How Money Impacts Our Emotions With Marsha Barnes

Allison: [00:00:00] Welcome, Marsha to the Inspired Budget Podcast. I’m so happy you’re here. 

Marsha: Thank you for having me, Allison. How are you? 

Allison: I’m doing well. It’s, um, finally cooling off where I live and I’m loving, like, feeling like I live maybe a little bit further north than I actually do . Um, but enough about that. I wanna dive in because you are a certified financial. Therapist. That’s correct. Right? 

Marsha: Yep. That, that is correct. 

And I love therapy. I’m a huge proponent of therapy. I’ve been going to therapy like a traditional therapist since I was 14 years old, on and off. I still have a therapist that I see monthly, and I think it’s just so important for people to have that. But I love the idea of going, of, of, of learning more about what a financial therapist does and what that looks like and how you help people. Can you just share a little bit behind the scenes of what that looks like? 

Yeah, so certainly so financial therapy, um, Allison, in and of itself integrates emotional, [00:01:00] behavioral, and psychological aspects. Into the world of therapy. So how that works for finances is, I personally realize, because I always like to tell, share with people how I got into this space is because, you know, traditionally since being in financial education, all of my career has been in finance for the greater part. It’s most people, Allison, and I’m not sure if you would agree with this or not, they know dollars.

Allison: Oh, yes.

Marsha: We typically know how to add and subtract. Mm-hmm. , and we typically know how to earn money. Oftentimes the challenge is we don’t know how to combat our emotions when it’s bumped against our money. So that is what financial therapy assists individuals and couples with. 

Allison: Mm-hmm. , that is so true. I mean, I think that, you know, it’s like writing a budget and figuring this all. I, I think that maybe my 10 year old could do it. Maybe not. That might be a stretch, but at least like a teenager. It’s just adding and subtracting. But you’re absolutely right, money is not. And I always say that money is emotional. Money is [00:02:00] emotional. It’s not. It’s not the math that makes you impulse, it’s the emotions behind it’s, so, I’m actually curious to know what are some common emotional struggles that you see when you do work with people? Like what are some of the things that you see patterns in just from like different families, different people, no matter their background. This is something that they, I see people struggle with over and over again. What’s something that you can share with us? 

Marsha: Oh, well, one that you just mentioned, Allison is correct. It’s family. Many of the things that we do are just adapted from what we were taught when we were younger and we didn’t even know that we were being taught it. Um, Allison. Some, some things as simple as who do you bank with? Oh, I bank with who, who my parents bank with for years. Like they introduced me to it. Oh. What type of accounts do you have? Oh, my mom told me that I should always have a savings account. Oh, dad taught me about 401ks. When my job offered it, I just did it. And we do those things like from our first job, Allison, and then we don’t even change it. Because sometimes what we take our parents’ advice is as the gospel. It’s like, that’s what, that’s what works. So that’s what we do. And while that’s not a bad thing, and it may not cause challenges, what it does though, Allison, is it says that, Is that the best for Marsha though? Mm-hmm. . Is that the best for Allison’s life? Maybe not, depending on Marsha or Allison’s lifestyle. So that one is very common. Mm-hmm. another one that is very common. Uh, let’s say Allison and younger, younger adults, let’s say early twenties. Early thirties, it’s what are my friends doing? Oh, yes. You know, if, if, if Allison is five and Marsha’s 45 and Allison is [00:03:00] trying to do things and you want to have the things that Marsha has at the age of 45, it’s like, why Allison be a year old? So that’s another really common one, is what our peers are doing. We’re trying to mirror that for our life and that’s just not the most wise things to do. So those are the top two that I, that I really see. . 

