Decolonizing through Connection with Silvana Espinoza Lau

Decolonizing through Connection
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Decolonizing through Connection with Silvana Espinoza Lau

Decolonizing through Connection

I’d rather stay in what I know, in my comfort zone, because it’s so comfy as opposed to going into my learning zone where I can realize that things can be different. I can have a different relationship to money, to my practice, and to everything I do.

“And that gives you so much more space and so much more energy to do things. It allows you to continue thinking differently in a way that is not harming anybody. It is pushing against the system as it is, but it allows you to have so much more space and a healthier relationship with everyone and everything that you are interacting with.

~Silvana Espinoza Lau

Meet Silvana Espinoza Lau

Silvana Espinoza Lau is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor in private practice as well as an embodied liberation coach for mental health clinicians. Silvana supports mental health professionals who want to incorporate liberation focused and anti-oppressive values in their practices in an embodied way.

In this Episode...

Have you considered the connection between oppressive systems and our relationship to money? What can marginalized therapists do to be empowered while still existing within these systems? In this thought-provoking episode, Linzy and guest Silvana Espinoza Lau examine the impact of messaging and systemic pressures on marginalized therapists. 

Linzy and Silvana explore the connection between implicit and overt messaging and therapists’ relationship to money. Silvana shares practical ways to push against systemic oppression while also increasing personal and professional well-being.

Connect with Silvana

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Are you a group practice owner who’s tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your finances? – Do you feel like you’re doing all the work for none of the money and are tired of constantly worrying about your bank account?- Do you want to create a group practice that is financially stable, reflects your values, and takes good care of you and your team?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about my brand new course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners!  This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.

To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners click here. 

And to book a call with Linzy to talk about whether the course is right for you, click here to get in her calendar now. She looks forward to chatting with you about it!

Episode Transcript

Silvana [00:00:07] I’d rather stay in what I know in my comfort zone. Right. Because it’s so comfy as opposed to going to my learning zone where I can realize things can be different and they can have a different relationship to, again, to money, to my practice, to everything that I do. And that gives you so much more space and it gives you so much more energy to do things and to continue thinking differently in a way that it’s not harming anybody. It’s pushing against the system as it is, but it just allows you to have so much more space and a healthier relationship with everyone and everything that you are interacting with. 

Linzy [00:00:58] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Before we get into the episode today, first of all, disclaimer, I will say that as you can hear, I’m a little bit sick, so be prepared for that today. My voice is a little bit off and I wanted to share a review from Apple Podcasts because I so appreciate when you folks leave the reviews that one of our listeners left. The review is titled Informative Podcast. They write: the podcast has been such a blessing and is so needed. The strategies have been helpful and Linzy’s eloquence, empathy, and constructive approach is so refreshing. This topic is so needed. Thank you so much to the listener who left that review. It means a lot to me. And I say this at the end of the episode a lot, but you know, you’ve probably stopped hearing it at this point. Leaving reviews is really the best way for other folks to find us on the podcast platform on Apple Podcasts. So if you are enjoying the podcast and you could take a minute to go leave even just a short little review, I really appreciate it. Today’s episode is a conversation with Silvana Espinoza Lau. She is a psychotherapist and a clinical supervisor in private practice, and she’s also an embodied liberation coach for mental health clinicians. She supports mental health professionals who want to incorporate liberation-focused and anti-oppressive values into their practices in an embodied way. And this is very much what we got into today. Silvana and I talked about specifically BIPOC and marginalized therapists, their relationships to money, some of the specific messages that folks get around money in those communities. We talked about the silence around money and how it keeps these systems in place. Like the silence is not accidental. And we also got into perfectionism and shame and not-good-enough. All these things that impact all sorts of folks, of all sorts of identities, the self included, that are actually part of these bigger systems and help to keep these bigger oppressive systems in place. It was a really interesting conversation, kind of coming to some of the topics that I feel like I explore with my students, that I’ve explored before, but in a new way. And with this lens, I really enjoyed this conversation with Silvana. Here is my conversation with Silvana Espinosa Lau. Silvana, welcome to the podcast. 

Silvana [00:03:45] Thank you for having me, Linzy. 

Linzy [00:03:47] Yeah, I’m really excited to have you. So before we dig in today, we’ve got – I’m really excited about what we’re going to chat about today. But let’s talk a little bit first about the work that you do for people who might not have heard of you yet. 

Silvana [00:03:58] Sure. Yeah. So I am a marriage and family therapist in the state of Oregon. So I have a small caseload and I do therapy with people of color in particular, and people of other marginalized identities. I am also a clinical supervisor in the state of Oregon, and I am also a consultant and a coach because of the experiences that I have had personally and professionally. I decided to expand the type of wellness services that I can offer, and I also coach other clinicians who want to incorporate social justice values in their practices. 

Linzy [00:04:38] Great. Awesome. And I think that’s often how, you know, whether you want to call it like a side hustle or like your expanded offers. Like that’s often how it grows, right, is like out of our own experiences or like identifying where the holes are for us. 

Silvana [00:04:51] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:04:52] We step in to do the work that we also have needed. 

Silvana [00:04:55] Yes. 

Linzy [00:04:55] So I’m curious then, from your experience and your perspective, what affects BIPOC or otherwise marginalized clinicians’ relationship with money specifically? 

Silvana [00:05:05] Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. And yes, that question applies both to BIPOC clinicians and to clinicians of marginalized identities as well. And I think that’s one of the many things that affect that relationship, is the fact that for people with marginalized identities, the idea of imposter syndrome is way, way bigger. The idea of, I have to work harder than my peer who has privilege identities – whatever those privileged identities are whether it’s the fact that you are a white person, a white clinician, or the fact that you have a PhD, so you have educational privilege, or if you have financial privilege or any other of the privileges that you can have, right? You can feel that you have to work harder, that you have to work longer hours, that you have to prove your worth, that you have to prove that you know the same things and that you have to adapt and even code switch to what the norm is in our society and by our society. I am assuming we’re both talking about American society, right? With all the normative expectations that we have in culture, in our culture right now. So it’s like I subconsciously feel or I have been given this message that I have to adapt to that norm in order to succeed in that norm. And because I am not that norm, I have these extra hoops that I have to jump through and I have this extra energy that I need to spend. And that definitely impacts the relationship that a clinician can have with money. 

Linzy [00:06:48] So with that imposter syndrome or imposter phenomenon affecting, you know, BIPOC and marginalized therapists so much more, what would that actually look like in the relationship to money? Like what what would actually kind of be some examples of how that’s going to be showing up for them? 

Silvana [00:07:04] I think that one very clear example – and this comes not just from the fact that some of us have more marginalized identities and others – is the messages that we have received. It’s this idea, for instance, for all of us or for most of us, I am assuming people who have been through grad school to go to mental health or, you know, some profession that has to do with serving others. It’s this idea that we are here to serve others, but we’re not here to make money. Right? And if the first example that we have right out of grad school, in practicum or in our internships, is you’re here to learn, but I’m not going to pay you what you deserve. 

Linzy [00:07:48] Yes, right, Right. 

Silvana [00:07:49] You have to have a certain productivity. You have to work certain hours. You have to meet this quota of this many clients per day. And all of these clients with all these experiences. And we are supposed to do it all. So we already learn this expectation of I have to give myself and they have to put other people first and I have to put my clients first before me. And in the case of people with marginalized identities, I am already code switching in this world where I am not the norm. And on top of that, I have to put others first. My clients. Right. Or I have received a similar message to that. My clients are very important. I need to help them if there is a crisis. I am supposed to answer that phone call even if it’s 7 p.m. at night, right? Yeah, because it’s their well-being. So it’s this idea of putting other people first and this idea of, I have to do this so that I can prove that I am worthy of this position or that I am worthy of graduating, or so that I have this experience on my resumé, on my CV, so that so-and-so agency will hire me. And of course, that expectation is bigger implicitly for people of marginalized identities. And that’s so huge. That’s some extra energy. The connections are expanding. 

Linzy [00:09:17] Yeah. When you’re saying this, I was an EMDR clinician when I used to practice, and there’s this list in EMDR of like negative cognitions, which I didn’t really use once I became a more like, experienced clinician, but like, I remember that list and as you’re saying this, like, I’m thinking about the belief, like, I am not important. Right. And the way that you know, that belief or, you know, side versions of that belief, like I’m not worthy or I don’t have worth or how those are just being reinforced over and over again for folks through marginalization in the first place and through that, you know, the messages, the subtle, systemic and overt messages that you’re getting. But then also through the training that you get that gets layered on top of that, which just reinforces like, you’re not important. But then as you’re pointing out, and what I think I’m hearing, is then you have to work even harder or accomplish more to get what the privileged person next to you, the person who has more points of privilege to you, is going to get. So it just seems like everything is- I shouldn’t say everything, that’s that’s a little bit over-encompassing, but like, it’s stacked against you. 

Silvana [00:10:19] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:10:20] Right. Like, you’re- the way that you work is so much going to be to your own self-sacrifice. 

Silvana [00:10:25] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:10:26] Because of these different pressures. Yeah. With that, you started to talk about our training. Like, what messages do you think that clinicians in general get about money and about being business owners like, you know, within the bigger systems, one of them being capitalism. 

Silvana [00:10:42] For sure. For sure. I don’t remember a single class in grad school that would generate the discussion of, Let’s talk about money. Right. Whether you are going to private practice or you’re going to work for an agency. Nobody talked about money in grad school. And for some of us, nobody talked about money in college. And for some of us, nobody talked about money in our families. So we have all these different layers of nobody ever talked about money. And how is that possible in a capitalist society? It feels like such a double bind to me. I am supposed to live in this system that is a capitalist system, whether I like it or not, whether I agree with it or not. So I am supposed to think of money day in and day out, but I cannot have those conversations and I don’t have those conversations in grad school. I guess the fact that there is not a message – that in and of itself is a message, right? Is we don’t talk about money. We talk about helping people. And we talk about – at least my experience – this is what community mental health is and this is what private practice is and this is what group practice looks like. And we highly suggest that you start with this or that you do this or that. You get this experience or, you know, these are the evidence-based practices and that is all good, but there’s not a conversation about money ever. There’s not a conversation about you should not equate your worth to how much you’re making, and you should still make a very decent salary. I never received that message in grad school or elsewhere. Therefore, that was a non-message message that I have received. And I think that most of my colleagues have also received either in grad school or as they were going through their professional development. 

Linzy [00:12:41] Yeah. To really clarify it, like what is the non-message message that you think we get through that silence? 

Silvana [00:12:47] We don’t talk about money, right? 

Linzy [00:12:49] Right. 

Silvana [00:12:50] Yeah. Just don’t talk about money.  

Linzy [00:12:53] Because what I mean, what it makes me think about too, and like, you know, capitalism as a whole thing unto itself. And I- it’s been a while since I’ve done some in-depth reading about capitalist theory, but it does make me think in a very general sense, how there’s kind of like people who, like, strive and win in capitalism by like having others who they’re pushing down and then those who are being pushed down. And I’m like, if you’re of the class that doesn’t talk about money, you’re probably the ones who are supposed to be not making money, and the ones who are supposed to be like kind of being exploited, right? If we want to be very simplistic, exploit or be exploited. Yeah, we are certainly not being set up to exploit others for sure. But in doing so, then there’s like this, as you say, like we do also need money though, to live. 

Silvana [00:13:34]  Of course. 

Linzy [00:13:35] Right. And so there’s a contradiction there. You know, it’s like, exactly. We don’t want to get into the thing where we think that we’re only worth- you only have a successful practice if you’re making six figures or if you’re, you know, heading these certain like lifestyle, these materialistic goals. But at the same time, we know that we need money to be well and to navigate the world that we live in. 

Silvana [00:13:55] For sure. For sure. And I do think that it’s so hypocritical, the fact that for some people, because of the messages that we have received, for some people, it’s okay to make money, right? We have these millionaires, billionaires, making money and investing and, you know, all the things that they do. And yeah, we can criticize them and- period. We criticize them, but they continue making money. But what about us? I think that there’s nothing wrong with changing our relationship to money and there’s nothing wrong with creating generational wealth, for instance. To me, the idea is if I am going to live in a capitalist society because I just cannot move to, you know, to my plot of land and live off the land, if that is not a possibility, if I have to live within these systems, I will try to make- I would want to make the system work in my favor. And how can I, if you will, reappropriate that system so that it benefits me and it benefits the people around me in a good way. What’s wrong with me making more money and so that I, in turn, I can be a better clinician, in my case, have more space, have more energy, to serve the people that I want to serve and serve them better, and have enough money so that I can rest, so that I can be creative, so that I can think of other ways in which I can help others and be even more creative and have more space to think of other ways in which I can invest that money still in benefit of my community, which is what I want to do. And I think it’s possible. And I know that I’m not the only one doing that. So I think that, again, it’s so hypocritical that for some people it seems to be okay that they have this money and they can continue investing and they are educated about money. But that is not our reality. Like how can that happen if we are both existing within the same system? 

Linzy [00:16:02] Yeah. And I mean, what it makes me think about too, as you’re saying, that is like I think sometimes it’s easy to get into this very simplistic narrative about like money’s bad look at like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk and like, what are they doing to make the world better? Good questions. 

Silvana [00:16:19] A very good question. 

Linzy [00:16:19] You know, but it’s like you look at a fortune like that and the money that that one person is amassed could drastically change the quality of life and the well-being of community. Of literally hundreds of thousands of people. What this one person individual has amassed. And it’s like there is so much potential in that money when it gets into the hands of people who- like making the difference between a household bringing in $40,000 a year and $100,000 a year is a massive quality of life difference. It brings down the stress in that household. It builds up the opportunity and supports for the children of that household. You know, it’s like positive ripple effects outwards. And it’s not the same as the immense amassing of wealth on the far end of somebody who could never actually possibly get more enjoyment out of money than they’ve already got because they have multi-billions. 

Silvana [00:17:10] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:17:12] At that point, the money is having no more positive impact. But if you think about all the households, that would benefit immensely from 100,000 more a year, it’s a different- it’s almost like a completely different situation. The way that that money work is going to work in those different circumstances. And yet we’re all within the same system. And it’s like we were feeling bad because we want to make $100,000 a year. 

Silvana [00:17:34] Yes. Yes. 

Linzy [00:17:35] But somebody over here is making 300 million a year or even a billion a year. So, yeah, there’s kind of almost like a different set of ethics that’s being put on people. 

Silvana [00:17:43] Completely, completely right. And we’re supposed to be the ones who are so ethical. And we have these boards and, you know, all these institutions and agencies to ensure that we are acting and behaving ethically. But again, there’s not a conversation about money really for clinicians. And I think we should have. I think the fact that there’s not a conversation is also very oppressive. It’s you know, how again, for those Jeff Bezos, as you were saying, for those Elon Musk’s, it’s okay, but why it’s not okay for us, I think that’s very oppressive. You know, we should be able to have those conversations. We should be able to make it okay that I want to, I don’t know, I want to leave my 9 to 5 and they want to go into private practice or I have enough energy to create change within my 9 to 5 job in, you know, community mental health. That should be an okay conversation to have. 

Linzy [00:18:40] Yeah. And I think, you know, as we’re talking about this, it also makes you think about how having these conversations is powerful because you are pushing against the silence. Like that silence is part of what keeps things the way that they are. 

Silvana [00:18:52] Yes, completely. Completely. Yeah. When you talk about pushing against the silence, it reminds me of even in private practice, if you’re working, if you’re a panel with insurance companies, you are not- you sign an agreement that says you are not supposed to share your rate with other clinicians, right? You’re not supposed to talk about your rate. And at some point I thought, well, yeah, that makes sense. But does it make sense? Really? Isn’t that also oppressive? Can’t I talk about what is my fee compared to your fee? 

Linzy [00:19:23] Mmhmm. 

Silvana [00:19:24] To make sure that we are being paid a fair amount. Yeah. Because if I know how much you make and it’s way less than what I make – again, doesn’t equate my worth. Right. But still, can I go to that company, to that insurance company and request for, for an increase. But if I don’t know. 

Linzy [00:19:41] Yeah, that silence is disempowering, right? Yes. It kind of keeps people apart. And it almost makes me think like, you know, because I’m thinking about capitalism right now and it makes me think almost like they’re stopping you from unionizing. 

Silvana [00:19:52] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:19:53] Right. They’re stopping the clinicians from getting together and being like, just a second, why is this person getting 87 and this person’s getting 77? That’s not fair. That doesn’t make sense. 

Silvana [00:20:00] Completely. 

Linzy [00:20:01] That silence keeps people apart. 

Silvana [00:20:03] Exactly. Exactly. Which is, again, very. Very oppressive, Right? The idea of oppression is the fact that you are over here in your world and I am over here in my world, but we’re not together in community supporting each other so that we can effect positive change, whatever that looks like. Right. And that silence really is detrimental to community and to being together and to connecting. 

Linzy [00:20:28] Absolutely. Yeah. So another piece, you know, thinking about oppressive systems is is white supremacy. And I’m curious from your perspective, like, how does capitalism and also white supremacy, how does that affect the relationships that clinicians can have to money and to being successful when they have actually done the work to build up a successful practice? 

Silvana [00:20:50] Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great question. And again, I think it’s tied to what we have, what we’ve been talking about because at least for clinicians, right, the idea of existence within a white supremacy culture, it’s the idea of we have grown up and we have received this message that there is a norm, right. For clinicians it’s the fact that we all learn, or 99% of us, if not 100% of us, we learn Western white psychology and we live in a Western white patriarchal system, right? And it’s not until someone points that out that we realize sometimes that we realize that something is wrong or it’s not until we are experiencing so many illnesses and so many stressors that we realize that something is wrong. So I think that capitalism and that white supremacy culture also affects us, affects us as clinicians and especially clinicians of marginalized identities, because it’s again, it’s this pushback of this is the norm and this is how things are supposed to be and this is how therapy is supposed to be done. And they serve the expectations and the requirements, and this is how you should conduct yourself and this is how you’re supposed to be professional. And these are the conversations that you can have and these are the conversations that you cannot have. 

Linzy [00:22:20] Right. 

Silvana [00:22:20] Right. So, again, as a clinician, maybe in the beginning, I don’t realize that I am doing this, but I am code switching to fit this norm of the – I will say it again – of the evidence-based practice and a treatment that lasts a 10 to 30 sessions or, you know, this very many hours of work. And the fact that I am not supposed to talk about money or I should not prioritize money because shame on me for thinking of money. I should be thinking about my clients and I should be thinking about the next training that I am going to take. 

Linzy [00:22:58] Right. 

