Financial Wellness is More Than Just Budgets

To Trust Yourself With Your Money You Must Go Beyond Financial Literacy

Money stress makes it seem like you can’t do anything right

Just when you’ve got one obstacle behind you, another emergency pops up. You’ve paid off your credit cards, and then the brakes on the car have to be done. You finally got that long-worked for raise, and now a kid needs braces.

You’re two steps forward, one step back, then another step back, and then another. What’s the point of working this hard if it’s not ever going to pay off?

I know what it’s like to set your sights on a financial goal, reach it, and then be no further ahead.  And I know what it’s like to seek out financial literacy without having any tools to implement that knowledge.

“Once I get the car paid off…”
“I just have to get this job, and then everything will be fine…”
“I just need to get my tax return, and then I’ll be all caught up…”

I know what it’s like to keep yourself up at night doing the math on your bills over and over. I know what it’s like to feel like a bad person or a bad parent because you can’t pay your bills on time. I know the moment of realization that something has to change while having no idea where to start.

Like you, I reached out into the world to find some financial education, too…

Here’s the problem with financial “education”…

It’s that we get sold to, told what to do, advised, corrected, directed, and shamed.

We need adaptive, personalized strategies full of choices… what we get are premade, one-size-fits-all budgets.

What we need is an unconditionally respectful environment to learn, reflect, and experiment… what we get is judgment and facile statements like “just get your $$$$ together.”

We need to be understood, heard, and treated with dignity… what we get is info-dumping, statistics, obligation, and scare tactics.

Because of that, we do holistic financial coaching.

“What the heck does that even mean?”

People aren’t used to hearing the term holistic when applied to financial matters.

Put simply, your finances touch every part of your life, and every aspect of your life, in turn, touches your finances.

Frustratingly, financial education and literacy offerings only address money mechanics (budgeting, saving) and do nothing else. And because this is the only way we’ve been taught about money (if we’ve been taught at all), we assume it’s the only way there is to change our financial lives.

Ultimately, we’re going to disconnect your self-worth from your finances.

That’s right: We’ll do what all the books, financial services, and Google searches couldn’t do!

There are many reasons we’ve got our self-worth tangled up with our net worth.

We profoundly value the appearance of prosperity as a way to seem part of the group. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is deeply woven into our sense of belonging and purpose. We get judgmental and shameful messaging about how we spend our money from all quarters and constantly.

There is such a deluge of judgment that we think “wisdom” like “I just need to get my act together” and “I just need to focus on my needs, not my wants” are actually good tools, but you’re not using them correctly.

Financial Wellness is not about shame.

I’m here to tell you that if judgment, shame, needs vs. wants, and otherwise making ourselves feel like garbage for our choices worked, we’d all be just fine. And we’re not fine. We may LOOK fine and work very hard to keep up that appearance, but we are not, as a people, fine.

Add to that the taboo around even talking about money, and we exist in this perfect storm of self-judgment, unable to even ask for the help and tools we need.

That changes today.

You already have everything you need within you to be financially well. My purpose is simply to find the reserve, resilience, and wisdom you already have and teach you how to strengthen those aspects of yourself just as you would a muscle.

You’ve googled “How to make a budget” so many times, however they never seem to work.

Many years ago, I looked for a system, curriculum, or strategy that could help me disconnect my self-worth from my finances. I desperately needed a way to make better decisions and trust myself with my spending. Frustratingly, I got only sales pitches. It took me far too long to realize that if it didn’t already exist, I needed to build it, and I did.

If we’re going to talk about money, we need to talk about how it affects the other parts of our lives. And that’s all holistic financial wellness is!

Holistic Financial Wellness is attainable for everyone at every stage of life, at every income level, through adaptive, respectful financial coaching.

This is what you’re going to like about financial coaching…

This will be a collaborative effort.

This surprises my new clients. They expect to be told what to do with their money… or be judged or treated like they don’t know what they’re doing. YOU are the expert on your life, and we’ll be leveraging your expertise to build customized strategies that will fit your life because you helped build them!

You will be respected, seen, and heard.

I’ve gotten feedback from clients that they expected a series of worksheets, surveys, and questionnaires, and instead were surprised that we spent most of our sessions together just talking. I’ll tell you a secret, though… while I enjoy our conversations, I listen with a plan. My purpose is to listen deeply, reflect on the needs and obstacles I hear, and then work with you to build and adapt strategies and tools to work through those obstacles.

You’ll get tools to make you more aware and resilient.

Over and over, I’ve seen people go from reactive, overwhelmed, and stuck to confident, comfortable, and proactive without adding any more income to their lives or feeling restricted in their spending. How? They learned how to trust themselves, and because of that grew their resilience. When we are resilient, we can choose to extend trust to other humans or situations selectively because we know we always have ourselves to fall back on. There is no difference between resilience and trusting yourself. What would your life look like if you could fully trust yourself?

Right alongside resilience is the skill of self-awareness. The kind of awareness you’ll learn with me involves no shame, guilt, remorse, obligation, or willpower. Instead of being traumatic or stressful, this kind of perspective-building awareness allows you to take a step back and simply observe yourself, look for patterns, and begin to experiment on yourself!

The resilience and awareness tools we’ll talk about are disguised as games!

This personalized journey will encompass all parts of your life.

If all it took were a canned, 7-step program for everyone to make a breakthrough with our finances, we all would have done that by now.

