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[E4C57] The Art of Mastering Money With Your Honey: How Couples Can Be On the Same Financial Team – Bari Tessler of The Art of Money

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We are joined today by Bari Tessler, who is a Financial Therapist, Mentor Coach, Mamapreneur, and the Founder of The Art of Money – a one-year online “money school” that has trained thousands of people to embrace a new, empowered, and refreshingly honest relationships with money through Bari’s unique, nurturing, body-centered approach to financial well being.

Bari earned a Masters in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University and worked in body-centered therapy for over a decade before unexpectedly falling in love with bookkeeping systems and money work. Her unique methodology integrates these two worlds into deep money healing that honors all the facets of our money relationships: body to spirit, lineage to career, smart practices to deep visioning, and much more.

One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is the personal financial risk of entrepreneurship & navigating those risks successfully without destroying your marriage.

One the biggest causes of relationship breakups is disagreement over money. Now my cultural heritage is Chinese – and we Chinese people do not see marriage as simply the unity of 2 people in romantic love. In the Chinese view, when 2 people come together in marriage, they become 1 economic unit, combining skills, resources, time and energy so that together as a household, they are stronger than individuals.

Bari’s going to share with us what it takes to achieve financial unity with your partner and have those difficult financial conversations with your beloved, without destabilizing the relationship.

In this exciting episode, you will discover:

  • 3:02 – The story on how Bari became a financial therapist
  • 9:11 – What her business is about and who are the people that seeks her services.
  • 13:33 – What is a money story and how does it affect your relationship with money?
  • 18:13 – The reason behind why couples usually polarize when it comes to money matters.
  • 20:49 – What a money date is and how it can develop healthy conversations with your partner around the scary topic of money.
  • 37:38 – How to get on the same page with your partner around finances?
  • 42:38 – Bari’s final tips for couples on how to form a healthy and sacred relationship with money, together.
“We weren’t taught on how to have an emotional relationship with money.” – @baritessler

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In Bari’s masterclass which can be downloaded in the show notes at www.entrepreneursforachange.com/57, Bari will be teaching us how to create a thriving business while balancing the responsibilities of being a mother, without burning out, while creating a sacred relationship to money.

In this masterclass, you will learn:

  • 1:05 – How to create a thriving business as a mamapreneur without burning out.
  • 3:16 – The most important questions to ask yourself when deciding putting up your own business.
  • 6:31 – Two essential things Bari learned as a mamapreneur.
  • 9:30 – Bari talks about her favorite business model that has been the most sustainable and lucrative for her to date.
  • 13:37 – What marketing approach is right for you?
  • 18:17 – Tips and strategies for mamapreneurs to maintain their energy while keeping up with their busy lifestyle.

Download the Audio Master Class


Mentioned in this interview

  • The Art of Money
  • Quicken
  • Quickbooks
  • Infusionsoft
  • Xero
  • Mint

Where to Find Bari

  • Bari’s Website
  • Follow Bari on Twitter
  • Join the conversation on Facebook
  • Check out her Pinterest boards
  • Subscribe to her YouTube Channel

Full Episode Transcript

0:54 Lorna: Hello amazing change makers. This is Lorna Li and welcome to Episode 57 of Entrepreneurs for a Change. Where we are joined today by Bari Tessler who is a financial therapist, a mentor coach, who is the founder of The Art of Money, which is a one year online, money school that is trained thousands of people to embrace new empowered and refreshingly honest relationships with money through Bari’s unique nurturing body-centered approach to financial well-being.

1:27 So, the topic for today is the art of mastering of money with your honey because what I can say for many entrepreneurs, being on the journey of entrepreneurship involves taking risk especially personal financial risks that will impact your family.

1:48 I have heard and read so many stories, indeed a colleague of mine from my previous job who left to do its own start-up, shared a soul-bearing post where he have to essentially keep downgrading their living expenses and which patiently was born by his wife and his children as he sank more and more of his personal money to grow his start-up and it was a very difficult journey for him.

2:18 Bari is going to share with us her experience that she draws from her Masters in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University and her methodology that she’s cultivated over many years as a mentor to others who are trying to master a soulful approach to the relationship with money. She’s going to share with us how to have these difficult conversations with your partner so that you and your partner are on the same financial team.

2:49 Bari, thank you so much for joining us on the show. I’d love to hear more about who you are and how you got started on this really interesting path of becoming a financial therapist.

