11 More Things Your Financial Therapist Wants You to Know

written by Bari Tessler November 3, 2021
11 More Things Your Financial Therapist Wants You to Know

Dear Money Adventurer,

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to money. This journey is uniquely personal. Still, there are certain themes, social ideals, and challenges that come up for so many of us along the way.

This is what I was thinking about when I started a love letter of “Ten Things Your Financial Therapist Wants You to Know,” – and quickly realized that the list was twice as long as I thought it would be.

Money is about so much more than just the numbers. These waters run deep and we all need personal support, practical tools, and gentle encouragement as we grow. There are just so many seemingly small lessons that add up to create a more authentic, compassionate, and personally meaningful relationship with money in our lives.

So, with no further ado…

11 (More) Things Your Financial Therapist Wants You to Know

1. Discover the equation of money, time, energy, family, and health. There is no “formula” to apply or perfect balance to be found. Life is ever-changing and this living equation offers an anchor, an opportunity to ground yourself in your deepest values, bringing you back to your most heartfelt priorities. For me, the nuances may change, but I am always coming back to these five concepts as my North Star, guiding me in my decisions as I chart a path forward. What is your living equation?

2. Have compassion for your financial “mistakes.” Every one of us has unique gifts and challenges that we bring to our money journey. We are all works in progress. Those so-called mistakes offer a portal for growth, reflection, and deeper awareness of your values and priorities. Instead of beating yourself up for not knowing better, or doing better, offer yourself some loving grace, compassion, and forgiveness. Celebrate every baby step, brave leap, and lesson learned along the way.

3. The biggest money shifts are quiet. Money transformation is measured in deep breaths, mindful pauses, and vulnerable conversation. The real work isn’t found externally. It isn’t about strictly enforced budgets or even thriving bank accounts. It looks like forgiving the past and unraveling beliefs that no longer serve you. It’s learning to tune in to the wisdom of your body and emotions and honoring your own pace, your own timing, and your own values. It’s internal, personal, subtly shifting the landscape of your own beliefs, the stories you tell, and the way you show up in the world.

4. Tiny money shifts add up to big change. Every time you do a body check-in when faced with challenging money emotions, every money date (solo or with your sweetie!), every baby step is forging a new path forward. Every time you use these tools, you’re building up your money muscles, writing a new narrative, and showing up in brave, new ways. Celebrate every mindful moment, every compassionate response, every time you notice resistance, take a breath and infuse a difficult money conversation with grace and love. Slowly, steadily, you are crafting your own transformation – even if you can’t see it just yet.

5. Trust your timing. Not anyone else’s. Especially with money. It’s easy to get caught up in comparison and carefully curated social media feeds and feel like you’re falling behind. This is not a race. There is no template, no “right way,” no quick fixes. This money journey is uniquely, intimately, and wholly your own. Only you can decide what is right and best for you. And here you are, showing up with authenticity, aligning yourself with your values, and taking the next step, forging your own way. So beautifully brave. Honor your own pace. Celebrate it! Your timing is perfect. I promise.

6. There are ebbs and flows in life and in money. We seem to forget this and expect ourselves to earn more, save more, and give more money year after year. But, for most of us, life and money go through ups and downs – there are peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows, and big transition years. Life happens and we find ourselves navigating new parenthood, a big move, the loss of a job, a divorce, or the death of a loved one. Give yourself permission to take a breath and slow down. Priorities shift. Plans change. It happens to everyone. Please be gentle with yourself.

7. Learn a bookkeeping system. This vital step in your money journey can be challenging, but it is oh so rewarding. Remember, learning anything new is a process. You are worth the time and energy it takes to develop a routine and learn to confidently navigate your new system. My advice? Just pick one. There is no perfect system, but when you dedicate yourself to learning one, you empower yourself to discover your wants, needs, and what works best for you. You can always change your mind, and your system, down the road. This isn’t a lifelong commitment, it’s a stepping stone. Take the first step.

8. Mistakes made are lessons learned. Everyone makes mistakes – and hindsight really is 20/20. Instead of beating yourself up over what you “should have” done, please, please be kind to yourself. Remember that you did the best you could with what you had in the moment. Have compassion for your so-called mistakes. Now that you know better, you can do better. That’s called growth, and it’s worth celebrating.

9. Money can be FUN. Light-hearted. Joyously creative. You get to decide what your relationship with money looks like. You can pop some popcorn and throw on your favorite pump-me-up tune before you sign in to pay bills online, read your bank statement in a deliciously fragrant bubble bath, or schedule a Money Date with your honey to infuse your next conversation about household expenses with some extra tender, loving care.

10. Money Curveballs happen (even when you have a great plan in place). Your job gets downsized unexpectedly, your landlord suddenly decides to sell the house you live in, a global pandemic shutters your small business. We all experience money curveballs in life, but that doesn’t mean you have to get lost in the overwhelm. You have survived countless challenges. This is only temporary. Even if you can’t see the way through just yet, you can bring mindful intention and loving compassion to empower yourself in navigating uncertainty.

11. We all have a money story, but our past does not have to equal our future. Every day presents a new opportunity to bring more loving mindfulness to our relationship with money. Every time you check your account balances online, go grocery shopping, or sit down to talk finances with your honey is a chance to infuse your money with intentional awareness, openness, and compassion. You can choose to change the story and write a new chapter.

This journey is yours to define, to sculpt and create, to forge with hope, love, and intimate meaning.

Please know that this work is oh so brave.

Please be gentle, patient, and kind with yourself.

Please honor and celebrate yourself for being here.

With so much love and my dearest wishes,

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