Adam Torres and Cheryl Evans discuss the Lifetime Financial Security Program.
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The Lifetime Financial Security Program is focused on new financial vehicles and ways to fund retirement, especially for those who have not saved for retirement or believe that they cannot make that investment. In this episode, Adam Torres and Cheryl Evans, Esq., Director at Milken Institute. Explore the Lifetime Financial Security Program and Cheryl’s experience at the Milken Institute.
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About Cheryl Evans, Esq.
With 30+ years of experience as an Attorney, Advocate, Senior Policy, Ethics & External Affairs Director, focusing on strategic execution & planning across law and business, Cheryl has been an integral to public policy work, regulatory affairs, ethics, strategy & content development. She has also led advocacy initiatives, program management, & crisis management. It is Cheryl’s passion to utilize her expertise gained throughout her career, including her time as a Senior Counsel at the SEC, Special Counsel at the US Chamber, & Director at CFA Institute, utilizing a wide-span skillset, to advise US & global business leaders.
About Milken Institute
The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank focused on accelerating measurable progress on the path to a meaningful life. With a focus on financial, physical, mental, and environmental health, we bring together the best ideas and innovative resourcing to develop blueprints for tackling some of our most critical global issues through the lens of what’s pressing now and what’s coming next.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres and I’m happy to announce that we’re we’re reporting live from the Milken Institute Global Conference 2023. So pumped and excited to have Cheryl Evans on the line today, who is a director over at Milken Institute.
And we’re gonna be talking about a new program that they’re rolling out, which is called Lifetime Financial Security Program. First off, Cheryl, welcome to the show. Thank you so much, Adam, for having me. I’m excited to be here. It’s a pleasure and I’ve watched some of your podcasts. Excellent work. So excited to talk about this important topic.
Well, I’m excited to get into Lifetime Financial Security program and really this rollout, it’s a big deal. I know there’s a lot of different pillars, a lot of facets to it, and we’re gonna get into the weeds about this. I also wanna know how you. Got involved with Milkin, your, your origin story, if you will, on the Milkin Institute.
But before we get into all that, um, we’re gonna start this episode the way that we start them all. I think you may have seen the, the show before and you know the drill. So we’ll start with our mission matters minute. So, Cheryl, we at Mission Matters. We amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts.
That’s our mission. Cheryl, what mission matters to you? My mission at this time, particularly here at milkin. And, and it’s kind of become my larger mission in thinking about how I wanna top off my career is focusing on lifetime financial security. And, and that notion encompasses many different things. It applies to all Americans, a, across the US so we can be impactful in that space.
And we’re really thinking about. The factors that impede large portions of the US population from being financially secure throughout the course of their life and possibly insecure in retirement. So I’m excited to do that work. We’re, we’re gonna be highlighting different topic areas, ways that people can build their own financial muscle to learn more about finance.
Do things like start engaging at an early age with finance and investing at an earlier age, and then look at some of the policy and inequities and things that we need to change to help people be financially secure throughout their lives, which really is the American dream. And that also ties into Milton’s building MCAT Center for advancing the American Dream, and that’s everyone’s dream to be financially secure and live the life that they choose.
So that’s what we’re aiming to do through advocacy research and speaking with experts and then educating. So, yeah, that’s my mission now. That’s great. And, and love, we love supporting that mission over at Mission Matters. And one of my goals in coming to the conference and covering the conferences that I know that, you know, not all of our audience out there, maybe not everybody’s seeing milk and or, or knows what it’s about.
Yeah. The Global Conference. So maybe let’s start with like your origin story. Like, like how did you discover the Milkin Conference? Um, well, I discovered Milkin and started working here last year. So it’s, it’s my one year anniversary and I came last Congrat. It is. I started, uh, at last year’s global conference a month before, so I was thrown into, it was, it was limited to a little more then to retirement.
Um, I’m, I’m a securities lawyer by training, so I worked at the US Securities and Exchange Commission for 11 or 12 years. I’ve done other work in the. Finance space, uh, worked at CFA Institute, the Global Association investment professionals dealing with content, the future of finance I worked at. And then on the business side, I worked at the US Chamber of Commerce for six years.