3:02 Bari: Sure, it’s my pleasure to be here. It’s really nice to meet you. Live, finally, okay. So, I knew early on that I was either going to be a dancer, a businesswoman or psychotherapist, a balance of that. So, I went to a graduate school to be a psychotherapist and the body-centered once who have integrated the dance, the movement, the body-centered approach, right? And for me, that whole journey in my twenties was wonderful. Becoming a psychotherapist at Naropa University which you know, you have to be your own case study and which I loved because I feel that’s the only true way to become a therapist is to do your own work, right? And so I was on that path and we studied every single topic under the sun, everything: body, food, intimacy, relationships, guides, spirituality, sexuality, sensuality and on and on and on, and I left graduate school and the student loan came due and that was my moment.

4:01 That was my – wait a second, we never spoke about money; we never had a class, a topic, themes, questions. So I left Graduate School, having no idea how to start my own private practice, do the bookkeeping and all of that and really mostly, sit with my clients, sit with my couple clients because as they say, money is the main reason why people get divorced and that’s not really true. It’s always what’s underneath the surface, what do money means all of us, what is our relationship to money, what we project on to money, we’re going to talk about that but for me, it was such an obvious moment that this was a huge missing piece in my education from grade school and open small increments and I looked around and realized of course I’m not the only person. This is a missing piece and most of our education and not just in graduate school, but in undergrad in high school and so on.

4:53 So, it became so clear to me that either I was literally going to run away and not pay off the student loan. I’d like to present myself with options. So I presented myself with all the options…

5:05 Lorna: Default and declare bankruptcy. I give up, throw in the towel.

5:10 Bari: Exactly. I presented many different options and then, and the one that felt the most right, was to face it head on and to learn every single thing that I could about money from the ground and up on a practical level and emotional level, psychological level, spiritual level I just dove in and I’ve started learning bookkeeping and I mean this was after whole decade of being a body-centered therapist, working in the mental health field, and having many social work type of jobs, leading lots of authentic movements, working in hospice and then, I just needed a bridge. I needed to learn all the practical tools and systems that I was never taught, that as a creative person, I was terrified of, really, I mean I was scared of but I also thought we’re just so boring and dry and I don’t want to have anything to do with that part of life or business. And they were all bad words, marketing and book keeping. It was all bad words for me way back in the day as I was on a psycho-spiritual path in Naropa, training to be and becoming a therapist.

6:15 So it just became so clear that this was my next step. Everyone around me thought I was taking an odd detour. Everyone around me thought this is just a weird stepping stone and I knew it was the right thing. I wound up having a bookkeeping practice, and then at some point, I met a mentor, a woman named Tamara Slayton and she’s not in her body anymore but she’s still very much around. And she was there at a really key moment when I was trying to integrate all the deep psychotherapy work and being able to hold space for people when we go into all these deep life experiences and emotions, and using our body in movement in sound to help us get through all these places and with all these tools and systems and bookkeeping systems and money management pieces that I surprisingly fell in love with.

7:06 I really surprised myself, and so as I was putting this all together, I remember my mentor said it’s time for you to teach, it’s time for you to put together a talk, and so I went out into the woods and I basically said, “Okay.” What am I supposed to bring back to my community? What are the concepts? What are the phrases? What’s the framework of a beginning methodology, like please, trees, gods, spirit, tell me. And I got some information and came back and me and my husband put it on big white pieces of paper and we got the main three phases, a three doorways which I now call money healing, money practices and money maps.

7:43 So we got the foundation of that, 14 years ago and he started calling it financial therapy, because he’s always been my namer. He came up with the art of money, he came up with financial therapy. Fourteen years ago, there was just a few of us that was starting to use that title and that word to describe what we were doing.

8:02 Lorna: This is a perfect example of creating your own career or profession because, let’s say you’re a college student just graduating, the list of job opportunities, they may include bookkeeper, they may include accountant, but certainly financial therapist is not on that list. So I think it’s a wonderful thing that you’d found this calling and you were able to parlay it into a business.

8:29 So this is a great example that you can indeed create your own career, if you’re able to find that unmet need, which is very much helping people come into a right relationship with money because it’s one thing to get an accountant, have the person do your taxes and what not, but for most of us, I think there is a very intimate relationship that we have with money. Especially the story that we have around it, so I’m curious to know, who are the people that come to you for help, and why do they come to you to seek financial therapy?

9:11 Bari: I work with a lot of women. And I work with a lot of couples, and I work with a lot of creative entrepreneurs. So I know it’s like a wide brush stroke but that’s who I work with. And folks for years have said, you need to find your niche, and I’m like, my niche is financial therapy. It’s folks that are on a conscious path or on some psycho spiritual path. They’ve done so much work on themselves in every area of their life and money’s the last frontier.