Silvana [00:22:59] So that I continue my professional development. So I think it’s very tied to what we were talking about before, and it is very toxic because again, I have nothing against evidence based practices. They are very useful for certain people. Right? And I have nothing against the ten session treatment. It’s also very useful depending on the challenge that you have. And I have nothing against the fact that you may be more or less open to talking about money, but as long as you are educated around money, that’s that’s great, right? But it’s the fact that we have these expectations from the culture and from the system and from the norms. And I think that we should question those expectations. And I should have this conversation with myself of, am I okay with this or not? And if I am not okay, what can I do different that is not harming others, right? Because as long as it’s not harming others, why can’t I do things differently? Or why can’t I operate differently? Or why can’t I have a different relationship to my practice, to money, to myself, to my clients, etc., etc., etc.? 

Linzy [00:24:10] Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean, when you’re talking about- I’m kind of picturing as like, you know, white supremacy is like this box and it’s like, stay in the box. You can’t step outside the box because anything outside of the box is lesser-than. 

Silvana [00:24:21] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:24:22] A certain way of doing things and evidence based practice. And, you know, I remember thinking back in the day when I was practicing like, well, yeah, but who has the money to pay for evidence, right? Like, which, which modalities get the funding to gather evidence to be evidence-based design. Like who are they benefiting? Exactly. You know, like these, these bigger questions, it’s like, you know, the white supremacy is like, get in the box. Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it. And if you are deviating from this, you’re not good. You’re not as good. You know, you’re lesser-than and like, yeah, it’s something else that I, you know, was also kind of coming into mind as you were talking about. This is- I saw a list of like the tenets of white supremacy, and one of them is perfectionism, right? Like, that’s one of the things that holds it in place. And like, that’s something I see so much. Clinicians struggle with this. It’s like needing to be perfect, needing to be good, like not even wanting to work on their relationship with money because it’s like it’s such a mess. It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful. I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m just going to stay over here where I’m good at this thing because I need to be perfect. I need to be perfect, like the tightness that comes with that and like the lack of connection or curiosity or like, willingness to kind of like, learn and stumble and feel your way through something is also part of white supremacist culture. You’re not allowed to deviate or make mistakes. 

Silvana [00:25:38] Definitely. 

Linzy [00:25:39] Or be like a work in progress. 

Silvana [00:25:41] Oh, yes, work in progress. I love that. Yeah, I bet that many of us have Googled, you know, white supremacy culture or the what is it, the iceberg, I believe they call it, of white supremacy culture. On top you have like racism and all of this big -isms and phobias. But in the bottom or under the surface, you have things such as perfectionism, right? That some of us may think, well, of course, that sounds like a good idea. I am trying to be better day after day, but the idea of perfectionism is so unattainable, and it’s the idea of being perfect compared to this norm again. Right. And it’s a norm that not everybody fits. Right? 

Linzy [00:26:24] Exactly. Yes. 

Silvana [00:26:25] I am not white. If I am not neurotypical, if I am not sane, if I am not, you know, a citizen, etc. and so many more things, then I am not going to fit that idea of the norm. And so this perfectionism becomes so unhealthy. Right. And like you’re saying, I can feel so much shame because of the things that I don’t know and that I am assuming that others know. And yeah, I’d rather stay here in in what I know in my comfort zone. Right. Because it’s so comfy as opposed to going to my learning zone where I can realize things can be different and they can have a different relationship to again, to money, to my practice, to everything that I do. And that gives you so much more space and it gives you so much more energy to do things and to continue thinking differently in a way that it’s not harming anybody. It’s pushing against the system as it is, you know, but it just allows you to have so much more space and a healthier relationship with everyone and everything that you are interacting with. 

Linzy [00:27:33] Yeah, I mean, like a word that you’ve said multiple times during our conversation is like, like connection. And I think so much of what, you know, we’re talking about today with like capitalism and white supremacy and and even I think our lack of education around money, there’s like lack of connection, connection, lack of connection to self, to your community, maybe even to your clients, because you’re practicing in a way that’s not authentic to you or that’s not going to reach them because it’s within certain norms that don’t fit for them. And I’m curious, like, is connection an antidote for some of these systems or are there other things you think about that are like, you know what? Like what do we would have folks do instead? And I say “we” and it’s not an equal “we”, right, like as you’re talking about perfectionism, like I’m looking at my extremely pale face on our recording and it’s like as you were talking earlier about that, like imposter syndrome and like needing to strive and be more and do more, that’s not equal across the board, right? Like I as a white person start way ahead in terms of being ideal or perfect or like being able to be recognized as successful than so many other folks. Right. But I’m curious like, yeah, what do you see as, as the balance to this or what are, what are folks to do to offset living in these systems? 

Silvana [00:28:47] It may sound simple, but I think that the balance is finding connection and relationships and community. And by connection I mean connection to everyone and everything. Right. And I don’t mean I need to find a best friend and I need to find a buddy or I need to find a peer. We think of connection and we think of relationships as other people or the people around me and sometimes myself, right? I definitely need to be in connection with myself. I need to know what I need, what I want. I need to know what my boundaries are. The things that we discuss with our clients. Right? I need to apply that to myself as well. I need to be in connection with the people around me, whether those are family members or friends or my coworkers. And I am not saying befriend everyone. But the idea of being in connection is understanding who this person is, understanding what my identities are, maybe not understanding or experiencing the identities of my coworkers or peers or friends, but understanding that there’s a gap between me and them. Right. And understanding that because of that gap, I have had a certain set of experiences and they have had a certain set of experiences. Neither is better or worse than the other. It’s just a set of experiences that we’ve had, and those experiences are either more privileged or less privileged, right? But we don’t think about our relation sometimes. We don’t think about our relationship to things, right? My relationship to my practice and my relationship to the board and my relationship to this set of rules from my governing body, the ACA or the Social Worker Association or the one for LMFTs. And I don’t think of my relationship to money or to all the other things that I need in my practice, right? How am I feeling towards that and how are my paths or my different identities feeling towards that? What are the messages that I have received? How would I like to change that relationship in a way that would make me more content or more satisfied with the values that I hold? So that is something that we sometimes don’t think about, right? So again, I’m not talking about necessarily befriending everyone, but just being in connection because then I can understand better what the other person needs, what I need, what are my- again, the boundaries that I want to set and the needs that I have. And I think that’s very important to be in community, to be in connection, because then they can understand that I am not alone, that I’m not the imposter, that people around me are also dealing with perfectionism and- just like group therapy, maybe that can help decrease the shame or the guilt or the frustration or whatever other feeling that I am having. I can understand that those feelings are more universal and that it is more about the systems that I am living in. It is not about the people so much, but about the systems and how we have made that system so okay when it shouldn’t. And that would empower me to actually question the system as opposed to question myself. Right. So I start thinking maybe there’s nothing wrong with me, maybe there’s everything wrong with the system that I am living in that is asking so many things of me that don’t make sense. 

Linzy [00:32:17] Absolutely. Yeah. And it makes me think about earlier you mentioned, you know, about like, insurance companies, not you’re not supposed to communicate with a neighbor next to you, like your peers, about your fees. And it’s like, yeah. Because when we do that, we realize like, oh, there’s this weird, unfair thing happening here that’s not actually because of me. Like, I’m not only getting paid $55 an hour because I’m a bad clinician and I can’t support my family and all these things that these shame spirals that we can expect. But like, oh, there’s like this uneven kind of injust system at play. That by connecting with others, you could actually illuminate that experience rather than having you be the problem.  

Silvana [00:32:57] Mm hmm. Yes. Yes. If we are in isolation, we can start thinking that we are the problem or that there’s something wrong with us. Right. But if we are connected, we can start realizing that, oh, there are other people unfortunately having the same or a similar experience to the one that I am having. Therefore, what’s the thing that needs to change here? Is it us? Or is it the, you know, the systems in place that we’re living in? 

Linzy [00:33:23] Right. Yeah. The problem is not that you are not good enough. 

Silvana [00:33:27] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:33:27] Yeah. Yes, yes, yes. Silvana, thank you so much for joining me today. Of course, if folks are listening, want to get further into your world, where’s the best place for them to find you? 

Silvana [00:33:38] Sure they can find me at WWW dot seventh self consulting dot com or they can also find me on Instagram and my handle there is Decolonize your practice. 

Linzy [00:33:54] That’s a great handle. 

Silvana [00:33:56] Thank you. 

Linzy [00:33:56] Great. Thank you. It’s been great talking with you today. 

Silvana [00:34:00] It was nice talking to you as well. 

Linzy [00:34:15] In my conversation with Silvana, something that really stuck out to me is that the double whammy that folks get when you’re marginalized in any way or, you know, multiple marginalization depending on your identity, and then also a therapist at the same time. It’s like from two different sources, you know, based on your identity, but then also based on your profession, you get the message over and over again that you’re not good enough and you need to strive and you need to be perfect and your needs are not important and other people’s needs are. And just how- what a powerful cocktail that is in the worst sense of the word, getting those messages in all these different ways and how that deeply impacts people as clinicians, as people living their lives, but also deeply impacts your financial well-being. Right? Your ability to make the money that you need to make, relate in positive ways to the money that you make, are deeply impacted by these messages that, you know, people get it from all sides. So I really appreciated this conversation today with Silvana. And if you are curious about her, definitely check her out. We’re going to put her links in the show notes so you can get further into her world. If you’re enjoying the podcast, as I mentioned at the beginning, please do leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. It’s super helpful. It means a lot to me. I’m going to be sharing more reviews this season in season five and I would love to share your review. So take a minute and jump over to Apple Podcasts, leave review. And of course, if you want to hear more from us, you can also follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. Thank you for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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Build a Better Business (with a Bookkeeper) with Andrea Rotondo

Build a Better Business with Andrea Rotondo
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Build a Better Business (with a Bookkeeper) with Andrea Rotondo

Build a Better Business with Andrea Rotondo

Because we feel like it should be hard, we overcomplicate things. And we just bring all the systems that are the most complicated things. One spreadsheet for this, this software for this, my notepad for this… And then it just becomes so overcomplicated because we think it should be hard, so we unconsciously go at it to make it hard!

~Andrea Rotondo

Meet Andrea Rotondo

After spending a few years at home with her little ones as a military family, she was ready to start something new. Andrea’s background in psychology, volunteer work, and first-hand experience with frustrating accounting processes filled her with a desire to help others in a meaningful way by merging both worlds: numbers and emotions.  This is when Liquid Cents was born. Through her bookkeeping firm, she supports women business owners who want to build wealth while helping others. 

In this Episode...

What can a bookkeeper do for your private practice? When is a good time to consider hiring a bookkeeper? In this episode, Linzy and guest Andrea Rotondo dig into what bookkeeping can look like for therapists in private practice and how to address this potentially problematic part of business in a way that can be empowering and rewarding.


Linzy and Andrea talk about negative stories that often surface for therapists when it comes to working with financial professionals, and Andrea shares how to incorporate the bookkeeping part of your business in a way that can benefit and strengthen your private practice.

Connect with Andrea Rotondo

Group practice owners, do you want to work with Linzy?

Are you a group practice owner who’s tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your finances? – Do you feel like you’re doing all the work for none of the money and are tired of constantly worrying about your bank account?- Do you want to create a group practice that is financially stable, reflects your values, and takes good care of you and your team?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about my brand new course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners!  This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.

To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners click here. 

And to book a call with Linzy to talk about whether the course is right for you, click here to get in her calendar now. She looks forward to chatting with you about it!

Episode Transcript

Andrea [00:00:01] Because we feel like it should be hard. We overcomplicate things and we just bring all the systems that are the most complicated things. One spreadsheet for this, this software for this, my notepad for this, and then it just becomes so ever complicated because we think that it should be hard. So we unconsciously go at it to make it hard. 

Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast. So today I have a conversation with bookkeeper Andrea Rotondo. After spending a few years at home with her little ones as a military family, Andrea was ready to start something new. Her background in psychology, volunteer work, and her firsthand experience with frustrating accounting processes filled her with a desire to help others in a meaningful way, merging both worlds – numbers and emotions. This is where Liquid Cents, her business, came from. Through her bookkeeping firm, she supports women business owners and wants to build wealth while helping others. So those of you who are listening, if you heard the numbers and emotions together, you’re going to understand why Andrea was a natural fit to come on the podcast. We’ve been connecting with her over the last while on the Internet because I think we share some very similar values around money and numbers and bringing in that emotional side and making numbers make sense. And today in our conversation, Andrea and I get into how to have a successful relationship with a bookkeeper. What goes into making a relationship with a bookkeeper work? We talk about how negative money stories can really feed into our relationship with bookkeepers, maybe create a little bit of drama on our side as the people trying to get information to bookkeepers. And then we also talked about the value of bookkeeping, not just at tax time to have everything in order, but also throughout the year. So if you’ve been curious about bookkeeping or if you’ve had bad experiences with bookkeeping in the past, you’re definitely going to want to listen to this episode. Lots of interesting and insightful points from Andrea and just insight into how she works and how bookkeepers think and what they want for their clients. Here is my conversation with Andrea Rotondo. So, Andrea, welcome to the podcast. 

Andrea [00:02:46] Thank you so much for having me, Linzy, I’m so excited to be here. 

Linzy [00:02:48] Yeah, I’m excited to have you. So, Andrea, you are a bookkeeper. 

Andrea [00:02:53] Yes. 

Linzy [00:02:54] I feel like bookkeepers and therapists – at least in therapists’ minds – occupy different parts of a spectrum. Or maybe a universe from each other. And so I wanted to start by asking you, like I think a lot of folks who are listening might not necessarily have the best impression of bookkeeping sometimes. A story I’ve heard many times – and I know a story that we experienced with my partner’s business when he owned a restaurant here in the city we live in – is like lots of times bookkeepers might not be a fit and people have had an experience of like working with someone who didn’t end up following through or was hard to get a hold of or to communicate with or where they didn’t just- it just didn’t really like flow or fit, you know? And I’m curious from your perspective, when folks have had experiences like that, what would you say would be helpful for them to think about going forward if they’re going to need a bookkeeper again in the future? 

Andrea [00:03:49] Yeah, that is true. I definitely have had a lot of people coming to me telling me kind of like I can see their attitude towards the relationship a little bit hesitant or a little bit with reservations. And then either because I ask them or they just tell me they share that they have had a negative experience before. Yeah, I would say that’s just like any other professional relationship. Communication is so important. So when you are looking for a bookkeeper, you want to see – either because they’re telling you as part of their consultation or as part of their website or social media or any way where they’re putting information out there about them and how they work – about communication and their communication style. Because sometimes it’s not necessarily that they are doing something wrong or you are doing something wrong. It’s a matter of connecting with each other. And sometimes if your preference is a phone call, but the bookkeeper or accountant doesn’t really do phone calls, but uses a different method, then that might not be the person for you. Or sticking to email. You want to do only email and your bookkeeper wants to do only phone calls. So there’s a lot of technicalities that sometimes it’s not necessarily the person, it’s just the way that we’re communicating. And also because this is such a heavy topic on many therapists that I have seen, it also feels uncomfortable because we are the ones bringing the uncomfortable conversations inside of you and we have no hesitation. 

Linzy [00:05:26] Yeah. 

Andrea [00:05:26] We’re going to ask you. 

Linzy [00:05:27] Right. That’s your job. 

Andrea [00:05:28] Part of what we do. Yes. So there might be a little bit of reservation in that case because you might feel that we’re probably being too pushy when in reality this is just what we’re doing. 

Linzy [00:05:39] Right. 

Andrea [00:05:40] And again, that’s something that you can vocalize and tell the person that you’re working with. Like, look, this is a pretty big issue or a big deal for me when it comes to managing my finances, being open with you on being vulnerable and sharing where I am in the process. And the more that the bookkeeper knows where you are and how you feel about things, they’re going to be able to help you and assist you because just like you are in your profession, what you’re doing to help others. We are also in on our side. Yes, we are here because we want to help you succeed and we want to be part of your success story in a way. So we do want the most the best for you. And that’s where I have seen, for example, clients feeling judgment or I have seen many therapists say, Yeah, I just don’t like to talk to my accountant because I either don’t understand what they’re saying or I feel like they’re looking down at me, or just the words and the phrases that they’re using make me feel uncomfortable. Again, that’s something that you can choose the person that you’re working with, and if it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. But also communicating like this is where I am in my stage of my business or with finances. How can you help me go through this better? And they are probably going to give you, you know, the answer or may adapt to the way that- to where you are. 

Linzy [00:07:08] You need to tell them what you need. Yeah, I- that’s- I mean, that’s such an interesting point, Andrea, about like the loadedness of money. And when we have all these feelings about money like a bookkeeper is making or your accountant is making what they think is a very neutral request, like, they just need this information. Like, you know, as financial professionals, they understand all the pieces that need to get pulled together to like, do your taxes or understand your big picture or whatever they’re trying to do for you. But on the receiving end, like the therapist or health practitioner side, if we have all this like shame and confusion or embarrassment or stress around it. Those – what is maybe neutral – asks from one side can feel very loaded and we can like perceive judgment or perceive other negative things. Like I’ve even noticed with myself. I started working with Bookkeeper for the first time just last year. I was like, okay, there’s a ton of transactions to categorize. As much as I like doing this, I just was starting to find I wasn’t getting to especially my sales tax. I have to do sales tax. So I hired a bookkeeper and I like the owner of the company. She’s lovely. And I actually recently had like a quarterly meeting with her, which really like solidified like, Oh yeah, I know she’s really great. But the way that they communicate is through a lot of like automated messages. So it’ll just be like an automated email that comes of like submit these documents. And they’re obviously they’re just it’s all automated, it’s just robots. But if you don’t, you know, fulfill the request and check off the things. And like three or four days later it emails you again. Yeah. And as a feelings and relationship-oriented person I’m like, what there’s no hello how are you? Like, for me there is this piece where it’s like I, I’m so oriented towards that kind of interpersonal connection that without that, it does open up space for me to feel like I’m being demanded on or like they’re telling me I’m too slow or not good enough. Like, right. It opens space for all those negative stories that really have nothing to do. Like this is actually an automated system. They probably don’t even realize it sent me a reminder because they haven’t looked at my file and seen what’s happening yet. But there is just like so much opportunity basically for drama in our minds on the receiving end. You know, what I’m hearing, one thing is like improving that communication when we don’t have that like nice open channel and we feel that maybe that trust that the person thinks well of us. But also I think, yeah, when we still have like things about money that feel unresolved or negative stories, there’s just like such an invitation for those to pop up when somebody is just being like, Hey, I need these forms from you. Or like, Hey, what’s this thing that you spent money on? Just so much opportunity for negative stories to come popping up. 

