Sudden Money: What to Do in Big Money + Life Transitions!

written by Bari Tessler August 12, 2020
Sudden Money: What to do in big money + life transitions with Susan Bradley of The Sudden Money Institute

Dear Friends:

I am so excited to share my interview with Susan Bradley, Financial Planner, Author of Sudden Money and Founder of the Sudden Money Institute, with all of you today.

I knew I was in the presence of a money pioneer pretty quickly into this interview. I had that wonderful feeling I get when I am talking with someone who has created their own body of work and is so thoroughly seasoned and experienced in their field.

I initially met Susan Bradley in 2004 at a Financial Planner event in Estes Park, CO. The event was led by a think-tank of innovative Financial Planners, called Nazrudin. I met incredible financial professionals, many of whom, I am still connected with today.

These Financial Planners were the first folks to invite therapists into their financial planner meetings. Imagine that? They realized that for many, money was emotional, and recognized how helpful therapists could be in the room. Some of the Nazrudin folks went on to get their Masters in Counseling while also holding the CFP designation - Certified Financial Planner. You can imagine how thrilling it would be to attend an event like this back in 2004. I started my Financial Therapy work in 2001. So I was still at the beginning phase of my Financial Therapy work and it was incredible to be welcomed into this community.

Ok, back to this incredible interview...

You see, for years in my Art of Money programs, my students have talked about significant life transitions and how their money lives have been affected in both positve and negative ways. I've heard so many stories from folks who had sudden financial gains and also sudden financial losses.

Susan says: "When life changes, money changes. And, when money changes, life changes."

Whenever someone told me they were about to come into money-resources from death, divorce, inheritance or legal settlement, I would always send them to Susan’s book, Sudden Money, so they could learn how to manage the financial windfall.

Here is a description of her book: Sudden Money. "For some, this welcome event is relatively stress-free. But for those who are inexperienced in dealing with large sums of money, a windfall can be an overwhelming situation. What is the difference between those who build on their financial gains and those who end up worse off than before? In her book, Susan examines the emotional complexity of the windfall experience and how to manage it-and your newfound money-successfully. Whatever the sum involved, the impact of one's emotional state on the way money is handled--or mishandled--can not be underestimated. In addition to the legal intricacies of receiving sudden money, the element of surprise that catches people unprepared also often leaves them there. Here, at last, is a type of "owner's manual" to sudden money that demystifies the process for recipients and their financial planners. Based on her work with countless clients, many of whose stories appear in this book, Bradley has developed a step-by-step program for moving safely through the three phases of building a solid financial foundation."

After talking with her yesterday, I realized how deep her research, teaching and training goes. Her team has done layers of research on the concept of transition (threshold, liminal state), "the in-between space of who we were and who we have yet to become". In this interview we discuss money and life transitions from the emotional, psychological to the very practical.

I knew this conversation would connect with many people because we all go through a big transition at some point in life. But I also worried that the topic of sudden financial gain may be tone-deaf during this pandemic time which I know has been challenging for many folks. This interview, though, is so good, and I do think the terrain we covered will be helpful and supportive for anyone in a meaningful life and money transition. Also, at the end of the interview, Susan does give some words of wisdom for folks that are experiencing sudden money loss as well.

I invite you to listen to the full interview and I am so honored to share this with you.

Listen Here:

With my support and dearest wishes,

Susan Bradley is the founder of the Sudden Money Institute which began 20 years ago as a community of financial planners seeking to better serve their financial planning clients by developing processes and tools for the personal side of money and for clients going through transitions. This think tank created the Certified Financial Transitionist® (CeFT®) designation, and a division for training and certification called the Financial Transitionist® Institute. Susan has served on the FPA’s National Board of Directors and she serves as the Dean of Transitions for the Council of Deans of the Purposeful Planning Institute. She is seen and heard frequently in the national media, including NBC’s Nightly News, CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. She is also the author of Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall (Wiley 2000), and her TEDx Wilmington Women talk is called, “Change launches you into the next great chapter of your life, whether you like it or not.” To learn more:

You might also like: