How Financial Coaching Transformed Amy and Jennifer’s Joint Finances

Money Files

When I first met Amy and Jennifer, they hadn’t ever put much forethought into their joint finances in their 23 years together. They didn’t manage their money together, set goals together, or even think through their spending together. They had dreams, but they had no idea how to reach them financially.

Learning how to discuss and manage their joint finances as a team helped them transform their relationship with money.

During our ten months working together, Amy and Jennifer learned how to have honest, productive conversations about their finances. Amy was able to hand over some financial responsibility, Jennifer quit her job to start her own business, and their entire family made a long-awaited cross-country move – all because they started looking at their numbers together.

This shift has allowed Amy and Jennifer to reach a level of financial stability they never thought possible. In our conversation today, you’ll hear how they transformed their financial situation by working on their individual and joint money mindsets. You’ll see that managing money with your partner isn’t about controlling one another, but instead about empowering each other to make smart, fulfilling money decisions.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • How and why Amy and Jennifer decided to invest in a financial coach [0:58]
  • How Amy and Jennifer used to manage their money, and how it affected their relationship [4:25]
  • Why shame-free financial coaching is key for making a real, lasting change [7:28]
  • How to show up confidently for your money, no matter how much of it you have [13:09]
  • How value-based budgeting allows Amy and Jennifer to spend without guilt or shame [18:49]
  • How they learned to have honest conversations and divide financial responsibility as a couple [22:40]
  • What it feels like when you finally start to develop financial confidence [25:46]
  • How Amy and Jennifer’s financial transformation has impacted their kids [30:34] 
  • How financial coaching helped their relationship become even stronger [34:23]

Tune in to this episode to learn about managing your joint finances with your partner and becoming a financially confident couple.

Want to learn how to manage joint finances more effectively? Apply to work with me, and let’s start working towards your financial goals.

Did you enjoy this episode on managing your joint finances? Check out this episode on building your financial confidence!


Keina: Hi and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances. Hello and welcome to another episode of Money Files. I’m really excited because this is my first episode with a couple and I feel like people have asked me to work with couples and I tell people that a couple couples sneak in. So I’m here with Amy and Jennifer, so I’m going to let them introduce themselves.

Amy: Hey, I’m Amy Stapleton.

Jennifer: Hello. I’m Jennifer Stapleton.

Keina: I love the short,Here’s my name.

Jennifer: That’s who we are.

Keina: I would love to start because, Jennifer, you reached out to me initially, but if you just want to like, where did you find me? How did you discover me?

Jennifer: I think it was on Instagram, if I remember right. It was definitely a social media ad. So I don’t know if it was Facebook or Instagram. We were like shopping around and we had asked all our friends who they worked with and we got a lot of great recommendations for financial planners, but we weren’t really looking for a financial coach, which is where we needed to start.

Amy: Ashley I think I found you remember this correctly. It’s okay, Jennifer, to take the credit for that. But I think I did the research because we were getting a lot of feedback on financial planners and I really felt like we needed more of someone that could coach us through this process and what we were looking for. Honestly, we didn’t even have the money for it at the time, so we were trying to find somebody to help us get to that point where we would need a financial planner, right? So I think I just Googled people. We really were looking for a business that shares and aligns with our values, and that’s how we found you.  

Keina: I love it. I love you guys’ dynamic because this is truly your dynamic. And I feel like when I think about the two of you two I remember the console. I think Jennifer was all the way in. Amy was like making sure that I wasn’t going to make her not be able to get a haircut or say no to any other pleasure that she enjoys.

Jennifer: Like, well, Amy’s. I’m always like that. You’re right. We do have a very specific dynamic and mine was like, This sounds great, let’s do it. And Amy was like, What don’t we get? She wants the very specific deliverables when we are done with this, what will we walk away with? All right. And so she wanted to know that right now we will have a financial plan, we will have a budget, we will know all the things.

Keina: Yeah, but I think, Amy, I think you like me now.

Amy: I totally like you. And what I most appreciate about you is that it’s not a one size fits all, right? Like you really met us where we were, you kind of learned our values, our personalities. You really also learn kind of how our life stories impact our finances, which I think in my experience in working with financial people. In other instances, they don’t take the time to know why you are making the financial decisions that you’re making. And kind of where does that come from? So being able to really work with someone who knows us and kind of holds our values alongside our financial plans and dreams, I think really allowed us to come away with something that sticks, right? Like it’s not like you just sold us something like a template and said, okay, here, this is going to last you the rest of your life. But you really equipped us with the skills and honestly the ability to have conversations about money in honest ways that aren’t so emotionally driven but are practical and things that we can then implement ourselves.