Andrea [00:09:38] Absolutely. And I think that that’s also rooted in what your goal is with working with a bookkeeper. Yeah. So your goal is simply to get a report at the end of the year so that you can give it to your tax preparer to file taxes. And you don’t really look at the numbers, You don’t really use that to you- for example, if somebody is working with you, you might ask them, Hey, what is your PNL for your business? You know, they’re not having any other conversations. Then they might feel that, like you were saying, those negative stories around all of these requests because you are not really having an open communication and your expectation from this person is to do all the work and give you a report at the end of the day. But if you’re hiring a bookkeeper because you want to improve your relationship with money because you don’t really know like how to do this, you know, like you went to school, like everybody says in this world, I went to school to become a therapist, not to learn business. So if you are like, okay, I need a team of people, you know, I need Linzy to help me with this. I need a bookkeeper to help me with this. I need a tax expert at the end of the year, or quarterly, depending on your need. Then you’re approaching it differently. And when somebody asks something from you or asks you a different question, or you feel like I need to know something and you’re the one that is going to ask a question, then that communication is going to feel a little bit more, I would say personable because there is an expectation of communication from each other. It’s not just one sided. In either way.

Linzy [00:11:13] Yeah. And so it it’s the relationships that you take because I think to, you know, something that I teach, Andrea, that I really value deeply, is like the idea that therapists and health practitioners, you know, we are the bosses of the business, so you need to be the CEO of the business, whether that’s like your business, where you’re seeing, you know, ten clients a week or whether that’s a group practice where you have 20 people working for you. Like you’re the boss and you need to have enough financial literacy to understand the numbers, be able to make educated decisions. And like if you see bookkeepers as folks who are like helping you in that cause, then I think that can be a much more empowered framing, right, where you’re like, okay, there, there, I delegated, right? I haven’t given away responsibility, but I’ve delegated the data entry, data organization piece to someone who has more knowledge and more expertise than I do. But ultimately they’re giving me back information that’s going to be helping me be empowered and make good decisions and tweak and adjust what I’m doing to make my business look how I want it to look like. That’s a very, you know, that’s an empowered framing. But if we’re just kind of like if we hand it off in a disempowered way where it’s just like, I don’t know, you take the stuff, it’s like, Oh God, you want more from me? And like, I don’t know what that thing is. I don’t even know what I’m doing. Like, when we don’t have that empowerment, then I think that can feel like an even more overwhelming and disempowering relationship too, because I think that what can happen is when a bookkeeper doesn’t understand something or doesn’t miss a piece or, you know, there is that breakdown of communication that can just like deepen that sense of like powerlessness and lack of control and lack of understanding. Right? Because now it’s like you hired this person to fix it and then they didn’t fix it. And now it’s even worse than it was before. I’ve heard that story so many times from so many people in all different business fields. They made it even worse. And you still use it from a negative story perspective with just even more baggage coming out of those experiences. I think when we maybe are expecting somebody to do something that is not what they’re promising to do, if that’s not actually the service that they’re telling you they’re going to offer. Right. But they’re not taking over the financial responsibility in your business. They’re just trying to pull together the information that you give them to create a clear picture, right? 

Andrea [00:13:19] Absolutely. That was incredible what you just said. And it’s so true, for example, when I have consultations with new people that probably just found me and they haven’t been following me on social media and they don’t really know how I work, yeah, that’s one of the important pieces that I tell them. Like you’re not hiring me to hand things to me and then you never hear from me. Like you’re going to hear from me on a constant basis. Not every day, you know, like I don’t want you to feel like you’re not really hiring me to have things off. You’re hiring me because I’m part of your team, because I’m going to be of assistance and step forward in your own process of becoming better at finances. I don’t think that we’re all – in really anything in life where we made it, you know, there’s always improvements that we can do. So that’s how I feel, like that’s how I position my business with the businesses that hire me. I’m here to support you. I’m here to be of assistance to you. And of course, I’m going to do all the work in QuickBooks and I’m going to do all the categorizing, but I’m going to come back with questions and I’m going to come back and tell you, Hey, it’s time for us to meet because I want you to look at those numbers and I want you to understand what that means, because I hear all the time, like, you have to know your numbers. You’re a business owner. You have to know your numbers. What does that really mean? 

Linzy [00:14:37] Right. 

Andrea [00:14:38] And we all have where we all come from, different backgrounds. We all have starting- like different starting points in our own businesses. We are in different points in our own relationship with money. So the way that you understand those numbers is really not so black and white. It’s very- it’s one piece of your own story with your numbers and your business. And ultimately the majority of the therapists that I work with and that I see in this world in my professional space, this is part of their livelihood. This is not just, you know, I’m just doing this or I’m not really in the business and this is just a huge corporation. This is part of their personal the way that they live. So when you are not fully clear on this, you don’t really check out of this at the end of the day, like because you finish your last session, you go home, this is going to be heavy on you, on your shoulders, is going to be hindering in your mind because now you go home and you have to go pay for something and you are not sure, right? 

Linzy [00:15:43] Yes. 

Andrea [00:15:44] If you have the money left back or oh my God, I have to pay taxes or. 

Linzy [00:15:48] Totally. 

Andrea [00:15:49] You know, so many questions that are going to be left there in your mind. 

Linzy [00:15:54] Like when we don’t have that clarity in the business, that’s going to permeate our personal lives because they’re like, the one completely depends on the other. 

Andrea [00:16:02] Exactly. Yeah. Yes. 

Linzy [00:16:03] Yeah. So for folks who are listening, when would you suggest it’s time for someone to work with a bookkeeper? Because like some folks who are listening might be like brand new or even just thinking, there’s even folks, you know, who listen, who are thinking about starting a practice and they’re kind of thinking ahead and trying to glean the things that are going to help them start successfully, you know? So when do you think it is time for at least somebody to think about bringing a bookkeeper into their team? 

Andrea [00:16:30] That’s a great question. I have two answers. The first one is I think you should have a meeting with a bookkeeper right like before you have your first client, even if it’s like a one-time session, just so that they can help you build your bookkeeping system. So the way that you are getting paid, for example, simple things for us, might be new information to you. So you don’t really know what you don’t know. Not everybody knows that they should have two separate bank accounts, for example. That’s something that everybody throws out there, but not everybody knows that. So having that initial communication with a bookkeeper that knows not only how things work financially, but also your industry, is going to be really helpful so that you can set your systems up correctly from the start because if you start them incorrectly, you can’t just kind of like skip that period of time that you didn’t really do things correctly. 

Linzy [00:17:28] No, no. 

Andrea [00:17:28] We’re going to have to go back and fix everything and catch everything up or do a clean up, and that’s going to be more costly later on. If you don’t want to hire somebody from the start because of finances, which is totally understandable, I would say speak to somebody. They can help you figure things out, maybe set things up in Quickbooks. Maybe if you are going to use QuickBooks or anything else, but they can kind of guide you through it. 

Linzy [00:17:55] Right. 

Andrea [00:17:57] And then the other part of it would be bookkeepers are not as expensive as you might think that they are. So once you’re starting to feel like you have consistent income, I would say just reach out to somebody. Usually consultations are free. Just check it out and see if you feel like this is a good time. Right? Because another aspect of, for example, using a software like QuickBooks or any other software, is that therapists or business owners in general think that the best, like the software itself knows what they’re doing, like the software. 

Linzy [00:18:33] Right. Yes. 

Andrea [00:18:34] The software doesn’t know. Like it’s built there. 

Linzy [00:18:39] Yes. 

Andrea [00:18:39] But they assume that you know what you’re doing. So if you don’t have a basic understanding of bookkeeping or accounting, then everything that you’re putting that seems very simple might be ending up in the wrong place. 

Linzy [00:18:56] Yes. Yes. 

Andrea [00:18:57] And then you go back and you’re like, oh, my gosh, but I’m looking at my EHR and I’m making this much. But when I look at my QuickBooks or anything else, it’s wrong. So and then you start again. Having all of that feeds into how your perception about money is and your relationship with money. So if you can set it up right from the beginning the right way, you’re going to save yourself a lot of negative moments. 

Linzy [00:19:22] Yes, it’s a lot of headache, a lot of cleanup. And I think also a lot of that like, you know, again, the deepening of the story of like this is hard. I can’t do it. Like, I’m never going to get this figured out. And, you know, you’re definitely speaking my language in terms of, like, get it set up from the start. You know, like folks who I worked with, too, who do it from the beginning. Sometimes folks talk about like when they do Money Skills and they don’t have a business yet, they’re like, but it feels kind of academic, like, it’s not really yet. I’m like, That’s great. I know it would be like meatier if you had like numbers to really dig into, but the fact that instead you’re like setting up your system thoughtfully from the start and you’re going to be directing money where you want it to go from the beginning, you’re saving yourself so much headache, right? That like, you know, that is like so much more valuable than, you know, being able to apply the things to real numbers that are terrible and that you realize you need to fix, right? Like it’s like the opposite experience of having, you know, sometimes I see a therapist – and you probably have too – who’ve been in the field for ten years, 15 years, 20 years, who never kind of got it locked in. And still it feels like confusing and cumbersome and unwieldy and they don’t understand their numbers. That’s like literally decades of headaches and uncertainty and financial stress that could be headed off, had the work been done at the beginning. And to be fair, I think, you know, a lot of these things are becoming more accessible. I’d like to think that the work that you know, you’re doing and I’m doing and being out on the Internet and trying to help the right people find us is making these solutions easier to find than they used to be 20 years ago. But yeah, the stress that can be saved when you do it from the start is significant. 

Andrea [00:20:59] Absolutely. Because in the beginning, you’re going to have a very minimal amount of transactions. So you’re learning how to do something. It’s less work. It’s going to take you 5 minutes, 10 minutes. But if you’re working, like if you’re hoping to start it all later on, we want to have everything happening. Not only you’re going to be busier, you’re already seeing more clients, you’re already doing billing, you’re already doing social media, like you have so many other things to do. And then you’re coming at this with 50 transactions, 30 transactions. And this is income, and this is expenses. How about a credit card? And then what about this? So then it just becomes overwhelming. And like you said, we start going back into that negative narrative of like, oh, but I’m not good at this. When it’s not, but it might not be the case. You know, in most cases, I think that that’s not the case. I think it’s just we’ve got to put the pieces in place and let everything flow. 

Linzy [00:21:53] Totally. And, you know, as you’re saying that, too, I’m thinking about how I think so many therapists and health practitioners have the story. Money is hard. So when they hear things like this of like, well, make it easier, they’re like, Well, but it’s not easy. It’s hard. So I’m going to unconsciously, I don’t think consciously, but like, that’s what I noticed in the course of this like contrast of folks who are building system for something that isn’t a problem yet. They’re like, but it’s supposed to be hard. So I must not be- this must not be right because this isn’t hard. Right. And so I think, you know, part of it is letting yourself start to understand that money can be easier – if not easy – when you do have these conversations with folks who can help you set up the right systems from the beginning. And when you do have the right supports in place, money isn’t hard. I think what’s made it hard is that we have like the lack of education, you know, like the lack of knowing how to use the tools. You know, we don’t have money modelled to us. Like there’s all these reasons that it’s been hard, but it doesn’t have to stay hard. Even if that’s been your past experience. 

Andrea [00:22:53] Right. And because we feel like it, like you were saying, it should be hard, we overcomplicate things.  

Linzy [00:22:59] Oh, my gosh. Yes

Andrea [00:23:00]  And we just bring all the systems that are the most complicated things. And just – one spreadsheet for this, this software for this, my notepad for this. And then it just becomes so over complicated because of what you said – we feel and we think that it should be hard, so we unconsciously go at it to make it hard. 

Linzy [00:23:24] Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So when folks are working with you and getting bookkeeping and there is an up to date bookkeeping happen, you know, they’ve got that delegated to somebody on their team. What do you see are the benefits of that? What’s helpful about that for therapists and health practitioners? 

Andrea [00:23:40] I love that. That’s one of my favorite parts of bookkeeping, because bookkeeping is that, sure, like the actual recordkeeping of things, but then it’s what you do with that information that really makes a difference. And you were saying, for example, like, I want my clients to feel like they are the CEOs regardless of where their business is at. And everybody’s going to have different goals. So for somebody, ten clients is their goal. Somebody, a group practice is their goal. It doesn’t really matter where your goal, where you are, or what your goal is. Bookkeeping and the information that bookkeeping provides for you is kind of like that map of this is where you are and it shows you the reality. And when you know where you want to go, you start putting like the steps in place in front of you and you can grab that information. For example, one of my clients, she works with a business coach, and according to her business coach, she was telling her, I think you can spend 5% of your expenses into marketing, according to where you want to be. 

Linzy [00:24:49] Right. 

Andrea [00:24:49] So we were looking at the numbers. Where are we right now? We’re at 3.4. Okay. So next month, I know to put more money into that. Okay, How about next month? Where are we at? Okay, we have a little more room. So it’s also a good compliment to folks who are working with somebody like you, with a business coach. Because you can easily grab that information that is kind of expected for you to know in many situations. And it’s going to be easier to make those choices if you don’t know how much you’re spending on something or how much money. How much money is coming in is not really an issue. Having seen that to be an issue because just know that. Yeah, but is where the money is going. Like, for example, a very common question is I know that I’m making money, but I don’t know where my money is. We have that, right. By having your bookkeeping in place, you know where it’s going. And sometimes it’s a hard reality and you have to work through it. And it really shows you your conscious and unconscious- I say beliefs around money. If you tend to withhold on, for example, spending money. You’re going to see that in your. 

Linzy [00:26:02] Yes, you are. Yes. 

Andrea [00:26:03] If you like to spend without reservations, you are going to see that. And for example, the benefit of a customized start of accounts, which is just the list of categories for your income and expenses. Yeah, it’s really, really important as well. Instead of having just like a regular whatever comes with your software kind of thing. To customize it a little bit more for your preference so that when you’re looking at it, you can find answers a little bit easier according to what you’re looking for. So how much of my spending on contractors. Are all of my contractors therapists, or are some of them at minimum? Okay, I know now how much I should save because everybody talks about saving, you know, like you have to have money saved for payroll or things like that. You know, how much money to save, you know, your net income, which is going to help you to save for your taxes, which is something else that business owners kind of struggle a little bit with. So it just provides you the information that you need on an ongoing basis. And if you have it up to date, it’s not going to be such a struggle to find any. You can literally get these reports with just a few clicks if you are using a software, and you can just go in and check, okay, I have room for more or I have some bills coming up or you know, it’s just providing information for you to make better decisions. 

Linzy [00:27:31] Absolutely. And the word that comes up for me around that is clarity. Just gives you clarity. You understand sometimes you might not like what you see when you have clarity, right? Sometimes it might be better than you thought, but either way, you now have clarity and then you can make informed, empowered, and strategic decisions ultimately by having that information. But without that information, what I also find too, is often our negative stories will lie to us about what’s happening. You know, like it’s like I sometimes will see folks’ bank accounts and like from talking to the person, my impression, you know, in the course is that they have very little money and things are very tight. Their practice is not doing well. And then I see their bank account and it’s like somewhere in the realm of ten times more money than I would expect to see. And it’s just like there’s a complete disconnect here, right? But without because they haven’t yet developed the literacy and the understanding of the numbers and like what the numbers need to look like and then really being in touch with what they actually do look like. They’re living in a totally different reality than their numbers. Yeah, they are living like they have no money. And their bank account is overflowing with money. That’s really just kind of sitting there not realizing any potential, not paying down even debts that they have or taxes that they owe because they’re so mired in the story that they don’t have enough. Right. So there can be complete fiction going on when we don’t have that clarity and don’t understand our numbers. 

Andrea [00:28:50] Yeah, we jump into assuming pretty much we just think. And then, like you said, we tend to like- our assumptions tend to be negative stories about things instead of, you know, I’m going to think of the best case. It’s just always, I don’t have anything. I’m going to run out of money. I don’t know what I’m going to do next month. 

Linzy [00:29:09] And close my practice and live in a box. 

Andrea [00:29:13] Why am I doing this? I should have stayed back in my group practice like, yes, we just jump into assumptions that are terrifying when having this information is really not that complicated and it’s really not that hard. And I know that it feels that way, but it’s not. It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes. 

Linzy [00:29:33] Yes. So, Andrea, then to give us a sense of how you work with people, what is your relationship look like with your clients? What are you doing for them? How often do you communicate with them? 

Andrea [00:29:43] Yeah. So when it comes to the actual bookkeeping, I’m the one who takes care of pretty much all the categorization. Sometimes people come with spreadsheets, for example. That’s what they have been using or if they haven’t been using anything at all. So I. Kind of like start them up in software. I take care of their monthly reconciliations, which that’s another word that people run away from, like, Oh my gosh, reconciliation. Yeah, we took care of all of that. And then either on a monthly or quarterly basis, what I do is I have a client call with my clients and we go over their reports. But I always like to start with asking my clients, what is it that they want to talk about? Because I don’t want them to feel like I’m just lecturing them, you know, like you’re just coming with your coffee and you’re just listening to me. I make it very conversational because ultimately I’m doing this so that they can get better at managing their money and managing their business. So we- I ask them, you know, what is it that it’s bothering you? What is it that it’s just hovering in your mind? What do you want to talk about? And we look at those numbers, and when you have everything organized and like again, I keep talking about software because that’s how I do it. And for example, Quickbooks. Yeah, we can literally just click on a number and then you’ll have a list of transactions. 

Linzy [00:31:01] Everything that makes up that number. 

Andrea [00:31:02] Yeah, right. And then they’re like, Oh, okay, this makes sense. Oh, okay. All right, got it. Or for example, professional development is something that it lately it has been one of the biggest expenses across the border. Oh, yeah. So we look at those and then I ask them, for example, questions like, okay, is this giving you the benefit that you’re in for? If not, do you think that it is time to maybe not continue or what about for next year? Or if we look at the totals of the bank accounts every month, okay, this is how much money you had last year compared to this year. What do you think about this? 

Linzy [00:31:45] So, yes. 

Andrea [00:31:46] I’m mostly asking questions. And I think that therapists are so good at listening and so good at asking questions that because of that, you’re in such a good place when it comes to money, because that is exactly what I do in these calls. Yeah, just kind of like sparking that curiosity when it comes to money and just saying, Oh, what is making this number? Like what is a total? Why am I spending money on this? Am I making the money that I’m making? Does that make sense to the amount of time that I’m working? 

Linzy [00:32:20] Yeah. 

Andrea [00:32:20] Is it time to hire somebody else? Should I hire a VA? I’m not making that much money, but I feel like I’m working 50 hours a week. Yeah. So all of these things, it just takes taking this time and looking at your numbers with a few questions in hand. 

Linzy [00:32:38] Yeah. And I think like a mindfulness kind of phrasing around that would be like being with like you’re helping just, you’re facilitating people being with their numbers and helping to guide them on like, what are those key numbers that we look at? What are the key numbers we compare those with? You know, like when we do see a number that’s not what we want it to see. I’m hearing like you ask some reflective questions. 

Andrea [00:32:58] Right. 

Linzy [00:32:58] To get them thinking and, you know, those are skills, you know, that I’m also trying to help folks build and learn. But it can be so nice to have somebody with you, right, like that kind of – coregulation would be the therapeutic term for it – like somebody else’s nervous system with your nervous system to, like, keep you from going, like I’m failing or whatever negative story pops up. Right. But you know, also with you, they have that professional expertise of like you, this is what you do, right? Like you are a professional bookkeeper. And so you’re going to be able to help them focus on those numbers that really matter. 