Cliche’ financial “wisdom” (like “just save $1,000”) is dangerous. It tells us the lie that this rule has worked for many, many other people, and if you aren’t successful in that, there must be something wrong with YOU.

Respectfully, that’s bullsh$$.

The money system that works for you is the one that is built for you (and, more importantly, built by you). But don’t worry… custom-building a financial system for yourself is not as complicated as it looks. In practice, when a system fits perfectly into all parts of your life, it only gets easier to use over time, not harder.

This is why the holistic aspect is so critical. Your life is messy, complicated, evolving, and beautiful. Any planning for the future, financial or otherwise, needs to be agile and adaptive enough to not only keep up with your evolution, but cultivate it.

Talking about money is uncomfortable.

After all, these are challenging, difficult matters.

In our society, money is tightly bound with shame, guilt, and judgment. The first few times we talk, you might notice that very visceral, bodily reaction to stress. Do you feel your chest getting tight just thinking about talking about money? Hooray! You’re normal!

I expect this anxiety, and if you feel comfortable talking about it, we will. As we begin working together, my job will be to EARN your trust by never judging you or telling you what to do with your money. Never. You will not be corrected, directed, or punished.

100% of my clients reflect on our first few meetings this way, and 100% are surprised at how quickly they become comfortable talking about their finances, their behaviors around spending, and their emotional reactions.

I know I’ve done good work when someone tells me they had a money conversation with someone else in their world. Their comfort in having those conversations spreads to others!

Ultimately, we’re going to disconnect your self-worth from your finances.

That’s right: We’ll do what all the books, financial services, and Google searches couldn’t do!

There are many reasons we’ve got our self-worth tangled up with our net worth.

We profoundly value the appearance of prosperity as a way to seem part of the group. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is deeply woven into our sense of belonging and purpose. We get judgmental and shameful messaging about how we spend our money from all quarters and constantly.

There is such a deluge of judgment that we think “wisdom” like “I just need to get my act together” and “I just need to focus on my needs, not my wants” are actually good tools, but you’re not using them correctly.

Financial Wellness is not about shame.

I’m here to tell you that if judgment, shame, needs vs. wants, and otherwise making ourselves feel like garbage for our choices worked, we’d all be just fine. And we’re not fine. We may LOOK fine and work very hard to keep up that appearance, but we are not, as a people, fine.

Add to that the taboo around even talking about money, and we exist in this perfect storm of self-judgment, unable to even ask for the help and tools we need.

That changes today.

You already have everything you need within you to be financially well. My purpose is simply to find the reserve, resilience, and wisdom you already have and teach you how to strengthen those aspects of yourself just as you would a muscle.

About Me

How I got started: My first (and worst!) client…

Of course, that client was ME!!

Like many of my clients, I reached out to the financial services world, read books, and Googled everything I could think of to learn how to make good decisions with my money – finally to get my act together financially.

Over and over, what I got were life insurance sales pitches, unrealistic strategies for my life, and further reinforcement for what I already thought – that I was a bad person for the way I handled my money.

Financial Coaching is not one-sized-fits all

I built the Pacific Stoa Curriculum for myself by stitching together mechanical money strategies with the behavioral/emotional tools of disciplines like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychology, and Behavioral Economics. By blending these varied fields of study, the curriculum has grown into an adaptive, living, “choose-your-own-adventure” style program that evolves all the time.

A year and a half of reading, researching, and experimenting on myself when something magical happened. By accident, I got my first guinea pig, a pro-bono client! I took a few of the tools and life-hacks I used for my life and adapted them to her life. I found the tools I was using to be surprisingly flexible, and with that realization came the insight that I was now responsible for sharing what I knew.

Holistic Financial Coaching is about Respect

Thankfully, I took that responsibility seriously and pivoted immediately to building the curriculum as it is now by infusing it deeply with Trauma-Informed Care, Unconditional Positive Regard, and Person-Centered Care I saw modeled within the nonprofit world. I had then and continue to have the great honor to be advised by Social Workers, Therapists, case managers, and educators.

These wonderful advisors and every single one of my clients have built this curriculum. Thousands of hours of conversation have shaped every tool, game, element, strategy, and system. All of those aha moments, revelations, tears, laughter, changes, and successes have built and rebuilt this curriculum so that I can share it with YOU.

I have an odd collection of hobbies…

Until very recenlty, I was a volunteer tour guide on a Vietnam-era diesel/electric submarine, and I’ve also played drums in a bagpipe band. No, those two things have nothing to do with each other, and yes, I can talk at length about both. Can I start now?

I’m also a passionate proponent of universal health care and try to stay active in my community. I’m taking a break from pets at the moment, but I love critters of all kinds.  I’m even working on not killing spiders on-sight!

I inherited a terminal case of paronomasia from my father. I now curate a vast collection of incredibly corny puns and “dad” jokes.

It all starts with the first step.

Take the first steps toward building a customized money system, trusting yourself, and disconnecting your self-worth from your finances.

Not sure how holistic financial coaching would work for YOU?

Don’t worry! Questions are welcome.  Check out the FAQ page for answers to the most common questions I get asked.  Want to get a feel for my philosophy, here’s more about why I do what I do.  The home page has some great stories.  Or if you’re just ready to get started, let’s talk!

Let’s get started with a quick conversation! Call or text now! (503) 908-3425.