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Music & Money

In 2003, I started a music studio that I called “Do-Re-Media.” My dream was to write music for film, and compose songs for popular artists. I didn’t know how to choose a niche yet 🙂

I was a solid pianist, decent lyricist, and I understood how to craft an intriguing melody. But my creativity took me down other roads, and eventually I landed in personal finance. I never lost my love for the art form, though, and music, more than any other art, helps me stay in touch with my emotions.

I always write with music on in the background. Right now, I’m listening to Kaleo. I love how an Icelandic native found inspiration deep in the American South. His lyrics are highly emotive, and his blend of blues, rock, and folk is really original.

Next time you’re listening to music, try to use the opportunity to identify what emotion you might associate with the song. Perhaps you’ll notice sadness, joy, anger, frustration, betrayal, regret, or even adventure. My interest and awareness of emotions, born through music, was one of the reasons I fell in love with financial advice.

Experts say that when we hold onto our emotions, they can cause us pain, instability in our relationships, and even increased rates of disease over the long term.

I love talking to people about their money. It can be a bit like opening Pandora’s Box, but for those who are willing to go there, the experience can be quite healing.

If you’re a financial advisor reading this, then you’ll probably relate to me saying that one of the greatest gifts of my life is watching a client heal, emotionally, right in front of me. Being a witness to their struggle. Knowing that my willingness to just sit with them was at least part of, if not the reason for, their healing. The presence of a friend, a therapist, a counselor, an advisor … just sitting with someone can be the gift for them to release emotions that aren’t serving them, and allow them to find healing on the other side.

Money is complicated. It’s not just a functional thing that we can fix with financial products. Money is mostly emotional, and only part spreadsheets and calculators.

The American Psychology Association consistently ranks money as one of the highest forms of stress that people feel in their lives. We’ve tried fixing this problem with cheaper products, and that isn’t working. Vanguard started making investing cheaper in 1970’s, far before robo-advisors ever existed. And Robin Hood is yet another example of how an even cheaper solution won’t solve it.

It’s not a functional problem. It’s not about spreadsheets and calculators. It’s about emotions.

I wonder how many people might be able to live a more full, rich, and rewarding life if they were to feel less stress and anxiety about money, working through their emotions with a professional who was experienced in listening, sitting, and holding space around financial convos.

Getting help with your money shouldn’t be a luxury only afforded to the wealthy.

But in order to make it more accessible to the mass affluent, we need to get very clear about how to fix the problem, and how to lower the cost of the essentials.

Yes, we need the tools. But we have to cut out all of the fluff and get down to the very emotional, human conversations. We can’t let the spreadsheets and the calculators get in the way.

I guess that’s where I’m at today. I want more people, millions more people, to have healing conversations with another human being. I don’t believe we can fix the “money” problem without humans. Fixing money is just WAY better with a buddy.

Thanks to anyone who sits with another today and listens. You’re giving a priceless gift. You have accepted the call to participate in the collective mission to help people feel better. To reduce anxiety around money, and help them live more present, more fulfilling lives.

It’s such an honor to witness your gift. Thank you.

I have one request I hope you’ll honor—please try and open your doors to just ONE person who can’t really afford you right now. Give just one extra person the gift of sitting with them.

At the end of your life, those memories will be the ones you’ll cherish most.

Thank you for reading The Advisor. This post is public so feel free to share it.

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