Andrea [00:33:33] Right. And because you are, for example, you are paying me or any other bookkeeper that you hire, you are going to want to get what you’re paying for, if that makes sense. So it’s going to be harder for you to skip that, meaning that if you were to just not have anybody, that you’re paying them for that. So you just leave it for next month and then next month comes around and you’re really busy, so you just leave it for next month and then the end of the year comes and you never really got caught up and you keep going. You’ve never really looked at anything. But if you have somebody there as part of your team, you’re more likely to get things done. Your bookkeeping is more likely to get up to date. Like, our work depends on the information that you provide. So, you know, and you coming into that call, again, it’s you showing up. 

Linzy [00:34:23] Yeah. Yeah. 

Andrea [00:34:25] And it takes time. Like, I like to say we all have different starting points, so it takes time. You can’t really expect that. You’re just going to be super hearing numbers after the first call. You know this. It takes practice, it takes time. And the more that you get into the conversation, the more that you come into these calls, the better you’re going to feel about it and the more confidence that you have that is coming from that practice, it’s going to show up. And you making stronger decisions. You feel confident about them because we make choices every day, whether we see it or not. We are making choices every day. But are you making stronger decisions than before. 

Linzy [00:35:10] Yeah. Yeah. And you know, I love that. I think part of what I hear in that and something I love about delegating is when we do bring the right person into our team, we are delegating a task, but we’re also delegating bandwidth. Right. Like you’re holding kind of that bandwidth to be like, Hey, finances, let’s check in. I need this thing from you. Right. And like, because that’s, I think, something that can be such a struggle when we’re busy, and especially if folks are like running a practice and you have kids at home or you’re taking care of aging parents or like there’s all these other demands on our time and energy. And part of staying on top of finances, like staying on top of all the other services, is just like the bandwidth to be like, okay, now I’m going to focus on this. I’m going to shift gears and I’m going to create space. And one of the nice things that I’ve noticed about delegating, you know, now that I’m at a place where it’s like I’m the boss of the numbers, I’m not giving responsibility, but I am giving up tasks is it’s like somebody else is like, Oh, hey, it’s the first of the month, let’s get your stuff together, which is something that therefore I don’t have to hold that in my mind. And I get to use my energy to do the things that I’m really good at or the things that only I can do in my business. Because bookkeeping is not something that only I can do. But recording this podcast is something that only I can do, right? So right, you get to use your energy differently. 

Andrea [00:36:25] Absolutely. 

Linzy [00:36:26] Yeah. It’s the beauty of having support and and a good team and the right team when you find the right fit. 

Andrea [00:36:32] Exactly. And so, for example, something else that I like to do for my clients is keeping notes of our conversations. Like when we’re talking, I keep notes and I think that that is I don’t know, you tell me, Linzy, like I feel like that is such a good, like great gifts because you guys are always taking notes. 

Linzy [00:36:49] Yes, we are. 

Andrea [00:36:50] And I know that that’s one of the, you know, like, oh, my gosh, notes. So, you know, at the end of the call, your notes are here. And usually the feedback has always been like, Oh my gosh, great. Like, I don’t have to keep track. Not only of everything that you’re telling me right now, but I have to keep notes. It’s all there. It’s all organized, and you can always come back at it. 

Linzy [00:37:10] Yes. Oh, that’s great. That’s very therapist of you, Andrea, to keep notes. I feel like that’s not standard financial professional process or whatever. I’ve certainly never experienced working with somebody who’s also keeping track of our conversations. So that’s great. 

Andrea [00:37:26] That’s good to know. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:37:29] So, Andrea, thank you so much for joining me today. If folks want to get further into your world, where can they find you? 

Andrea [00:37:38] Yeah, well, they can find me on LinkedIn. That’s where I kind of like hang out the most. I just find me with my name, Andrea Rotondo. And you can also find me on Instagram @andrea.rotondo And my website is Liquid Cents Bookkeeping. Cent is C E N T S, but Liquid Cents Bookkeeping dot com. 

Linzy [00:37:58] Awesome. Thank you so much. 

Andrea [00:38:00] Thank you for having me. 

Linzy [00:38:14] In my conversation with Andrea, I was so struck by how invested she is in wanting her clients to really understand their numbers and feel empowered. And I think it just says so much about how personal fit is so important, right? Like, if that’s something that is important to you, looking at a bookkeeper, there are people out there. There is Andrea. There are people like Andrea who just like we are invested in our client’s well-being as therapists and health practitioners. They are equally as invested in their client’s well-being as bookkeepers. Right? And it’s finding someone who is going to take that- have that same kind of value values that you have. If that is something that you want and need. I think it’s so easy for us to make stories about folks in different professions and, you know, put thoughts into their head, you know, which are usually just our own negative thoughts, like they’re judging me. They think my numbers are terrible, they think I’m an idiot, whatever. Right. And we put those words into their minds and we end up having this very- sometimes we get very messy relationships to financial professionals because of what we believe that they’re thinking. But often it’s not what they’re thinking at all. They’re here to help us and support us. And if you do feel like your accountant is actually judging you, or your bookkeeper’s actually judging you, then it’s time to move on and find someone else if there really is bad vibes in that relationship. I so appreciate Andrea for coming on the podcast today. If you would like to follow me on Instagram, you can find me @moneynutsandbolts. We are sharing free emotional and practical money content on there as well as some reels – working on my reels. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. It’ll take you 2 minutes and it really helps people to find the podcast. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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How to (Actually) Reach Your Savings Goals Coaching Session 

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How To (Actually) Reach Your Savings Goals Coaching Session

How to Reach Your Savings Goals Coaching Session

“[I’m noticing that] $8,000 just seems better. I just felt more relaxed just hearing that number. It just seems so much more attainable. Sometimes when I set these goals, I just feel like, ‘this is not possible.’ And the self-doubt starts.”

~Jenny Smith

Meet Jenny Smith

Jenny started her private practice after the pandemic, and it has been the best decision in her career. She has always struggled living paycheck to paycheck and wants to do it differently now. Reduce the scarcity mindset and feel calm and confident in her business finances. Since she is going into year 3, she thought, what better time to do this! 

In This Episode…

How much do you actually need to save for business expenses and an emergency fund? Once you know those numbers, how do you set yourself up to effectively save that money? In today’s coaching session, Linzy and guest Jenny Smith dig into specific numbers that would work best for Jenny’s financial needs, and they come up with a plan to attain that goal.

Linzy and Jenny take a realistic look at what Jenny really needs when it comes to emergency funds, and looking critically at those numbers helps Jenny set attainable savings goals that, when paired with effective strategies, will help her reach her goals. 

Group practice owners, do you want to work with Linzy?

Are you a group practice owner who’s tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your finances? – Do you feel like you’re doing all the work for none of the money and are tired of constantly worrying about your bank account?- Do you want to create a group practice that is financially stable, reflects your values, and takes good care of you and your team?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about my brand new course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners!  This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.

To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners click here. 

And to book a call with Linzy to talk about whether the course is right for you, click here to get in her calendar now. She looks forward to chatting with you about it!

Episode Transcript

Linzy [00:00:04] What are you noticing with this? What comes up? 

Jenny [00:00:06] Well, 8000- just seeing- I just felt more relaxed just hearing that number. It just seems so much more attainable. Like sometimes when I set these goals, I just, you know, kind of feel like this is just not possible. And the self-doubt and. 

Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today’s episode is with Jenny Smith. Jenny is a therapist. She’s currently a student in Money Skills For Therapists. And in our conversation today, Jenny and I get into savings. She has savings goals. She’s always struggled with savings, though. How much to save, how to save, how to actually, like, keep money out of reach so that she doesn’t steal from herself. And so Jenny and I dug in today, starting with the topic of an emergency fund or a buffer. Looking at those numbers and then how to actually make it so that she can see herself and be integrity with her goal of saving and not steal from herself. So if you find that you struggle with saving, either putting money aside or actually leaving that money alone so it can be left for the actual purpose, the savings purpose that you have determined for it, then you’re going to get a lot out of this conversation today. Here is my coaching episode with Jenny Smith. So, Jenny, welcome to the podcast. 

Jenny [00:02:10] Yes, thank you. Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. 

Linzy [00:02:13] Yeah. So, Jenny, you are in Money Skills For Therapists right now and you’re like a few months in at this point. 

Jenny [00:02:22] Yes. 

Linzy [00:02:23] So we’ve had some coaching conversations already in our work together in the course. What have you brought today that you want us to dig into together on the podcast? 

Jenny [00:02:33] Well, I’m, I have some goals, and one of them is for my savings and to save the 3 to 6 month buffer. And I’m just it’s been really challenging for me to do so. And, and so that’s been a really big struggle for me, even probably before I came into the into the group. 

Linzy [00:02:52] Sure. Okay. Okay. And that 3 to 6 month buffer – to help me understand – is that like your buffer in your business for operating expenses, is that like an emergency fund for your personal life? What is that money for? 

Jenny [00:03:05] Well, you know, I have separated my business and personal. So really, I would like to have a buffer for my business and then also doing it for my personal. 

Linzy [00:03:14] Okay. Right. So those both sides you want to see. Okay. And so in your business, then, would we be talking about just saving operating expenses, like money to keep the business running because you’re going to have personal money saved in your personal accounts for like paying for your life. Okay, Awesome. Great. Okay, So that’s 3 to 6 months. First of all, let’s talk about that goal. You’ve got a range there of 3 to 6. Tell me, like, where does that range come from or like, what number do you want to land on in that range so we can make it like a really specific goal? 

Jenny [00:03:44] Yes, I was thinking probably about 10,000 would be a good a great little buffer. I’m kind of seeing my operating expenses around 2000 – 3000 depending on if I do training or or have to pay for dues and so forth yearly or or. 

Linzy [00:04:01] Okay so, your monthly operating expenses is 2000 to 3000. And for folks listening. Operating expenses is the money that we spend to run our business as Jenny’s saying, like, trainings, rent, software, the things that you know, we’re not talking about Jenny’s paycheck or taxes, we’re just talking about the money to keep the business running, keep the machine running each month. So $2000 to $3000 is your monthly. And so you’re thinking 10,000. So I could see like 10,000. Yeah. Like if you’re spending 3000, that’s like three and a half months buffer. If you’re spending 2000, it’s like five months buffer. With that, Jenny, like this is about kind of your your personal risk tolerance. What is it, about $10,000 that feels like the right amount for you for that goal? 

Jenny [00:04:41] Well, you know, 10,000 is a good amount. If there was an emergency, I could always use for the business or, you know, or if I get into, you know, a medical accident or condition, I’m able to take some time out and still have the business running efficiently. 

Linzy [00:04:58] And with this, like something I would want to reflect to you is that if you’re not working, your business expenses will also go down. 

Jenny [00:05:06] Correct. That’s true. 

Linzy [00:05:07] Right. So like, if it’s like I don’t know if you like, I don’t know. You’re laid up in bed because I don’t know. You have an accident or a surgery that takes a long recovery time. You’re not gonna be taking new trainings at that time, but you might still be paying on payment plan if you’ve signed up for other trainings. So that’s also just things to think about as we’re thinking about this number is, you know, at that point your business would be kind of just like you just be maintaining the minimums or if it’s actually something that’s more like a six month break, you probably would actually just shut a lot of stuff down. 

Jenny [00:05:35] Right. Right. 

Linzy [00:05:37] You wouldn’t keep paying for EHR if you’re not seeing clients, you would put it into like a dormant state and reactivate it. Yeah. So thinking about that, I’m curious, like if we think about your base business expenses, how much would that number be? We want a safe number, but I wonder if there’s a lower number there that would actually cover just kind of like covering your subscriptions for a month while you go away on vacation or for a couple of months if you break your leg? 

Jenny [00:06:03] Yes, I would say probably less than a thousand. 

Linzy [00:06:06] Okay. Okay. Because that’s kind of like your floor business expenses, your operating expenses. 

Jenny [00:06:10] Yeah, maybe 5 to 500 to 1000. 

Linzy [00:06:13] Okay. So a lot lower than that 2000 to 3000? 

Jenny [00:06:16] Yes. 

Linzy [00:06:17] Okay. What do you notice when I. When I say that, pointing out like the that lower number, that’s possible. 

Jenny [00:06:23] It makes it more doable. I guess. That makes me feel like it is more doable. 

Linzy [00:06:27] Yes. Because 10,000 like that is an ambitious goal to save in the business for your business, as I understand it. Your business being like a sole proprietorship where it’s just you. Right. And like, it sounds like most of the spending that you would do would be on professional development, But you’re not going to be doing if you’re not able to work. So if we actually had the floor at like $5000 to $10000. How many- how much time do you want to be saving for? Is it three months? Is it six months? 

Jenny [00:06:52] I would probably say six months. 

Linzy [00:06:54] Okay. And why six months? 

Jenny [00:06:56] Well, I guess emergency. You know, since I am the primary breadwinner of the family, I would probably like to save six months just to have a bigger buffer if something happens. 

Linzy [00:07:08] Okay. So with that, what do you think about the idea of saving for six months at home but saving for less time in your business? Because as I say, if if there is actually something that happens that you’re like, oh, my gosh, this crisis is happening in our life, I’m not going to work for six months, you’re just going to shut things down. 

Jenny [00:07:26] Right. 

Linzy [00:07:27] Right. Maybe you’d have to pay like a subscription or two, like a payment plan. But mostly you would just go dormant in your business. And it sounds like where you could actually use the money, since you’re the main breadwinner, would be at home, right? 

Jenny [00:07:38] That’s true. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:07:40] What do you notice, like thinking about that of kind of making the priority more about having that six months at home, but maybe only having two or three months for the business? Maybe taking some number between this low floor OpEx amount we talked about and this like higher amount. 

Jenny [00:07:55] That sounds a lot better actually, and it makes a lot more sense. Okay. 

Linzy [00:07:59] Yeah. Okay. So six months, we’re gonna talk about that as your home goal. But in the business, if you know your base expenses are somewhere between 500 and a thousand and your top end expenses are 3000. What if we say it’s like 1500 a month is kind of like your average safe number. So three months would be $4500. 

Jenny [00:08:17] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:08:17] How does that number land with you? 

Jenny [00:08:19] That feels a lot better. Yes. 

Linzy [00:08:21] Okay, good, good. I’m noticing, like, some relief or relaxation that’s just happened. 

Jenny [00:08:27] Absolutely. Yes. 

Linzy [00:08:28] And I am curious, Jenny, with that. Like, what do you notice is different for you about thinking about the 4500 as a goal in the business rather than 10,000? 

Jenny [00:08:37] Well, it seems to be more attainable for me. It doesn’t seem it’s such a far stretch like you know, it kind of makes you feel like you’re unmotivated to get to ten. You know, that’s like you can’t really even get there. 

Linzy [00:08:48] Yeah. And what I’m noticing with ten is like ten is a really large goal for being in solo practice, but it’s also an unnecessary goal because there wouldn’t really be a scenario where you would actually need a full ten because if something is really that serious, you would be cutting down and reducing expenses. Yeah, so we don’t need to make you save for something that’s difficult and also unnecessary. 

Jenny [00:09:08] Yes. Yes. 

Linzy [00:09:09] Whereas the money could be necessary at home. Okay, good. You’re smiling. So that tells me we’re going in the right direction. So. 

Jenny [00:09:14] Yes, we are. 

Linzy [00:09:15] Okay. So that would be a goal for the business. Now, a goal for home. Again, we want to think about the fact that if something happens in your home that you can’t earn, you’re probably also going to adjust some of your expenses, right? Like probably not going to be living the high life right. While also having some sort of like medical or family emergency. 

Jenny [00:09:34] That’s true. 

Linzy [00:09:35] Right. So thinking about that, what would be a monthly number that you would want to see set aside given your role in your family’s finances that would cover an emergency, a monthly number? Let’s start with a monthly number. 

Jenny [00:09:47] Yeah, I would say maybe around three thousand, you know, maybe to 2500 if I’m really pinching. 

Linzy [00:09:54] Yes. 

Jenny [00:09:55] With meals and everything. Right. Everything. 

Linzy [00:09:58] Okay. Okay. So maybe let’s not go that low. Let’s go 3000 then. And so $3,000 for six months would be a goal of $18,000. 

Jenny [00:10:09] Yes. 

Linzy [00:10:10] Okay. What do you notice with that number? 

Jenny [00:10:12] That’s a lot. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:10:14] That was a bit of. Ooh, yeah. Okay. Yes. But now we have two real numbers. Aim for one for your business, one for home. 

Jenny [00:10:21] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:10:21] Okay, so now let’s think about how to actually make these things happen. So tell me, like, what has been your relationship with savings so far? 

Jenny [00:10:31] So far, it’s been a very difficult role. I don’t think I have ever really been a great saver. If I have it, I’ll spend it. And so that’s been challenging to just be able to save. And if I do have it in savings, sometimes I’ll go and use it for something else. 

Linzy [00:10:48] Okay. Right. So there’s even like stealing from yourself when you have put it into savings. Yes. Okay. So right now in your business, you are- you’ve set up profit first. Do you have this as part of your profit first yet like an OpEx- right now, let’s think about the OpEx part of it and operating expense emergency funds. Is that part of some of the calculations you’re doing so far? 

Jenny [00:11:11] It is. It’s just not really consistent, I guess. 

Linzy [00:11:16] Okay. And tell me about that lack of consistency. 

Jenny [00:11:19] Well, one is due to each month fluctuating and since December, you know, kind of went into a little bit of a slump. So I’m trying to get back up to it. 

Linzy [00:11:29] Okay. Yeah. And when you have those lower numbers, what do you end up kind of doing in those months with your numbers, with you’re dividing up? 

Jenny [00:11:38] Well, really, it’s mostly going to either salary or, you know, taxes or the operating expenses and not nothing to the savings or, you know. Right. 

Linzy [00:11:49] Okay. So these ones get kind of deprioritized when money’s a little bit lower. Okay. Yes. And with that, like our you know, I’m picturing in my mind your profit first calculator, which obviously folks can’t see on the podcast, but we do have a calculator in the course that I know that you have where you know, you put in the money that you’ve made that month and then it tells you how to divide it between the different categories that you’ve determined. What is the paycheck amount that you want to see that you’re like prioritizing when money is lower, what is that paycheck that you send home? 

Jenny [00:12:19] Well, it would be nice to be about 4000, but three three, you know, would be a good start. Yeah, at least. 

Linzy [00:12:28] Okay, so 4000, but 3000 is like doable, but 4000 is what you actually want, right? 

Jenny [00:12:33] Just because I have some other you know, I want to save up for a new car, you know, I want to put some in vacation. 

Linzy [00:12:39] Rights. 

Jenny [00:12:40] You know, so I can fill that up a little bit. Yeah. Okay. 