9:39 Money is really the last frontier to look at and to really uncover and to really understand and to have that healthy relationship with. So folks that come to me are all different income levels, from really someone who has a non-profit job for $50,000 and is so happy living in San Francisco, to someone who runs their own business and they’re making 500,000 to someone who’s making a family who’s making 250,000, to folks who have family money in inheritance.

10:10 So the income spectrum is much bigger than that and both ends of it but it’s really folks who’ve done a lot of work on themselves and this is the last frontier. And it’s folks that I have a lot of high earners that come to me and they’re great at bringing in the money because from my experience, everyone has a lot of strengths around money, and everyone has challenges. So when we’re really starting to get into the money story, which is one of the first stops that I go to, and even before that I always like to acknowledge that most of us have a level of money shame.

10:44 So that’s what I’ve seen over the years, that people who come to me, again, no matter if they’re high earners, that’s their strength. So their challenge may be that they have a heck of a time really shaping and directing and mapping out and planning, and the word budget is not one of my favorite words, I like to rename everything.

11:04 So budget could be map of intentions, budget can be money map so when I first started doing this work fourteen years ago, one of the first things I realized is we need to incorporate our values. We need to incorporate our values even in the way we name things. So, a budget, rename it. Rename your expense category, so, I’ll give you an example.

11:21 Recently, I even renamed my taxes to community contribution because the energy around paying those taxes does not feel good. And I still was having some like “grrrr”, around paying taxes so I had to sit down with myself, me and my husband had a conversation of really what is this money go towards, the good parts of it and we just had a huge flood in Boulder so we had a lot of people coming out, it actually helps save people and like helicopter people out from parts of where we are living so, we renamed this category community contribution.

11:55 I have people rename all of their expense categories and their income categories and that’s one really fun way. So to comeback to what I was even saying in the beginning is that, most folks come to me with some level of shame. They feel like they have matured and become adults in most area of their lives.

12:12 They’ve done the work, they developed and when it comes to money, they still feel like a teenager. Or, they still feel like an infant or a toddler. I get that all the time so, so many folks that are coming to me are wanting to have a healthy relationship to money: have a mature adult relationship to money for the first time in their lives.

12:29 So when they are coming to me, there’s some level of shame that’s still thereof I don’t do money well or I do money far worse than everyone else on this planet or there’s such a mess here. There’s just a level of I don’t know how to do this, instead of, we were simply not taught how to do this from grade school and up in small increments.

12:50 We weren’t taught how to have an emotional relationship to money, and most of us, if we look at a spectrum, we feel everything from anxiety around money to full on anger, really pissed every time we have to sit down and pay bills and take care of this aspect of our lives.

13:06 We feel sad, we feel like we want to fall asleep because this is so boring to all the good parts of, there’s really good things I get to do with money and money is really just energy or it’s just an exchange or how can I make my dreams come true by creating a wonderful livelihood. There’s such a spectrum here, right? Of what we experience in money and money is really something that we project so much on to.

13:33 So, it’s so important in my world to understand what’s the money story. What are the patterns we’re all coming in with strengths and we’re all coming in with challenges and to really understand, first stop, what’s the money story, what’s the money shame or take off that cloak and just to get in there and to start pulling it apart.

13:50 It feels like this monster, this ball of threads that we need to just pull apart and name it first, what are all the different threads, what are my strengths from money, what are my challenges, what did I learn from my family of origin?

14:03 That’s wonderful, what did I learn from my family of origin that’s really unconscious that is still continuing today that’s not serving me. What’s my relationship to earning money and saving money and giving money and spending money?

14:17 I’m just taking you through a little bit of even like the beginning phase that I take people through which is more of the money healing work and then we get in to all the practical components too.

14:28 So, I’m kind of answering your question, I’m getting to it of who comes to me, it’s folks that want more clarity around their numbers? So, half of my folks have no idea of actually how much is coming in and what’s going out.

14:42 Lorna: Yeah, that can be a little scary to look at to, because I know from an entrepreneurial perspective, it’s way more fun to focus on what you are being an entrepreneur doing rather than what’s underneath all your business operations which is cash flow and sometimes, it can be really daunting.

15:02 I know, I go through phases where I’m like, okay, I have a feeling I’ve gotten way too much on auto pay and I’m afraid to look at it all right now and go through the process of unsubscribing and then trying to figure out do I need this, do I need this, but it’s interesting how you describe all the different aspects of the money story.

15:22 It’s not necessarily just a simple statement like what I see very commonly in the contest business community which is the story that money is evil.