So I’ve been in that sort of space of capital markets, business, et cetera. And when I was looking to leave C FFA Institute, I had known of Milkin for years. Yeah. Um, having, I knew they had a, a finance center, center for financial markets, which now. It’s now called MI Finance and I knew some people who’d worked there.
The head of the Inter Office of International Affairs, uh, Paul Leader was a senior fellow and I had always looked at at positions there that I would see occasionally and saw this opening that fit quite nicely with my background. In addition to being an attorney, I’ve done some training and certified in life coaching, wellness coaching, so focused on transition, so it seemed like a great fit for me because I’m interested in the psychological part.
And then I know finance and I wanna do something impactful that was gonna make a difference. And that’s what Milton’s all about. You know, we have the three pillars of finance, health, and philanthropy, and then we go beyond that. But, so I’m excited to be here and so that was really why I wanted to do something impactful and be at a think tank, so.
Hmm. Yeah, it’s wonderful. And, um, a lot of diff so obviously a lot of different things that you could have done with, with your tenure and your career and especially what you had in your stage in your career. A lot of experience. I see. Milk and overall as the brand and the platform and all the good they’re doing.
Now when you think about the rollout of this program, let’s maybe get a little bit, a little bit further there. Like what attracted you to this program? What attracted me to the program? I think it was a nice fit with my background and my knowledge. So I, I know finance well, I sort of know the private wealth space.
I worked a bit in that at, at CF Institute, one of the things I did there was helpfully to go global policy initiative, thinking about finance and also the mission of, uh, MI finance. Part of it is harnessing finance as a force for good. Mm-hmm. So that was a big attraction for me, wanting to do something that was solely in the impact space, uh, towards the end of my career.
See if institute did similar work. Mm-hmm. But this is really squarely in making a difference, bringing together disparate, uh, people who may not be in the same room. Mm-hmm. And, and people wanna hear from milk and which is also great. Yeah. Um, so that’s the main sort of big picture, you know, reason why I wanted to join and, and I’m excited to be here.
And, and the global conference is amazing. Yeah. For anyone who hasn’t, uh, been to it. So a lot of different topics. Over 840 speakers. Oh my gosh. 840. Oh yeah. 8 35 mean eight 40. I don’t It’s a lot. It’s a lot. Yes. Yes. And, A lot of topics. Mm-hmm. And so I, I noticed some, some, some of my background for, especially for my longtime listeners and people that have been watching.
So I, I come from a finance background and I, I thought it was interesting what the, the, the way that the phrase has changed. So when you said it maybe started with something like retire, and now when we think about lifetime financial security, like. That everything, all of that nuance, it encompasses so much more.
Is that a broadened scope or maybe can you let us know? Yes. We, we did broaden it out. We were thinking of retirement security and actually we’ve, we’ve held an event in October and we’ve also been consulting with experts and one expert had said to us in several, have we should retire the term retirement.
A lot of younger people, it doesn’t resonate with them. And then also many people are not gonna probably officially retire in the sense where you work somewhere and get a pension and, and quit working. People will transition to some other role. And then we also were thinking where can milk can be impactful?
Mm-hmm. And it’s, it’s, a lot of people are in the retirement space, right? Yeah. And financial firms and, and experts. Great experts that I could list, Alicia Mano and various others. Teresa. Willow Ducey, but we thought that people really need to be financially secure at all stages of their lives. Hmm. And they’re not always doing that.
And a big factor that we wanted to focus on is getting people to invest at a young age. Starting at, at least at at 25. And I know when I was 25, I was still starting out as a lawyer, but I was not thinking of investing. Mm-hmm. But the power of compounding can get you a lot of money. As you know, Adam, I’m quite sure.
Um, over 40 years. So we really wanted to really focus on getting people to invest early and being secure at, at all stages of their life. Mm-hmm. So that they can live the life they want, not just at the end of their life. Cuz you don’t know when that’s gonna be and you don’t know what retirement will look like for you.
So we wanna encompass that whole spectrum. Yeah. And when I saw that in the broad and scope, I think about it and I think about the, even the idea of retirement. Let’s retire retirement, that word, right? Yes. Because what it comes down to is some of those, in my opinion, some of the values that we had with that term in the past, like we’re living longer.
