Be honest…how is your relationship with money? Do you crave wealth but feel a sense of unease around having a plethora of it? Is the idea of debt something you stuff away under your bed or in a closet and hope will go away? You might even feel guilty for wanting more when you already have everything you really need.
In this episode, Diana sits down with Money Mentor and Financial Advisor Meera Meyer of Life.Money.Balance., to get a close look at what stories are running the “money show” in your life and how to rewrite them for a prosperous and generous future.
"It's not just about moving money around or learning how to budget or being strict and not buying your lattes every morning. It's about like, what's your story around money? How can we shift this mindset, shine a flashlight on it or know where these tendencies are coming from, building a healthier relationship with it so we can have this holistic, beautiful, glowy relationship with money?"
Pull the money shadows out of the closet and gear up for an empowering and informative discussion on money mindset in both your business and life. Meera is here to help you unpack deeply-rooted childhood stories on worth and explore uncharted territory on wealth and powerful change. Bye destructive thought patterns and limiting beliefs, see you never!
Dream clients…check.✅ A steady stream of income…check.✅ Now it’s time to elevate your business from “doing well” to “I can’t believe this is my life.”
Join ASCEND, a four-month, immersive experience mastermind with 1:1 support for elevated entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their next mountain. You’ll grow alongside a curated community of people like you to share in your successes, generate ideas together, and propel your business to new heights. Check it out.
🔥This episode will help you:
Unroot your money story and learn how to rewrite your mindset to build the future of your dreams.
Bust down the blockages holding you back from generating wealth for yourself, your business, and your community.
Discover how to reframe your mindset on debt within your business (and life!) to make a real impact.
Things aren’t always as they seem. Listen to this episode to learn the inside scoop on money, business, and revenue → E13 What They Don’t Always Tell You About Business and Money Wins 💰💯
Investing as an entrepreneur? You might need to hear this. → E30 Why the Best Investment for Your Business Is Sometimes… Taking Space 📔 🍃
Achieve the life, career, and clients you’ve always wanted (and fully deserve!). Join the waitlist for Camp Clarity!
Want your creative business to go even further? Sign up for ASCEND, a four-month immersive mastermind experience for elevated entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their next mountain. Join the waitlist here. ⛰️
Want to have one-on-one coaching support from Diana? Check out the brand new Voxer Coaching Container.
Attract your dream clients with my free masterclass!
Access other courses from the Diana Davis Creative
[02:49] Thriving and Ready to Elevate? Join Ascend
ASCEND is for you if you have steady clients/income and are ready to take your business to the next level.
Through a hybrid model of weekly group calls and 1-on-1 coaching, map out the next steps in elevating your business.
Do you need to network more? Build a new product or offering? Get publicity through podcasts, magazines, etc.? ASCEND will help you create your pathway of growth.
ASCEND helps you propel forward from wherever you are in your journey to ensure you get the most out of the program. After all, your biz is as unique as you are!
Starts in the next few days! This is your last chance to jump in.
Apply online or send Diana a DM!
[11:50] Meera’s Money Story and Journey to Entrepreneurship
Meera was raised by immigrant parents in Boulder, Colorado.
Her father immigrated to America to start a practice after attending medical school in India.
Her mother grew up in India and moved to Colorado when she was twelve. Because of her background, her mother was very frugal, and her approach to money influenced Meera.
When Meera’s father arrived in America, he was drowning in debt, but he built his career as a physician in Colorado and did really well for himself.
Growing up, Meera never knew what she wanted to be when she was older until she entered into entrepreneurship. Voila! Her mission and purpose became clear.
[15:46] Where Does Your Money Story Start? Go Way Back!
Your money story starts at a very young age.
The stories you pick up in childhood are not easy to shed. It takes a lot of work, and you have to keep reminding yourself of your new money story.
To tap into your childhood money stories, use the egg exercise.
Draw an egg, start at the top and write down your earliest money memory (i.e., your grandpa gave you a dollar).
Keep going chronologically and write down your memories.
Once you have them written out, look at what story it paints.
Reflect on how your story influences your actions and whether that represents what you want.
“Leaving behind a life that, you know, for something totally unfamiliar and new is a huge risk. And I think that as children of immigrant parents, some of that trickles down and you are more ready and willing to take risks, such as entrepreneurship.”
