“Financial overwhelm can be crippling in many ways, and it can lead to high levels of stress, a lack of sleep, and an inability to focus at work or in other aspects of your life. Once you learn the skills that you were either never taught or may have forgotten, you can become financially healthy and independent so you can stop worrying about money and enjoy life more with significantly less stress!” – Beth Marshall CPA, MBA
Q: How would you describe your personal approach with clients?
In terms of my approach, I’m compassionate and non-judgmental, and I’m also sympathetic and flexible when I need to be. However, I’m not afraid to hold my clients accountable to the results that they claim they want for their life. Some clients have referred to me as a “friendly nudge,” and I take pride in the fact that I can balance accountability with compassion. I am your expert guide to get rid of financial overwhelm and start planning toward a successful future, however I don’t have a financial magic wand to just fix it all. Said differently, it is my clients’ responsibility to do the work along the way with my guidance. I have a mind that enjoys a good “financial puzzle,” and so I hold the vision for my clients of what success looks like at the end of the tunnel after all of the foundational financial pieces are in place. I am three people in one – a coach, a consultant, and a cheerleader. As a coach I help my clients find the answers within themselves, as a consultant I provide expert advice and perspective (and sometimes a swift “kick in the pants” to get my clients back on track!), and as a cheerleader I am rooting by the sidelines when my clients have breakthroughs and achieve milestones. I believe that my clients deserve to consciously decide for themselves what they want their lives to be like (that is, be authentic to themselves…..no more trying to keep up with those elusive “Joneses” next door), and it is my honor to serve my clients by helping them learn how to make proactive financial decisions to support their desired lifestyle.
Q: Will you make me do things with my money that I don’t want to do?
Many clients tell me that they fear being told what to do with their money, and quite honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than telling someone else what to do with their money!! The choices that I make with my finances may not apply to you, and therefore my job is to leverage my expertise and The Financial Freedom Foundational System (TM) to help you decide what changes can be made to improve your situation. This is about working with my clients to provide them with freedom, choice, and peace in their lives. No more being financially stressed or stagnant…it’s time to become financially skilled and successful!
Q: Why should I entrust you with the details of my financial life? What qualifies you to work with clients in the financial independence arena?
I’m glad you asked! Here is some important information about me that should help:
- I’m a licensed CPA and a certified coach, with over 18 years of experience in the financial arena;
- I audited companies for over 11 years with one of the “Big 4” international public accounting firms, and I gained a tremendous amount of business and finance experience while learning to work with a wide variety of people and personalities. I also spent another 2 years with the same company working in a role that focused on promoting change;
- I have an MBA, which greatly broadens my perspective and skills with respect to business and finance;
- I’ve formally worked as a financial coach for 5 years, however informally I’ve worked with family and friends for over 20 years by putting together financial plans that work in real life. I consider myself to be a financial expert in the realm of gaining control of your financial life and building a solid financial foundation (i.e. I don’t provide investing or tax advice, nor am I financial planner);
- My clients get results, plain and simple. Results can vary depending on length of program and individual efforts, however each client inevitably moves forward financially. This can be something as simple as learning how to track their cash flow and starting to spend less than they earn, or it could be something more advanced such as using knowledge of their cash flow to pay down debt, saving for something specific, or developing a more detailed 12-month financial savings and spending plan.
Q: If a client asked you to be “financially authentic,” would you be willing to “walk your talk” and share a little bit about your own finances?
I believe in being financially authentic myself, and I’m transparent with my clients about who I am financially and perhaps more importantly, who I am not. I am not a millionaire yet, however in my young life I have made many smart financial decisions based on what I was fortunate enough to learn growing up in terms of financial skills. I’ve also been privileged to live my own life of financial freedom and choice which is what I teach my clients to do. Here is a short summary of things to know about me financially:
- I was extremely fortunate to be raised in a family with parents who taught me about money at an early age, and I’ve successfully lived within my means while enjoying some luxuries in life;
- I’ve been working since I was young, and at 15 years old my parents helped me get a checking account and a credit card (the card was associated with their accounts, intended to help me build credit);
- I’ve been able to earn money at a 6-figure level by investing in myself, by working hard, and by developing a wide variety of skills (both business-oriented and in terms of understanding and relating to people effectively);
- I bought my own home at only 29 years old, and I continue to live in it happily 10 years later;
- I drive a 12-year old car that works just fine and has been paid off for 8 years;
- I splurge on things like ongoing education, manicures and pedicures, and also monthly massages (and I work with my clients to help them have happy things in their lives as well);
- I use coupons and various discounts to reduce what I spend, however I don’t go crazy with it (I find that extreme couponing is best left to the experts);
- I do have debt of my own – a mortgage, some student loans from my MBA degree, and investments that I’ve made to start my business. I was able to pay off my undergraduate student loan debt a year or two early;
- I successfully managed being unemployed for a period of 8 months in 2010 after my position was eliminated by using unemployment and a severance package (and I had more money at the end of those 8 months than I did when I was laid off);
- I significantly invest in my own education every year to grow personally and professionally while making sure my clients get the best expertise possible;
- Despite the challenging economy in late 2011, I was well-positioned financially to start my own business.
Q: If you were to share 3 core beliefs about your work with your clients, what would those be and why?
