This is my life's mission...
My mission is to simplify and de-mystify money for even the most numbers-averse to remove money as a barrier to finding financial bliss.
… in fairness, integrity and our universal connectedness. I always begin by asking, “What is the right thing to do?” The answer isn’t always what the rules say. I’m the kind of person who takes a stand for causes I believe deeply to be right, even if it puts me in the minority. I’ve left companies over this, and I’ve probably lost some friends too. This belief allows me to guide my coaching clients toward the best course of action for them, even if the personal finance machine might say otherwise.
… that the world is made up of mutual obligations and keeping those to each other is the key to a moral and just world.
… that when you do what you say you’re going to do, you’ll be surprised at the doors that are opened to you. Keeping your commitments while also being honest when you’re not able to is an admirable trait. My credibility is my core. When you give yourself grace for the things you know you can’t or won’t be able to do, that allows you to live a more shame-free existence.
… that when you understand the “why” behind something, that it’s easier to either accept what is or do what’s needed to change it. This belief shapes my coaching style to be a combination of informative and empowering.
… in the truth, honesty and candor. Don’t bullsh*t me with ambiguity and I won’t bullsh*t you. Sometimes I have to say things you don’t want to hear. I work hard on communicating that in a way that empowers you to take action rather than shames you into further procrastination.
… that you don’t have to be doing anything “right” or “perfectly” in order to feel ok about where you are in life. Please don’t waste your energy fronting that it’s all perfect. Our humanness is where I find connection and where I empower my clients to move closer to their own version of financial bliss, beautiful flaws and all.
… that most people’s behavior toward us is more about them and what they are working through than about us. Understanding this allows us to release so much tension and stress so we can keep our energy on what moves us and the world toward our best versions.
… that money has energy and when you respect (not worship) that energy, it’s reflected in your life.
… that there’s a big difference between being frugal and being cheap. Frugality is using a coupon to save money on a meal. Cheap is leaving a tip based on the lower amount of the bill rather than based on the value of the meal you were served. Frugality is a lifestyle that makes you feel responsible and in charge of your money. Cheap is a mindset that makes you feel sh*tty because you often have to screw people over and many times leads to higher spending to fix the things you cheaped out on.
… in the law of attraction – what we focus on is what is drawn into our lives.
… that sometimes debt is necessary and makes sense. And even when we look back with a facepalm over what incurred the debt, there’s no use for shaming yourself in the present. I take a pragmatic view of addressing situations from the past so we can be more present.
… that fear is still how the financial services industry operates, even when offering seemingly uplifting messages about achieving dreams. Who stands to benefit the most by you worrying about saving for retirement? Let's talk about values and dreams and how to embody those in our lives, regardless of what the calculators say.
… that an abundance mindset isn’t just about visualizing what you want and writing in a gratitude journal. It’s a journey only you can take that requires an ongoing examination of your thought patterns, money history, snap judgements and beliefs about what you can and cannot “afford.” It took me literal decades to grow mine.
… that financial freedom is the ability to make choices in life without it having to be about the money – taking a job because it seems in line with how you want to spend the majority of your days; moving because you want to try a new place; leaving a relationship because it’s no longer working; engaging in a hobby because it puts you in flow… yes, there are dollar amounts that help determine this state and I can help you figure those out, but it's also about your mindset. We'll work on both.
More about my background
I’ve held a variety of roles in the financial services industry and bring this experience to my work in unique ways through insights into how it all works and how to best navigate the system as well as what you can safely ignore. You can read my professional resume on my LinkedIn profile, but what I really want you to know about me is that I’ve made all the money mistakes and learned from them, but I’ve also helped thousands of people from all walks of life with their money. This has allowed me to develop a deep understanding not just of personal finance strategies, but of the variety of ways that different people are motivated or held back from doing what they know is best for their finances and their lives.
As a media spokesperson for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), I’ve appeared in thousands of media pieces, including stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reuters, the AP and even People.com. I have a particular interest in educating people about the unique and under-communicated benefits of Health Savings Accounts, and frequently give talks on this at conferences and employee forums.
Certifications & qualifications
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional
CPA/PFS (PFS = Personal Finance Specialist, a designation awarded by the AICPA exclusively to CPA financial planners.)
Instructor for Rena-Fi
Member of AICPA Consumer Financial Advocacy Council
Member of Illinois CPA Society
Member of Financial Therapy Association
I spent over 5 years as a financial wellness coach with Financial Finesse, the only completely unbiased workplace financial wellness provider in the nation. Remaining unbiased is of the ultimate importance to me, which is why I'm not aligned with any financial services companies.
Prior to that I worked for a variety of financial services companies including Deloitte, Fifth Third Bank, PNC Bank and Morgan Stanley.
I am an expert on Health Savings Accounts.
I keep a worm compost bin in my office.
My husband and I have fostered multiple cats through ALIVE Rescue in Chicago.
My favorite job ever was bartending at Scott's Harbor Grill in Traverse City, Michigan, my hometown.
I know more about household recycling than you probably want to know, but would love to share if you ask!