“A lot of people look down on finance, but I like to think of it as you have a doctor for your physical health, you have a therapist for your mental health, and you need a financial planner for your financial health. And that's what we do. We help people with their financial health.” - Click HERE to Tweet this
“Also just realizing that my clients are looking for a human. They're not looking for someone to kind of talk down and use jargon and lingo and all of these things. They're looking for a human being.”
[32:43] Uncover Deeply Embedded Money Blockages
What you tell yourself about money can be tied to your worthiness, but it can also be because you have a negative association with money.
Do you feel like you’re worthy of more? Do you assume others who have it are more deserving or aren't good people in some way?
Remember that money is here to support you.
Money is a tool to create a beautiful life. When you have more money, you can create more for everyone around you.
There’s nothing wrong with desiring a beautiful life—you deserve it!
How you spend your money can create jobs and amplify the good in the world.
Strive to create more for all.
Wealth generation is part of reaching your full potential.
You don’t have to self-sacrifice to be a good person.
[37:15] Align Your Biz and Create Wealth
You don’t have to be good at everything.
When you outsource, you are helping other people create wealth for themselves.
Getting help frees up your time to do more impactful things with your skillset.
Shift your view from the idea that wealth requires hard work to the mindset that wealth is part of an expansive ecosystem.
[39:11] Advice on Wealth and Generosity
There’s no strict metric because donating is a very personal thing.
If you feel called to donate, do your research to understand where your money is going.
You can invest in organizations that give you a social or environmental return and a financial return.
There are ways to put your money out there that can do a lot of good—it doesn’t necessarily have to be donating to a specific organization.
Try and reframe your point of view on how you can make a positive impact.
Donating, hiring/creating jobs, and investing in people are all ways to spread the wealth and help others live beautiful lives.
You can also consider a donor-advised fund to put money into that counts as a tax-deductible donation. You can decide later how you want to allocate the money.
Make sure whatever you choose, it’s a cause you care about. Make sure it is something that aligns with you.
[43:06] Release Debt Shame
Debt often leads people to think they have done something wrong (that they are a person or irresponsible with money).
Having debt doesn’t mean you’re irresponsible. Typically, it’s a slow accumulation tied into your lifestyle, and you don’t realize you are building an unsustainable lifestyle.
It’s not something anyone has done wrong.
Most people have debt, but it’s something that isn't really talked about.
Debt isn't something to be ashamed of. You're much less likely to address it when you're ashamed of it.
Remind yourself, hey, you did the best you could with the information you had at the time. And you are in debt because of that.
Now, make an empowered decision to change it.
It may take a long time, and that’s okay. Give yourself grace and forgiveness.
Change your mindset and think of debt as something that has helped you (i.e., attend school, form relationships, get your first job, etc.).
[47:43] Money Mindset and Debt in Business
Personal brands and creative entrepreneurs often don’t have capital like normal businesses. They usually don’t get a big business loan to get started.
You make an empowered decision to borrow money to further your career. There’s nothing wrong with that!
Have realistic expectations on when you’ll be able to pay it back.
Make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle based on your current circumstances.
Remind yourself that every single business out there has used debt in some way or another!
Going into debt might not be right for everyone when they start their business. It’s an individual choice. Although, you can’t create something from nothing. You have to start somewhere.
Most people and businesses have to borrow to get started and then pay it back.
Celebrate debt! It’s available to help you in life.
Form a new, positive relationship with it.
[49:53] “The D Word”
Interested in working with Meera? The D Word is a self-paced course focused on mindset and tactical strategy to help you become debt-free.
Meera has a limited number of one-on-one spots, and new courses are launching soon!
Connect with Meera on IG or email Meera@lifemoneybalance.com.
Teasers for the new year: money mindset, one on money confidence, and Meera’s investing unlocked program will get totally revamped. There’s a good chance Meera will do quarterly cash flow calls for business owners and non-business owners who want to go through their cash flow regularly.
“Yeah, I mean, to me, creativity means looking at something from all the different possible angles instead of just like, this is the path. And especially in finance, I didn't realize that I was a creative entrepreneur, but I do things so differently than so many other financial planners. And what is that, if not creative?” - Click HERE to Tweet this
Meera is a CFP® and founder and owner of Life.Money.Balance., a financial planning and investment advisory firm. She's been working in financial planning since 2012 and is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs feel on top of the freaking world when it comes to their money.