Many of us are fortunate too. We’re, we have a different quality of living. There’s, we’re a lot more accessible. I mean, some of the individuals, the. Third, the fourth, the fifth acts. I mean, I’ve seen people doing, and it’s not always, it doesn’t have to always necessarily be like money centric. Like it may be philanthropy, it may be a lot of different things, but the idea that we are going to, you know, just kind of retire to the golf course or whatever we’re gonna do at the end, just we have so many years and so much more that we can give back, in my opinion.
And so I see this, that kind of, that next stage of, of rebranding it so that it’s financial security. Yeah, that’s exactly right. And, and we’re thinking also about longer work lives, which is one of the topics when we delve in the need to work longer. We know we have an aging population, baby boomers, uh, you know, coming to the fore.
And, and so we have people living longer and then we have an aging population. We also had covid and we started thinking in terms of, mm-hmm now maybe a good time to spur action. Cause a lot of people were pulling back saying, am I financially secure? Am I gonna keep my job right? So, so that’s a factor as well.
So it was a good time. To sort of pull those three things together, maybe capture people’s attention in thinking about their own financial security, because sometimes people have a hard time thinking about it, particularly if they’re struggling financially. Mm-hmm. They think I can’t save for the future.
So we wanna encourage people to do that. Yeah. What are some of the, uh, initiatives or the ways. That, um, that you, that you’re planning on or working on, the conversations of kind of reaching the different populations, like with this content, whether it’s age, whether it’s maybe underserved communities that just in general, how are you kind of going about that?
Yes. I mean, we, um, uh, have a paper that, that’s called Shifting the Retirement Paradigm. Mo moving towards Lifetime financial security that will be released in about six weeks. But the executive summary is online now. Um, and it’s about seven pages. The paper is 50 or 60 pages, so I know that not everyone’s gonna read that long piece, but within that piece, um, it, it covers some of the things that we’re gonna focus on, and so we’ll be focusing on things like the obvious one I said.
Mm-hmm. Getting people to invest at a young age, understanding the power of compounding. One of the other factors is getting people to look at their social security early on. We don’t want people living on social security. The average amount, just the average that people get, many people get more, but and less is 1,827 a month in 2023 you.
And we see some older people living on that, and that’s a struggle. So we want people to look at that and think in terms of streams of income. So we’ll also be focusing on. Inequities, uh, racial inequities, uh, gender inequity, and I can, you know, give you some stats Yeah. On those things. And then focusing on longer working lives, uh, to, to your point that you just made, people are going to want and need to live longer and frankly have a lot to contribute o over time.
So multi-generational workforces and then upskilling people getting, getting people to train. Hmm. So I’ll just add one more thing, is that we have coined a term that you. We want people to focus on their career longevity plan. Mm-hmm. Which is a new term, uh, that we’re just thinking about. In other words, don’t presume you’re gonna be able to stay in your job till 67.
Statistics show that you will probably be pushed out, or maybe you can’t do it physically or you have caregiving responsibilities. So we want people to upskill and train. So those are some of the things we’re doing as to the way we do it. We convene people, we put out research papers, speak with the media, have advocacy campaigns, and we did something like we commented on the Secure 2.0 Act that was just passed.
Mm-hmm. Which was helping enhance the retirement plan. So we do all of those things as a think tank. A lot of different sort of tools in our tool chest to to highlight issues. Fantastic. Yeah. And so, Cheryl, putting you on the spot here for this one. Okay. Milk in 2023. Uh, conference. What’s been one of your favorite?
I know there’s still some more conference left. It’s more, yeah. But so far what’s been some of your favorite moments? You know, I’m excited for my own session, which is FinTech and Innovative Solutions. We have four different speakers, but that’s coming up tomorrow, so that’s not happened yet. I was very moved by the.
MUE prize that Emily Church, Muell Church runs. Um, it was three or four years in the making. Last night we announced the winners. It was in Ag Agritech. We had people from, uh, Southern Africa compete. We had 3,500 submissions. Wow. We gave them, uh, we picked 25, gave them amounts of money. It may be $50,000.
That, that may be wrong, but about that, we are down, we had the five finalists here from Africa. Wow. They got a hundred thousand, the the top, uh, bottom two, but they’re all great. And then a hundred fifty, three fifty and a million dollar prize. And so solving those kind of world problems, that’s a philanthropy piece.