Linzy [00:12:44] So there’s those goals at home, too, that you’re trying to fund in addition to the ones we’re talking about here. So with this then, Jenny, tell me, what have been like the numbers that you’ve been seeing that have meant that you had to move things around? Because I know for a while you were above ten every month. 

Jenny [00:13:01] Yes. 

Linzy [00:13:02] And so $10,000, I should say, to people, $10,000 revenue, you were above that. And now that’s shifted, right? 

Jenny [00:13:08] It has shifted even down to like 6800 a month, you know, maybe seven a month. And so I’ve even used the profit first calculator and done it like for weekly. 

Linzy [00:13:20] Okay. 

Jenny [00:13:20] Yeah. Gone down to weekly, which sometimes it’s like 1700 a week or something. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:13:25] Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And doing those disbursements weekly is a good idea to actually move the money around weekly just as part of your money time flow. But okay, so you’ve brought it down to 7000 and what’s the percentage that you have set aside for paycheck in your calculator? 

Jenny [00:13:39] In the calculator it is 45%. But then I have a salary too, which is the retirement, saving up for college, and you know, vacation, car – in savings, which is 17%. 

Linzy [00:13:51] Okay. Right. You have that big goals fund. So something I’m noticing is you have a lot of savings goals. 

Jenny [00:13:57] Yes. 

Linzy [00:13:57] Which is great. But I can see how it’s stretching the dollars in different directions. 

Jenny [00:14:02] Yes. 

Linzy [00:14:02] Right. 

Jenny [00:14:03] Okay. 

Linzy [00:14:03] Yeah, because I’m sitting here. Okay. So at 6800, 45%, your paycheck would be like 3060. So it just gets you that low amount. When you had those 6800 dollar months. 7000 at 45% would be a take home paycheck of 3150. So still on that lower end of what you want to see. So we’ve got that 17% and tell me about that 17%. Again, what are those goals for retirement? 

Jenny [00:14:29] Yeah, I have a college fund for my son. Yeah. Vacation eventually. Want to get a new car. I would love to pay cash for the car. That’s a big goal of mine just to be able to do that. Yeah, that’s great. And then also now for the $18,000 I need in savings, right? 

Linzy [00:14:47] Yes. And this emergency fund. Okay. So what I’m hearing then is you have a lot of goals. We’ve got these emergency funds, we’ve got these, you know, retirement. That’s a very important goal. We don’t want to forget about that one. College fund, vacation, new car, all of these things. And then also at the same time, sometimes you struggle with saving and end up taking money out of savings. At least historically that has happened. 

Jenny [00:15:10] Yes. 

Linzy [00:15:10] Okay. There’s two pieces to this here. The first one that I want to think about is priorities. You know, priority. Like Jesse, the founder of YNAB, has an article that I like about budgeting with children. You’re a parent, you have a son. I also have a son, similar ages. And he talks about when you teach kids about budgeting and you you know, his suggestion is like you- every time they see a toy that they like, you add it to their budgeting list and then when they get allowance, you say, okay, is this going towards the Lego? Is this going towards that dragon action figure? Is it going towards this? Kids are very good at picking one thing. They understand what a priority is. A priority is one thing. As adults, we never use the word priority. We use priorities. And then we list five things because we’re trying to balance all these things at the same time. And that’s really what I’m feeling from you here, right, is like this money is being pulled in all these directions because all of these things are important. So I’m going to ask you, which of these things is your number one most important? 

Jenny [00:16:07] Well, I think right now, obviously, retirement and savings would be probably the savings and. 

Linzy [00:16:13] Savings for what? 

Jenny [00:16:15] Emergency.  

Linzy [00:16:17] Okay. So your emergency fund. Okay. So retirement is up there. An emergency fund is number two. Okay. And your retirement goal, how much do you like to see going away for retirement, you know, each month?

Jenny [00:16:28] I would like to do 500. My max I can put in is like 6000 a year. So that kind of. 

Linzy [00:16:34] Okay so that hits your- beautiful. Okay. So that’s very clear and simple. 500 a month. Great. Which still gives us quite a bit to work with. So that emergency fund. Jenny, how important is it for you and also think about your life circumstances and any kind of like illness or family stuff that might be swirling about? When do you actually want to see your family have an $18,000 emergency fund? 

Jenny [00:16:57] I would like to have that as a goal this year if possible. 

Linzy [00:17:01] By the end of this year. 

Jenny [00:17:02] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:17:03] And right now, do you have any money towards that goal or are we starting at zero? 

Jenny [00:17:08] I have like about 800. 

Linzy [00:17:12] And tell me, why do you want to have it by the end of the year? 

Jenny [00:17:14] Well, one of it- just to kind of cross that off my list of things that are on that I need to do, you know, kind of is done. And so it’s financially okay. 

Linzy [00:17:25] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It feels good to like, got that, you know, pat yourself on the back. Because the other things here, like your college fund for your son. Is there a certain annual payment that you want to make or need to make in terms of those investment rules? 

Jenny [00:17:42] Yes. It’s about 169 a month. 

Linzy [00:17:45] Okay. Okay. So not very much. 

Jenny [00:17:46] Yeah, that’s a little bit more doable. Obviously, my goal is to be able to put even like a thousand a month or something to get that paid off sooner than the time. But. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:17:57] Okay. Yes. Yeah, yeah. And that would definitely be very nice. But 169 is your obligation. 

Jenny [00:18:02] Yes. 

Linzy [00:18:02] And then the new car. Do you see yourself needing a new car in cash this year or is that more like in the next four years? Five years? 

Jenny [00:18:09] I would say like three years. 

Linzy [00:18:11] Okay. Three years in the road. Great. And then what about vacation. 

Jenny [00:18:15] That I would like to maybe do one or two this year would be great. 

Linzy [00:18:20] And how much do you want to see for that vacation fund? 

Jenny [00:18:23] Maybe around. Maybe 4000 total for the year. 

Linzy [00:18:27] So 4000 total would be if we’re looking at the rest of the year, I’m going to divide it by ten. That’s like $400 a month. 

Jenny [00:18:34] Okay. 

Linzy [00:18:35] And just to give a sense of like you’re going back to your numbers again, like if we’re looking at 7000 months – and I think you can get your practice income up again, but we’re going to play with these super safe numbers just to be conservative. If you’re putting aside 17% towards these big goals, you’ve already got that built into your profit first calculator. That would be $1,190 a month that you’re working with. Okay. And if 500 is retirement, if 169 is college, because I know for our sons where, you know, I’m Canadian and you’re American, so different rules. But we do set aside that money because we make up we have to there’s a matching that happens so I know that that one is small but important. And then your new car I’m going to pause that for a second just to see what the numbers can do before that. 400 for vacations, and then emergency funds. You want to have the $18,000 by the end of the year. I’m going to run these numbers. So what I’ve done is I’ve just taken the 1190, which is kind of our very safe number for savings. I’m going to take out the 500 for retirement, the 169 for college, the 400 for that vacation fund. So it leaves 121 a month would go towards your emergency fund, which is lower than you want. 

Jenny [00:19:48] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:19:49] Now, if we’re curious, you have had $10,000 months before. 

Jenny [00:19:53] Yes, Right. 

Linzy [00:19:54] And, you know, practices ebb and flow and there’s always some things you can explore around your marketing and networking and all of that good stuff. If you have a $10,000 month, that 17% now becomes 1700 dollars. Mm hmm. And at 1700 dollars, if I take out the ones that we talked about here, that gives you 631 a month to put towards emergency fund. Mm hmm. So that gives you a lot more wiggle to start building up that fund. Now, that’s not going to get you to $18,000 by the end of the year, but it is going to build. And so this is something for you to think about is like really gut check with yourself. Of that pool of money that you are right now, that you’re earmarking for savings. And you could also look at your optics and see like, okay, can I bring down my OpEx a little to bring up savings a little? How would that feel? But if you saw it, divide it up in this way, how would that sit with your body? Would you feel like you’re on track or does it feel like you’re not making enough progress on those goals? I am curious to read you the numbers. 

Jenny [00:20:54] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:20:54] Okay. At a lower month, it would be $500 going towards retirement. Mm hmm. 169 Going towards your son’s college fund. Mm hmm. $400 towards vacations and $121 towards that emergency fund. 

Jenny [00:21:08] Mm hmm. 

Linzy [00:21:09] On a higher month, it could be $631 going towards an emergency fund. Okay. Now, in this, I will point out we have prioritized vacation over emergency fund. 

Jenny [00:21:18] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:21:18] So if you wanted to say, like, okay, vacation is important, but I’m going to do one trip instead of two and it’s going to be 2000. Right. Then that extra 200 could go towards the emergency fund instead. 

Jenny [00:21:27] Yeah. And get that going. 

Linzy [00:21:29] What are you noticing with these numbers? 

Jenny [00:21:31] Well, I don’t know. Part of me is like, well, maybe 18,000 for emergency is too, you know, unrealistic right now. I dont know.

Linzy [00:21:38] Yeah. Yeah. And what I would think about is, as a self-employed person, our circumstances are a little different, right? Because it’s like if you’re working for Twitter, for instance, if you were recently working for Twitter, your world got changed upside down when it was acquired by somebody and like all these people got laid off. You are more precarious when you work for somebody else. Working for yourself, unless you actually become like injured or some other way incapable of working at all, you are able to earn money quite quickly because you have a skill set where you get paid a high amount of money for like literally an hour of work. 

Jenny [00:22:14] Yes. 

Linzy [00:22:15] Right. Because we have this kind of like quality over quantity profession where it’s like in one hour we can like change someone’s life. Therefore, you have like high earning potential. So that six months may or may not actually be super important given your life circumstances at the moment. 

Jenny [00:22:31] Right. 

Linzy [00:22:31] Right. If there was like chronic illness on the horizon, if there’s like cancer scares or possibilities, like there’s going to be reasons that we might not be able to work, that would mean that six months is going to be a really important number. But right now, in the constellation of these other things that are important to you, I wonder if maybe a lower number for this year, but still a real number. But like, if you aim to get your emergency fund up to $8,000 this year, how that would feel to bring down that bar a little with the intention and the next year you can save another 8000 and then the year after that you can save another 8000 and you could have 24,000 three years from now, which chances are you’re never going to use all of that money. 

Jenny [00:23:09] Right. 

Linzy [00:23:10] Even if you have it, you might dip into it a little bit. It’s kind of worst case scenario money. 

Jenny [00:23:15] Yes. 

Linzy [00:23:16] Right, Right. What do you what are you noticing with this? What comes up? 

Jenny [00:23:19] Well, 8000- just seeing- I just felt more relaxed just hearing that number. 

Linzy [00:23:24] Yes. 

Jenny [00:23:25] It just seems so much more attainable, like sometimes that these goals, I just, you know, kind of feel like this is just not possible and the self doubt. 

Linzy [00:23:35] Yes. And $8,000. Like if we’re looking at, you know, if you can get your practice back up to the place that it has been, you know, and that it was in the fall, $8,000 divided by 631, you would be there in a year. Right. So in a year you could be at $8,000. If you have some higher months, that would go even higher if you deprioritize your vacation a little and plan to save 2000 instead of 4000, it would be much faster. Maybe it would be nine months or ten months instead of 12. So there’s like, you know, there’s variables here. But having that as a goal, what do you think the impact of that would be, having an $8,000 goal instead of 18,000? 

Jenny [00:24:10] Yes, I like that a lot better. I really do. It just seems so much more doable. Just like with a business. 

Linzy [00:24:18] Exactly. Yeah. Yes. And with that operating expense goal that we talked about, too, which we also brought down from 10000 to 4500, that’s something that you could look at saving inside your operating expense fund. So you could look at, you know, okay, every month in my fund, I actually have a line in my budget, which is my OpEx buffer goal. And every month I’m going to put away. Same thing.  Think about when do you actually want to hit that 4500. So if it’s like if we wanted to see that 4500 in a year, you would put away 375 a month that would get you there. If you want to make it a little bit longer, a little bit shorter, you can wiggle it. But like building that into your profit first budgeting is going to be a really powerful way, especially for the OpEx goal where you’re just like, keeping it in the business, right? Of making it happen. Okay, so now we have adjusted numbers. So now we’re onto the next piece, which is like actually making the savings happen and not stealing from yourself. 

Jenny [00:25:06] Right. 

Linzy [00:25:07] Right. Because numbers, numbers can be beautiful, but if they don’t end up doing the job that we want them to do because we end up using them for something else, then they’re not serving us in the way we intended. So with these numbers, I mean, we can think about each of these goals individually or you can think about them all together. Knowing yourself, what do you need to do with this money to make it actually stick around and actually be available for the goals it’s intended for, rather than getting used on a month where money’s a little bit tighter. A shiny object that comes along. 

Jenny [00:25:37] I mean, make it where it’s not accessible. 

Linzy [00:25:40] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Out of reach. 

Jenny [00:25:42] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:25:42] Do you have somewhere like that right now? Do you have a bank account that’s out of reach? 

Jenny [00:25:47] Well, I do have an extra one for my business, but I have different savings accounts lined up just for my different expenses. So I can maybe make one of those, like, savings accounts difficult to get into or something. 

Linzy [00:26:03] Yeah, Like, I mean, when we have the tendency to steal from ourselves. And it talks about this in profit first, it’s like, put it far away, Make it hard. Right. Like if you know, you have a piece like a part of yourself that is prone to thievery or prone to scarcity and therefore grabs the money because you feel like you need it somewhere else. Hmm. You need to set up, you know, the saying, Jenny, is like, create systems that are smarter than you are. 

Jenny [00:26:27] Yeah. 

Linzy [00:26:27] Right. We all have our own kind of like, things that challenge us, or our own flaws or areas that we’re working on. And so it’s like build a system that is going to make it hard for you to do the thing that you’re trying not to do. And so having a totally separate bank, a bank where you cannot make an easy transfer. 

Jenny [00:26:43] Right. Right. 

Linzy [00:26:44] There’s a lot of sucky banks in the United States. Find a sucky bank. Where it’s very hard to get the money out. Where they make it difficult. Because you want it to be difficult. 

Jenny [00:26:53] Right. 

Linzy [00:26:53] Yeah. Right. We want this money. We want the vacation money to be there when it’s time for your vacation. Right. And your retirement money. Could you just directly send that to your investments fund? 

Jenny [00:27:03] Yeah, I could. I usually just save it and do it at one bulk, but I could. Yeah. 

Linzy [00:27:08] Yeah. And with that, you could look at doing an automatic transfer if it’s going to be 500 a month. Like if that’s the number that it’s going to be. From your business account, you can set an automatic transfer. An automatic bill payment is I know how we do it in Canada. I don’t know how your bank specifically will talk to each other, but, like, get it out of your account every month and, like, into that retirement fund. And then you can always, like, invest. If you have to invest that money in a second step, you can do that later. But just like get it where it’s supposed to be basically as soon as the money’s ready to go. 

Jenny [00:27:37] Okay. Yes. 

Linzy [00:27:38] So that might be like an end of the month transfer. Like the 26th of every month, $500 gets sent to your retirement because, like, automation is a great thing. You know, it takes- we don’t have to actually make the decision. There’s an opportunity for another part of you that’s like, Oh, but we could really use the money somewhere else, or It’s a bad month and we should just keep it in the business. We know there’s parts like that in the mix, so we want to remove the opportunity for them to kind of interfere with our bigger plans. 

Jenny [00:28:01] Yes. Okay. Yeah, I can definitely do that. 

Linzy [00:28:04] And same with the college prepaid. Does that already automatically going out? I think I’ve seen that in your books before. Or does that sit around too? 

Jenny [00:28:10] Yeah, it goes out every month. 

Linzy [00:28:12] Okay, so that’s already. So same thing. You can automate that if it’s not already. A vacation fund. Think about where to put that. Does that need to be at a separate institution? And then emergency fund. Maybe it’s your vacation fund and emergency fund live in two different bank accounts. Yeah, in some bank that is out of sight, out of mind? 

Jenny [00:28:30] Yes. Okay. 

Linzy [00:28:31] That’s what we want. How does that feel for you? 

Jenny [00:28:34] It feels a lot more doable, for sure. Just having this conversation. Yes. 

Linzy [00:28:38] Yes. Like your numbers. Your numbers are good, right? And we know that your numbers have been even better at different points in time. So it’s just building out this system so that what you want is automated and that happens automatically. And that’s the default rather than what has been your behavioral default, which is maybe scarcity or taking. We don’t want that. So we want to make it super easy for the thing you actually want to have happen. Happen. 

Jenny [00:29:02] Yes. Yes. That sounds doable. 

Linzy [00:29:05] Awesome. So, Jenny, coming into the end of our time, what are you taking away from our conversation today? 

Jenny [00:29:10] Well, I just feel a lot more, you know, motivated and feeling like this is possible and more calm about the situation rather than scarcity or anxiety, right? 

Linzy [00:29:22] Yes. Yeah. So I would encourage you, if you have 20 minutes after our time together, just like put this stuff in place. 

Jenny [00:29:28] Yes, I will. 

Linzy [00:29:28] Make it happen. And yeah, I’m excited for you. I’ve said this to you many times in the course, but like I see your growth and I also like, see your potential with, like, the earnings that you’ve built up, the practice that you’ve built, your ability to hold all these goals. So it’s just like building out these systems. You are, you are on a very good path. 

Jenny [00:29:45] Okay. Well, thank you so much. Yes. 

Linzy [00:29:48] You’re welcome. Thanks, Jenny. 

Jenny [00:29:49] Thank you. 

Linzy [00:30:03] In my conversation with Jenny. You know, something that I noticed at the beginning, and I think this is so common when we have stress and perfectionism and scarcity around money is the goals that she had set were just way higher than she needed. There could be scenarios where, you know, we do need to have a six month buffer right away. You know, if we have a parent who’s in failing health and we know that we want to stop and like take a caregiver leave to be with them, or if we’re having a serious health scare, you know, there are scenarios where we might eventually need to have six months of money. But in Jenny’s case, at this time, compared to her other goals, those initial numbers that she set, first of like her operating expense buffer in the business, once we talked about that, it didn’t need to be 10,000. It only needs to be 4500. And that emergency fund for home, rather than being 18,000, you know, we settled on 8000. Having that as a goal by the end of the year, releasing these ideas that, you know, creating stability needs to be by hitting like these high numbers, like doing it right – and putting this in quotations – often just sets us up to feel like we’re failing because we set goals that are so hard but also unnecessary. Right. So once Jenny actually identified realistically what she actually needs to achieve this year, she could align those emergency fund goals next to the other things that are important to her in her life now and her retirement and her son’s college fund and vacation and have a much more kind of balanced approach to saving. And then, of course, that piece of putting it out of reach using automation will mean that Jenny has a system that will work against her tendency to take that money and will allow her to have the money go where it actually needs to go and have that vacation money, for instance, actually be available when she wants to go on a vacation. So such a lovely conversation today with Jenny. If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me @moneynutsandbolts. We share emotional and practical money content on there all the time as well. As I’ve mentioned, some reels working on reels and if you are enjoying the podcast, please leave me review on Apple podcast. It takes literally 2 minutes if you have an Apple account. I actually tried to do it the other day at an Apple account that didn’t work. But if you have an Apple account, if you could take 2 minutes to let me review, it’s super helpful and is the best way for other therapists to find us. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

Latest Episodes

Mini Series 3 Only You Can Be the Financial Leader

How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.