She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Chris and her two small children. She loves being outside, cooking and eating good food, and being around people who light her up.
💗Enjoyed This Podcast on Developing a Beautiful Relationship With Money?
Our connection to money starts at a young age, and most of the time, we don’t even realize how it impacts our business and life.
Rewriting your money story isn’t always easy, but it is SO worth it! You absolutely can be a creative, wealthy person who is also generous and kind. Use these tips to help you develop a rejuvenated and fruitful relationship with money, and never look back.
Pollen is a podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs — just like you! If you enjoyed this episode of Pollen Podcast, subscribe and help us spread the word by sharing it!
Leave a review and share it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐If you enjoyed tuning in to this podcast, we'd appreciate it if you wrote us a review. You can also share it to help other creative entrepreneurs.
Have any questions or want to leave a suggestion? Come say hi on the 'gram @dianadaviscreative! You can also subscribe to my newsletter for travel updates, learn about special projects, and get tips and tricks for the creative entrepreneur life!
Connect with me on Linkedin: Diana Davis Creative.
Thanks for listening! Stay tuned to my website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources.
Diana Davis: If you go to Diana Davis Creative and they're like, oh, you need to save this much per month for retirement, that's one thing. But how do you actually get to the point where you're saving that money? What if you don't have the cash flow to do that? What if you do but you don't realize it? Like there's so many other pieces to it that have to do with your personality and your habits, and that's the type of stuff that can really create big, lasting financial change.
Welcome to Pollen, the podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Diana Davis, multi-passionate, creative business coach, gemini, manifesting generator, matcha drinker and travel junkie. I'm also the founder of Diana Davis Creative, where I went from a six-figure photography business to coaching creative entrepreneurs like you. If you want to have a career and a life you love, you're in the right place.
On this show, I'll be coaching on all things creative entrepreneurship and you'll hear stories from fellow creative entrepreneurs that will show you it is possible to do life the way you want to. They'll share the nitty gritty of their journeys like the real shit and how they are doing it differently. I'm stoked to have you along on this journey. Let's go.
Hello, Pollen fam. It is a new year. 2023. Can you freaking believe it? Insane. Happy New Year! So excited to be here with you.
I can't believe this podcast is almost a year old. What? Crazy. We have another amazing guest episode for you today. Someone who has been a long time coming.
We've been trying to schedule this back and forth and I know this is going to hit exactly when it was supposed to. This episode with Meera is incredible. She is talking all about her story of becoming a certified financial planner and a financial coach, founder and owner of Life Money Balance, but also dropping some serious knowledge around money, money mindset, debt and even donating as a business. So definitely check out this episode. She's an incredible human.
We've worked together in many capacities. She's one of my one-on-one clients. Which one-on-one applications are open if you are interested in that. She is also someone who attended the Colorado retreat and also someone who comes in regularly to guest coach in Camp Clarity and talk money mindset, retirement, cash flow in business, and all sorts of things. So I know you will get a lot out of this episode.
Also, what I want to tell you is that our Mastermind ASCEND the Elevated Entrepreneur starts in the next few days. This is your last chance to jump in. We are so excited to start this back up after taking a few months off over the holidays. This is for you. Or if you are an entrepreneur looking for more, you are an entrepreneur who is already getting clients, already getting income, but you're looking to expand.
What are the next steps. How can we connect more, network more, get our brand out there, build a new product or offering, get our name and lights on podcasts, in magazines, all of that kind of stuff. What are you wanting to expand on? That's what we do in ASCEND. We meet you where you are at. And it is a hybrid program, so it is weekly group coaching and masterminding calls, but also one on one calls with me.
And that's really where I see the magic happen, is this awesome hybrid of community and masterminding plus one-on-one attention. So reach out to me over the DMs or apply online. We will link in the show notes. We are so excited to start this new cohort of ASCEND. It is honestly my favorite group I've ever created and ever led. Not to be biased, but it's incredible and such an incredible group of women entrepreneurs.
Without further ado, enjoy this amazing financially empowering episode.
