In her role as co-founder at Shaping Wealth, Joy Lere dives “into the intersection of money and the mind.” The learning technology platform works with advisors and clients to promote healthier mental relationships with money.
“The modern advisor is trained in managing money, but they are not trained in managing humans and working with the human side of money,” Lere said. “That’s what we’re focused on at Shaping Wealth.”
Lere’s background is in clinical psychology, and she’s held positions at Penn Medicine Princeton Health, Children’s National Hospital and the Department of Defense. After consulting in the behavioral finance field, she met Brian Portnoy, who shared with her his vision of what would eventually become Shaping Wealth.
The two soon co-founded the organization, introducing Lere both to the wealth management industry and the “wild ride” of a startup.
The platform offers different paths for advisors, including a 100-day experience called “Building the Behavioral Advisor,” which includes live teaching and cohort-based work at a cost of $7,500 per individual (although family rates also are available).
In November, the organization is launching a subscription-based membership program called OCBO, standing for “out-sourced chief behavioral officer,” and it’s where Lere sees the most potential for growth in 2023. Many large firms and wirehouses are recognizing the importance of integrating behavioral science into their work and are hiring chief behavioral officers to come in-house and counsel their advisors.
“But until this point, that’s been a nice-to-have that a lot of firms can’t afford, and independent advisors certainly don’t have access to,” Lere said.
Shaping Wealth’s OCBO service, which runs between $150 and $200 per advisor/per month, will operate akin to third-party tech support, letting smaller firms manage costs while benefiting from Shaping Wealth’s behavioral finance insights. The program offers training, tools and support for small RIAs who may find their work isolating, according to Lere.
Lere’s work accompanies a broader shift within the industry to what she called a “human-centered approach” to advice, with people inside and outside the wealth management space more willing to speak about struggles they may have previously kept under wraps.
“I think there’s something coming out of the pandemic; ‘When everything is stripped away, what am I left with? What do I have and what really matters to me?’” Lere said. “And to build on that, advisors are doing a lot of self-reflection coming out of the pandemic; ‘How do I want to practice? What do I want my relationship with work to look like?’”
Lere continues to work in private practice and operates the Substack “Finding Joy” in addition to her work with Shaping Wealth. In 2023, in addition to the focus on OCBO, the platform plans to launch more cohorts for its “Building the Behavioral Advisor” program, endeavoring to offer clarity for advisors in such a confusing time, both inside and outside the industry.