Keina: What would you say when you guys reflect back? Because it’s been, what, a year now? Like where were you guys? When we first started working together?  

Amy: I think we were at a point where the dynamic in our relationship was we had money. It wasn’t like we were starting from nothing, but our money wasn’t really taking us where we wanted it to. And a lot of the financial day to day kind of fell on me. And it was a burden. Right. So one of the first things you helped us identify is like, okay, how can we create a system which I love, a good system, right? And this was something that you established for us early on and it just took away a lot of that stress and strain of our kind. Have we paid the bills? Who paid the bills? How much do we pay? Do we have a budget? I don’t think we have a budget. Do we need a budget? You know, so like it just kind of eliminated all of that. And we were really able to have a system that, as you would say, kind of gave us the muscle that we needed to be able to get our finances in order, but not just in order. It actually equipped us to kind of be where we are now, to be in the place that we love. Have the home that we love and to have been able to move across the country and do the work that we do.

Jennifer: Yeah. And I would say more about where we were. So like we’ve been together 23 years. Right. And as Amy sort of alluded, any couple, any person, but especially when you’re a couple, you come to a relationship and to finances with your childhood stories. Right. How you grew up and what the value was in your home around money. I remember a pastor telling me one time, like, nobody ever fights about sex or money. Sex and money is not what you’re fighting about. You’re fighting about something else. And sex and money are the, like, ways it gets played out in most relationships? And so the way it was playing out in our relationship is that I really was, as Amy says, just sort of checked out. I couldn’t tell you what I made. I mean, I knew my, like, annual salary gross number, but I didn’t know what I brought home every paycheck. I didn’t know what Amy brought home every paycheck. And I didn’t know what we were paying for much of anything I probably could have told you. Like our mortgage amount. Right. And we came to you. I mean, the first thing for me was just it brought a ton of awareness and consciousness because when we sat down and made our money plan and we pulled together that first intake sheet, it’s like, what are you making? What do you owe? And all the big picture stuff. It’s the first time I ever really even do numbers in a serious way. And so I can tell you now, we had a mortgage, right? And we had $55,000 of debt. I remember that number, $55,000 in credit card bills. As I said, we had enough or at least access to enough to, like, manage all that. But we just weren’t participating in any serious way. Mm hmm.

Keina: And I remember, like, when you were talking about the debt, it was like you guys had been in cycles where you, like, pay off the debt, but then the debt comes back, you pay off the debt. I think a lot of people relate to that. And as you guys are talking about all the different events, I remember we had a coaching conversation. You guys were in Colorado basically on the side of the road. And I think I mention that as a highlight because a lot of people, when they start working with me, I think they think about how they want to be perfect. And I always make the connection. I’m like, you know, at church when they say, like, come as you are, like, that’s the kind of coach I want to be. Like, Just come as you are, because I don’t want there to be barriers like an access to entry because you think that you need to get everything in order to get started. Yeah. And I think coaching everybody on the road is that example.

Amy: I was just going to say, I really appreciate that about you again, because there’s kind of no stigma or shame to this. Right. It was more like, you know, you can do what I do and I couldn’t do what you do if you had incredible skills that really, again, equipped us and empowered us to have the life that we love now. And I do remember that call because there was always this like, oh, Keina, I think we messed up the sheet again. Like, you know, I think our budget is out of whack. Like, we’re not, we’re not balancing our I don’t know what these numbers mean. And there was just always a lot of grace when that happened and not like, you know, shaming or any of that kind of stuff. It’s like, all right, well, let’s figure out what happened and and what do we need to get that back on track? So I would say that for anybody out there listing that, it really is a process that frees you up, right? Like it actually unburdened you instead of sometimes I think we think of finances as things that are private and personal and kind of like, you know, embarrassing even. But you really made the process one that was liberating and actually helped us again create the life that we want. And, you know, when we came to you, we’re like a year from now, we want to be living in Colorado and we want to do this. You didn’t say like, no way. That’s out of any realm of possibility. You’re like, okay, well, this is what this actually means. So how are you there? What is that going to cost? And like, let’s make it tangible, let’s make it real cool. I really give you a lot of thanks. Thanks for that.

