National Director, Institute for Trust and Estate Planning

Jennifer Goode

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Research Is My Intellectual Adventure

Working with clients on their estate plans lets me tap into my innate sense of curiosity. Each day brings fresh questions that are just waiting to be explored. And finding the answer is like discovering a remote place I've never ventured to before—just thrilling.

What inspired you to join Bernstein?

The decision to leave the practice of law and join Bernstein felt like a natural evolution for me. As a self-proclaimed nerd, I love research. I view it as an intellectual adventure where you slowly build out the landscape of an issue with every article or code section you read, all while attempting to avoid distracting “rabbit holes” (yet still occasionally falling into them). At the end of your journey, you’ve gained a new understanding and appreciation of the topic and have forged the tools necessary to address any related issues you find “in the wild.” My excitement about research also inspires me to teach others. Who doesn’t love sharing a fun fact you just learned?

My work at Bernstein allows me to indulge in these passions on a broader scale than possible in private practice. By supporting a client’s estate planning counsel rather than serving as counsel myself, I’m able to shift my focus from drafting and implementation to my favorite parts of the estate planning process—deep discovery and strategy. Additionally, I now have the capacity to work with a greater number of families and their advisors without geographic boundaries. These conversations often produce both interesting research questions and teaching opportunities. While I enjoyed my time in private practice, I’m excited for this next professional chapter and all the things I’ll learn along the way.

What’s the best way for people to put their wealth into perspective?

To me, the best way to put one’s wealth into perspective is to first consider the things that drive you. While there may be a few people out there who simply accumulate wealth to have it, I’d say a greater number of people accumulate wealth either as a byproduct of doing something they love or as a means of achieving a deeply personal goal. The “emotional” tends to drive the “financial,” not the other way around. Once you identify your driving force, you can make better decisions about generating and managing your wealth in an impactful manner. I’m thrilled that Bernstein shares this philosophy and puts meaningful resources behind their efforts to help clients uncover their emotional drivers. That is one of the things that sets Bernstein apart from other firms and one of the reasons I’m so happy to be a part of their team.

If you didn’t work for Bernstein, what else would you be doing?

If I didn’t work in the wealth planning field, I’d love to be a travel writer. As an only child of a single parent, I grew up with a desire for connection and a curiosity about families different from my own. Tackling new experiences alone also helped me realize that stepping out of my comfort zone and being vulnerable with others frequently turned strangers into friends and led to unique learning experiences. As I got older, I saw travel as a means of furthering this interest in connection and discovery. I wanted to explore the world and discover myself and my purpose through grand adventures. And adventure I did! I took advantage of every opportunity to travel before beginning my formal career, including study and work abroad opportunities in Kenya, Thailand, Japan, and Germany as well as a backpacking trip through India. As a result, I learned from and shared moments of joy and laughter with people from all over the world. A tip from me to you—a mastery of charades and a willingness to look foolish can get you anywhere!