions like, “Will you need this money within the next year,” or “What other money do you have available for your needs.”

“This experience, while certainly not ideal, was an excellent foundation for my passion. My passion has evolved to make sure my company looks at your “big picture.” Where are you today and where do you want to go?

“We use these questions like these to help educate and guide you as to how you can best allocate your financial resources towards YOUR goals,” she explains.

As a result, “We invest with you to build and preserve your personal wealth with specialized attention and guidance. We provide you with one-on-one attention to create comprehensive planning that helps manage your risk, implements valuable tax strategies, improves performance, and ensures your wealth is helping you fulfill your unique life goals.” This is especially important  because a financial plan’s true value only becomes evident with implementation.

“We understand the financial worries that keep you up at night. The economic landscape is ever-shifting, whether due to anticipated market downturns, proposed legislation, tax law changes or even natural disasters that stress the financial world without warning.

“Partnering with our team removes the mystery of how to plan today to mitigate the unknowns of tomorrow. Whether you’re concerned about having enough to retire comfortably, saving for your child’s college education, or caring for ailing parents, we assure you that we have felt similar worries and are here to guide you through. We understand the strategies needed to launch you over these hurdles. No matter the issues surrounding your personal financial situation, our team will craft custom plans tailored to unique needs and ambitions.”

Once we understood Jennifer’s focus, we asked her to answer our famous “Voice of Baby Boomer Women” questions, which she kindly did below.

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

Greetings – My name is Jennifer Hipkiss. I enjoy travel, people, diverse cultural experiences and the great outdoors. I like to be active with hiking/walking, biking, swimming and yoga. I enjoy volunteering with women and children. My work passion focuses on education, empowerment and serving tax and financial advice.

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I have been married to my husband, Victor, for 22 years and we have two sons, Hayden and Logan. We have been through many challenges and, thankfully, been able to partner and work through the terrain together. My father has lived with us over the years but currently he is living on his own.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

My favorite memories of childhood revolve around roller skates (I was like Tootie from the Facts of Life TV show, always had skates on my feet). If I was not roller-skating, I loved swimming or biking. I always dreamed of being an Olympic ice skater but that never came about. I do own ice skates and enjoy skating periodically in the winter.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I want to share my experiences and knowledge with other women so we can lift each other up, help each other succeed and be powerful in our lives. I enjoy being around caring, genuine women where we each share and contribute ourselves for mutual betterment.

What inspires you?

I am inspired when I am around loving, energetic women who laugh, smile and support each other. It’s important for me to see beauty in looking at nature, each other and the wonder that’s in our hearts. We can all get bogged down with the negatives and fears that surround our lives, but when we look at nature and potential instead we can lift each other towards that good energy and love.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

I get most pleasure letting the true me evolve, live and be seen. I have hidden myself behind fear, people-pleasing and societal expectation for so long that there is such energy in being myself and that energy is giving me a pleasure that is catapulting me to better things and feeling deeper.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I enjoy being active and getting outside as much as possible. Fresh air and movement makes me feel my best. I enjoy biking, walking/hiking, swimming and yoga. I love people and learning about differences in cultures. I enjoy travelling and hope to see more of the world as time continues.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

I really enjoy reading and my two most recent top picks are The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith and  Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (with a foreword by Sheryl Sandberg).

The Power of Meaning is extremely moving and discusses how we can either choose to get stuck or be propelled by the challenges and devastating events that happen in our lives. Author Smith discusses how we can choose to use these events to find our meaning and purpose in life. It is a truly inspirational book.

Originals is also a fabulous book. This book talks about how our uniqueness can be used to change the world. If we choose to “fit in” with the crowd, we may be comfortable but we leave behind our best unique impact in the world.

The two books together really complement each other and help provide you with energy to apply your uniqueness to the world. I like these books because they’ve helped me in my midlife as I have changed from being a person wanting to hide in the crowd to allowing my uniqueness to show through and get applied to the world in everything I do.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

Awesome shot of Jennifer and her husband Victor, backed by one of the Black Forest's famous waterfalls, near Triberg, Germany.

I enjoy travelling and would like to do more. I enjoy nature and enjoy different scenery and cultures. I have traveled most with my husband and children but would like to explore trips with women only. I have a goal of doing a health retreat in 2020 with a group of women in Europe.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate

Yes, I practice preventative medicine. I was pre-diabetic and had lots of health and fertility problems before age 30. I had a European doctor recommend I change my lifestyle and food choices. I did and lost 100 pounds and was able to naturally get pregnant. That sold me on a healthy lifestyle! I try to eat healthfully and be active but it is a daily balance!

What do you stress about?

Ironic that I am a financial advisor, but I have a fear of security and money. I think that is a main reason I became a financial advisor to be able to earn how to become secure. I was on my own very young and it was frightening on top of a few very scary events. I felt learning how to manage my money will help protect me from those things ever happening again. It has, to an extent, and as I age, I have become more secure, but I can get stressed about money even today and I can relate to clients that have insecurities with money.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I would love to keep my youthful appearance, but I have yet to have any surgery to do so. At this time, I haven’t gotten there yet, but we will see as time changes. I hope eating healthy and keeping active will help my youthful appearance. There are amazing role models at my gym.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I would say that I have been evolving each year. Life challenges, changes and circumstances has caused me to change and evolve over time. I would say that last 5-7 years I have begun to come out of my internal shell. A natural introvert, I tended to shy away from people and be more behind the curtain. However, as I have aged ore recently, a new part of me is evolving to be able to better connect with other women and enjoy more social elements to life. I think my early life caused me to be more cautious and that is definitely lessened more recently and I have thoroughly enjoyed deepening connections with other women.

Do you plan to retire?

I enjoy my work and appreciate the flexibility and balance of owning my own company. I do not plan to retire soon. I hope to live healthfully, travel and continue to raise women up and empower their financial success until the day I die – whether in a paid capacity or volunteer.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

I respect the beautiful nature that was created for us to enjoy. I am an outdoorsy person and love fresh air and sunshine. Our current social structure is burdening our nature and that makes me so sad. I want it preserved for our children and future generations. I certainly have room for improvement, but I do try to assimilate green choices in my daily life.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

Absolutely, being on my own very young and having to learn about money and tax skills certainly has applied to my career and life purpose. I feel my experiences are better shared with others than kept within. As I have aged, I feel that my purpose is more clear and I am letting it shine brighter.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I want to travel more, meet people all over the world, experience different cultures and live in different parts of the world.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I enjoy volunteering with children, women and seniors. I was very close to my grandparents so I naturally align to help seniors. I also feel that children need the best footing for a solid foundation and I wished I had mentors to direct me. I also see the wonderful nurturing, creative and compassionate powers us women have and enjoy supporting women in all ways that I am able. Being a woman, there are many vulnerabilities that have been abused by others in my life. That has created a deeper meaning and need to protect myself and other women from some of the evils that lurk in the world.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

I would say my grandma was my biggest influencer in my life. She was strong, yet nurturing, loving and caring with me. She was balanced in her life as she worked hard yet took good care of herself. I wish I had more time with her and was able to know her as an adult.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

Balance is a key word throughout my life. I seek to achieve balance with the 4 main focuses in my life – Health, Family, Service and Security.

  • Health, to me, means physical and mental health which includes adding things that bring me joy, like travel.
  • Family includes my husband, sons, friends and community that supports and nurtures each other.
  • Service includes my work and volunteer activities, which all add my unique self to others. Finally,
  • Security means physical and financial well-being so I can have a good platform for which to apply my energy.


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