‘We Have an Obligation to Lift as We Climb’
Cris Caruso '93, founder of Savoire Financial, knows the ins and outs of dollars and cents. And she also knows that paying it forward makes perfect sense for anyone who wants to practice responsible wealth management.
For over 18 years, Caruso has worked in the financial services industry with a specialty in helping Gen X women and LGBTQ+ clients achieve their professional and life goals. “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I understand the needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ households or individuals as they plan for their futures,” she said. “First and foremost, I create a safe space where we can talk, and then outline how we can put a comprehensive plan in place, depending on the scenario, that could include estate planning or investing for retirement. I help them manage their money wisely.”
Caruso found her niche as a financial planner during a journey that started as an undergraduate at Bay Path majoring in hospitality management. She later also earned a degree in sociology and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. In the beginning of her career, she worked primarily in nonprofits. Eventually, she worked for a software company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that was eventually bought out, and she moved to Maryland.
“I realized at one point I needed a change,” Caruso said. “I have always been interested in personal finance and how to leverage money. Deciding to be a financial planner was a magical use of my educational background and my hospitality skills. Everything blended together.”
And when it comes to her own financial planning, Caruso practices what she preaches.
“I sat down with my wife, and we decided that charitable giving was very important to us. Personally, I am very passionate about students who are marginalized or first in their family to go to college. We decided to make a focused gift that would support those students who need financial assistance just as they are so close to achieving their goal of a degree. And we also have Bay Path in our estate plan.”
Caruso has a philosophy that is the perfect complement to financial planning. “I believe we have an obligation to lift as we climb,” she said. “When we are successful, we should give back to the places that have gotten us where we are. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition—give what you can. When multiple people make financial gifts, then the power of those gifts are amplified. And that’s an impact!”