Keina: And thank you guys for trusting me. I feel like this is such a partnership and you guys have had a lot of changes in the last year. Jennifer quit her job. Amy got a new job. Jennifer’s all in on her business. You guys sold a house, moved to Colorado like you did. You’ve done a lot and you’ve done like. I think that’s the other thing, too, is like, let me wait for this, like, perfect moment. And I think you guys can make an argument that you should have waited until you move to Colorado to keep your finances in order. But I think that for me, it’s been fun watching you go through like different financial seasons. Going back to that comment earlier, Amy, where you talk about building a muscle, it builds your muscle. So you know, well, what if X happens? Like how can we respond financially? So you know that you have your own back, right? Even if the numbers may look a little wonky at times.

Jennifer: Well, and I think that’s right. When you talk about that perfect moment, right. I remember the first time that we did it because we did two five-month partnerships with you, right? We did one. We got far and we could have quit after that first one and been like, yep, we’re complete. But that second one again, if you use that metaphor of like going to the gym, right, it’s like, yeah, we had learned the exercises. But then to have five more months of really practicing them with a coach made them stick in a way. So yeah, I’m so glad we didn’t wait until we get to Colorado because, you know, our financial reality now is that we just sold a house and we’re renting now. So we have a large sum in our bank account that we would have no idea what to do with otherwise. Both our fathers passed away while we were together and we inherited money from them. And we would have had again, I would have been just completely paralyzed, overwhelmed. Am I going to waste all this? What do I do with it? How do I not waste it? What am I supposed to do? But now, you know, we came to Colorado. We’ve been here about a month. And so, like after we got most of the boxes unpacked, we sat down and we took that spreadsheet that was like the finances we were working from. And we switched over to a new tab. That’s the Colorado budget. We read everything. So, like, we’re having to now do it on our own. Like, this is the first time that we’re like our sales, but we’re, we’re doing it right. And we’ve got a brand new bank account. So, like, it’s all these new things to think about. It’s overwhelming, but it’s not like I’m not petrified. I’m not scared. I’m like, yeah, I know. We know what we want to do with this. And for me, again, it’s like consciousness. We know what we spend. We know what we intend to spend on things every year and for the first time we have an emergency fund. That wasn’t the thing that we had in the first 22 years we were together.

Amy: I think two things really stand out in our work with you that directly impacted me. One was the way I think about money. Money. I could give a million stories about what it was like for me or privilege or whatever. But I think for money, the way I look at money is that really in the end, money gives us choices. And so the freedom that comes from money isn’t from money itself, but it’s being able to look at what you have and choose where you spend that? So there are a lot of times when Jennifer and I will look at our bills or look at, you know, do we want to invest in something or buy something or take a vacation? And, you know, maybe our vacation money isn’t quite where we want it to be to take that vacation. But what you’ve helped us do and equipped us to do is to have a conversation around that and say, okay, you know, we have the money, we can get it from somewhere else. But then it’s in an empowered conversation that we’re having about our choice and we’re able to say, you know, are we choosing to do this right? The Christmas fund’s going to be down a little bit because we’re going to choose to spend an extra $100 on vacation. And so just having that choice is such a powerful thing for me. So thank you for that. The other thing that I think people should know about working with you is that it’s not just working with you, that you have a whole network of people that you’ve connected as to whether they be accountants or financial planners or people that you’ve just shared information with us that we do. And that’s an incredible kind of, I don’t know, bonus of working with you is that you have trusted partners and people in your network that you’ve worked with. And then we don’t feel like we know, when it came time to have a financial planner, we didn’t have to do all that research. We trust you. And you said, hey, here’s somebody that I trust. And I think that’s a real asset. And working with you.  

Keina: I was going to say, you guys are now working with a planner. I wrote that in my notes because I feel like it started with like we need a planner and now you are working with a planner. And I had a conversation with her. I was like, Is there anything I need to be doing better with my client? She’s like, No. They had like a budget. They had this like they’re prepared to have conversations that like a lot of my clients aren’t ready to have, so they’re like in a perfect place. So that was exciting as well.