Allison: Wow. And I love that it’s almost like you basically said you can’t compare your, like where you are now, your beginning or your middle to someone else’s end. And I, I do think that comparison comes down to a lot of it, but I guess I’m curious as a financial therapist, What does that entail for you? Do you, cause you know, I mean, I, I go to therapy. I actually do therapy online because I moved away and my therapist and I started meeting online like way before Covid hit. And so when Covid hit, I was like, oh, this is great. We already know how to do this. Mm-hmm. But for me, you know, I’m able to sit with her and I’m able to talk with her. But I’m guessing that looks a lot different for a financial therapist. Do you actually have people open up their bank accounts and go through their money. What does that like process look like for you? And if someone’s listening and says, Hey, maybe that’s something I need, what should they expect? 

Marsha: Yeah, so both Allison. Yes. Okay. I have individuals to open up, you know, their bank accounts, so we, we review that information, but that’s kind of like step two in the process.

Allison: Oh, okay. 

Marsha: The, the first step is getting beyond, like, what are some things that Allison, you know, like off rip that you don’t wanna give up? What are some things that you don’t…

I can do that. I know. I don’t wanna give up my housekeeper. Like I know I am so privileged to have these two [00:04:00] wonderful women come in every other week and clean my house.

Mm-hmm. . 

Allison: And now that I’ve had that, I’m like, I will not give that up. Like it is a life. It is so wonderful for our family, so I know I will not give that up. 

Marsha: Right. Yeah. And for me it’s like massages. It’s like a massage. That’s, that’s one for me. So that, so money, integrating money into the process is really step two. First step is, what do you not wanna give up, Allison? What? Understanding, what do you think that you already do well with money? Mm-hmm. , you know? And then what are some things that you feel like keep you up at night that you feel like, I, I’ve been trying to get it, but I just can’t nail this thing. What, what is that? Because then that’s getting to the, to the emotions. You know, but then what also, like what just keeps irking you? Is it your job? Is it the money that you make? What makes you sad? Like if we’re being honest, what makes you really sad about money? Do you feel you’re just not there yet again, you’re in your forties, it just hasn’t happened for you yet. What are those things? So once we have that, then it’s like, okay, okay, well now let’s look at your. To see what can happen for you and the next steps that you, that you want to make. Many of us just wanna feel validated when it comes to our money, Allison. Mm. It’s like we go to work, we work very hard. I don’t feel validated because every time I get paid, all I’m doing is paying bills.

Allison: Yes. 

Marsha: So there’s no validation for Marsha. It’s validation for the individuals I’m paying. But what about Marsha? So that all of that is just emotion. So those are really the two core parts of financial therapy. One is emotions, our behaviors, how we react to money, understanding what we value about money. And then part two is really integrating like our actual finances, the dollars and [00:05:00] cents. 

Allison: That’s so true, and I feel like a lot of people skip past the first step. 

Marsha: 100% they do. And oftentimes that’s why we see repeated behaviors. Mm-hmm. , because we skip that part. You because we don’t, we don’t hear about it in, in finances a lot. It’s kind of like, oh, therapy and then money. Yeah. And when we hear about money, it’s either, oh, well I’m either struggling to get out of something, or I’m wealthy and I’m doing this. Mm-hmm. , you know. 

Allison: So how did you find yourself in this position where you became a financial therapist? Like, what was the road that you took? Cause I’m guessing you didn’t just, you know, Start your first job and say, this is exactly what I’m going to do. I’m guessing this, there’s, there’s a story behind us. I wanna hear the story. 

Marsha: There is a story behind it. So I was in banking Allison for over 15 years. Okay. My last, my last job before becoming a full-time entrepreneur was, I worked in learning and development and in learning and development. We were,

Allison: that sounds fun.

Marsha: It was, it, it was fun. 

Allison: In the banking industry?

Marsha: In the banking industry. And here’s the thing, Allison being in learning and development, at a job was my dream job. 

Allison: Yeah, that sounds like I would love, love. Cause I was tea cause I was a teacher before. Like, that sounds like so fun to me. What did you do? Like what did you do in that position? 