Bari: Yeah.

15:32 Lorna: That’s a very common one, but again, going down into the different layers, there is the inherited story, there is your relationship with money that you spend, your relationship with money that’s coming in, inherited and your relationship with your partner and the money story between the two of you. So I’m curious because this is a really important topic for entrepreneurs especially if you are in a marriage or relationship where both parties are entrepreneurs,

Bari: Yup.

16:07 Lorna: How do you begin to develop a healthy conversation with your beloved around the very scary topic of money especially if both people are entrepreneurs and you’re taking risks as partners or if one person is having to be I guess, experience the brunt of your entrepreneurial decisions which can be even more challenging?

16:36 Bari: Okay, so you’re naming, we’re touching on personal finances, we’re touching on couple finances and we’re touching on entrepreneurial finances and they all at the end of the day, need to be talking to each other. I see some folks who track all their business stuff but would never look at their personal. I have other folks that look at their personal finances but are terrified to look at their business.

16:57 So, to address exactly what you’re starting to talk about is that for me, that’s where I live. Me and my husband are both entrepreneurs, so we’re a family run business at this point, the art of money, yes, my husband came on my team just a year ago but that was because my entire team fell apart, right as we are going into a launch for a yearlong program, The Art of Money. Now my husband’s also been an entrepreneur and has had his own businesses, tech husband, he’s been a part of…

17:25 Lorna: Oh, you have a tech husband, I want a tech husband.

Bari: I know.

17:31 Lorna: Like honey, can you just fix my website please, thank you.

17:37 Bari: For our tenth year anniversary, I got a new website; I got all of my programs put into Infusionsoft…

17:45 Lorna: Oh, that’s so romantic.

17:49 Bari: [Inaudible 16:43:3] that’s what I wanted, and that’s such an entrepreneurial thing, I don’t care about the diamond ring, I actually want a new website.

17:56 Lorna: And you didn’t sought, help me deal with Infusionsoft please?

18:02 Bari: A few years ago, he put all of that for me. So, there’s so many pieces here. I wanted start from beginning and then I can talk about, I want to do a little piece about couples and money, okay? And then we can add in the entrepreneurial piece.

18:13 Lorna: Okay.

18:13 Bari: Because to start out first with couples and money, two people come together and they each, even if they both come from wealthy families which is usually not the case but even if they came from both inheritance families or both middle class families, or both working class or, you come together and the way you interpreted your family plus your nature, plus your Enneagram plus all the above, makes it total the way that you translate and interpret and project on to money’s completely different.

18:43 So two people have two completely individual money stories and then you come together and usually you polarize. For the most part, couples, usually one person really worries about money all the time and likes to track everything because they like to be in control.

18:58 The other person likes to stick their head in the sand, do not have anything to do with it. That’s one way the couples polarize. Another way is one person is the designated smarty pants. Let say, they have the finance degree but at the end of the day, I’ve so many dear finance people who come to me because they didn’t learn the emotional part of their relationship to money.

19:19 So they know systems and tools but they are not necessarily tracking their own book keeping or doing their own money maps, right?

19:27 So one person gets designated as a smarty pants around money, knows everything, the other person feels like the stupid one. I can go on and on, there’s so many different examples of how couples polarize.

19:36 Every once in a while you get two people in cahoots of each other like sitting in the back going, oh we’re not going to grow up. We’re creative artists or entrepreneurs, we’re not going to have anything to do with this and they’re both on the same team, right?

19:48 So that’s just to know that two people come together, you can have very different money stories. So step one for me is always the individual understanding their solo journey. And understanding their money story, right? That’s number one.

20:01 Then coming together, I’ve known couples who’ve been together ten, twenty, thirty years can talk about everything. Have a great sexual life together, have great intimacy, have great communication skills, when it comes to money, they’ve never created a safe place to talk about money.

20:18 So they still fight there, or when they go to review the numbers, there’s blaming or there’s a horror at the different ways that we spend money. So even on the surface, if we have the same values, it’s usually it’s played out like my husband is really into expensive road bikes and I like my lotions and self-care.

20:37 He’s horrified, I’m teasing when I say horrified. We were until we really talked it through to understand why these values and the way we spend our money are so important.

20:49 So for me, one of the first pieces for couples is to begin to create a safe place where you can talk about money and that could be what I call money dates, and it could be over glass of wine, it could be over a nice dinner. Step one is really just to have a place where you can do some story telling.

21:07 What did you learn from your family, all the things that I was talking about earlier? What did you learn from family, what was your role with your siblings. We’re you the spender, at age, six? My brother was a little bank; he was saving money at age five. That wasn’t my experience, I was always, oh, I want to get that candy or oh, I want to buy that ring for my mom.

