VALUES STATEMENT + BACKGROUND

  • To guide, support, and empower a more authentic, personally meaningful relationship with money for singles, couples, and creative entrepreneurs.
  • To offer a framework of support and guidance to empower folks to create a more intentional and authentic relationship with money in their lives.
  • To break down the taboos around money and offer a supportive framework to empower the pursuit of a more compassionate, conscious, and intentional relationship with money.
  • To foster a more intimate and authentic relationship with money through the development of emotional literacy and financial literacy.
  • To make our Financial Therapy tools and support available and accessible to as many people as possible while running a sustainable business.

Money touches every part of our lives, from our values, to our sense of worth, the work we do, how we show up in the world, our lineage, our relationships, communities, and the legacy we leave behind us. Our relationship with money is an unconscious narrative woven inextricably into our lives, shaping our choices, opportunities, and what we believe to be possible for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world we live in.

It is crucial to acknowledge that we live in a society where personal privilege, or lack of it, underwrites our experiences as we grow through life. Whether we realize it or not, it is through this lens that we view, and interact with, the world around us. Your personal experiences of value, accessibility, support, and exclusion shape and inform your relationship with money – consciously and unconsciously.

The Art of Money offers a gentle path to bring healing and intentional mindfulness to your relationship with money, empowering you to break down what isn’t yours to carry, to release the past, and step forward into a new chapter of authenticity, growth, and self-care.

BARI’S STORY

It’s important to me that I walk the talk, and I want to share more of my own background and lineage to help you understand my own story and the experiences that have shaped me – and The Art of Money.

I am a Jewish woman, so the personal stories I share are based on my experiences growing up and living as a middle-class Jewish woman who also has white-passing privilege. I grew up in a strongly Democratic, middle-class family in Chicago, IL, decades after my grandparents escaped Russia (now Ukraine, Lithuania, and Belarus) and came to the US in the early 1900s to start a new life.

I was raised by an entrepreneurial father who had a lot of chutzpah to start and run his own business; he was comfortable taking risks and dished out a lot of tough love. My mother is both generous and frugal. She ran the family business behind the scenes (including the bookkeeping) and hated unnecessary risk. Growing up, I received a lot of generosity on the one hand – and a lot of conditions and strings attached to a strong power dynamic on the other.

I also grew up with two beloved gay uncles (my biological uncle Steve and his life partner, Pat) who opened and operated the first gay bars in Chicago when I was a teenager. As an early 20-something between college and grad school, I worked as a bartender at the family bars. The LGBTQ+ community was a profoundly important and beautiful part of my upbringing.

After college, I cut financial ties with my parents and traveled to Israel for a year before returning to the US for graduate school. I spent a decade living a low-income life, paying my way to my Master’s degree in Somatic Therapy by working in mental health and hospice care. When I realized, after graduation, that I had no idea how to manage the financial side of a traditional private practice, never mind how to talk to my clients about their own challenges around money, I threw myself wholeheartedly into learning bookkeeping. To my surprise, I loved it, and my newfound passion led me to run a bookkeeping business for creative entrepreneurs for a few years. And here I found the inspiration to blend my bookkeeping with my background in somatic therapy – in 2001, I started teaching my work in diverse small groups in the San Francisco area, and I have been teaching it for the last 20 years.

In The Art of Money book, I share my personal money stories of how I worked through my own challenges and the supportive, empowering tools and practices I have picked up along the way.

In the here and now of life, my husband, Forest, and I have been married for 20 years and he has helped me in my business since the very beginning. A creative entrepreneur in his own right, Forest also runs his own business helping folks take their teachings online. In addition to partners in love and business, we are the proud parents of Noah, our 12-year-old son. The three of us live together with our many cats in Boulder, CO, and I often share stories of the money lessons Forest and I encounter as a couple, and as parents, too.

WHAT THE ART OF MONEY BOOK IS ABOUT

The Art of Money book is an integrative approach to Financial Therapy that blends Emotional Literacy with Financial Literacy to empower the reader with the language, tools, and self-awareness they need to transform their relationship with money.
I weave together therapeutic, body-based practices and practical financial tools to create a comprehensive, holistic framework to guide and support the reader through this deeply intimate money work using my three-phase methodology:

Money Healing

We start by bringing compassionate curiosity to our emotions, patterns, and unique money story. Here we un-shame the past, claim our value, and learn to write a new chapter. We create intimate, safe spaces for money work, learn mind and body-based practices to support our journey, and ensure we are working with self-care, acceptance, and love along the way.

Money Practices

Here, we learn to interact with money as a nurturing self-care practice. We empower ourselves by learning the language of money, gathering practical tools, tracking money as it flows in and out and around, infusing the nuts and bolts with a sense of fun and adventure. We take our relationship with money deeper as we learn to have Money Dates and bring intention and mindfulness to our earning, spending, saving, gifting, and debt.

Money Maps

Step into a more personal way to track your needs and manage your money without ever using a dreaded “budget” again. Align your finances with your goals, values, and dreams. Here, we create maps of intention, learn how to make good money decisions (and what that even means to each of us), and go deep-soul diving to identify how money can best support our unfolding lives and our here and now reality.