Marsha: So learning and development, Allison, we were responsible for creating, creating procedures, um, and the material to train individuals on foreclosure and bankruptcy processes. Oh. So yes. So for. Teaching and creating content. Yeah. So for me, so for me that was emotional because [00:06:00] at the time my mom had been laid off from her job that she had been at forever. My best friend had been laid off from her banking job. Wow. But I also, in creating material, I understood that those that were training at the bank, they, we were essentially creating a process for individuals that were going through some of the toughest times of their life. Foreclosures and bankrupt. Love the job though. But that was emotional. So I began to think about and learn that like one hiccup in an individual’s life could take their home. Like one moment, one divorce, one, one death. It could uproot them from like their mortgages and their homes. So that became very important to me and I loved it. When I decided to start and launch the finance bar, the first certification that I got was in financial education. Oh, well, great. They helps you with financial. Right. The second one was in financial social work, because again, those I, those emotions, I knew that I wanted to connect with individuals on a deeper level because that’s what I was hearing, Allison.

And it wasn’t like, I don’t, I don’t know how to add him, subtract. It’s like, I don’t know why he keep repeating this behavior. Yes. And then it was financial therapy from Kansas State, university. Wow. So that’s the trajectory of how I actually landed in this. With understanding that if you want to really assist people, individuals, and couples on a deeper level, You have to be want, you have to wanna connect with them on a deeper level beyond just teaching them how to budget and to get out of getting and to do these things. Yeah. Which are all great, but how do we, how do we do it and not keep those going through those repeated cycles. Mm-hmm. and it’s just like, therapy is kind of like a lifelong commitment to learning. 

Allison: [00:07:00] Yeah. Wow. So then did, once you had these certifications and this knowledge, did you actually start working with people one on one? Like what did that process look like? Oh, for definitely you versus where you are now. 

Marsha: Yeah, so, well, in the very beginning I was already working with individuals before I had that certification. Yeah. I was working with individuals and couples. This just. Me to understand what they were challenged with. Mm-hmm. from a deeper perspective, from, from a place of, well, why can’t they figure this out? Right. You know, then dropping people off, why can’t they budget? It’s simple. Just do it. It’s not that simple. It’s not that simple. And, and you know what? It’s that simple. 

Allison: I and I and personally, like I’m a very big advocate for everything that you do, and I become so frustrated. Yeah. When I see people that basically say that because they have no empathy, right? There’s no, there’s no grace, there’s no empathy that it’s not that simple. And it, it might be that simple if you’re born in the right family and you have all the privileges handed to you and yeah. It is, it can be that simple for some people, but that’s what, like how much of the population, that’s such a small, small, small percent of the population and I don’t know, that’s not who I wanna talk to. That’s not who I wanna be teaching to. 

Marsha: That’s a very small percentage, Allison, because if it was, if it were that easy, then most people could just do it. Mm-hmm. , most people could do. You see what I’m saying? So when they can’t, when they, when they can’t do it, there’s a reason. There’s a reason. If Allison makes a certain salary and she can’t figure out how to budget, or [00:08:00] every time she gets paid, her money is blown.

There’s a reason why you’re doing that. And it’s typically not because Allison chooses to do it. Mm-hmm. . Yeah, there’s something else connecting you to that. It’s either Allison is not, is not feeling fulfilled. Mm-hmm. , um, and there’s, and there are things that she gets that makes her fulfilled. I’ll tell you, me personally, this is the story I share all the time with individuals because it’s a personal share.

When I, when I got my highest position at the bank, Allison, it was like manager level. Mm-hmm. . So I felt, and at the time I had a Honda. I had a Honda, one son and a husband. Okay. When I got that job though, Allison, I felt like I had struck gold. You know what I wanted? I said, I’m gonna, if I get this job, what I want to get for myself is a bmw.

It was my dream. It was my dream car. And you know what? I got it. And you know what my mom told me? She said, baby, listen, you make you make more money now, but I don’t think that you make BMW money yet. Oh, and at and at the moment I was like, now my mom is just hating on me. But you know what? As I got older, she was so right.

