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Dorothy Lawrence is a leading expert on financial freedom. She is the owner/founder of Dorothy Butler Law Firm, a boutique all-woman law firm in Dripping Springs, Texas. Born and raised in Louisiana, Lawrence practices across state lines but has made a name for herself in Texas. With both a Juris Doctorate and master’s degree in tax law, she focuses on all legal and fiscal aspects: bankruptcy, debtor defense and tax law. Since 2016, the Super Lawyers Association has honored Lawrence as a Rising Star—an honor bestowed upon fewer than 2.5% of lawyers. In the span of a decade, a firm she started on her dining room table has grown into a multi-office cross-discipline force. The firm has four other attorneys who focus on most other areas of law including family law, business transactions, real estate and personal injury. When not lawyering, she is a professional musician who performs with Broadway Across America and legends like Bernadette Peters.
Austin Woman sat down with her to answer questions about obtaining financial freedom and keeping it.
How would you define financial freedom?
Financial freedom means something a little different to everyone. For many of my clients, it just means knowing they won’t have to stress over whether they will make it to the end of the month with the funds to cover their expenses. For other clients, it is the knowledge that their children will be provided for by having an estate plan or trust in place. And for others, it is the knowledge that they are having their taxes taken care of by an expert and doing all they can to minimize their tax obligations. It means something different to everyone, and we are here to guide our clients down the path of financial freedom that is right for them.
What makes you passionate about obtaining financial freedom for your clients?
As a former single mom, I went through the hardships that many of my clients have gone through: the inability to pay all my credit card bills, the uncertainty around tax time, the gut-wrenching fear that bills wouldn’t be paid by end of the month. I understand exactly how that feels and want my clients to understand that I’ve been in their shoes and want to help them recover and find freedom.
What is your investing philosophy?
Find a professional that is as passionate about investing as I am about financial freedom.
I’m thinking about starting a business and I’m worried about all the fees and taxes that come with that. Where can I turn to find resources?
Start with speaking to a professional. Many people think they can save money by using documents they found online. No free or cheap documents you find online will protect you like what an attorney can do for you. You may save money on the start-up costs, but eventually, you will pay much more to have those documents corrected.
What are three things I can do right now to help me on my financial journey?
- If you don’t have credit or have low credit, then sign up for a small secured credit card. Use it for everything and pay it off weekly. This will absolutely help to build your credit or help to repair it.
- Find a strong tax person. Many believe in the use of online software or use a “friend of a friend” to do their returns. The number of times we come in later to correct these or find things that are just totally wrong is incredible. I’ve saved individuals so much money by just correctly doing their tax returns. Many are surprised to find out that good tax prep doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
- Financial freedom means planning. Whether you believe you have loads of assets or believe you “own nothing of value,” you need a solid estate plan. That consists of power of attorney documents and a will, most importantly. All adults need these documents in place. Don’t leave it to your children or other relatives to figure out what happens in the case of emergency or death.
For more information visit dorothybutlerlawfirm.com