21:30 There were always these beautiful things that I was interested in, so, step one is to create a safe place where you can talk about your money story and it could be you each get twenty minutes or you each get ten minutes and you just get to talk and the other person is quiet and they’re over there listening and then you get your full ten minutes and then you stop when the other person gets ten minutes.

21:54 And it seems so simple, it’s going back to basics, communication 101 with couples but it’s creating a safe place for couples which most of us, again, this is not an area that we know how to do.

22:06 So it’s huge, this is step one story telling. Then, after that’s created and you’re not fighting or you’re not yelling at each other or not in the heat of the moment, some couples can have great conversations in bed right before bed around money. And other people that, you should not be having money conversations right before bed, right?

22:27 So money dates can be planned out, they can be spontaneous, but that’s step one, just creating a safe place. Like candles, make it sacred, right? Do whatever feels right for you.

22:41 Step two is then starting to look at your numbers, even before that, it’s who’s on what? What tracking system are you using? You need one, you need a tracking system. So, who’s going to be the tracker for now? So for example, I fell in love with Quicken and QuickBooks years ago and did it for years.

23:03 And then what happened, I think I got pregnant and all of the sudden my Quicken stopped and my husband said I’m going to learn Mint and take it over. And I was like, okay, wonderful, time for him to step in and before that, he would write everything down on a piece of paper and add it all up in whatever system works is great.

23:25 But these days there’s WI nap and there’s Mints and there’s Quicken for personal finances and then for business there is Xero and there’s QuickBooks and I can go on and on about that but with couples step two is who’s on what? Who’s going to be tracking and maybe you want to switch roles, right?

23:42 And also, are you merging your accounts, are you separating your accounts? I’ve had marriages saved twenty years in because the woman said; it’s time to separate our money accounts, our bank accounts and it saved the marriage.

23:55 Where I’ve had other people, they merged right away and later it worked, or for me and my husband, we were separate for seven years, separate accounts, separate everything. We would add it all up and then realized that I owed him a hundred, he owed me hundred, it was silly, right?

24:11 So then, we actually merged our accounts and that felt like a next level of intimacy. So there is no right path here, should you merge your account, should you separate your accounts, it’s what’s the right next step for intimacy.

24:23 So who’s on what, and then the third conversation can be what are our values and what are the different ways that we spend our money and why are we horrified by the other ones who are be playful here. Where can we understand?

24:37 This is all about growing more intimacy, this is all about growing more compassion for each other and so I could just keep going. These are some of the steps that we were taught, right, in marriage 101 or we weren’t taught when we were growing up and so it’s first doing this with ourselves, then when we’re brave enough and willing to do with our honeys and then my god, if you decide to be entrepreneurs, then you need more money dates, right?

25:04 So, money dates to review your data, review your numbers and we just started touching on how scary it is for people. So if I can get folks across the bridge to even look at their numbers, peek at them, that’s huge.

25:19 There are many things I do with folks, but that’s one of them, is holding their hand across the bridge, they’re willing and brave enough to just look at the numbers, right? And eventually become more mutual but to learn from it, it’s all a learning tool, right?

25:33 So learn a tracking system, I’m not saying you have to do book keeping forever, I did my own book keeping for twelve years and then finally passed it over to a book keeper. Do book keeping for six months, learn it and then pass it on or do it for a year, right?

25:46 So, learn how to read your numbers get in there, so me and my husband have personal family dates to look at the numbers and to do visioning. I haven’t even talked about visioning in money maps right? And then we do that with the business as well.

26:01 And that can happen monthly, it can happen quarterly, it can happen yearly and there’s so many important money conversations that need to happen about risk and how much are you going to invest in the business and are you going to bootstrap or are we going to use savings or are we going to use a credit card, zero percent credit card, are we going to and on and on. So, jump at any point because I can go on and on…

26:30 Lorna: Okay, I want to present with you a personal scenario that I would love your opinion on as a financial therapist and it involves my former partner’s commitments to an ex. And so, I come from a Chinese background so, the money story that comes with my lineage is when two people come together and their talking about life partnership, you’re not only coming together as, it’s not only a union in love, it’s a union in resources, it’s a union of two people’s financial wealth coming together to become one household.

27:08 And so from the perspective of his commitments to his ex-wife, I felt that, that was a really important conversation to have, where if I were going to be the life partner, my opinions and consideration really needed to be like taken into account.

