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 and oppression, 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.
Our 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.
It’s very important to me that I walk the talk.. so 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, my financial therapy method and The Art of Money community.
I am a Jewish woman who grew up in a strong Democratic, middle-class family in Chicago, IL. My grandparents escaped Russia (now Ukraine, Lithuania, and Belarus) and came to the US in the early 1900s to flee persecution and genocide and to try 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.
I was raised by mother who is both very generous and frugal. She ran the family business behind the scenes (including the bookkeeping) and hated unnecessary risk. You can read more about my mother’s story here: A Tribute To My Mom.
Growing up, I received a lot of generosity on the one hand – and a lot of conditions, strings attached and challenging 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. My parents also helped run the bars and it was a wonderful family business.
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 Psychology (from Naropa University, 1998) 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 and create my first financial therapy method in 2001. I started teaching my financial therapy work in diverse small groups in the San Francisco, California area, and I have been teaching it for the last 22 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. I also share many stories from my Art of Money community as well.
In the here and now of life, my husband, Forest, and I have been married for 22 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 and offers consulting for online business owners. In addition to partners in love and business, we are the proud parents of Noah, our 15-year-old son. The three of us live together with our many cats and puppy in Boulder, CO, and I often share stories of the money lessons Forest and I encounter as a couple, and as parents, too (when I have permission).
WHAT IS THE ART OF MONEY METHOD?
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.
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.
I weave together therapeutic 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:
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.
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.
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 go deep-soul diving to identify how money can best support our unfolding lives and our here and now reality.
The Art of Money will help anyone transform their relationship with money and, in so doing, transform their life. 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.
Our community offers 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.
“When we dare to speak the truth about money, amazing healing begins.” -Bari Tessler
WHO THE ART OF MONEY FOR:
HOW IT STARTED:
When I first began my Financial Therapy work in 2001, I started 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 eleven years.
It’s also why I wrote my book, The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness and the The Art of Money Workbook. 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 “3 powerful somatic tools to cultivate inner safety” on my blog to offer nurturing, somatic support to help folks bring more compassion and 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 community and teachings, 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, introducing macro money resources that address the wealth gap, social justice investing, lgbtq+ support and centering marginalized communities to create real change.
It also means choosing not to participate in professional engagements that fail to center diversity and inclusivity in their work and community – such as group panels and teaching opportunities featuring only white voices. (Read more about Creative Collaborations here.)
At home, it looks like reading fiction and non fiction works by BIPOC authors 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.