Listen to this episode »
Mini Series Ep 2 - Making the Numbers Work for Your Group Practice with image of Linzy

How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.

Listen to this episode »
Mini-series Ep 1 Why Your Group Practice Finances Aren't Working, Yet with Picture of Linzy

Do you sometimes wonder if you made the right choice by starting a group practice? Do the finances feel like they just don’t work? There are lots of great things about running a group practice, which Linzy explores in this episode, and there are also unique challenges that make being a group practice owner challenging.

Listen to this episode »

© Copyright 2022 | Money Nuts & Bolts Consulting Inc. | All Rights Reserved

Tax Time Tips and Self-Care

Tax Time Tips and Self-Care
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Tax Time Tips and Self-Care

Tax Time Tips and Self-Care

“If you notice that you’re starting to make your tax plans, and you’re thinking, ‘Well, I didn’t do it all year, so now I’m just going to have to make it happen and push through…’ If you’re noticing any kind of propensity towards making this a painful punishment, I’m going to ask you to stop and think about how this could look different for you this year.”

~Linzy Bonham

In This Episode…

Does the tax season fill you with dread? Rather than being unkind to yourself for the things you didn’t do the way you thought you should this year, listen in to these tips and action items that Linzy shares.

Take steps today to make this tax season more manageable. Check out this solo episode where your host Linzy talks with us directly about things we can do to manage our taxes as therapists in private practice, and reduce the stress that comes with tax time.

Group practice owners, do you want to work with Linzy?

Are you a group practice owner who’s tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your finances? – Do you feel like you’re doing all the work for none of the money and are tired of constantly worrying about your bank account?- Do you want to create a group practice that is financially stable, reflects your values, and takes good care of you and your team?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about my brand new course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners!  This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.

To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners click here. 

And to book a call with Linzy to talk about whether the course is right for you, click here to get in her calendar now. She looks forward to chatting with you about it!

Episode Transcript

Linzy [00:00:03] If you notice that you’re even starting to make your tax plans of like, Well, I didn’t do it all year, so now I’m just going to have to like, make it happen and push through. And if you’re noticing any kind of propensity towards making this a painful punishment, I’m going to ask you to stop and think about how this could look different for you this year.

Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists.

Hello and welcome back to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast. Today we have something a little bit different. Today I’m doing a solo episode. You may have picked up on the fact that I really like talking to other people and I always love being able to have peers and colleagues of mine and people who have done significant work around their own relationships with money or who are helping us work with money in different facets of our business. I love the opportunity to connect with those folks and bring them on the podcast. There’s nothing like a good conversation in my books.

But today I want to dig in to a topic that is very much just like I just want to impart to you some information that will hopefully make your life easier, if this is a problem that you have, and this is how to make tax time bearable, comfortable. Okay, maybe even kind of nice. I don’t know if I can go that far, but I want to talk to you about tax time prep because we are coming into that time of year and the time that I’m recording this, end of February, we’re going to be sharing this episode in March. It’s like taxes are in the air. There’s that swirl coming around.

I know in Canada we need to get our, you know, documentation is due at the end of this month. If you’ve had employees, you need to get all your stuff out to employees. We are definitely like getting into tax season for most of us. If you are a sole proprietor, you’re going to be filing your taxes. Your year-end would have been the end of December. So we are coming into that tax season where taxes are due in April. And this is a time of year that is just rife with opportunity for pain and headache and negative stories about ourselves. And I’m also about to argue our self-punishing behaviors.

So let’s talk about how to actually make tax time work for you. First, we want to talk about the mindset. If you’ve attended my Saving Enough for Taxes workshop, which is an adjacent topic but different than we’re talking about today. If you’ve attended that workshop or if you have done Money Skills For Therapists, you know that I start with mindset – and my vacation workshop too. We always start with mindset and the reason for that is so much of what is difficult about money is the stories that we tell ourselves and that emotional relationship that we have with it that really sets up and informs how all of our tasks go. If you tell yourself that getting ready for taxes is tedious and stupid, or if it’s evidence of how you failed as a business owner or you don’t know what you’re doing, you are obviously creating conditions in which you’re going to feel really shitty, more or less. So the very first thing I want to talk about is don’t make tax season a punishment for yourself.

Something that I’ve noticed is when therapists and health practitioners, when we have avoided taxes throughout the year, when we haven’t been doing that kind of tracking work as we go that we know we’re “supposed” to do. I’m putting that in quotations, but it is actually very helpful to track as you go. When we haven’t done that work as we go, we end up with this mountain of work, or at least a small, unpleasant hill of work to do. And the tendency that I see is that therapists turn this into a punishment for themselves. They make themselves do it on the weekends. They make it like for a whole day they have to just like, compile all their tax stuff.

Sometimes I’ve heard of people like closing themselves in a room, so it’s just like this intense, unpleasant experience of basically what you are doing is you’re doing a whole year of financial work in like one or two days, which sucks. Even if I did that, that would suck. I would not have fun with that because I just don’t think the human mind, it’s not really built for us to do that kind of task for that long.

So if you notice that you’re even starting to make your tax plans of like, Well, I didn’t do it all year, so now I’m just going to have to like, make it happen and push through. And if you’re noticing any kind of propensity towards making this a painful punishment, I’m going to ask you to stop and think about how this could look different for you this year. What do you need for it to not be a punishment? How can this just be a normal, neutral part of your business? Taxes are just what happens when we have a business that is successful.

If you have a business that is generating money and then is giving you an income that you’re going need to pay income tax on, taxes are just part of that, right? It is a normal part of doing business. And if we can start to think about how to bring that more into a neutral space, you don’t have to love it. But if you can bring it to a more of a neutral space, there’s going to be a big shift in what this looks like.

So if we want to talk practically about that piece of not punishing yourself, part of it is just like, okay, this part of my business, maybe I didn’t take as much care of as I wanted, and there’s more tasks than I need to. Or, you know, if you have taken care of it. They’re still going to be kind of a little pile of tasks that need to be done. How can you spread it out so that it’s just another task on your to-do list that you work at little by little, rather than making this big, terrible mountain task?

You have time right now. If you’re listening to this podcast at the time that it comes out, you have at least a few weeks to compile this stuff together. At least two weeks. So is it that you work on it half an hour on Monday, an hour on Wednesday and an hour on Friday. You know, for a couple of weeks. Is it that you work on it in the evening? We’re going to get into more of these details later. But just start to think about how do you just make it this neutral, rather than a burden or a punishment or setting it up as something that, again, invites all those parts of you that have negative things to say, to just go nuts and have their say, making it neutral.

The next piece is a practical piece, and this is: create a central spot for all your tax-related stuff for your business to go. You’re going to have one physical spot and one digital spot. So I noticed this time of year, you start to get receipts being emailed to you from like charitable donations that you’ve made. I got a receipt the other day from the Globe and Mail newspaper, which is a national newspaper here in Canada. Apparently, I got a tax credit for having a newspaper subscription. So in my email inbox, for example, I have a tag that I’ve created called Taxes. So I also have a receipt tag where I tend to tag all my receipts.

But now when I’m getting things that I know are specifically for tax time, like that end-of-year charitable receipt or this newspaper tax credit receipt, which I was not expecting, I just put the taxes tag on those. So when I go to put together my tax information, I have now put it in the right spot as I went along, little by little. And so it was all going to be there. When I do that search for that tag in my Gmail, there’s all my taxes stuff in one place. I don’t have to go searching and be like, Wait, did these people send me a receipt? Do these people send me a receipt? It’s all together already.

Same goes with your home when mail comes in the door. I mean, this is a great habit to have in general. If mail tends to go missing in your house. My partner and I just created a mail drop spot in our house. Have a spot where tax-related stuff can go, right? Maybe you have a mail spot as the first step, but as soon as you open that and you realize it’s a tax thing, having a folder that’s out somewhere visible that just says taxes, where any W-2s or T forms that come in, whether you’re American or Canadian, any kind of receipts that are being mailed to you, again, like charitable stuff, any investment income that you’ve had, you’re going to get a receipt from that from your bank or your investment platform. Just put them all together again.

What we’re doing here is we’re taking something that could become this huge, painful mountain. If we ignore it, ignore it, ignore it, and then just like dive headfirst into it. If we pay attention to it a little bit as we go and just make that habit of putting the things where we need to find them, when it’s time to find them, then you’re breaking up the work and you’re making it small, little easy micro tasks rather than this big pile of tasks that you’re going to have to do all at the same time. That’s going to be very painful.

Now let’s talk about what you actually need for taxes. This is not going to be an exhaustive list because it’s going to be very specific to you and your family composition and what credits you are eligible for. But let’s talk about the business side of it. So basically speaking, what you’re going to need to gather together for your accountant for tax time is your income information and your expense information.

Your income information can usually be pretty easily found if you are using an electronic EHR like Jane app or simple practice. I believe therapy notes. Anything that is gathering together the information of when your clients have paid, you will have the ability to do a report where you can just pull that number to say, Yep, this year I billed $75,000, $80,000, whatever it is, that is where you get your income information. Pretty simple.

Your expense information, what you’re going to want to do is gather together all the physical receipts for things you bought. I’ve noticed in the time that I’ve been doing this work with therapists, physical receipts have significantly reduced. There’s just not as many of them anymore. We don’t tend to do things in person as much anymore, for better or for worse. I think I would argue for worse. But any paper receipts that are around, getting those into one spot, and again, this can be something that you can set your mind to doing over time. It doesn’t have to be one big massive task, but you could set a half-hour task for yourself one day of just like rooting through that pile of stuff on your desk and putting aside everything that’s a work-related receipt. Find the drop spots in your house, go through your cupholder in your car if things get crammed in there. Start to just be curious of where that stuff can be and pull it together. Having receipts, the actual receipts that show what you bought, is helpful.

I’ve had people asking for whether or not what’s on a credit card is good enough for your receipts and my understanding – and again, I’m not an accountant – but my understanding from accountants is if you get audited, the IRS or the CRA, or if you’re in Europe, whatever your regulatory tax body, they’re going to want to actually be able to see the information of what the money was for. Just having a charge on your credit card that says Amazon does not prove to them that it’s actually an eligible work expense. So the more that we can gather that information again as we go and as you’re getting ready for taxes, gather that information means that you literally have the receipts should you ever get audited.

Don’t forget to grab your credit card processing fees. That’s one that is often missed. So if you use something like Stripe or Square, you can go in there and just grab a year-end report from January 1st to December 31st. How much did you pay in credit card fees? Put that information down. Look through your personal Amazon. If you tend to buy things for work on your personal Amazon or any other places where you’ve got personal and business mixed.

Take a casual, curious look through there and again, gather all that stuff into one digital place and one physical place. Digital place, I should say, maybe there’d be two. Sometimes I have to save some stuff to my desktop. Other stuff is in my email and then one folder which ideally you’re putting stuff aside throughout the year and if you weren’t able to do that, then you can gather things together over the next while as you’re getting ready for taxes.

But remember, not in a punishing way, in a metered, little-by-little gets-the-job-done kind of way. And then the other portion of expenses to track is home office expenses. So this is something that can sometimes be confusing because now so many of us are working at home.

When I started doing this work with therapists in 2018, no one was working from home and now most of us are working from home.

So home office expenses are that other category of expenses that you have to gather together for taxes. And we’re not going to put those in the same spot that you’re tracking your business expenses because they’re not just straight business expenses like your website or your supervision that you get. Those are things that are just straight business expenses, but your home office is written off as a portion of the space that you use. So you don’t get to write off 100% of your rent or you don’t get to write off 100% of your electricity bill. You get to write off a certain percentage.

So put that information together again, broken out over time, little by little, in a different spot, a different spreadsheet or different page in your ledger, because your accountant is going to put that into a different portion of your taxes, like a different area of your taxes. And it’s going to be written off as the percentage of your house that is for home office use. So, for instance, in my house and my partner Rodrigo also works for me in the business. So we have our home offices that we use for the business and they make up 25% of the square footage of our house, which is the maximum, by the way, that my accountant has said that we can write off. So we wouldn’t want to write off more than that because that might flag us. But what that means is. When we have the interest on our mortgage. Your mortgage is not a write off, but the interest on your mortgage is in both Canada and the U.S., as far as I understand.

Let’s say that we over the course of the year pay, oh, gosh, I don’t even want to think about this number. This would be so painful. But let’s just say it’s like $12,000 of mortgage interest. I really made up that number. Now I want to go look at my mortgage and see how much of it is interest. But let’s say it’s $12,000. We can’t write off $12,000 as an expense to the business, but we can write off 25% of it. So I can write off $3,000 is actually what’s going to be applied on my taxes. But I can keep track of it and say, okay, this year for our house, we paid $12,000 in mortgage interest and then the accountant will put that into our taxes. And ultimately what will be claimed is 25% of that would be 3000. So thinking about your rent, your mortgage interest, your bills like your hydro phone and Internet are a little bit different. You can write off more of those, but again, put those in a separate spot too.

These are all things that what we’re doing really is like pulling together the information so we can have conversations with our accountant. You don’t have to know all the answers or make it perfect. If you’re looking at stuff and you’re like, Wait, what category is this? Is this dues and subscriptions? Is this computers? I don’t even know- like what categories exist. Don’t worry about those things, really. I know that that might seem a little weird to say, but the most important thing is that you pull all that information together so you can ask your accountant, Hey, this subscription that I have to this professional magazine or this website service that I have, what category should that go in? And they can just answer you. And then together you’ll be able to add all the numbers that you compiled into that category.

So I say this to students in Money Skills too, like finding the exact right category is not as important as just having the information in one place, because your accountant can answer that question in literally 5 seconds. You can also, you know, do a quick Google search. But what is most important is you just pull together the information so you and your accountant can have the conversation about the information you have on your side. And they will help to fit that information onto your taxes in the right place. Then what you’re going to need to do is put all that information together, Right?

Once you gather your income information, your expense info, ideally, you’ve also been putting aside that personal stuff that’s come in the door. Like we said, that’s going to go in a different spot on your taxes, but your accountant’s going to need, you know, those personal receipts, personal related receipts as well. Now you’re going to put it all together.

And my suggestion is always to put it together in a way that makes sense for your brain. There’s no one way to put together your tracking for your business, which is basically what we’re talking about right now. We’re talking about doing tracking that maybe you did a little this year. Maybe you did none. Maybe you did all of it up till November and you’re just doing the last little bit. But using a tool that just makes sense for you is the best way to do it.

So whether that’s a spreadsheet, you may have a spreadsheet. I have a spreadsheet that’s out there through the Abundance Party. In the Abundance Party, there’s a spreadsheet available that I’ve made, which is also available in Money Skills For Therapists. You might have your own spreadsheet that you’re to use or a spreadsheet that, I don’t know, your partner made you. I find a lot of therapist types are with engineering types. So if you have an engineering type person in your life who has made you a spreadsheet, if you like it, that would be a good place. Or a paper ledger is totally fine. You know, if you are really a paper person and technology is part of the friction, grab a notebook. You can make each page on that notebook another category of expenses. If that’s how it works for your brain, you can make columns. If you want to make a traditional ledger, you can look up what a ledger looks like, if you’re not familiar, just get the information down, get it together, and going through your bank statements from your business line by line.

Again, just using curiosity and just making sure that you’ve captured all those expenses. This is what we would call reconciling. Reconciling is where you’re double-checking to make sure everything’s been captured. The numbers match. Going through your bank statement and your credit card in a curious, measured way will help you to gather all of these things together.

And then the last thing in terms of how to make tax time bearable – enjoyable – is actually to make it pleasant, have a warm beverage on hand. I’ve got my giant bucket-sized mug of tea next to me right now. It’s just my constant companion, whatever that is for you, whether that’s having a nice coffee, picking yourself up a coffee out, whether it’s just water, whatever is going to help you stay grounded, put on music, think about what do you need from that music? If you do want music, is it something to is it brown noise to keep you focused? Is it Lizzo to pump you up because you tend to get sleepy when you’re stressed? Or is it classical music? Like is it calming music? Maybe a little bit of like sad music, whatever it is. Think about what you need to make yourself comfortable. You can take care of yourself while doing something that you don’t want to do.

Just because you’re doing a task that might not be your favorite part of your business doesn’t mean that it has to be in these awful conditions. You can signal to yourself that you are safe, that you are lovable, that you are good enough, that you’re a badass who has an amazing business. You can signal all of these things to yourself by setting up an environment to take care of you and meet your needs even while you’re working on something that might not be your favorite thing to do.

And then if your accountant needs more from you, I also want to remind you that that doesn’t mean anything about you. I’m maybe speaking partially for myself right now. I do notice sometimes when my bookkeepers come back and ask me a question, there’s so much opportunity there for the parts of me that want to be critical of me to jump up and say, like, See, you’re not doing a good job. You missed this thing. Cue endless negative stories that I think are possible for most of us. If your bookkeeper comes back or your accountant comes back to you, and they ask you questions or something is missing, that doesn’t mean anything about you. Finances are always a work in progress. And it can be helpful to think about this work with your accountant as a conversation, right? You’re going back and forth.

There’s another mindset piece here, and that is that your accountant’s job here is to be the expert who ensures that your information is as complete as possible to get you the best return that they can. They’re on your team. I think it can be easy for us to go into the place of being like a bad student or feel like we’re being criticized or just feel stressed by the demands of financial professionals in our lives. And I want to remind you that your accountant works for you.

First of all, you’re the one who’s actually paying them, and there needs to be a relationship there where you can feel supported, where you can ask for clarity and information, and where you believe that they’re really on your side and they’re doing the best that they can for you. If you can find evidence of that, then that’s great. Really take that in and notice that – this is mostly I’m saying this if folks have had difficulty with accountants. If you have an accountant you already love and that’s amazing. That’s great. But take in that evidence that they’re on your side and they’re here to help you.

And if you find that, come the end of this tax season, it really wasn’t a good experience and you don’t like how they communicate, then you have another year to find somebody new who is going to feel like a team member who’s there to support you, because that is their job as an accountant. Their job is to do the best that they can for you.

So. I’m going to summarize because I know that was a lot of stuff. So, mindset, don’t make it a punishment for yourself. Think of your accountant as a partner in the project. Ask them questions. See it as a back-and-forth. You’re collaboratively working on this project to get you the best return that you can. Create those central spots: central digital spot, central physical spot, to catch your personal and your business tax receipts as they come in. That makes it way easier to gather that information gradually from your income and your expense stuff. All of this is gradual. Get it into that tool that makes sense for your brain. And overall, very importantly, break down this task into many small tasks. And whatever size bite is good for the nervous system, you will actually make more progress if you get this done in the amount that makes your brain happy.