I wanted that car for validation. I was seeking something that money couldn’t give me like I had landed the job. Okay. Yeah. So what am I even at the bank anymore? Yeah. You know, so it, it just lets you know how seasons change mm-hmm. in your life. And now I’m the Marsha that I don’t care what I drive, as long as it gets me from two to fro.

And that’s another message for those that will listen and watch this, that I want you to know that one where you are right now, that’s one season of your life. Where you may be in three to five years will be another season in your life. The beauty in that [00:09:00] is that we get to discover how we change. Mm-hmm. emotionally and financially. Yes, and that’s what I love about financial therapy, because you can look back at yourself and say, that used to be me, or you can look at other individuals, I may look at Allison without judgment. Right. With. Empathy With no judgment. 

Allison: Empathy. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Your story like it just brought, brought me back. I feel like your story is so relatable because we all have that thing, right, that status symbol. But I remember the first car I ever bought, I was pregnant. I was driving a car that was a junk title, so I had this two door Chevy Cavalier. So it, I like with a junk title, its like I cannot be driving around a baby in this. Like, this is just not right, not responsible. Like I, I should probably make a better choice. And I remember I drove, and this was, and you know what? My , if I’m a little embarrassed to share this. My goal was I want electric windows. And a CD player. I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I was 20, 24 years old at the time. I was like, if I just want a car that has electric windows, cuz I had never had that before and a CD player. Cause I had never had that before. Like that was like my dream and I. Test drove , this amazing car that blew me away. I mean, it had leather, it had a sunroof, it had electric windows and a CD player. It was the best Toyota Camry you’ve ever seen. and I, I know. I’m like, oh my gosh, I drove this car and I remember test driving this car, and I remember just being so happy and so filled with joy. And I remember thinking, Nothing [00:10:00] can ever bring me down from this. Like I am so happy. And then months later I’m like, whoa. Like that’s a scary moment. That was a scary moment for me to think that this thing, this material item could bring me so much joy. It’s kind of. I don’t know. It’s a little off putting because that material item eventually had carried two kids and all the leather seats got scratched and you know, it became a mess. And there got all these like scratches down the side of the car from the kids with their bikes and everything. And yeah, that material possession should not be the source of my joy. But what is it? But like, what’s the internal message I was telling myself? You know, when I was 24 years old that that would bring me joy. And it’s so crazy to look back now and say like, okay, I’m like you. I don’t, my car is, it’s nice. I like it. It’s not something fancy. I drive a Kia, but it’s not the source of my joy, not the source. 

Marsha: Do you remember Allison, those little when we’re we’re younger, the pink Barbie cars? Oh yes. You, you can, you could, you could get in them. Yeah. They were like, the cars, like kids can drive. I didn’t have, yeah. . Yeah, you were about to say I didn’t have one. I didn’t either, so I re I identify with myself. That’s what I, the little girl, Marsha, still lived inside of me. Mm-hmm. , I was the one that never got that car. I had a lot of nice thing, nice things for the holidays, a lot of them. Mm-hmm. . But I always wanted that Barbie car and I felt like it was always out of reach for my parents. Mm-hmm. . So when I was able to get, have my own money and earn money myself, it’s like I’m gonna go back and get my Barbie car. Wow. That Barbie car was at [00:11:00] bmw. Wow. I was still that Marsha at whatever age, six, seven. That would would’ve enjoyed that. That was it for me. Mm-hmm. that none of the kids said, Marsha, look at you in your Barbie car. Like, that’s so cute. All the kids wanna play with you. So now all the girls wanna ride with you in your bmw. Yeah. Wow. And my big A at my big age working at the bank, I still had that feeling and I didn’t understand it. What I told my professional self was, oh, you just make more money. Of course. Get something to celebrate yourself. You deserve it. I didn’t deal, I didn’t deal with the little Marsha. Wow. So that, and that’s for me That’s so helpful with working with clients is like helping them dig, dig deep into that. Yeah.

Allison: Wow. Yeah. So how do you recommend, like what are your tips for people that are like, okay, I know that. I have these, like some of these roadblocks with money or I know I have some things I need to work with, but mm-hmm. , you know, maybe I don’t know, a financial therapist or maybe I do wanna like work on it at home. What are some tips that you can give people that they can maybe like do after this episode? 

