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This week on the Money Made Easy Podcast we have on Bari Tessler, author of the book, “The Art of Money”. We get to find out all about how she went from wanting to be a solid gold dancer to becoming a financial therapist.
Bari started therapy when she was 16 but other than going from wanting to be a dancer to a business woman and being interested in psychology, she started undergrad not really knowing what she wanted to be and do.
While spending a year in Israel, she put dance and psychology together and she briefly thought she made up Dance Movement Therapy. She went to graduate school for somatic psychotherapy.
At the age of 28, her student loan came through and that was a real wake up call. At the time she was making $11 an hour in the mental health field with a masters degree in psychology.
She realized in graduate school, money was never discussed. Nothing was said about how to get clients and run a business. And she also realized money wasn’t the issue, it was not being able to have conversations about money.
She considered running away, but instead decided she would face her student debt by learning everything she could learn about money. As a result, she started by learning bookkeeping and starting a bookkeeping business.
Growing up in a middle class family, she received mixed messages about money. There was a spirit of generosity and there was a lot of control around money.
We talk about money stories we get from our family – good and bad. Tetia shares about how her father getting gas for her taught her how to receive.
Now Bari is 20 years in to starting her practice of financial therapy. And she is still learning new things and she still has emotions around money.
It’s important to Bari that financial literacy and emotional literacy have to be together. However, there are lots of ways and she thinks it’s important to get creative and find what works for you.
In “The Art of Money”, Bari writes about how there are 3 phases – Money Healing, Money Practices and Money Maps. She credits her somatic psychotherapy tools for getting her through her money issues and on to what she’s doing now.
One of the people Bari was doing bookkeeping for encouraged Bari to do a speech about combining her healing and practical aspects of how she handled money. Most importantly, this led to the work and the book for Bari.
The way Bari addresses shame around money and healing around that and other emotions is so important. She talks about how most of us didn’t receive any type of education around money.
One of Bari’s favorite tools she shares in “The Art of Money” is the body check in. Simply stopping for 5 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, and just checking in with your body on a physical level. Also, ask yourself are you standing or sitting? Are your shoulders up?
The next level is on a sensation level. What sensations are moving or still in your body? The next level is emotions or feelings. What emotions are you feeling around money?
After that, the fourth level is what is going on with your breath? Is it more in your chest or lower? Is it shallow or full? And what adjustments can you make?
This is not a one and done check in. It’s to be done repeatedly – when you’re paying your bills, talking with your partner, shopping, buying a car. This leads to understanding about what comes up for you.
Bari shares how these check ins can lead to understanding and shifts and changes in money patterns. It can help create a relationship with money that is right and feels better and more successful.
After the body check in you go into the practical. The gentleness and the compassionate. Instead of “I’m stupid” or “I should know this” you should try, “None of us learned this” and “I can learn this”.
Knowing your values and what’s important to you is so important. Bari talks about how much more prepared you are when you’ve done this work.
We love how in the book Bari talks about big things and little things in the book. Giving tips like instead of feeling shame around paying a bill late, call the company and ask to have the late fee removed.
Bari shares how in a long life, there will be beautiful things and huge, enormous challenges. In life and in money, there are ebbs and flows. There are curve balls and big transitions but they don’t last forever.
One of the things, Bari suggests is renaming your debt. Sometimes in honoring it, forgiveness happens. Instead of ‘that damn credit card bill’ name it ‘my wife survived cancer’. She had a male accountant client do this to honor what it was for and reframe how he looked at it.
And this is just the first half of our interview with Bari Tessler, author of “The Art of Money”. Next week is part two of this amazing conversation – see you then!