"I had to keep my cool because I didn't want to derail my success."  This financial advisor overcame the odds against her.

“I had to keep my cool because I didn’t want to derail my success.” This financial advisor overcame the odds against her.

Lanta Evans-Motte was forced to grow up fast. His mother died while Evans-Motte was still in elementary school. Two years later, her father suffered a severe stroke. “We didn’t know if he would live,” said Evans-Motte, now a financial adviser in Calverton, Maryland. “It was a touch-and-go for a while.”

Evans-Motte was the youngest of nine children. In her early teens, Evans-Motte and her sister were the only children left at home. His family farmed about 100 acres in a poor area of ​​North Florida. Corn and tobacco were their cash crops. The two sisters became carers for their father, while the older siblings helped out financially and visited periodically to keep the farm running – the family’s main source of income. Evans-Motte says they “would have lost the family farm” if not for the financial support of the siblings.

His parents believed deeply in the value of an education and encouraged their children to work hard in school. Evans-Motte was a diligent student and earned good grades. The graduation rate at her high school was about 50%, she said. She fought against all odds and graduated high school farewell while dealing with the loss of her mother, her father’s stroke, and the emotional and financial struggles that came with it.

“At the time, there was no mental health counseling available for young people like me,” she said. “Today I encourage people to seek out resources to help deal with trauma. But I didn’t see myself as deprived. It’s so easy to look at the people around you who are so much worse off and to reject what you are going through.

A chance encounter gave Evans-Motte a path to follow. The director of financial aid at the University of Maryland was visiting family in North Florida. Leafing through the local newspaper, he scanned a list of high school valedictorians and spotted Evans-Motte’s name. He contacted her and ended up offering her a full scholarship to college. Remembering his good fortune, Evans-Motte gratefully calls it “divine intervention”.

During her college years in Maryland, Evans-Motte worked part-time to pay her personal expenses and help her father with his bills. She bought her winter coat at a thrift store. His brothers and sisters contributed to pay for his plane ticket for his periodic round trips to Florida.

Evans-Motte holds a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance and Information Systems from the University of Maryland. After completing her MBA, Evans-Motte entered the corporate world. As a black woman, Evans-Motte faced uncomfortable work situations, such as the time she injured her foot while playing basketball and showed up to the office with a bandaged foot. A colleague remarked, “How did you hurt your foot? Jump from a tree?

A few years later, she was a financial director in a large company. When someone asked her about her background and education, she revealed all of her degrees. “Wow, you’re a really good fit for your job,” the person replied with a hint of surprise.

“Both times I swallowed really hard,” Evans-Motte recalls. “I had to keep my cool because I didn’t want to derail my success.”

After more than a decade working for large corporations, Evans-Motte launched her career as a financial advisor. Now in her 50s, she has run her financial planning practice for 20 years.

Evans-Motte often urges customers to prepare for the worst. Some of them are in denial, at least at first, but she gently urges them to consider insurance products and other long-term care services they might need.

Given her experience growing up, Evans-Motte has a heightened awareness of the dangers of losing a parent — and losing a parent’s income due to death or disability. “When I was in my thirties, I bought long-term care insurance,” she said. “I recognized the need. I was motivated by the unrecognized trauma of what I experienced with my parents.

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