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Accountlogo checkin Check-In | Episode 4: Terri McGray

In this issue of Check-In, Terri McGray shares insights on the retirement landscape and how accounting professionals can best support clients in reaching their financial goals. In honor of Women's History Month, Terri also shares steps women specifically can take to best prepare for retirement.

Planning For Retirement


Well, welcome to another episode of CPAacademy Check-In. I am thrilled to be here with Terri McGray today, and we are going to jump into questions. But before we do I want to tell you a little bit about Terri. Terri McGray is the Founder and President of Longevity Capital Management LLC, a professional wealth management and retirement planning consulting firm that helps business owners and individuals work towards a successful retirement. 

Terri is a champion of retirement readiness and public speaker, speaking passionately about our national retirement crisis and the importance of good 401k stewardship. Some of the conferences she has spoken at include LA Accounting and Finance Show 2019, California HR Professional Conference 2019, Professionals in Human Resources local chapters, and Cal Lutheran University. She earned her CFP designation in 1997, when less than 5% of the CFPs were women. 

Terri also started working on Wall Street in 1988, where she was the only female advisor in the office of 60 brokers. She is a California native, is married with three daughters, loves to RV, cook, and enjoys wine. She also recently returned from a cheese making workshop in Pennsylvania, which I definitely want to hear more about that because I have a love of cheese as well. 

But unfortunately, we're going to jump into our questions here . I also want to say that I've had the pleasure of moderating for Terri on many of her webinars and I've learned so much each and every one of them. 

So let's just jump right into our questions because I'm curious to know, what inspired you to start Longevity Capital Management? And what was your vision for the company when you founded it?

Terri McGray

Well, thank you Autumn. You know, most people who are founders of companies are looking to solve a problem. And I spent most of my years working on Wall Street working with wealth accumulation focus, which is really what Wall Street type firms do. And the problem that I saw that existed is a gap in helping people transition into retirement and generate an income rather than accumulate wealth. So my inspiration was to really focus on that expertise and solve the, the need that we have today, because we have 80 million baby boomers transitioning into retirement, more so than we've ever seen before. 

The vision for the company is to lead with planning, because there's so many different nuances that go into planning. And planning is very important to most people starting off with trying to develop a an investment strategy. But at the end of the day, we've got to figure out what you're trying to accomplish, what are your goals, and then build your strategy to your plan. 

And I'm going to say in relation to the cheesemaking if I may, yes, building or creating a beautiful cheese is both an art and a science. And I've been fascinated with it for years finally went back to Pennsylvania for this class. And as I was going through this class, I began to realize much of what we do at Longevity Capital Management is also science and art. You know, there's math, but it's also the art of building out a plan and an investment portfolio that's customized to the individual. So, you know, it wasn't a big stretch for me to be correlating my my interest to cheesemaking, I guess.


I love it. I love the connection there. Moving on to another question here for you. How does Longevity Capital Management work with CPAs and other financial professionals to ensure that investments are aligned with your client's financial goals?

Terri McGray

I think that speaks right to the planning process. Because what we do is we lead with planning, and again, a lot of other firms and the firms I worked for in the past, focused on your risk tolerance and building out this investment portfolio. 

But what we do at Longevity Capital Management is start with what are you trying to accomplish? What do you need for income for retirement, and everything is analyzed in the most detailed fashion, which is really aligned to the way CPAs are kind of wired. CPAs are methodical, generally, they like to go through the details and all the nuances of the analysis and the projections, the forecasts and cash flows. And that's exactly what we do. 

When we do what we call Pass, which is a program to pass into retirement, it stands for planning, analyzing, strategizing, and strengthening. So how we work is really very unique in the sense that will spend the first let's just say, three meetings, just on the planning, before we get into the solutions, and things that you should be doing with your investment strategies. That's an example.


I love it. Alright, Terri another question here for you. How do you stay up to date on the latest changes and updates to accounting and financial regulations that may impact Longevity Capital Management's investment strategies?