Jennifer: And something that my dad used to say about money that I believe is like, if you can’t manage a little bit of money, then you can’t manage a lot of money. Right? And so like Amy and I, you know, we’ve been together again a long time. So at the beginning of our careers, we made very little fresh out of school, and wouldn’t make much money. And then we got to places where we were making more and more and more, but we were showing up about money the same way over and over and over again. No matter if we had $18,000 in our bank account or $180,000 in our bank account, we showed up the same way over and over again. And so I felt like when I worked with you it helped us figure out how you are showing up around money? And here’s a better way to be about it, right? Work our way to be about it so that as more and more money does come into our life, it’s not like it’s not again, it’s not like, well, just having more money is going to solve it. What there is to solve is how you show up around money. And then no matter how much you have, you can have some choice around it.

Keina: Just thinking about your work that you’re doing, Jennifer, in your business and like we briefly also talked about your business finances, like, you know, what does it like? How do you want to bring in money and really create this whole– I just talk a lot about what’s the purpose of money in your life? And I feel like you want to know the purpose of money in your business. What’s the purpose of money when it gets to your bank account? And I would underscore that is like for me, what is the like how do you want to show up piece, whether it’s 18,000 or 180,000? And being able to be clear because it’s not like a budget is exciting. I love budgets, but more than anything I want people to have this consciousness, this clarity, the things that you both have talked about, because I think, like, that’s where everything shifts for people.

Jennifer: Well, and for us, it’s something I read about money one time. That said, being successful with money is just declaring what you want to do with it and then doing it with ease. And so, you know, as Amy said, we both bring these different stories and I bring the story of like having grown up with some privilege and then having guilt about having money and and having guilt about it and spending it smartly. And like, for example, we have a vacation amount, right? With you determined this is how much we want to spend on a vacation every year on multiple vacations because we like to take multiple vacations. And so we know what that amount is and we declared it and now we do it with ease. And then when we go away for the weekend, I don’t feel any guilt about it. I’m not like, Oh, maybe we shouldn’t be doing this because like, this is what we said we were going to do with our money and we’re doing it. And if we can do that in like 85% of those categories, that’s on our spreadsheet, we’re hitting those numbers. And I’m like, Yeah, we’re doing what we said we were going to do.  

Keina: Yeah. And I like, I mean, I love you guys, but I think about you all the time when I think about the values part of the conversation. I remember very vividly one time we were budgeting and Amy had spent some money or some like education or something, but like the money was in your budget. I felt a lot of joy, like knowing, I don’t know, let’s say she spent $120 on a course, or something like that. And it was like, Oh, this money is already there. Like, right. Like there was no, there wasn’t anything. It was just like a happy moment for me because I know that you’re there. I think there’s a lot of trust when clients start working with me that like this system that I’m putting on is going to work. And I remember that happening for her. I also liked earlier when I met Amy’s haircut, which I think is just a funny thing, like Amy, I don’t think you had to go without a haircut. Like, Oh, you guys got to do a lot of the things that you wanted to do, but I think you did do it with so much more ease and consciousness.  

Jennifer: Yeah, that was I’ll be honest again, like the first two months together, I didn’t understand that system. I was just like, I just trusted it. And I was like, we’re just going to run with this because I don’t know what these numbers are. But she said to put them on this spreadsheet. So I’m going to do that. And there was like one period where we were trying to say, right, because you always have us getting that one paycheck ahead on your bills. That time we’re doing that. It felt like a little belt tightening because, you know, the other thing we really like, just eat out and you’re like, do not eat out. I mean, you can but you’re going to screw up your budget, right? So you eat out. That was the one time when it was like belt tightening. But then after that we were ahead. It was like, Oh yeah, we’re ahead. It was fun. 

Keina: What were you going to say Amy? 

