Shelter Cove financial adviser finds niche to help sex workers – Times-Standard
When Lindsey Swanson, founder of Stripper Financial Planning, moved to Humboldt in 2019, she first started a more traditional financial planning business.
Swanson aimed to provide financial advice to marijuana growers and other cannabis industry workers, many of whom exist on the fringes of the industry being legal in California and illegal federally. However, she quickly found another clientele she could serve and fill an underserved niche: sex workers.
“As an adviser, it’s kind of like declaring myself a safe person, it’s more like, ‘hey, let me explain how these systems work and what the process should look like, and if you don’t are not treated fairly by these institutions, then I will help you find a way to treat yourself fairly,” Swanson said.
Sex work is an umbrella term for many different jobs operating in the industry, including stripping and pornography, but most of Swanson’s clients work online through webcam sites.
Swanson customers are in a similar position to more traditional freelance remote work jobs, in that they work from home using technology, pay quarterly taxes and can take tax deductions based on their purchases. related to work. Swanson also helps clients, who are often self-employed, find a health insurance plan that’s right for them.
Helping sex workers access financial institutions such as banks is a notable aspect of Swanson’s work, as many, including Chase, Bank of America, Visa and Mastercard, have morality clauses that allow institutions to freeze or seize accounts if the clause is violated.
“A lot of the typical recommendations you would give someone running a business or someone just trying to prepare for retirement and get through life’s milestones don’t necessarily apply to them, because we have to take additional precautions,” Swanson said.
Although Swanson fills a niche that few other financial planners specialize in, she said negative attitudes towards sex work have affected the type of work she gets when she contracts.
“I was doing financial outsourcing, and I had a few clients who, once I started advertising, I had an article in Investment News magazine, they didn’t want really no longer associate with me, just because they didn’t want to offend their conservative clientele,” Swanson said.
Early in her career, Swanson worked with more traditional financial advisory firms, an experience she says was valuable but ultimately unsatisfying in the long run, as they often existed primarily to help the wealthy get rich.
“People who are already millionaires have many options available to them for financial advice. It’s an oversaturated market, and I was interested once I opened my business to be able to serve underserved communities who had really need help accessing quality financial advice,” Swanson said.
Although not part of the responsibilities of a regular financial adviser, Swanson often finds himself calling financial institutions on behalf of his clients to see whether or not they are sex worker friendly and will not freeze an account. they learn it belongs to a sex worker.
Swanson works with sex workers who operate legally in their area and accurately file their taxes, and she has clients across the country and locally in Humboldt County.
“People can always talk to me, even if they’re doing something they think is illegal, and I can just say, ‘Here are the resources I would use, but unfortunately I can’t work with you as a client.”, I choose to do it that way so I don’t get arrested,” Swanson said.
Sex work and cannabis had many similarities beyond existence in a legal gray area: Swanson discovered that much of her work involved helping clients create financial safety nets such as emergency fund for cannabis and sex work.
She said that by talking about sex work and being open about her work, it was part of an attempt to reduce the taboo behind her clients’ jobs.
“Sex work is the oldest industry, so everyone knows it’s there, it’s always been there. If you disallow it… it just shows up elsewhere. I think talking about it and being honest about it being part of our society, even if you don’t want to support it or participate in it at all, just acknowledging that a lot of people do,” Swanson said. “I think a big thing for me is just being willing to talk about it openly and force people into awkward situations. Just because you don’t really interact with that part of society doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a safe place.