Terri McGray

Oh, that's a tough one. Because changes are always going on. And especially when it comes to the finance, early areas of finance, with taxes and such. 

So a lot of continuing education, I lean on a lot of our key partners, we work with some of the best investment firms out there, lean on them. I lean on tax professionals, and insurance professionals. 

And really, it's about having a great network, as well all of our litany of continuing education that is required. We go to conferences every year. And we are continuously keeping our fingers on the pulse of what's going on with the market and with products and strategies and solutions that do change. 

It's a fast paced world. So we have to work hard and diligent to keep up.


I'm going to switch gears here. So this month is Women's History Month. And you have a very popular webinar on CPAacademy that I have moderated several times. And I love this one called, Smart Women Retire Right. With that in mind, what is your number one piece of advice for women when starting to think about their investments in retirement?

Terri McGray

You know, it's interesting that you ask that question because I think back to my first start and working with women specifically and just to go back when I started the business in 88. Not only was I the only female advisor in the office, but all of our clients were men. I mean, women just shied away from investing. Women would say, my husband handles this or my father helps me or I don't even invest. 

And then it was about 10 years after, I started the business that hosted my first women and investing seminar. Back then we actually did, you know, in person seminars. And I had 70 women show up. And I was really impressed because it was a great turnout. And almost every woman that showed up, had a pad and paper and sat down ready to take notes. Yes, they were, they were really I mean, very unique, because I had done numerous seminars in the past and did not see this kind of eagerness to learn. 

And it was a great, great experience, except, I often leaned on some of my partners to help me with the presentation. And this one particular investment for a major investment firm, which was headed by a male CEO created this women and investing presentation. But it was 15 minutes of content. And these women were there to learn. And it was very elementary. 

As he spoke, he talked about gathering different baskets of money, I thought it was a little remedial, and so did my audience. So I spent 45 minutes after he was finished talking and I didn't have any thing planned, it was completely off the cuff. But the end of the day, these women thanked me profusely, because I spoke of investing in terms that were technical, and that they could understand, because we don't need to dumb it down just because we're, you know, women, and this is new to us. 

And this was the case about 30 years ago. But what I find with women, the best thing I could say as terms of advice is just do it. I'm gonna steal Nike. Because being a woman myself, I know we're busy, we're always taking care of everybody else. We're taking care of our parents, our kids, our spouse, but we're not focused on ourselves enough, we're so busy, we put ourselves lower lower on the list. So that's what I often see is the case with women that are single or unmarried or, or widowed, they just don't take care of their finances as well as they should. And it's not because they don't want to, it's because they just procrastinate or have too many balls in the air. So the best thing I could say is just do it. 

Make the time. Get involved. Understand what you own. When you invest, understand how much you need to save, understand what your retirement picture looks like. And don't be afraid or daunted by the task, engage a professional, engage someone who understands how it looks as a woman, what our risks are, what makes us unique in the finance world, in terms of our specific risks and considerations, and also just how we like to think about our business, our investment business and our finance, we tend to be much more guarded and making decisions, we tend to be, you know, slower in that process to trust others. And that's okay. But you just need to find someone who understands that process and is and is willing to be patient and walk you along and answer a whole array of questions before, you know trying to assist with solving the problems like that. 


Just do it. Just do it. Just go hard to jump right in. 

Terri McGray

Yes, yes. Because we didn't get in our head and there's too much noise. Where are we? I gotta worry about this. I got to think about that. No, no, no, just do it. And once you get immersed in the process, it's amazing how empowered you can become. 

And women I find especially love to educate themselves and really get engaged in the investment and tracking and monitoring process. They just need to know how to do it, how to start.

Statistically speaking, women do make better investors, we tend to be, ironically, less emotional with our investments as well. Oh, yeah, statistically speaking, they say that. And I've seen it myself because women are just more methodical, and with their investments. And that's just what I say from experience. 

Once they understand what they're doing. They're more disciplined, more patient, not to say that men aren't successful and smart, and all those good things too. But I think men get a little bit antsy when the market goes down. Whereas women tend to be more calm when they have the foundation of understanding what they own and why they own it.


