Name: Elissa Wurf
My Position at Agili: Financial Planning Analyst
Educational background: B.A. in psychology from UCLA; post-BA certificate in accounting from Muhlenberg College; currently enrolled in Certified Financial Planner coursework. Also, I have a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan (I taught and did research in social/personality psychology but I am not a clinician, so relax, I am not analyzing anyone.)
Describe your family. Currently my immediate family is just my sister and me. My sister lives in Los Angeles in the house I grew up in and is the Membership Director for the Skirball Cultural Center (a museum). I also have extended family whom I keep in contact with mostly via Facebook.
What motivates you? As you can probably tell by the academic degrees, I have a passion for learning. I also have a passion for helping people and trying to make a difference in their lives, which is one reason I left academia.
What are your hobbies/charities/sports (active of fan)? I am involved in my congregation, currently sitting on the Finance Committee after having rotated off a four-year stint on the Board of Directors over the summer. I am also involved in professional organizations, particularly the Lehigh Valley chapter of the PA Society of Tax and Accounting Professionals (PSTAP), where I help organize their educational program. I have recently begun to be involved with BW NICE (Business Women Networking in Charity & Education), where Carrie Fellon is V.P. of the Lehigh Valley chapter, and with the Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley, where I first met Marilee Falco. Hobbies: I play the flute and occasionally play with a local group, most recently with a recorder ensemble at a friend’s church. I also try to keep active by going to the gym and walking.
Are you a cat or dog person? More than anything, I am a Basset Hound person. I was given a stuffed toy basset hound when I was born and my first live basset hound puppy when I was six. After that, my parents turned to golden retrievers, but I “imprinted” on the bassets and have had two, Simon and Henry, both of whom are now at the “Rainbow Bridge.” I got my first cat as a companion for the dog-in-residence, and since then have always had one or two cats. The current residents are two kitty matrons, Buffy and Bridget, whom I adopted after they lost their prior owner at around the same time I lost my last cat.
What is your most memorable or favorite book? Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and achieving Financial Independence (by Joe Dominguez & Vicky Robin) was a book that was significant in my transformation from educator to financial planner. The idea of money as “life energy” and translating dollars into time units helps people reframe the decisions they are making and put them into perspective.
What is your most memorable or favorite movie? Vertigo. I love the atmosphere of 1950s San Francisco and the mystery of the plot, and of course, Jimmy Stewart.
What is your favorite food or type of food? Asian, particularly Korean and Vietnamese.
Anything else so interesting you can’t hold back? When I was teaching, I developed a course called The Psychology of Money and Happiness, which I taught at Lehigh, Moravian, and Muhlenberg.