Jo Ann Butaud was the first female partner at her law firm in Kansas, where she is very involved in the community and her alma mater. She began investing in American Funds more than 30 years ago, taking a disciplined and long-term approach. This has allowed her to live a comfortable lifestyle, give to causes she cares deeply about and travel the world with her family — all parts of a legacy she hopes to leave behind.
RECORDED OCTOBER 2016
Jo Ann Butaud: My ex-husband owned a ranch in Texas, about 1600 acres, and a coal-fired generating plant came through and bought some of the property. Both of us came, other than the ranch, came from fairly modest upbringing. We didn’t have a lot of money, and so it was important to us to be able to invest that money so that we could build on that for our future. And so we invested it, most of it, with Rich, and he advised us to invest in the American Funds.
I understand that the market rises and falls. I’ve always understood that, and so I don’t worry about it, because I have the confidence that the American Funds are going to be steady as you go over time. I mean, I’ve been invested since 1983, so just because there’s a bad year doesn’t mean that the bottom is going to fall out. In fact, my philosophy is, if we’re having a bad time I just don’t open the envelope. I just don’t open the envelope.
Well we always projected out into the future with Rich — that was always important to me. I want to see where I am today, and if we did certain things where we would be in 20 years, or 30 years. And some of our goals at that time, we wanted to be able to save money for college education for our children, and as I became older I wanted to be able to travel and expand my world.
I was able to set up a greater community fund, which is a charitable fund that Rich also monitors and is invested in American Funds, so that every year I am able to give charitable contributions to a lot of charities that way. I also have set up a scholarship at the University of Kansas law school. I probably will continue to do charity work with the organizations I'm involved in until I burn out.
I have been a very disciplined saver over the years, and I live very frugally compared to how I could live if I wanted to. I feel great about it. I’m independent, I could do whatever I want. I feel like I have adequate income to be able to do whatever I want, and I still will be able to leave money to my children and my grandchildren.
I do love to travel, and so usually once or twice a year we’ll take a nice trip. Lately I’ve been taking my grandchildren on trips. In June of last year we took two of our granddaughters with us, so that gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to do that. Money’s only money, but those kinds of memories and those kinds of experiences with them, is amazing. It really is. And nothing to me is more important than family, and the experiences that you have together — whether you’re traveling, whether you’re at home. It’s just the most important thing to me in the whole wide world.
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