That's very interesting. I wouldn't have guessed that. But I could see that. Thank you so much. Another question here for you. What kind of risks do we face as we approach retirement? And how do you help financial professionals manage those risks?

Terri McGray

Yeah, we face a lot of risks. And that's, in fact, the core to the national retirement crisis that I speak of, because we just were not properly educated 20-30 years ago, when before we reach retirement age, like with the baby boomers to prepare properly, and now we've got all these risks we're facing leasing and trying to manage it. 

And women of course, have even greater risk because we have, we live longer, we have greater chances of long term care risks, we tend to be more conservative. So we don't necessarily earn as much on our money over our accumulation years, we might exit periodically to raise kids or take care of our parents. So our income is not as consistent. 

But as a general rule, the risks that we all face are plentiful, one of the greatest is inflation risk. And, you know, I know that we're all mindful of inflation today. But even over my career, the past 30 years inflation has been ever present. And it always will be eroding the value of your of your savings. In fact, it will basically cut the value of your income when you're retired in half about every 20 years at a normal inflation rate. 

So to keep up with inflation in retirement means you have to invest still for growth. And that's a hard thing to accept when you're retired, and you want to have more safety with your investments. But we can't be too conservative with our investments, especially in the early years of our retirement because of inflation. 

We also have taxes, that's the risk of eroding, you know, the the value of our money, the cashflow. And as we know, on CPAacademy, taxes are also ever present, probably going up. So taxes are a risk market risk, we're well aware of that and economic risks. 

And a last year the market was down and the economy was still growing, we didn't have a recession. So not always does the stock market sync with the economy. But we also have to think about those cycles, and most of us will be retired and having to navigate through as many as three recessions. So how do you navigate through that? How do you generate an income that can survive, you know, all of these risks without running out of money. And we have healthcare expenses and risks, and we have risks of longevity. 

So the there's a lot of different risks. And that's why the planning and the need to really dial this down and understand how much you can afford to generate for income, whether you're on the right track, when you can afford to retire when you should file for Social Security. All of these things all come together as one sustained plan to keep you from running out of money, basically. No one wants to be dependent on their kids, or their grandkids, or their governor or the government or charity, right? 


Yes, yes. Yeah. Well, that I appreciate you answering all those questions. I love getting to spend this extra time with you outside of our traditional webinars on CPAacademy. And I so appreciate you being here. Any other final comments before I wrap up?

Terri McGray

I love working with you at CPAacademy and all the members are great. It's such such an honor to be able to share some of my experience with everyone. So thank you for this opportunity and to celebrate women's history month.


Yes, thank you so much. And we'll also make sure that everyone has access to your contact information, and your upcoming webinars on our website. And with that, I'll pass things back over to Christine to wrap us up.

Podcast Audio Version

Featured Courses: March 23, 2023 - April 6, 2023

Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Start Time: 9:00 AM Eastern 
Field of Study: Personal Development
CPE: 1 hour | Cost: 
Presenter: Joyce Marter | View Details
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2023
Start Time: 4:00 PM Eastern 
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge
CPE 1.5 hours | Cost: 
Presenter: Longevity Capital Management | View Details
Date: Thursday, April 6, 2023
Start Time: 2:00 PM Eastern 
Field of Study: Management Services
CPE: 1 hour | Cost: 
Presenter: Quantivate | View Details
Company Check-In
Published Date 03/22/2023




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Welcome to Check-In, an online publication designed to make your learning journey simple and enjoyable! Here at, we understand the importance of staying up-to-date in the accounting profession. We created our Check-In to supplement your CPE requirements and stay ahead of the curve.


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Accountlogo checkin Check-In Check-In is an online publication designed to make your learning journey simple and enjoyable! Here at, we understand the importance of staying up-to-date in the accounting profession. We created our Check-In to supplement your CPE requirements and stay ahead of the curve. Check-In features discussions with top thought leaders in accounting and business, offering you invaluable insights on timely topics as well as timeless knowledge.