When the beautiful, intelligent Sophie Hanson from Sweden first moved to California in December 2011 to attend school, she had no intention of settling in the U.S. “I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life in a country where I’d be treated as a second class citizen. Growing up in Sweden, one of the most liberal countries in the world, I just wasn’t ready to give up my freedom and go back into the closet,” she says.
But then she met Holly on Match.com. “It wasn’t one of those intense, emailing back and forth 24/7 situations, it was more like a handful of messages back and forth that seemed pretty innocent.
Holly told me her realtor had given her a gift card to a high-end restaurant in Topanga, which also happened to be one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. She asked me if I wanted to join her for dinner, and I panicked. A first date at a high-end restaurant just seemed way too formal and too much of a commitment. I suggested coffee at Starbucks instead, and the rest is history.”
The couple had a rough start, struggling with unsupportive family members and friends. “If anything, it brought us closer together and we learned a lot about who you can depend on and who will be there for you when it really matters,” Sophie said. “A very valuable lesson.”
Now the two not only live together as wife and wife but also work together as business partners. After a twenty year career in the finance industry, Holly wanted to change the dynamics of working at a traditional finance office. Her vision was to put the client back in the driver seat, give back, and help serve an underserved community. Harmony Financial was born.
“What we’re doing with Harmony is very unique. Our office is full of colors, fun paintings and comfortable couches. Quite unconventional compared to a traditional cherry wood finance office where you sit behind your desk with the client across from you. At Harmony we sit down on the couch with the client and take away the “authority” feeling. We’re not trying to tell our clients to do this and that – our goal is to help educate in a simple way so that our clients can make the best decisions for themselves and their family.”
Aside from making finance friendly, this exemplary couple also donates a lot of time and money to support local non-profit organizations and charities. The couple works closely with the Los Angeles LGBT Centre — their whole team at Harmony volunteers at different events on a monthly basis.
“We are planning on having kids within the next two to three years. With a brand new business and some concerns about where to raise kids, we wanted to make sure that we take it slow and make sure we’re not pulling the trigger until we’re as ready as can be. We did pick a donor and bought vials through the California Cryobank. Our plan is for me to carry, but we do want to use Holly’s eggs.”
If you’re inclined to be as inspired as we are by Holly and Sophie like we are and want to take a few more cues from them, you can buy Holly’s book: “LGBT & Modern Family Money Manual.” Find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.