But that was very inspirational. Mm-hmm. To me, um, there was a great talk on AI yesterday. Ashton Kutcher was a part of it remarkably. Knowledgeable in that space. Yeah. And then I liked Frank Lu’s Town Hall where we talked about it divided America and it was interactive. We had experts, we had the mayor of Miami, we had other people, Nick Mulvaney, and then we had people in the audience speaking about how can we get things done at the state and federal level when people are so divided in, in divisive, in their, in their dialogue.
So these were all very different topics, but that’s kind of what Milin does well. Mm-hmm. Brings together a lot of different topics in the health philanthropy. Mm-hmm. Uh, finance space, but then we go beyond that, you know, into other kind of, we have sports and other things, but those are ones that stood out for me so far.
Ah, it’s great. Yeah. And so, as I mentioned before, you know, one of the things that my goal of being here is to get, you know, our audience. I want everybody to know about the milk and conference and also the great work that is happening here and all, all the things that are going on. If people want to kind of follow up and learn more about.
You know, Milkin, how do you, how, how do you think people are the best way for people to get involved? I think the first way that entry point is really to go to milkin.org, our website. Mm-hmm. And it’s broken down by centers. I work in the Center for Financial Markets, which is essentially rebranded as, uh, MI Finance, but it’ll say both.
And if you’re interested in this particular program, you can, you know, look for the papers on the cover page right now, uh, shifting the, you know, the retirement paradigm, uh, moving towards lifetime financial security. So I would do that. We, in finance, we have other, Interesting topics. Uh, climate resilient infrastructure, inclusive capitalism, FinTech, crypto, those, those things as well.
We help with developing countries. We bring in scholars from other securities areas, so there’s a lot to see on the website. And if you wanna sort of look and see what we’re doing in the, the health space, aging philanthropy, I would go there. And then if you’re interested, there’s often ways to. Engage and, and, and say, you wanna be a part of something, or if you wanna join a, a, a dialogue that we’re having and say, I’m an expert.
Yeah. I’d like to, you know, work with you. Mm-hmm. That’s, that’s a possibility as well. Yeah. So, and I understand also on the website, I mean, there’s a ton of content Yes. Like from previous, I mean, even, even on YouTube, I noticed that there’s, like, there’s so many, I think there’s over, I, I looked last night, over 2000 videos.
There’s research papers and then there’s, there’s snippets from private sessions. We hold over 300 events a year, and we do them in amea, we do them in. And there’s a Singapore one, but it’s related. Mm-hmm. You know, we do them in other locations, Washington, uh, New York, um, London. So we have events and then we have our research pieces that are up there.
And then we have smaller convenings. So we do do a lot of different things, but if there’s a top that you’re interested in, you can engage and we, we often. Say that we welcome experts, you know, reaching out with us to us to participate in our dialogues. Cause that’s what we do. Well bring people together to try to talk about and think about solving the important issues.
And I will say one other thing, we added gun violence to our repertoire this year. Um, we have a public and private session on that. Really important, timely and sad, you know, topic. But so we’re in a lot of spaces. Yeah. So, yeah. Well, Cheryl, I just wanna say it has been great having you on the show today.
Thank you. And really appreciate you taking time out of your busy conference schedule because I know you are back to back and forth. I already saw, so we got Chad to Chad to get you on the show for a couple minutes. So I really, really appreciate you coming on. So thank you. And, um, one other thing I’ll say is, is to the audience, um, we’re gonna put all of that information to in the show notes so that you can just really just click on the link, head on over, check out the.
YouTube channel and also the website. And definitely check out that that paper as it comes out. The paper one more time was called, it’s called Shifting the Retirement Paradigm. Mm-hmm. Cause we want people to sort of make that ship moving towards lifetime, uh, financial security. And so that’s gonna have a lot of information on thinking about how to, uh, Analyze your social security, how to come up with a plan.
Mm-hmm. How to overcome behavioral biases that may keep you from investing, how to even envision your future self better. So, uh, love to have people, uh, look at that and it, it can help I think everyone personally. All right, perfect. And we, again, that will be in the show notes. And, uh, Cheryl, really thanks again for coming on the show.