For some people, that’s going to be 20 minutes at a time. For some people, they’re going to get in the flow and they want to do 2 hours. Rarely is any of us going to thrive and feel great after doing 8 hours of financial tracking. Just don’t do that to yourself.

So think about what you need both in terms of your environment to make this a really nice money time experience and also in terms of length of time to break down what might be a big task right now into small, manageable bites. You’ve got this. I am wishing you a wonderful tax season.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can also follow me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share practical and emotional money content on there all the time and I’m also working on reels so you can see those too. If you are enjoying the podcast, leaving reviews on Apple Podcasts really makes a huge difference for us. I tried to leave a review recently. I had promised on a previous podcast episode I would leave a review for Mike Birbiglia, who is my favorite podcast, and I was not able to as a non-Apple user. So I’m asking the Apple users out there, if you’re an Apple user and you have 2 minutes. Please leave a review. As Android users are looking to you to make this happen. Leave a review because that is the best way for other therapists to find us and be part of these conversations. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

Latest Episodes

Mini Series 3 Only You Can Be the Financial Leader

How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.

Listen to this episode »
Mini Series Ep 2 - Making the Numbers Work for Your Group Practice with image of Linzy

How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.

Listen to this episode »
Mini-series Ep 1 Why Your Group Practice Finances Aren't Working, Yet with Picture of Linzy

Do you sometimes wonder if you made the right choice by starting a group practice? Do the finances feel like they just don’t work? There are lots of great things about running a group practice, which Linzy explores in this episode, and there are also unique challenges that make being a group practice owner challenging.

Listen to this episode »

© Copyright 2022 | Money Nuts & Bolts Consulting Inc. | All Rights Reserved

Being a Bad Therapist with Felicia Keller Boyle

Being a Bad Therapist with Felicia Keller Boyle
Header for podcast website

Being a Bad Therapist with Felicia Keller Boyle

Being a Bad Therapist with Felicia Keller Boyle

“Me staying broke is not helping other broke people. My mom staying broke did not help her relieve more suffering. I think in my brain I had this idea that as long as I’m broke, I couldn’t possibly be causing harm. What I’ve come to realize is there are ways to have money and to spend money and to interact with money that can be aligned with my values.

~Felicia Keller Boyle

Meet Felicia Keller Boyle

Felicia Keller Boyle, also known as the Bad Therapist™, is a highly experienced therapist, and business coach. She is dedicated to helping her clients achieve their full potential, both professionally and personally. With a background in therapy and business, Felicia has the unique ability to help her clients overcome the challenges of building a successful practice and achieving financial stability. Her passion for empowering others is evident in her signature program, Liberated Business™, which has already helped therapists from all over the country increase their income and build thriving practices.

In this Episode...

What does it mean to be a “good therapist,” and how can that conditioning damage our relationship to money and to living a full life? Felicia Keller Boyle, a.k.a The Bad Therapist, talks with Linzy about how the training and messaging therapists often receive deeply impacts our ability to advocate for our own needs and to charge appropriate fees.

Felicia and Linzy explore how freeing ourselves from conventional attitudes toward making money and practicing self-care can make space for more fulfillment. Listen in to hear how attaining financial growth goals can also be aligned with our values.

Connect with Felicia Keller Boyle

Check out Felicia at or on Instagram @the_bad_therapist 

Group practice owners, do you want to work with Linzy?

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If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about my brand new course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners!  This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.

To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners click here. 

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Episode Transcript

Felicia [00:00:01] Me staying broke is not helping other broke people. My mom staying broke didn’t help her relieve more suffering. And I think in my brain I had this idea that as long as I’m broke, I couldn’t possibly be causing harm. And what I’ve come to realize is there are ways to have money and to spend money and interact with money that can be aligned with my values. 

Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast. Today’s guest is Felicia Keller Boyle. She’s also known as the Bad Therapist. As we chat about, at the beginning of our conversation, I find her name so evocative, this name of the bad therapist, because I think that it immediately, you know, provokes what it’s supposed to provoke, which is that as therapists, we are trained to be good. Today we get into talking about our good therapist conditioning, to clarify, different from being a clinically excellent therapist or a professional therapist. But good therapist conditioning in the sense of like basically the extension of good girl conditioning, right, about being small, not asking for much, getting by. You know, as she mentions, not enforcing your cancellation policies. These can all be bound up in this conditioning that we get around being good. And today, Felicia and I get into how that conditioning that we get impacts our relationship with money, our financial lives, the work that we do, and what we can do to start to untangle ourselves from that good therapist conditioning and start to actually be able to build a strong, positive relationship with money, be able to earn the money that we need to earn all of those good things that we know that I hope you know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a little while, that we know money can bring into our lives. Here is my conversation with Felicia Keller Boyle. Felicia, welcome to the podcast. 

Felicia [00:02:33] Thanks, Linzy. I’m really excited to be here. 

Linzy [00:02:35] I’m excited to have you here. So what we’re going to be digging into today, I feel like is such a part of your brand and your ethos. And, I love, first of all, the name of your business. 

Felicia [00:02:46] Thank you. 

Linzy [00:02:47] The Bad Therapist. Because you and I notice and mean Felicia is it immediately activates all my good girl parts. 

Felicia [00:02:54] Yeah, that is the intention. 

Linzy [00:02:55] It’s very provocative. 

Felicia [00:02:57] That’s the whole point. You know, I figured based on what I promote and what I encourage therapists to do, like the most common, like insult or criticism that gets lobbed against what I do and what my students do is I we’re bad therapists. And so I’m like, fine, let’s lean into it. 

Linzy [00:03:18] Yes. 

Felicia [00:03:19] Because being a good therapist – and I don’t mean like being a clinically sound skilled therapist, but being like a quote, like the quote unquote good therapist is someone who typically doesn’t have boundaries, has a theoretical cancellation policy, but wouldn’t dare to enforce it because that would be so mean and so wrong and wouldn’t have high fees because, of course, that’s what we don’t get into this for the money. Yes, we work multiple jobs in order to afford being therapists. So anyway, I see being a bad therapist is like the antidote to what’s very typical for therapists once we come through our training. Essentially like indoctrination, indoctrination into like the good therapist conditioning world. 

Linzy [00:04:03] Yes. Yes. Like this good therapist conditioning. So I’m hearing like, partially like we’re getting it through our training. We are conditioned to be good – and I’m putting good therapist in quotations. Cuz as you say, we’re not talking about being a quality therapist like, clinical excellence. We’re talking about being- like it’s more the good girl or good person. 

Felicia [00:04:20] That’s exactly right. 

Linzy [00:04:21] I’m curious, like, do you think it’s also a preexisting condition for folks in the field, or does it really? 

Felicia [00:04:28] Oh hell yeah. 

Linzy [00:04:28] Yeah, yeah. 

Felicia [00:04:29] Oh, yeah. I mean, okay, I say this to my friends, I say this to my students. Sometimes we’ll just be in a room together like a bunch of therapists, and we’re like, We’re crazy, right? Like, who does this? Like who makes this decision? There’s so many different jobs out here. We all decided to do this. That’s a wacky decision. I mean, God bless us. You know, someone’s got to do it. And we’re clearly the best people for the job. But I do think that good therapist conditioning usually doesn’t just start in our training. It usually starts early on in our lives. I know that, like the groundwork for being a good therapist, like you were saying, started out as being a very good girl in so many different ways. You know, I was the oldest child in a single-parent home. I was raised in the church. There were all- I grew up without a lot of money and very resentful of people who had money, very fearful of money. And just ignorant also like how to work with it. So there’s lots of fear, lots of ignorance around money. So I very much was like before I ever even decided I was going to be a therapist, I was already very much affected by like good girl conditioning. And so then when I decided to be a therapist, all of those inclinations and habits basically got reinforced by my training. 

Linzy [00:05:50] Yes. 

Felicia [00:05:51] With, you know, being called like being client-centered, you know, it’s like being quiet and centered. We got new language for it. Yeah, right. AKA No boundaries. And I don’t think that that’s what client-centered actually means, obviously. But I think there’s a way that will confuse what it means to actually do really high-quality work with our clients as therapists and treating ourselves well. You know, like we tend to see those two things as like mutually exclusive. 

Linzy [00:06:20] Yes. Yes. Yeah. So this, you know, good therapist conditioning. How do you see this impacting therapist relationships with money and like the financial side of the work that we do. 

Felicia [00:06:32] Yeah. I mean, it impacts it in a huge way. I mean, one of the things that’s true for I would say most, if not all therapists, is that we spend a lot of our time in our early days of our training, not getting paid for our labor. 

Linzy [00:06:49] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:06:50] So that in and of itself creates a pattern where we undervalue our labor because it has been undervalued. Becoming a therapist is a really expensive career path. You know, our trainings are not cheap. Many of us, by the time when we’re done with our trainings, have at least 100 K in student debt, sometimes multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt. And then we’re expected – culturally and by many of our elders in the field – to earn nowhere near an amount of money that would actually, I don’t know, afford us so comfortable life, let alone begin to pay back that debt. So good therapist conditioning is something that’s reinforced all throughout our trainings. And yeah, one aspect of it, like I said, is, is that not valuing our labor. And then the other thing is feeling intense fear of pricing people out of therapy. 

Linzy [00:07:50] Yes. 

Felicia [00:07:50] When it comes to our fees. Yeah. And just getting really stuck right there. Like, that’s kind of where our brains tend to short out. We think about raising our fees, then we imagine some people can’t afford it. And it’s almost like our our minds short circuit in that moment. And that’s the end of the end of like the the question, the curiosity. Yeah. And we don’t have the support we need to start actually to get creative about how to approach solving for that. 

Linzy [00:08:18] Mm hmm. And I’m curious, like with, you know, with the folks that you’ve looked at or you’ve worked with or like generally with your observations about this, like, what does this actually end up meaning for therapists’ financial lives when we’re caught up in this like, good therapist training? 

Felicia [00:08:31] I mean, it’s there’s a huge range. Obviously, some of it’s like pretty, pretty devastating. I’ve heard from so many therapists who are actually quite early on in their training. Some of them, you know, just in their first traineeship, some of them still getting their hours and they’re already like wanting to leave the field. 

Linzy [00:08:49] Yeah, right. 

Felicia [00:08:50] They’re already burnt out because they’re overworking and being underpaid. And when they’re underpaid they don’t have money to leverage to resource themselves in other ways. Right, right. If they were, if they were working a lot and getting paid well, at least they would have the money to maybe, I don’t know, well just – for one – not be stressed about money, which sure as hell would be really nice. 

Linzy [00:09:11] That helps, yeah. 

Felicia [00:09:12] And maybe do some other nice things for themselves. Maybe they would take themselves on a vacation. They would have a gym membership because it feels good to them to move their bodies. 

Linzy [00:09:20] Get help around the home. 

Felicia [00:09:21] Help around the home, Right. Exactly. Pay other people well for their labor, to do things in their lives. But yeah, it causes huge strain. And then you’ll have people, so you’ll have those people who sometimes like tap out super early on and then you’ll have the other people who will go their entire careers under-earning. 

Linzy [00:09:39] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:09:40] And they will have long, long careers as therapists and social workers and psychologists and whatever, but they’ll spend their entire life under-earning. One thing that was really impactful for me in deciding to really examine my relationship with money and not just my relationship, but also begin to educate myself about money and finance. Because like I said earlier, I was incredibly ignorant. I was thinking about my mom, who has run her own business my entire life. She was a house cleaner when I was a little kid, and then when I was in junior high, she became a massage therapist. So I’ve watched her be self-employed her entire life. And what I’m seeing now in her sixties is that her retirement plan is like, practically nonexistent. Yes. And as a child of hers, that’s really scary, you know? And so I, you know, saw that and I was like, okay, I’m going to go through the trouble of running a business. I have so many resources that my mom didn’t have. My mom, God bless her, did her very best with what she had. And because of some of the things she did, how hard she worked, I have a lot more resources than she did at the time, so I’m going to use that to my advantage. I don’t want to end up in that position. It’s something that because of how I was raised, if I don’t do something about this, if I don’t actively engage with this process, if I just continue to exist with my defaults, that is exactly where I would end up at her age because that’s everything I’ve learned how to do. 

Linzy [00:11:14] Sure, yes. 

Felicia [00:11:15] So I don’t want that to be my future. I have to be actively engaged in my decisions right now. So that was a huge kind of awareness for me. Once I completed my hours and I got licensed and I was setting up my business and I was really thinking about what does it mean to run a business? I was seeing how she ran hers and realizing, okay, that’s not the outcome I want. I’m going to put all this effort in. I want a different outcome. 

Linzy [00:11:39] Right. Yes. I feel like your story read a thought that was in the back of my mind as I’m thinking about, you know, these impacts, like retirement. It’s like you can limp along for your working life because you can always see a couple more clients, right? Like, money’s coming in and money is probably coming in enough that you can, like, cover rent or bills and like, I don’t know, maybe like, go out for coffee with your friends a little bit. Like you can make life livable while you’re actively earning. But once we hit retirement, it’s like if we didn’t have that extra, if we weren’t planning ahead enough to put money aside that little flow that you had stops. And then I think the real impact is felt, which like I’m- folks listening, I’m not trying to stress you out. Right. But like, this is kind of like the black-and-white reality that can happen when we underearn for our whole careers. 

Felicia [00:12:27] That’s exactly right. Yeah. And what you were just saying about, like, we can limp along, we can get by. And I think therapists are very much trained and conditioned to really just want to get by. For that to be as much as we hope for because there’s so much suffering out in the world. 

Linzy [00:12:47] Yes. 

Felicia [00:12:48] Why should we want to have a good lives like, okay, like mentally balanced. Sure. Yeah. We want that. We feel entitled to that. But like a lavish life, an abundant life, a super well-resourced life. As many vacations as we want to take life. No, no, no, no, no. There’s far too much suffering in the world for me to be concerned with having that much joy and pleasure and freedom in my life. That would be really bad. It’s not fair. 

Linzy [00:13:15] Yes. 

Felicia [00:13:16] And I think that for me, that that was like a huge, huge part of like what I had to undo that sense of like, it’s not fair, because I’ve got to tell you, as a little kid growing up without money, I was pissed. I was like, It is not fair. It is really not fair that my mom’s scrubbing toilets while this family is out on vacation, which that’s how it felt. Yes, that’s how it felt as a little kid. And I think I carried that into adulthood and wanted to stay allied with my younger self because I didn’t want to become the people who are out on vacation while someone else was scrubbing a toilet. I didn’t want to make that change. 

Linzy [00:13:54] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:13:55] Well, what I realized is that, like, me staying broke is not helping other people. My mom staying broke didn’t help her, you know, relieve more suffering of other broke people. And I think in my brain, I had this idea that as long as I’m broke. I couldn’t possibly be causing harm. Right. And what I’ve come to realize is there are ways to have money and to spend money and interact with money that can be aligned with my values. And just because, you know, five years ago, I had no idea what that looked like didn’t mean it wasn’t worth trying to learn what that could look like. I think so many people at the start of examining their relationship with money and wanting to heal it, is they kind of have this sense of, okay, okay, maybe I’ll make more money, but you’ve got to promise me that at the end of it, I’m still going to be a good person. If you give me like the five things I have to do, if I have more money so that I can be a good person, okay, then fine, I’ll do that. And because that’s what I would have really loved, is for someone to just give me a blueprint to be like, okay, here’s how you make more money and this is how you be a good person and stuff like that. 

Linzy [00:15:05] Yep. 

Felicia [00:15:05] That’s like the same trap. 

Linzy [00:15:07] Yes, it is. 

Felicia [00:15:08] The whole thing is. 

Linzy [00:15:10] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:15:11] And so the biggest thing that I teach the people I work with, the therapists I work with, is to educate themselves about money and finance and to be looking for ways to engage with money that does align with their values. For some- for every single person that’s going to be different. For some people, it’s going to be volunteering some of their time now that they are working less and they have more money. The way that they want to, like give the way that they want to feed back into their communities is they’re going to want to volunteer time. Some people are going to want to make financial donations. Some people are going to have family members who have been living in poverty and they’re going to actually be taking the money they’re earning and giving it to their family members. So, you know what I mean? Some people are going to be like, I’ve spent the last 30 years working in an agency busting my ass. I’m so fucking tired. I’m going to spend any extra money I have on vacations and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. You know what I mean? Like, they’re- 

Linzy [00:16:08] They’ve done their time. 

Felicia [00:16:09] Yeah, exactly. It’s like for every single person, there is going to be a unique way for them to feel good with the money they’re earning. And so I would never tell somebody, Well, the way to be good with money is you just donate X amount of money to causes and then you’re good. Done. 

Linzy [00:16:30] Yeah. And like something that I’m hearing there, Felicia, like is the use of- two different uses of the word good right? There’s like what feels good and then there’s trying to be good and those are different things. 

Felicia [00:16:41] Great point. 

Linzy [00:16:42] Right? So there’s like what feels good? And like, what I’m hearing, you know, is there’s gonna be a range of what we’re even talking about. They’re like, what kind of feel good you want to feel like? Do you want to feel joyful? Do you want to feel energized? You want to feel connected? Do you want to feel generous? Like what do you want to feel? But then if we want to be good, we’re still in that same trap of like being small, following the rules, you know, like it’s still the good girl guise, but slightly modified. But we’re still really trapping ourself within some sort of like moral framework that may or may not actually be our own beliefs and morals. 

Felicia [00:17:19] Exactly. Yeah, I think that’s a great distinction. The difference between being good versus feeling good. And again, I think for a lot of us it’s really funny because you would think as therapists that we would all be proponents of getting to feel good, you know, like that we would be like, of course we want to feel- 

Linzy [00:17:40] We tell other people to. 

Felicia [00:17:41] But like I think when it comes down to it, we actually put a lot of limitations on what that actually means. 

Linzy [00:17:48] Absolutely. 

Felicia [00:17:48] Like, you can feel good, but only if it’s with something that’s wholesome. Only if it’s something that you’ve worked really, really hard to earn. And then and then you can feel good with it. But if it’s too easy to get, then you don’t really deserve to feel good. Have you done your homework? Okay. And then you get to feel good. Have you been exhausted working with, you know, 35 clients this week? Okay, then you get to feel good. There’s all of this kind of the- I haven’t coined the best term for it yet, but I almost call it like a trauma competition where it’s like I feel like there’s this thing that I notice in myself and that I’ll notice amongst therapists talking to each other where I almost feel like I have to justify the good things in my life by like reminding myself and other people with all the things I’ve gone through. 

Linzy [00:18:41] Yes. 