Amy: I was just going to say, Yeah, I really again, I appreciated the way that you helped us clarify our values and it never felt kind of scarcity based for me and I and I can totally go there again. My story is like, you know, do we have enough to pay the bills? I don’t want to go into debt. Like, you know, I wanted all the granular stuff that you were able to provide. Like that budget was kind of a tool for accountability. And then again it equipped us to make choices. But at no point in this process did I feel like, Oh, we’re just suffering about any of this, or we can get what we want. It’s like it’s just an informed choice, right? So if we choose this, then that’s going to mean this, and then it’s just a choice and we choose it and own it. And it’s not like being enforced by you or, you know, somebody outside of ourselves, but there’s also an accountability around it. And I think as Jennifer said, you know, we’ve been together a long time, 23 years, and even having a way to have a conversation about money that’s not so emotionally charged or blaming like you did this or, you know, there’s all this guilt and blame and shame stuff going on. We were just able to say, okay, do we want to choose this? And then it’s just a choice, right? And so it actually gave us, I would say, more of a platform for those conversations. So that we’re not getting caught in the story or we’re not trying to negotiate that with each other. But actually, it’s like what we both committed to, and it’s just still what we want. Mm hmm. I’m happy to say that we are, minus my student loans, debt free. 

Jennifer: I love it.

Amy: Yeah, that’s huge. And we’re saving. And Jen’s doing a lot of the money dates and we have a lot of our bills now on automatic bill pay. So I’m not like doing that weird thing of when do I pay bills or not? So that’s really freed up a lot for us and I feel like we’re in a good place.

Keina: I think you are talking about Jennifer paying bills. I feel like that was the shift, too, that I saw because in the beginning, Amy was like the wizard behind the scenes. That was like making sure bills got paid. I think Jennifer had a password or two, but then I like it to slowly, like, shift into this like, shared responsibility. And I feel like I could feel like the both of you talking about things differently, which I think you guys had a great relationship anyways, but it was just like a lot more freeing even. I remember Jennifer one time we had to buy something for your dad, like an oven.

Jennifer: Yeah. And I had to pay. His credit card wouldn’t work. He had the money, but that was something.

Keina: And you’re like, I charged it on mine. And then I got the money back from him and paid ourselves back, like. But it was something like we never would have been able to do before. Like, there’s, there’s just like, this phenomenal amount of ease and just the ease in your, like, financial relationship in terms of you guys talking to one another as well.  

Jennifer: But yeah, we really changed the way we do it. So now it went from me when we started. Like I was just a huge, really big picture, right? I’m just like, you make this and I make that and we rarely spend this, so I’m sure it’s on. And she’d be like, Yeah, well, I’m writing the check and it’s not right. Now, I do the money dates. She doesn’t even do the money dates now. I did too many nights a week. I know she pays the bills. Meaning if there is something that’s not on Autopay, then she goes in and pays us. But that’s the division of labor. And then after I do the money date, I go to her and I say, okay, here’s where we are, right? We’re overspending a little bit in this area. So we may want to pull back or maybe we don’t want to pull back, but they know it’s going to mean this. And so then we can like, as you say, sort of negotiate that together. I mean, it was really funny because for us before, it wasn’t a matter of, we never were one of those couples. It’s like tit for tat of like, you can’t have this or you can’t have that. It was more like we just never wanted to put any control on the other one. So we’d be like, yeah honey, if you want it, just get it. You should just get it. But no idea what that really meant. And then like to have integrity because we knew that was like a lot of credit cards. Like maybe we had that money, or maybe we didn’t. Yeah, but yeah, you just you know, what also happened throughout our work together is that I had to take over my dad’s bills because he got sicker and sicker and he needed me to help manage his money. So I had to take that on. And now I’m the executor of his estate. And like, these are not skills I would have had a year ago. I think you’re not in any way, shape or form. So thank you. That’s how I gave you the credit that we are. We. You were the very great Sherpa to take us there.

Keina: If you think back, when did I know you talked about belt tightening? When I was like, we wanted to get one paycheck ahead. But when would you say like everything changed for you when you’re like, Oh, this works?

Amy: The thing that I remember and this is completely random, but it’s like the car needed some repairs and we actually had money for the car repairs. You know, it wasn’t like something that had come up. It was like something that we had saved on for a few months and we weren’t really spending. But I had taken the car in for an oil change and said it needed brakes or something like that. And I saw, oh, wait, like that’s not, you know, another $800 that we have to come up with that we don’t have. It’s like we had been saving $100 a month towards car repairs and so I could just pay it and not have to charge it. So that’s the thing that I remember like, oh, wow, that I remember you saying very explicitly to us, like, the money that you have is designated, right? Like the money is designated. It’s kind of already spent. But even though it wasn’t already spent when it came time to spend it, it was already there. And I. Like you shift things around to accommodate that or put it on the credit card. It was just already there. So I can’t really think of a time in our relationship financially that we’ve been able to do that before for something, you know, more than a couple of hundred dollars, like to really say, oh, we’ve saved for this, and then we made it happen.

