05/18/2012 09:42 am ET Updated Jul 18, 2012

Gena Bigler: Practicing the Art of Financial Social Work

Will you recognize me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
down, down, down, down

-Simple Minds

Today is the 40th birthday for my oldest daughter, Gena Bigler, who lives in Berea, Ky.

I wasn't around for her birth (I was in eighth grade) and didn't meet Gena until 21 years later, when I ultimately married her mother.

I was first the stepfather for her and her sister. We then we went through the unusual step of adoption after they were adults. I wanted them to officially be my daughters without any hyphen, qualifiers or hesitation. They wanted me as their father on the same terms. We have an unqualified and total love and wanted that relationship to be unqualified from a legal sense as well.

Unqualified love has been a defining factor in Gena's life.

She and her husband, Clay, have a total and unique bond. They work together (along with myself and her sister) at McNay Settlement Group and do everything together. Gena and Clay have been together for more than 15 years and act as a total partnership.

She has two incredible children and she is totally committed to them.

But mostly, Gena has unqualified love for the less fortunate.

Hubert Humphrey once said "that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

Children, elderly and people in the twilight are Gena's calling. She is a passionate about them.

Although she has led marches, written letters and organized protests, what she really does well is use the tools of the financial world to help people better themselves. The business serves a dual purpose. It helps people with a lot of money hang onto it and make their money grow. However, the vast majority of clients are injured people who need special programs and assistance to make it.

Gena calls the concept "financial social work." It's using the tools of personal finance in combination with social programs.

Gena has branched into another form of financial advocacy. She has recently started writing a very popular "Smart Money" column for Although her advice is good for all demographics, I have noticed that working mothers really seem to love her column. They appreciate her insights into how to stretch a dollar and maintain a high quality of life.

I'm proud of how Gena has spent the last 40 years with an unconditional love for people who need love. I hope she spends the next 40 years doing the same thing.

As a daily recipient of her unconditional love, I know it is a pretty good place to be.

Happy birthday, Gena. From your dad.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the author of two bestselling books. McNay, who lives in Richmond, Ky., is an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post contributor. You can learn more about him at

He is one of the world's leading authorities on what lottery winners should do with their money.

He is the Chairman of the Board for the McNay Settlement Group ( which provides structured settlement consulting for injury victims, lottery winners, and the families of special needs children.

McNay founded Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC, which assists attorneys in as conservators and setting up guardianships. It is nationally recognized as an administrator of Qualified Settlement (468b) funds.