1) I believe that it is a divinely human right to understand money and finance – It ticks me off that most people didn’t have the same access to knowledge in this area at a young age that I did, and that personal finance skills are not taught in our schools. Yes, there are groups and companies working individually and together to help people learn financial skills, however they’re missing a major piece of the puzzle – most people feel that they “should” know already how to manage their money and thus don’t ask for help (or use existing help) out of embarrassment or confusion as to what is being shared! My thought is this……why should you know how to manage your money if you were never exposed to or properly taught the skills to do so?
2) I believe that everyone can be financially successful if they are willing to be conscious and learn – Effectively, this belief stems from my view that everyone can have choice in how they live their lives if they are conscious to what’s going on and they make proactive choices to move themselves forward, even if it’s one small step at a time. If you take the financial “bull by the horns” and gain the skills you need to control your financial future and your life overall, you too can create your own personal economy instead of waiting for the economy to turn around (which leaves the choice in someone else’s hands, not yours). Also, when you reconnect with what is important to you in life and you design a financial plan in accordance with what is important, it becomes much easier to stay focused and on plan financially.
3) I believe in holding people as financially powerful and accountable even if they are not ready – In essence, my clients may have difficult moments when examining their financial lives, and as their guide and expert, I will assume them to be the powerful people that they are during these difficult moments.
Q: I’ve heard that you bring a unique spiritual perspective to your approach to money and finances – can you share more about that please?
Absolutely I can share more. I guess the easiest way to start is to say that most of my life I was on the “traditional” professional path to success – I went to college, I worked for a professional services firm (and earning really good money at an early age), and I obtained my CPA and then my MBA, etc. etc.
Unfortunately, I was overworked and unhappy about life – so at age 32 I left a well-developed career behind and stepped into the unknown future before me. Totally risky, and very unlike me. All I knew is that I felt like a square peg trying to shove myself into a round hole, and that a part of my soul was dying.
Queue the beginning of my spiritual awakening in 2008 as I left that lucrative and stable career behind and bravely stepped forward. Within 2 weeks of leaving that career behind, we found out my father had a cancerous brain tumor and we spent the next 6 months supporting him into remission and the subsequent 10 months beyond that making sure the cancer would stay away for good. 6 months after that roller coaster was over, I was laid off and I got to really look hard at how overly identified I was with my title and paycheck. In mid 2010, I began working as a financial coach alongside a local entrepreneur who had started a financial coaching business and I was happy as I found a way to make a difference in people’s lives as a coach.
At the end of 2011, I knew deep inside it was time to step out on my own and find my own voice yet it scared the hell out of me. And only 1 year later I was deeply tested when I had a breast cancer scare. My faith was rocked and I had no choice but to surrender and know that all would be well. Thankfully, I was not ever diagnosed with breast cancer, however I did need to attend to some medical issues for a short time.
I tell you all of this not because you need to know the intimate details of my life. I tell you because alongside the journey of professional change and entrepreneurship that I’ve been on, I’ve been tested time and time again. And it’s resulted in tremendous growth, including spiritual growth. All of the lessons that I’ve personally learned along the way show up in my work with my clients. So clients show up needing me for financial guidance and expertise, and yet there’s usually 1 or 2 other lessons that they get to learn from me during our time together.
So yes, my spiritual journey is an active influence in how I coach. And I’m going to be super honest here (which is sort of scary to do) and let you know that my intuitive abilities have significantly deepened with each of the steps of my spiritual journey, and in particular over the last 2 years. What does that mean exactly? It means that when I coach there’s the practical and logical side of me that sees numbers and teaches systems and habits…and it also means that when I coach there’s another creative and intuitive side of me that often defies explanation. I get intuitive cues in various ways that I use to support my clients, and that includes everything from a simple intuitive knowing, physical symptoms (I’m known for getting a tingling sensation up and down my back when either myself or a client says or thinks something that’s on point), or sometimes even flashes of pictures here and there.
Some people think my intuitive abilities are weird. And that’s okay, I don’t mind. I believe that everyone has intuitive abilities and it’s simply a matter of whether or not we choose to allow them to flourish or if we push them down.
I pushed my abilities down for years, not knowing what was really going on. And now I choose to allow them to serve me and my clients. And it often means a beautiful blend of both head (logical/practical) and heart (spiritual/intuitive) being used to generate amazing results for my clients.
Additionally, all of my spiritual growth has allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of our world and the many laws of the Universe. So it is not at all uncommon for me to link a financial concept or idea with a spiritual one; indeed, I regularly teach what I like to refer to as “financial spirituality” concepts.
Q: From everything I’ve learned so far, it seems as if you have a purpose and a calling that goes above and beyond supporting people in transforming their relationship with money – am I correct?
Yes, you are correct! While I am indeed committed to supporting people to heal and transform their relationship with money, my high-level vision is to live in a world where everyone has a chance to unlock and unleash their potential and live a fully self-expressed and abundant life.
I like to think of my work with people around money as “Phase 1” of my ultimate purpose. In Phase 1, I have the chance to stem the financial chaos that most people feel so that they can build a strong financial foundation. When this happens, the chaos calms down and stability enters the picture. Once there’s a stronger sense of stability and the financial stress is gone, people can make different choices about their life and instead decide to pursue a bigger version of who they are truly meant to be (a.k.a. Phase 2).
So in a nutshell, I view my ultimate purpose as being part of a global shift away from scarcity, greed, and competition toward abundance, love, and collaboration.
Yup – I got big work to do!! 🙂