Felicia [00:18:42] But the problem is that it’s almost like we could never go through enough pain to justify feeling good, because there’s always going to be someone who’s got it worse. So we’re always like, I don’t deserve this because someone else has had more pain. So who am I to get to feel good? Who am I to enjoy money? Who am I to break the mold of good therapist conditioning and decide that rather than having a bunch of low fees, I’m going to take the money, you know, the quote-unquote extra money I earn and use that to fund my parents’ retirement. I’m like, what if I’m just like, Yeah, I’m not having lower fees because I want to do that. What if that’s the reason? Or also, what if I don’t even have to give a reason? What if I don’t have to justify it? All right, so that’s like, perhaps even more radical to just decide. Well, I get to have this because I decide I get to have this. Period. 

Linzy [00:19:32] Absolutely. I’m like something, you know, I think of- I also think about like, you know, goodness and containness. And something that I think about with goodness is, good is small, right? It’s like you’re allowed to have a little bit of good because you have done the right things. You’ve been controlled, you’ve been contained, you’ve been orderly, you followed the rules, and therefore you get this little bit of reward. Whereas something that I have thought about a lot in the last couple of years and really tried to work on personally is like just taking up space because you’re alive. You get to just be hungry because you’re a human and food is good, right? Like you get to just like go on a lovely walk because you’re a human who’s alive and like, what is better than having a beautiful sensory experience and like, experiencing your aliveness, right? And just no conditions being tied to it. I think that-. 

Felicia [00:20:19] I love that. 

Linzy [00:20:19] I wonder if those conditions are still like, it’s still those little tendrils of be good, be small, follow rules, you know, like ask for forgiveness, give apologies, like you know all of that conditioning and it’s kind of insidious, right. Like it can slip in when that’s been our conditioning. 

Felicia [00:20:38] So easily. 

Linzy [00:20:38] Slip in all of these ways even when we’ve worked so hard to try to claim space and try to do it differently. 

Felicia [00:20:45] Yeah. I mean, this is a process that never really ends, right. It’s like we’re constantly un-peeling these layers. And something that came to mind as you were just speaking was the experience of being a woman and what it means for a woman to feel good for no reason. You know, what it is for, like, a woman to feel good in her body, to feel good in her experience. Because there is something, as you’re talking, that almost there’s like a danger to that. Yes, there’s a danger to like a woman who is unapologetically enjoying herself, just like there is a danger to how that’s been targeted. If that also comes to me, like folks of other oppressed identities, people in positions of power do not like to see people they’re repressing, having the audacity to just enjoy themselves. Right? 

Linzy [00:21:40] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:21:40] And there are so many examples of this. I don’t even need to say that. Like, we can- I’m sure anyone listening can think of at least one example in their own life and probably one that’s been in the news over the last few years like. This idea of people just enjoying themselves is so radical. I think it’s really radical for anybody with an oppressed identity. I think it’s really radical for therapists where that is something that is weirdly paid lip service to in our field. But like totally we get like the complete opposite messaging in terms of like what we’re actually supposed to be doing and what we’re actually supposed to be feeling. It’s like, enjoy yourselves, but also totally don’t. Like at all. 

Linzy [00:22:26] And also, I think it can be like, enjoy yourself because that’s part of being a good therapist. Like you have to have a good life. Not only do you need to like, sacrifice yourself for, you know, your clients, but also you need to be living a good life so you’re like truly good therapist. And your line, it’s just like another way that you can be bad and failing.  

Felicia [00:22:42] Makes me think of so early on in my career, before I went to grad school, right after undergrad, I got a job at a methadone clinic, which is nuts because I was like 22 and had no training. But that’s what we do with our most underserved populations. We give the least experienced people- 

Linzy [00:23:00] Throw in the newbies. 

Felicia [00:23:01] -are being paid the least amount of money to work with them. But it was very earnest and I found mentors in different places and I borrowed a textbook from one of them, like one of their grad school textbooks. And as I was saying, like the one thing that I remember from that textbook was being a therapist is a lifestyle. Even when you’re not working, like you’re not seeing clients, you are a therapist. Like every moment of every day, you are a therapist and your whole life needs to, like, contribute to that. It needs to like, when you go to bed, what you eat, like all of the things need to, as if as if you’re like a living in a monastery. You know what I mean. And to an extent I do think that is true. I think like our whole lives need to- all the elements of our life, we benefit when all of those things really do work together and every aspect support. And so like, sure, but I took that crazy literally and, you know, because again, I didn’t I was so young, I was so eager. I really, really wanted to do a good job. And I was like, Great, okay. So that’s what I do. So like, everything I do is like my whole life is actually about this. And I think that that’s an extreme version of what we’re taught. But I think that is kind of what we’re taught, that like our whole when, when you become a therapist, like you are a therapist, you basically just joined a convent, Like you’re a nun, you’re a monk. Like everything is about this. And if you do anything, anything that’s like for you, then you’re stepping on a line. And the other thing about like, that idea of, like, everything you do is about this because our work is like in service of other people, it by extension becomes everything you do is about your clients. Everything you do is for your clients. And that’s a big fucking problem for sure. 

Linzy [00:24:48] Yes, absolutely. And like as you’re saying that I was, first of all, that infuriates me. 

Felicia [00:24:55] Yeah, me too. 

Linzy [00:24:55] I’m just like, even the idea that, like, being a therapist is a lifestyle. I’m like, Fuck that. Yeah. And part of me is like, that’s a part of me responding that I think bought into that when I was also younger and starting out in practice. But it makes me think about two stories, neither of which are about somebody being particularly daring or bad, but just about how constrained our lives can become when we think like that. One is one of my supervisors, when I was a student, talking about going to a party, and one of her clients was at the party, and leaving, like leaving the party and she was like, It happens sometimes. It’s awkward. I just kind of said, you know, my hellos and I left, you know? And so it’s like, like you’re not even allowed to, like, be out in the world and exist because you might complicate this like one therapeutic relationship. But then the opposite of that is I had a therapist who I worked with for several years doing EMDR, and she was a lot. She was not a good girl. And she was not a good therapist. And for me as a good therapist who is like very contained and my office was always perfect, like she had this flower petal stuck to the wall of her living room for fucking year. For a year. I was like, What’s on your wall? And she’s like, Oh, it’s a flower petal. There was a bouquet there and it like, stuck to the wall. She never cleaned it for the whole year. It made the good therapist and me insane because I was like, This is your space. 

Felicia [00:26:10] How dare she! 

Linzy [00:26:10] How dare you show so little care to the space in which like you do your client work. But she was just kind of like a lot more just relaxed and alive. And she told me about – talking about this, this conversation of balancing living in small town, running into clients. She said that she had had clients before express interest in joining the church, that she was part of this Unitarian congregation, and she told them, You’re welcome to come. I go there. I will not have a conversation with you. That’s where I live my life. So I will say hi, but I’m going to just like be myself there. That is my space and like, kind of claiming her space. And she said almost inevitably, the person would not end up joining the congregation because part of it unconsciously, on some level, that person wants to have, you know, as can maintain that therapeutic space and her just given consent, informed consent to be like, you can do it, but I’m going to be myself there and you’re going to see me being myself. 

Felicia [00:27:03] Yeah, I love that. 

Linzy [00:27:05] And it was like, it’s so just like honest and simple. And again, this is like her, like literally being at her, you know, her for her faith and normal. But How often do we, like, censor ourselves? Because we notice somebody is in the space who we worked with like five years ago, right? And we’re like, Oh, put therapist face on. You know, this person who I saw for one client one session three years ago is sitting over there. Like how make ourselves good and small. 

Felicia [00:27:34] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:27:35] To the extreme, I think, and to our own detriment. 

Felicia [00:27:38] Yeah. It can really make our lives super tiny. And as you’re telling those stories, it’s making me think about like a few of the key things that happened at different stages of my career that kind of like began to break down. Because obviously I didn’t just like, wake up one day and I’m like, I’m the bad therapist. 

Linzy [00:27:57] Just a rose from the ashes spontaneously. 

Felicia [00:28:00] Yeah. I’m, like doing a photoshoot soon, that could be a fun photo. Not totally accurate. But yeah, it’s funny because as much as I was like- bought into this good therapist conditioning, there were cracks. I mean, part of my story is I decided to be a therapist at the age of 13. I shit you not. I remember the exact conversation I was having with my friend Rosemarie outside of our like seventh grade science class bungalow when she was, like, complaining about her friend Kristina. And I was like, trying to be kind of neutral and curious, and I was like, Oh, wow, people do this for a job. I’m good at this. I want to do that. So I decided then. I was a church girl. I taught Sunday school like, I was no sex before marriage, like it’s totally embedded in good girl conditioning. So that was super, super strong. And some of the things like were breaking and it’s good therapist conditioning. So when I worked at that methadone clinic, it was in my hometown of Bakersfield and the clinic was downtown and my house was downtown and a bunch of my friends were patients there. And so like, obviously those people not get assigned to me, to be their counselor, but like, my friends would be in the lobby and my sister’s friends would be in the lobby and like I would see people there during the day, like go out to get one of my clients, see one of my buddies in line to do this and be like, Hey, what’s up? Like, see you later, you know, see you tonight. And like, I would run into my clients all around. I would have people walk up to me and just start talking to me. So like that separation because I was- Bakersfield is not necessarily a small community. There’s actually a lot of people there. But like that community at the time, being downtown and with the people I hung out with, was small enough. 

Linzy [00:29:46] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:29:47] That like there wasn’t really a way to be totally separate. So that in some ways was like really a gift because a lot of the fear that I do see therapists having around that, like the hyper good therapist conditioning is something that in some ways like wasn’t even an option for me. So I feel like that that really helped me out. Yeah, I think would have been really different if it weren’t for something like that. 

Linzy [00:30:09] Yeah, because that’s such just an honest situation too. I think like when we do have a little bit more distance and space, like we can tell ourselves that there’s something different between us and the folks that we’re serving, right? But when it’s like literally your friends. 

Felicia [00:30:23] Exactly. 

Linzy [00:30:24] In the lobby, who could be your clients, but they’re not because – obviously. 

Felicia [00:30:27] Yeah, my driends come in to be a patient and I have to go tell my manager because I was the youngest person working there. So like, if a young person came to the clinic, they got assigned to me. But because I would always have to go say, Oh, that person’s my friend. And they’d be like, okay, well, sign them to somebody else. So like, I literally was like, very known. 

Linzy [00:30:44] So much to dig into, but I want to- I would love to get your thoughts and experiences of how folks can start to shift this. Like with the work that you’ve done with therapists around this conditioning, what makes the biggest difference in allowing folks to start to shift their relationship with money, given all the stuff that we’ve just talked about? 

Felicia [00:31:04] Oh my God. Well, it’s one thing I want to say is like for me at least, this has been a long journey and I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. I think there will always be things I am learning, things that I, you know, corners I turn and I see something I’m afraid of that I have the choice to either move towards or move away from. Like that, I don’t anticipate, is ever going to stop. So for folks who are feeling nervous or scared or stuck or just really confused about where to start or just like overwhelmed, I just want to say like, this is a long process. It’s not going to happen all at once. It’s going to be super unique to you. And one thing that was really important for me and it’s been important for my clients, something I kind of mentioned earlier, is giving ourselves permission to be students and to learn. Yeah, part of my fear around learning about money was that I would become my worst fears, that I would become totally detached, selfish, whatever, and part of what I’ve had to do in order to make the changes I’ve had to make is to experiment and to learn and to potentially be shadow versions of myself, you know, to actually start to integrate that. Like, is it being selfish or is it having boundaries. 

Linzy [00:32:21] Right. Yes. 

Felicia [00:32:23] Is it being selfish or is it being honest about what I want and need or desire? So sometimes I am certainly doing things now that five years ago I, you know, when I was really steeped in good therapist conditioning, was absolutely not. That’s not okay. So I would say like giving yourself permission to learn and experiment and get things wrong. You know, I’m sure there will be things that five years from now, I’ll look back on this moment and say, you know what, If I had to do that over again, I would do it differently and I’m going to do it differently today. This is a- this is 100% a learning process. 

Linzy [00:32:54] Yeah. 

Felicia [00:32:55] You do not have to be perfect. You were allowed to get things wrong. And I think as therapists, that’s another thing we’re really afraid of – to get things wrong. I can’t tell you how freaked out people get. And you know this. We get super freaked out about our reputations. If I do something wrong, client’s going to go talk about it. I’m going to be banned from being a therapist, you know. So afraid of getting it wrong. But I would say, like, you are allowed to get it wrong. Are some people going to be pissed? Sure. That’s fine. You can’t avoid that, right? Like you, you’re allowed to change your mind. So yeah, in a nutshell, basically, get started, find ways to educate yourself, find people who are talking about money, and listen to them, even if you don’t agree with them 100%, even if you don’t really even understand what they’re saying, start to learn and then you get to pick and choose the things that make sense to you, work for you, align with your values, but go see what’s out there so you can make the most informed decision about what’s best for you. Because there is no cookie-cutter right way to do this. You’d be well-served by just seeing what is out there. Educate yourselves. So that was probably like five. Ultimately, to educate yourselves, be willing to learn, and be willing to make mistakes, and just be down for the whole ride. 

Linzy [00:34:17] Yes. And I love that, you know, like making mistakes or experimenting, like, however we want to frame it, because I think that is one of the things that can be counter to your nature when you’ve been conditioned to be good. Right. Is that thinking that there is a right way to do it and therefore there’s a wrong way to do it and you might do the wrong way and like, you know, toe dipping and experimenting and seeing what feels good. And like, you know, something that I’ve said to my students sometimes, too, is I think we can have such black and white thinking, you know, and we can have a whole other podcast about, like, I think, class and messaging and who benefits from the messages that folks at different class levels get. But this idea that like poor is good. 

Felicia [00:34:54] Yep. 

Linzy [00:34:55] Therefore, rich is bad. 

Felicia [00:34:56] Right. The meek shall inherit the earth. 

Linzy [00:34:58] Yes. And something that I sometimes say to students is like, you’re not going to accidentally become Jeff Bezos. Like, that’s not a risk that you have. 

Felicia [00:35:06] That’s it! Listen, if you’re not a sociopath, it’s not going to just happen.  

Linzy [00:35:11] Like, folks who are ultra-wealthy. You know who I think sometimes the people that we hold up have like but they’re hoarding wealth and they could be doing all these things. And I think all that is true. I’m there’s a line where I’m like, share that a little now. It’s not making your life better. And those folks didn’t get there by accident and you’re not going to accidentally get there. As Felicia and I have worked on our own money stories and found ways to earn more money and take up more space in the world. Neither of us has accidentally become a billionaire. Is that fair to say? I don’t know your numbers, but I would guess. 

Felicia [00:35:42] I’m not a billionaire.  

Linzy [00:35:44] Right. So, like, you get to play an experiment. And if you do something and you’re like, actually, that felt kind of bad, you know, like maybe, you know, you take a chance on giving to a certain group and you’re like, No, actually, I that felt better when I was start doing it again. Right? Like we get to live and be imperfect and and figure things out. Yeah. 

Felicia [00:36:03] And, you know, to your point about accidentally becoming a billionaire or accidentally becoming like a monster, like own oops turns out when I make 200 K instead of 100 k, I turn into a monster. That’s the threshold where monster happens. It’s like, that’s not how it works. You know what I mean? Like if I work three days a week instead of four, that triggers monster mode. Like that is- it’s not straight, black and white, as that. It’s not. There’s so many variables to who we are as people. It’s not as if making a certain amount of money or charging a certain fee or having a certain number of days that you work or a certain number of clients you see, your people you work with, and people you don’t, automatically means you’re a monster. And if you’re ever worried about like, Oh no, will I become one? Linzy and I hold spaces for therapists to do this work in community with expert support because it is scary as shit. And we know that because we’ve both been through it. Slash are both still on the path, right? You know, so we get it. It’s like, I know I’ve had a lot of support, I’ve had a lot of mentors over the years and spaces that I’ve been a part of where that have helped me as I’ve gone through this. So the other bit of advice would be like, Don’t do this alone. 

Linzy [00:37:22] Yeah. Yes, yes. Because I think too, like that being worth and co-regulation, having somebody to be like, Oh no, you didn’t turn into a bad person. You’re still yourself. 

Felicia [00:37:31] Reality check. 

Linzy [00:37:33] You’re still lovely and thoughtful and creative and you know, whatever it is that makes, that makes you you. Yeah. That reality check. Because there are parts of us that are very invested in staying small, staying good, whatever your certain brand of that is. And so having those external supports and guidance. Very valuable. Very valuable. Felicia, thank you so much for coming on today. If folks want to get further into your world, where can they find you and follow you? 

Felicia [00:38:03] Yeah, so I’m on the Internet as at the bad therapist with underscores between each word. Yeah. So that’s where I’m at the most. You can also check on my website, which is the bad therapist dot coach. And right now I’m enrolling for my program Liberated Business, which is a- I mean, it’s extensive. It’s basically a one-stop shop for everything you need to know how to do in order to start or grow your private practice. And this year I’ve added a second learning track called the Skill Track, which is intended for therapists who already have their feet underneath them but are actually looking to scale either into group practices or online courses, coaching offers, and things like that. So I’m super excited About it. And yeah, that’s the best way to work with me right now. Folks want to get involved. 

Linzy [00:38:53] Awesome. So that was liberated business. So find Felicia at the bad therapist and see if the windows open for liberated business. You can check it out and you can get in touch with her. Well, thank you so much. It’s been lovely talking with you today. 

Felicia [00:39:07] Thank you, Linzy. 

Linzy [00:39:21] That conditioning that we get around being good, as Felicia mentioned, it’s just so pervasive. If you experience this growing up, whether it’s through the parenting that you received or whether you know you experienced abuse. I think being good is often a response to being abused as a way to survive and get by, or whether it’s around growing up without a lot of money and being told that that is good. I mean, there’s so many ways that I think that we receive this conditioning. But, you know, when we’ve had that, it takes a long time to untangle and catch it as it comes up in these new different ways and the guise of perfectionism or what is proper and professional or what is moral and good like, I think it just permeates so many aspects of our lives, as Felicia was talking about. And I love that idea of just inviting experimentation and curiosity. You know, it’s very much, you know, the kind of research that I find can be really helpful when we’re trying to unravel ourselves from these like tight black and white relationships that we have with money and business is to experiment, try, see how something feels. You’re allowed to change your mind. I love that loosening that Felicia is suggesting that allow us to start to shift those relationships. So, so, so appreciative of Felicia coming on to the podcast today. If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can also find me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share free emotional and practical money content on there all the time, and I am also trying to do reels. You will see at the point when this podcast comes out if I’m still doing reels, but if I am being resilient and focused as I plan to be, I’m also doing some fun little videos trying to make money accessible and palatable for all of you. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would also appreciate if you can give me a review on Apple podcast. That is the best way for folks to find us. Thanks for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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