27:30 Essentially, so the overall question is how do you navigate prior financial commitments and so here is where the situation got very sticky for us and essentially, our relationship really broke down because we couldn’t agree on how much financial support he needed to be continuing to give his ex-partner.

27:52 Bari: Yeah.

27:53 Lorna: So, they got divorced years ago, we entered into a relationship with the intention of exploring life partnership, he had a marriage agreement already that he already fulfilled to her. So, his marriage settlement was paid out. However, he was still financially supporting her, even though they didn’t have children together and even though she could legally work in the United States.

28:16 And so when I requested as part of our union to get her to commit to a financial graduation plan, because I felt that the continued support was actually enabling her to dependency, he didn’t want to do that. He didn’t want to cut her a lump sum check, he did want to continue making financial gifts to her family and to support her major life goals indefinitely which felt to me rather awkward if I were the primary partner to keep seeing him give major gifts to her while he take me out to dinner.

28:51 And what made things even more complicated was that she lived in the house that he owned and was distraught at the prospect of having to move out so that he could accommodate my need for privacy even when he offered to pay her for a nice apartment for up to a year.

29:09 So, then I was presented with a mandate to willingly, joyfully, and lovingly co-habitate with his ex-wife if I wanted to stay in relationship with him and not only his ex-wife but her baby, not his baby and her partner and the group of them being Tibetan refugees, so he was supporting all of them.

29:30 Even though they could all legally work, they could both legally work and so my unwillingness to move in with this household essentially not community but household resulted in a great deal of disappointment on his end on how lacking in love and kindness and compassion I was to her.

29:48 So, this was a very sticky scenario and so I guess one of the things that I found utterly confusing was, as a partner, coming in with the expectation that I would be the primary partner and we’re looking at a life partnership, at what point does my opinion around prior financial agreements matter and at what point is it none of my business?

30:21 And is it at all normal or natural or whatever to have strong misgivings about the prospect of entering into a marriage with a partner, putting my resources into a relationship as an equal partner but having to witness large continued outflows towards his ex-wife on his end even though they do not have children together.

30:45 So what would your take be on this scenario as a financial therapist because I know that many of us do enter into relationships where there were exes and maybe even children?

30:53 Bari: There is layers upon layers to [inaudible 30:02:04] and I can still feel it.

30:59 Lorna: It did my head in.

31:01 Bari: On some level I would love him to be here so I could ask him questions and understand from him more what were his agreements, what were his commitments, right?

31:13 And you said he fulfilled all of that and then was still continuing to be a provider; so, I just would need to hear so much more information of what is being a provider for this woman mean? What does it mean to be a provider for this small group, this small community and how is he interpreting your request and your needs and what you are asking for in order to move forward.

31:43 Below the surface, this is all about trust. This is all about betrayal that feeling betrayed. This is all about, can I fully trust this person, can I become one with this person, what does that mean in all these super levels?

31:58 You’re starting to describe a polyamorous kind of household for me and then that’s not what you said, right?

32:06 Lorna: It’s starting to look very much like polyamorous household where I was not the primary partner but she actually was, yeah. It’s very confusing.

32:17 Bari: Which is interesting because me and my husband have a monogamous relationship and yet when it comes to business interactions, I tease him that, he’s like polyamor-business or however you say that. He can’t just have his hands on one pot under the umbrella of art of money.

32:34 He keeps needing to dabble on other things, right? So, we’re having conversations about how that feels and how I don’t know how long he’s going to stay under the umbrella and I want him to stay but I don’t how long he’s going to stay.

32:50 These are just things that we have to continue to have conversations about and work out. Now if you guys never got to a place where you felt honored, I still need to hear from him, what does being a provider for this woman mean to him and why is he continuing to do that even after he’s honored that commitment and why is he not able to fully turn towards you, right?
And put everything into the same pot with you, so that I honor, I hear that it’s part of your lineage, your Chinese lineage, but it’s also something that, that’s how I see marriage, is two people coming together, putting their energy and resources together to really support each other in the best way to have a beautiful life and to create and to keep growing together.

33:48 But to put it all together, I just would need to hear more from him. What that means, but I hear for you that it didn’t get anywhere, it sounds like you kept saying, I need you to complete that or maybe do a much smaller percentage of that so that we are fully together and move forward and his response to you was you’re not being a loving compassionate giving person, yeah?

34:15 And then you never got anywhere further than that, that’s where you broke down because you couldn’t come together or compromise, each of you. Did he ever present to you, let me just continue to give to them but I’ll really decrease the amounts and so ten percent is going there and ninety percent is going to us. In some level, he wasn’t letting go…

34:39 Lorna: He wasn’t letting go and he wasn’t willing to commit to actual numbers where my suggestion was, okay, you were going to help her complete school, why don’t we figure out how much she’s going to need for her to complete this program and just have that be the finite amount and then that’s it.