Jennifer: The two moments that I was like, Oh, this is all very different in the way we are with money now as opposed to before. And that it was working right is that we were talking together for about like six or eight weeks when we get on the phone and you think we’re just going to have our typical thing and I’m like, Oh, I want to quit my job. And you’re like, okay, right. I get it. Like you said, you were like, Jennifer, that’s crazy. But you were like, How is that going to work? And it was kind of only then when I could see like once we got all the numbers on paper and I could see what they really were, that I could see like, Oh, I could do that, right? I could leave this job and start a business, but like that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, I think, because it would have been too scary a leap to take without real information.  

Keina: I’m glad that 6 to 8 weeks of work gave you that, because I just remember you being like, I’m going to quit. I’m like, okay.

Jennifer: Well, I mean, but even for Amy, who again, like we have always been those kinds of partners that support each other. Yeah, it’s always like she always would have been like, well, if you have a dream, honey, you should follow it. But I think she wasn’t as scared because there were numbers on a piece of paper. But we could see, like, this is how much Jennifer has to bring in to make this budget work. Yeah, right. Yeah.

Amy: Like, that’s totally how it happened. Because, you know, old Amy would have been like, okay, honey, you quit your job and I’ll go take a second job. So, like, full of your dream. But this time I was like, uh-uh, Keina, back me up here. This is like, redo the table. So, like, we had a whole plan, like, we do it. Those numbers were.

Keina: Right. What? What does that mean for health care? What is it like? What are the hidden numbers here? Jennifer, wait.

Jennifer: Well, and then the second time, interestingly, I mean, there were obviously milestones all along the way when I was seeing it working and working towards the last time that this really hit me, that this works for us, this system works for us. And so when we were this is after we’d actually quit working together, but we were like selling our house in D.C. and we had, you know, we had made like our bridge budget from like, what’s travel going to cost to Colorado? What’s the moving van going to cost? What are all these things we did to do some work on our home before we could sell it? What’s all it’s going to cost? And we ended up putting a lot of that on a credit card on purpose to get the points. And then we paid them off. And I think before we worked together, I would have been like, No, we’re not putting this on a credit card because we don’t want debt and like to understand that to have a credit card bill for a month and then pay it off and get the travel points is not a sin. It’s just like it’s actually a smart financial decision. But I just never would have thought about it that way.

Keina: Yeah, I love it. I’m curious, what’s been the impact on your kids?  

Amy: So I think we’re talking about money freely with them. Like I think it informs how they see us making decisions and so they know a little more about the value of money. The other day, Sam and I were buying pillows like decorative throw pillows and I don’t know, so, like, say it ended up being $50 for pillows and he was just like $50 for pillows. Like, do we really need pillows? I feel like, this whole conversation about like, no, we don’t really need them, but we I want them. I think it makes our space look beautiful. Mom asks for softer pillows. And so it was a conversation. So the fact that he was even aware of a cost and is it a want or need and are we kind of making a choice here? I think at 13 shows a lot of insight. Ruby, we still work on, right?

Keina: Ruby’s rich.

Amy: Ruby’s like, she likes the money. So the way I think it shows up with her is around her birthday, which is coming up soon. And it’s a really big deal to her. And, you know, she wants things. So helping her kind of prioritize again, what is it she wants and what has the highest value and what’s realistic. So she changes what she wants. So we’ve had to kind of limit and say, okay, again, what are your top three choices here, and what’s it going to cost? And it empowers her to make some choices. And I think for an eight-year-old to know, like, see if I say, okay, you, you have $100 and you can go to the mall and spend $100, or you can get a painting for your room for $100. It’s a choice, right? Yeah. But I think it’s empowering because kids don’t have a lot of choices around money a lot of times. And the other way that I think it’s impacted them both, which you taught us, is that they would want something, right? They’d want to buy a video game or they’d want to rent a movie and we’d be like, Well, we’re already paying for streaming services, so now they pay us out of their money or something like that. And so we have this stash that they’ve paid us over time. And, you know, I think it’s like up to 50 bucks now or something like that, but I think it’s showing them that things cost and it’s about their choice. And do they want to invest that way? I can see a difference in them.

