Joanna Lefeld worked for many years in New York’s traditional financial industry. Now in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she is a different kind of financial advisor. She calls herself a “mooladula”.
“I help people develop healthier relationships with money,” she said.
Her clients want to think about money and security in new ways. especially young people.
“Buying a new car every two years, buying a home in a booming market, being able to retire at a certain age, all these paradigms are changing,” she said.
Leffeld’s voice is reminiscent of a gentle yoga teacher. Probably because she is a yoga teacher. And she practices mindfulness with her clients. She said it helps remove barriers to making financial decisions.
“People need a safe place where they can start talking about what life means to them,” she said.
Sonya Luther, who teaches financial health and wellness at Texas Tech University, doesn’t believe financial planners necessarily need to connect with clients.
“We don’t want financial planners to go into therapy,” she says. “But we want them to have the conversation. We want them to recognize when they have anxiety issues.”
She said the world of financial planning is undergoing a transformation. In the past, it was all about stocks.
“If you call them, they’ll buy your stock. It was a financial plan,” she explained.
Now she teaches other planners how stress and nutrition affect financial decisions. It’s an effective approach for Baltimore art history professor Sarah Neal Smith. A few years ago, when she was in her mid-thirties, she had major money anxiety.
“I think money is governed by emotions and emotions are governed by money,” she said. “And I wanted a financial advisory service that would allow that.”
Smith found one result after doing a lot of searching, mostly on social media, she said. Her financial planner not only advises on standard matters such as investments, risks and budgeting, but also offers guided meditations.
“I close my eyes and try to shut out all my money and money worries. Try it,” she explained.
Smith said this is how she and her other millennial friends like to talk about money: self-care and normalizing mental health. She wants help with working with practical numbers. But also, “I just want peace of mind about my financial decisions, right?” she said.
And it would be even better, she said, if the practice of embodied visualization made it emotional.
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