Marsha: Oh, number one tip Allison would be to simplify. Ooh. And you know why that’s so important? Why? This is why it’s so important. You can just take a trash bag and just start walking around your home. I still do it to this day, and it’s kind of like, oh, this, throw this away, Allison.

Oh, this too. Don’t need it. Throw this away. I don’t love it. I don’t like it. And just start getting rid of things, because when we get rid of things and we simplify and we don’t have to relate it to minimalism mm-hmm. , it’s just getting rid of the things that you’re, you’re not even using it. Like you pick it up from the the office supply store just because it was cute and you had money to buy.

Like get rid of it. [00:12:00] And then when you get rid of things, you’re able to now see your home or your apartment in a different light. To say everything that now exists in here are things I really love. Mm-hmm. , I love to have, that’s, that’s, anyone could do that trash bag and just start dumping. Okay. You’re not gonna get a get rid of something that you really need because you’re like, oh no, I need my eyeglasses.

So I can see. Right, so you’re not gonna get rid of that. That’s step one. Number two, Allison. I would say for individuals that have credit cards, and you may have many credit cards, I would also say there’s an importance of even simplifying your credit cards. Mm-hmm. , consider the ones that bring you the most value.

Consider the ones that give you cash back rewards. Consider what you are really using and the ones that are just in your purse, your wallet collecting dust. For example, the Wells Fargo active cash card, it gives you 2% cash back rewards on every single purchase. It’s very simple. There’s no blackout periods.

There’s like, oh, from October to December around the holidays. Oh, you don’t get points. Oh. From January through March, you don’t get points. You get points 2% cash. Rewards every time that you get those. Mm-hmm. number three, identify what is valuable to you, Allison. Mm-hmm. , like you said. Oh, my car is not fancy or it’s fancy to you. It’s a Kia. If Allison begins to make more money, I don’t need a bmw. Allison is okay with her Kia. 

Allison: Yeah, I wanna have my housekeepers come every week, not just every other week. Housekeeper. That would be like I, I love them

Marsha: that, yes, that, that is your thing. So identify to your point what your thing is, and then begin to like, move towards things. Like, okay, how can I actually master creating a budget that I can can stick to one, [00:13:00] simplify, start getting rid of things. Number two, identify what’s in your wallet. Do you have cash sitting in your wallet? Is it credit cards? If you have too many credit cards, you’re like, I’m gonna get myself in trouble. I have too much going on. Simplify Wells Fargo, 2% cash back. Wells Fargo active cash card gives you that. No blackout periods. Number three, what are the things that I truly value? Ask yourself, what don’t I want to give up? Yep. And once you have that, then move towards like budgeting. Oh, I need to budget. I need to try to master this.

And if there is a money goal, sometimes our money goal, Allison. Let me just budget effectively, not pay off a debt, not invest, not any of that. Let me figure out how to maximize and create a budget that I can stick to. Yeah. And then grow beyond that. Remember everyone, when it comes to finances, it’s just like school, daycare, elementary school, junior high, high school. College. It’s okay to embrace the seasons of finances. We don’t have to go from like, oh, fresh to a budget, fresh to like buying all the stocks in. 

Allison: That’s a good time. This makes me think of an analogy. I think of my youngest son, James, who recently finally, it feels like finally he learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.

Yeah. But it’s like, I’m not he, and he’s so happy right now on his little two wheel bike, you know, little mountain bike with his hand brakes. Speed, you know, whatever. You can turn the thing for the speed to change your, yeah. What are those things called? I don’t know. Regardless, he’s so happy, but it’s, he went from training wheels to that bike.

He’s not anywhere thinking about driving a car. Right? It’s like, right. What [00:14:00] mode of transportation is he in? He’s enjoying the process and mastering that mode of transportation. We’re not trying to get ’em from training wheels to behind the wheel of a, you know, a car. It’s. Just the slow progression and I think that we have to remember, just like you said, it’s okay to take that slow progression as you’re learning so that way you can master something and become an expert in it when it pertains to you and the way it will work for you, and then move on to 

the next stage.