Jennifer: Well, we have a jar in our closet at this children’s slush fund. So if they want to go buy a video game on, whatever that is, Sam is streaming. He comes in, he’s usually got, like, a big handful of quarters and he’s like, Can I get this? Like, is. And then Ruby, of course, she has a horse fund, of course Ruby wants a horse, we’re in Colorado. But she’s got $90 on her horse fund. Right. Because she gets like that’s going to cost a lot of money if you’re going to get that. Yeah.

Keina: I love it because I think I also vividly remember just around Christmas and we were kind of shaping like, what’s your narrative, right like and thinking I think going back to values, right? Like it’s the experience. Do you want to give them tangible things? Like what is that? How do you continue that conversation and just build their awareness of finances and that, you know, things also just aren’t free and building financially confident kids as well as time goes on, I’m curious if there’s anything I should have asked you, but I didn’t.

Amy: I would just offer this, I think, because, you know, when working with couples, it could easily fall into a pattern of triangulation. Right. And it could feel like a tag team, like come on and be on my side here. Like tell her that she’s wrong or tell her we should do this or whatever. And I just never felt that. I felt like we had sort of a neutral partner in the conversation. So even I remember there being times when we would both be at work having a conversation with you and like it would be the first time we were talking about something in front of you and it was like, Well, I don’t know, what do you think? And I felt like we had a witness, but we didn’t really have like you were in anybody’s corner. You were in our corner, right? Like you could be a witness to what we wanted to create and help us get there. But at the end of the day, it was our money, our time, our relationship that was driving that conversation. That’s a really important skill to have as you’re working with couples.

Jennifer: Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, luckily again, I remember the kind of couple to have knock-down, drag-out fights around money. Like there have been knots that we’ve cried around the kitchen table because we didn’t have or we didn’t know where we were going to come up with X, Y or Z. Yeah, I guess that would be the thing that that’s probably different about working with us, right, is just that we are a couple. And so you’re not just with one person but with helping two people make joint decisions and navigate. Because again, I contend that money is just a symptom, or money is just an expression of what’s going on internally with you around money or going on, what’s going on internally with you, period. And so I don’t know, I never felt with you that we like, I kept thinking that was the day that you’re going to like make us cry, that there was going to be a day like lay all the cards on the table and like come to Jesus. And it just never really felt like that. It was just like, I don’t know, it was the right amount of, like, psychological, spiritual coaching mixed with tangible spreadsheets. That worked for us. 

Keina: I don’t think I make people cry that I’m aware of.

Jennifer: I kept thinking one day I’d just have to cry about it all. But it didn’t happen.

Amy: And I think like shame for having too much money and my shame for not having enough money growing up. It was a good balance, right? Yeah. Like again, you were kind of that neutral party that was like when Jen came in and said, Okay, I want to quit my job, or I came in and like, you know, hey, I want to travel.

Keina: Going to the desert.

Jennifer: You know. You’re like, okay, let’s figure out how to make that happen. Like, I just felt like, again, we brought what we wanted to the table and you, you helped us get there. And with no small part. I mean, that’s why we’re living the life we have now, right? We talked about what it was going to cost to move. We talked about what I needed to make it a new job. We talked about what Jen would need to make in her business to kind of maintain the life that we have. And I think just you can’t predict everything in life, but when you can plan and prepare as much as you can, you really give yourself options and you give yourself kind of a peace of mind. Like, I don’t go to bed worried about money or thinking like, Oh, you know, did I remember to pay this bill or whatever? There’s just an ease and a freedom that comes with that. And I think what you said earlier is true. Like, you don’t have to have money to start this process because we didn’t. And I think that’s sort of a mindset that people have. It’s like, well, one day I’m going to have enough to do this, or one day I’m going to figure out or be in a better position. And this process will make a lot more sense. But I just would say to people like Start where you are, because that’s the only way you’re going to get ahead. And it’s really worth investing in yourself, in your dreams, in this process now, because things in life are always going to come up and there’s never going to be a perfect time. But when you have a plan like you just you have more information. And when you have more information, you have more choice. And when you have more choice, you just feel differently about life.

Keina: Mm hmm. I feel like I don’t see anything else. Thank you, ladies, for talking to me. I appreciate it so much.

Amy: Thank you. It’s good to see you.

Keina: Good to see you. Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to and let’s get started.

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