35:02 But he didn’t really want to do that; there was this ongoing financial relationship that he wanted to continue to maintain even though she now had a new partner, the father of her child, all of that which is very confusing.

35:16 Bari: He was getting something out of it. He was really getting something out of it, whether it was conscious or unconscious, and he wasn’t willing to name or be transparent about what that was.

35:27 Your request to have numbers, totally valid, totally valid. I would want numbers as well. So, he wasn’t willing to, but that happens even in couples in a completely different scenario than you. Where one person just says, I’m not going to do that, I’m not going to have money dates with you. I’m not going to look at the numbers with you.

35:46 I’m happy the way things are and the other person typically, I don’t want to generalize like this but for most part, the women are leading the way with the way that I teach money work. And maybe just because it’s so feminine, but the women are leading the way and then sometimes the couples, I get a lot of female-female couples but when it’s a woman and a man, sometimes they come together and they’re on the same team and I’m so happy.

36:10 Because I feel when couples are on the same team, it’s actually really weird and unusual and we move mountains when we do this work together but usually the woman starts to do the work on her own and then hopefully, eventually I see a lot of men peeking over their shoulder saying, what are you doing, okay I’m ready.

36:27 Sometimes, it’s a year later, sometimes it’s a few years later, I just think there’s need to be a lot more conversations and I’m not saying that you didn’t exhaust it and maybe he wouldn’t have gone to that place but what does that mean? What is that [inaudible 34:46:3]

36:42 Lorna: Yeah, that’s interesting. And I think it’s a very common scenario where my need to have those difficult conversations started to be met by exacerbation on his end and accusations of me being the one creating drama around it.

36:59 So of course, if I didn’t have those conversations there would be no drama so I was the one causing drama. And I can imagine that in many scenarios, you have two partners, where one partner as you mentioned doesn’t want to have that conversation and starts blaming the other partner for waning to have these conversations.
What do you do in those situations because I imagine is very very common, if you don’t have two partners that are on the same page or even willing to have those difficult discussions, how do you address that Bari?

37:29 Bari: Yeah, well ideally, my favorite is when I get couples who show up and they’re both willing, right?

37:36 Lorna: Right.

37:38 Bari: That’s my favorite and I only work with five to fifteen private clients at a time and they’re usually women and then I get a handful of couples, right? And my couples right now mostly are willing but one asked me for an algorithm about budgeting.

37:55 That’s not how it works. She’s over there saying, I need to work through the emotional stuff, and so it’s going in a much slower pace for him but he’s hanging in there. How do we have these conversations? That’s when I may send them to a therapist, a traditional therapist to work through some of that. At this point, I want to work with more willing folks, right?

38:19 Or, they take my year long program and the woman begins and it happens as those saying a lot. Her partner is not ready or willing and just simply says I’m not doing this with you, I’m not.

38:29 And the woman goes forth, and she starts doing her own money work and I’ve had everything from a couple split up and then she started doing her own money works. She started learning about her behavior. She started working on her emotions, she started learning a tracking system and looking at her numbers for the first time ever, and realizing she was playing a lot of games with her husband.

38:50 And then she came back a year later and they came back together, simply because of the amazing, incredible work that she did. Obviously he must’ve changed as well.

38:59 So, what do I do with a couple when one person, let’s say one person is not willing. If they’re going to sign up for couple’s financial therapy, they have to show up. Every two weeks we meet for six months and there’s homework in between and money dates in between and sometimes they do the money date the night before, right?

39:23 And so, it’s continually coming together and saying, this is important to this person, this is important to this person, let’s talk about the emotions for a while and then let’s address the numbers and we would just go back and forth and back and forth. Until eventually we saw that both of these places are important.

39:42 They’re equally as important and they need their space, it’s not just practical, it’s not just emotional, it’s emotional, it’s practical, it’s psychological and spiritual. And that’s what I believe and that’s what I see so I’m going to be guiding folks to that over and over and over and showing them all sides of this aspect, right?

40:05 Some of my financial folks really, they know the systems but they still have so many emotions, they need to learn that part so we all need different ingredients that we need to add.

40:19 So with my couples, I’m just continually, yeah, as I’m saying, teaching them how to have a safe place to talk about money and I’d had couples that begin my six month financial therapy and all they do is fight. It’s all tension and fighting and the money dates and conversations are very uncomfortable and very hard.