Marsha: That is correct, and I always remember my mom’s sound advice that she gave me with my car. Her ending message was, you care about what people think that you drive. No one cares. Mm wow. So when we’re trying to keep up in fast paced and we feel like we’re doing it for others to see it, no one cares. Allison.

There’s like, how many people in this world? I know I would’ve never known you even drove a Kia unless you told me. You could have said, point out your door. Said I have a Bentley. Out there. How would I have known? 

Allison: You . Exactly. I would’ve told you that because I would’ve been like, just kidding. I can’t like you

Marsha: Right. But we just have to remember that, that we have to our care and what we value. Mm-hmm. is the most important thing. And taking our time, as you mentioned, go through the seasons, go through the training, because that’s the fun part. And you look back on it and it was like, why was I rushing anyway? Yeah.

Allison: Wow. I love that. 

Marsha: Calm, that anxiety, calm, that anxiety. 

Allison: I love it. Yeah. Wow. What a wonderful message. Marsha, tell us where can any listeners learn more about you and connect with you? 

Marsha: Sure, so the finance bar everywhere, [00:15:00] Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. That’s where we hang out the most. That’s and the finance, the website of course.

Allison: Awesome. Well, at the end of every interview, I’d like to get to know my guests a little bit more. I’m gonna ask you three questions. Don’t think too hard about ’em. The first one is, what is one thing you are looking forward to right now in your life?

Marsha: Not not getting on my adult son’s nerve. That’s something I’m looking through right now. Emotionally. How, how is learning to, to wait. Adult son, I’m embarrassed Allison to say that I still, hold on. He’s 20. Okay. Well, and he doesn’t even 

live with us. Oh, see, how many kids do you have? One. One. One son. Yeah, just one son.

Allison: So I have two sons and I’m like, Are they gonna leave me? Are they going, that’s probably something I need to think about. Like, are they gonna come back? I see. Like think about it. I see the way I like have a relationship with my mom and the way my brother has a relationship with my mom and I’m like, no, I want what I have when my kids are older.

I need that , so. Oh, that’s hard. That’s hard. So it is hard. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah. Okay. The second question is, what’s one money mistake you’ve made that you would tell everybody to? 

Marsha: I tried to earn more early on, Allison. Early in my career, I felt that I had the tools, the talent, the credentials, and I was just happy just to be in the room.

And while that was great to start out there, it was really important now that I look back to say that I needed to be able to take care of myself, look out for my family, and all of these things. All of these things. Mm-hmm. , all of these things without suffering through it. Yeah. Or feeling like I have to get a second job.

That’s really important. That is for anyone [00:16:00] listening. Yeah. Yeah. Not, not discharge my. You know, Rick, not 

that cause you’re PRI because you’re worth everything. No money can pay. You are worth, 

no money can pay that. But it’s when it’s, when it’s your time, it’s okay to embrace whatever that next level is for you.

Mm-hmm. . That’s very important. Yeah. I love it. 

Allison: And then the last question is not a question at all, just finish this sentence. My favorite thing I’ve ever spent money on is 

Marsha: the bus at the finance. The, the actual bus that we, the actual bus that we purchased to go around and travel to teach individuals about the importance of financial education.

I love it. My greatest purchase, it changed my life. Wow. Oh my 

gosh. It changed my life. Do you have like, um, information on that? Where, or like pictures or anything? I can drop it. Oh, sure. It’s 

on the website. Yeah, it’s on the website. You can get pictures from the website, the finance 

Allison: Cool. Well we will link to that and your social media down below.

Thank you so much, Marsha, for Thank you. I have a feeling that people feel really seen right now and really heard, and um, you know, that. Always what you get whenever you come onto a financial podcast. So I’m so happy you joined us. Sure. 

Marsha: Thank you for having me.