Beginning with Money Healing creates a personal foundation and awareness to ground and support your money journey, while Money Practices and Money Maps empower you to develop the language and tools you need to integrate practical financial tools in a way that feels meaningful and aligned with your deepest values.

The Art of Money will help anyone transform their relationship with money and, in so doing, transform their life.

“When we dare to speak the truth about money, amazing healing begins.”
-Bari Tessler

WHO THE BOOK IS FOR

By its very nature, money work is intensely personal – no two people experience the same journey. What we believe about money is based on our own unique history, experiences, strengths, and trauma. This is intimate and emotional territory. This book is an offering of support, an acknowledgment, and an honoring of the challenging emotions we all carry around money and the wisdom they have to share if we only learn to listen. Here you will find body-based practices to help you learn to work with your emotions, as well as the nitty gritty, real-life financial tools that will help you manage your money in day-to-day life.

This book is for you…

If you know that money isn’t black and white. You’re open to exploring your emotions around money and want to bring more practical understanding and mindful awareness to how you engage with money in your life.

If you have already read the tough-love money books and are looking for a different approach that brings more grace, gentleness, and intuition to your money relationship.

If you know that money is an emotional subject for you and you’re looking for real-life tools to help you work with your money emotions with mindful compassion.

If you want to learn about your own money psychology, to better understand your own unconscious beliefs and motivations around money and grow your self-awareness and understanding.

If you are looking for creative and meaningful practices around money to bring more mindful awareness to your money. You are earnestly pursuing personal growth, or are on a spiritual path, and want to bring more compassion, grace, and intention to your money life.

If you want to have new conversations and explore a more personal, holistic perspective to your relationship with money.

If you’re in a romantic relationship and want to bring more awareness and compassion to your money so that you can communicate more clearly, understand each other more fully, and grow the intimacy in your relationship.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur who wants to find a more nurturing, but practical, way to work with your bookkeeping, aligning your business with your values and aspirations, and honoring the work you put into the world.

WHERE THE STORIES COME FROM

The money stories shared in my book come from the diverse and creative community that I have had the honor of teaching over the last 20 years. When I first began my Financial Therapy work over twenty years ago, I started by teaching small groups of 10 people over and over. My first classes were $150.00, and the students in my course all came from different income levels and economic backgrounds. My methodology was developed from engagement and feedback from this community, and refined by years of teaching, over and over, as my classes grew to 20 people, then 50, eventually evolving into the global community of 500 students a year that I am honored to lead today.

Our community is built of folks from around the world, who all come from different lineages, economic classes, and lived experiences, straight folks, queer folks, couples, singles, and creative entrepreneurs. While each one of us experiences our own unique relationship with money, I have found that we all really do have money shame, money challenges, money strengths, and money triumphs. The body-based practices and nuts and bolts financial tools shared in The Art of Money offer support, encouragement, and inspiration regardless of personal background or income level.

A NOTE ON ACCESSIBILITY

As a Financial Therapist, I support folks in their personal relationship to money. Unfortunately, in the current paradigm, private financial therapy services come with a mid to high end price tag, which means they’re really only accessible to the middle class on up. Yet money shapes all of our lives, regardless of economics or income level.

This issue of accessibility is one of the primary reasons that I’ve created a more affordably priced year-long group program, The Art of Money, and why I haven’t increased the cost of enrollment in nine years. It’s also why I wrote my book, The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness. I really do believe that Financial Therapy is for everyone – and making these tools and practices both approachable and accessible is something I passionately believe in.

Part of this commitment looks like sharing an abundant amount of free resources on my blog and podcast that offer personal support and inspiration to encourage and guide folks in their money journeys outside of the traditional payment model.

  • My money mini-series, Money Mochas, offers bite-sized morsels of financial wisdom, practical real-life tools, and loving encouragement to support and inspire folks in their money journeys.
  • I also share body-based practices, like my Body Check-In, on my website to offer nurturing, somatic support to help folks bring more compassion and intentional awareness to their relationship with money.
  • On The Art of Money podcast I interview colleagues to share insight around real-life money matters – covering everything from pricing strategies for your business, to advocates specializing in health insurance, student loans and debt, to trauma support.
  • To enjoy more money stories from our diverse community, including how folks integrate The Art of Money tools and practices within their own lives and traditions, my free Money Memoirs interview series highlights the voices, stories, and experiences of people from all walks of life as they generously share their money journeys.

DIVERSITY + INCLUSION

I am committed to being an active part of ongoing social justice and social responsibility work – both personally and professionally. This looks like ensuring that diversity and inclusion are an integral part of The Art of Money, from our featured guest teachers and the people we interview, to our alumni guides who help support the year-long program, our community guidelines, and the practices we teach.

It means having real conversations around racism and privilege as a team at work, introducing macro money resources that address the wealth gap, social justice investing, and centering marginalized communities to create real change. At home, it looks like reading fiction and non fiction works by authors of color as a family, sharing what we’re learning, and questioning our preconceived ideas and internal beliefs. It means donating to help redistribute resources to BIPOC communities, taking action, and raising our voices to foster real, lasting, and systemic change..
This work is, and must be, an ongoing commitment to growth and the pursuit of a more equitable and accessible world.