40:38 And by the end, they actually become pleasurable. They become fun. They actually really deepen. But it takes time my God. My husband, we did a blog post about a spontaneous money date that we had on a Saturday night, while our child was watching How to Train your Dragon, , which is a great kid’s movie and I could feel the money day coming. It was almost a quarter head calm and I could feel we were meeting one of those big ones, because we’re going into a launch. And I could feel we needed to look at the numbers and we needed to sit down and we said, this is not for the faint of heart. And this is also not a beginning money day.

41:17 A beginning money day is literally just having time to start story telling. Years later, now we can spontaneously have our money day, and my husband called me over and said, “Okay, let’s look at the numbers,” and I immediately was like, “Oh, we’re having a money day. Let me light the candle, let me spritz some essential oils,” so he’s like to me, “Do you need…

41:38: Call me Lavender.

41:40 Bari: He was like, “Yeah, do you need some glitter, chocolate, like what do you need.” I was like, “Okay, no, I’m good.” We wound up having like a whole hour long money day, reviewing the numbers, what’s working, what’s not, patterns, where are we at, where we going and it turned out to be more of a soberly money day because we’re just about to go into a big launch again and we have a yearlong cycle, so we make most of our money like in one big launch for the year, right, instead of every month or every few months and I love that.

42:11 So just to say that like some money dates down the road, they become fun and they become really meaningful and you get on the same team. But they’re not all like that, like this one was more sobering, but at the end of it then we still celebrate it. What we’re doing well, what’s different, what’s grown because we tend to always focus on the negative around money, so I’m a big celebrator of all the teeny little baby stuff.

42:38 So, couples, it’s getting you to have a safe place to talk about money. Your strengths, your challenges, no one knows how to do it all, no one’s the main smarty pants. That’s just not true. It’s not true. We all have something to bring to this, to the money conversation, because it’s really about creating an incredible livelihood and having a good life and living by your values, and that’s really what money work is all about, for me.

Lorna: Fantastic, thank you so much, I really enjoyed hearing that and thank you for your take on how to approach that very difficult and challenging personal scenario that I had confronted. I’d always wondered if there is another way that I could’ve handled it, but I think at the end of the day, our needs were not really aligned, and so for that reason, since we wanted very different things, especially around that continued relationship with the ex-wife and her family and how much, I would have been required to also be in a relationship with them, we ended up going our separate ways.

43:43 But the advice that you did share with us this evening is a very sage advice for couples that are having to really address these difficult questions especially if one or both parties are entrepreneurs. So thank you so much Bari for sharing with us your wisdom and your methodology. How can we best stay in touch with you?

44:07 Bari: Come on over to my site at baritessler.com, and it’s B-A- R-I-T-E-S-S-L-E-R. And I have an incredible little mini art of money course. It’s a seven day little money course when you join our list and join our community and incredible blog articles that I’m very proud of, and a whole money memoir series where people are sharing money stories, lots of entrepreneurs sharing money stories. Come over to my site and enjoy. Enjoy.

44:36 Lorna: Fantastic and you mentioned you do an annual launch for your art of money program? When is that happening and how do we find out more about this?

44:45 Bari: Yeah. If you join my community list, it’s coming so, November is our pre-launch, and I usually like to call it an opening, that feels better to me than launch, right? So in November for two weeks, we’re going to have a pre-opening for all the folks that are raring to go, and there’s really sweet stuff that happens if you join in November, like a holiday money care package, and a teller ritual, because usually when we go into holidays, we get a little “not so” around money and our energy just speeds up and some of our addictive patterns increase and we kind of check out of our bodies, so there’s a lot of supportive things that happen.

And then, it officially begins in January, so in January there’s going to be a big launch and we’re going to be in an RV. My little family traveling from Seattle down to Santa Cruz interviewing some of our dear folks in our community. I mean 2014, we had almost 400 folks in the art of money yearlong program in 17 countries, and our goal for next year is 500 in more countries. So we’re going to be interviewing folks from the road in an RV, some of our community that have taken the art of money and some of our guest teachers and I’m so excited about that.

46:00 Lorna: That sounds really exciting; I’m looking forward to it myself.

46:05 Bari: Thank you. So November and January, is when it’s all happening.

46:10 Lorna: Keep it on the radar. All right folks. Thank you so much Bari for your time you have a beautiful evening.

46:15 Bari: You too, thank you. Bye everyone.


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Lorna Li

Chief Evolutionary Officer at Entrepreneurs for a Change
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers, and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises & B-Corporations on SEO, SEM & Social Media marketing.
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