Hello, Pollen. We have some money energy in the house. Meera of Life Money Balance is here as our guest. It's really fun because she's also my client. She's also a collaborator. We have worked together in so many capacities, which I just think is so expansive and we get to do in this beautiful circle of entrepreneurs. So, Meera, say hello. How are you? Where are you coming from? What's going on?
Meera Meyer: Hi. I'm so excited to be here. I am in Boulder, Colorado, and it's just so pretty and festive right now. So I'm bubbling with Christmas spirit right now.
Diana: I keep forgetting it's even Christmas time because I'm in summertime in Australia and I'm also not the biggest holiday person. Unpopular opinion. But there's nothing around me that's telling me it's Christmas. And then you're in my home state of Colorado where it's snowy and gorgeous and freezing. So it's kind of wild.
Meera: Fun fact, when. I was seven years old, I spent Christmas in Australia.
Diana: Oh my God. Where at?
Meera: We went to Melbourne and Sydney.
Diana: Okay. Amazing. That's so funny. Wild. I'll be here this year. So Meera and I really connected on the fact, and I always mention this, and she's been on the podcast before, technically because she was part of our retreat, but I always mentioned that we are both actually from Colorado, which is really rare and really cool. And we're also from, dare I say, kind of like I will speak for myself, but in my opinion, my hometown is kind of like a shitty prairie town.
I really hope that none of my high school people are listening right now. But you don't ever need to go to Simla, Colorado. No offense to the people who live there.
Meera: That’s kind of how I feel about Pueblo. It's very similar feel where when most people think of Colorado, they think of skiing and mountains or Denver. And the part of Colorado we're from is not that
Diana: It's not, it's more like Kansas. So we really resonated with just bonding over that fact. But Meera, will you just introduce yourself and tell the people what you do and then we'll get into who you really are and your story of how all this plays together?
Meera: Absolutely. So I am a financial planner and a financial coach.And basically a lot of the time I get the question, what's the difference between a financial planner, a Diana Davis Creative, a financial coach? And so the way that I operate my practice is I help people with really strategic, technical financial goals. So saving for retirement, understanding insurance, kind of these finance-y things. But at the same time, I look at everything through kind of a coaching lens. I did a financial therapy mentorship over the summer so now I feel like I have that tool in my toolbox, too.
So that when we talk about money and think about money, it's so much more than just the numbers in your bank account or a spreadsheet. It's the actions that you take, it's the way that you feel. And all of that comes together to create what is actually happening with your money. So I have my business life money balance, and I offer financial planning services and financial coaching services.
And so when I meet with a client, we'll talk about their money mindset, we'll talk about their money story and maybe some of the things they grew up believing or hearing about money and how that is relating to their current financial state.
Diana: Yeah, I almost picture it like a doctor just treating a symptom where a symptom really is telling us something deeper is going on. Right. And so it's not just about moving money around or learning how to budget or being strict and not buying your lattes every morning. It's about like, what's your story around money?
How can we maybe shift this mindset or shine a flashlight on it or know where these tendencies are coming from, building a healthier relationship with it so we can have this holistic, beautiful, glowy relationship with money? Is that?
Meera: Exactly! That's exactly it. Because if you go to a Financial Advisor and they're like, oh, you need to save this much per month for retirement, that's one thing. But how do you actually get to the point where you're saving that money? What if you don't have the cash flow to do that? What if you do, but you don't realize it? Like there's so many other pieces to it that have to do with your personality and your habits. And that's the type of stuff that can really create big lasting financial change, not just hearing a number.
Diana: Right. I love it. And, you know, and I hope the people listening know by now that I am such an advocate for especially women entrepreneurs, to be more literate with their money so that we're not just sitting there going, I wish I could ask this question, but I have no idea what this means. Or should I have a separate 401k or how do I invest? Right. It tends to be more of, like, a man's world, and I think because women don't want to speak up and ask questions, we don't want to look like we don't know.
And men are just kind of go bull headed into things. So I love a woman like you that brings this empowerment and literacy to these just to everyone. Everyone should know this stuff, and everyone should feel empowered around money. So let's dig into because I know the kind of man's world thing has a lot to do with your story and just being a badass, powerful woman in finance. But I want to know first kind of where we always start is, like, who was Meera as a kid? And did those tendencies, like are they playing out into where you are now?
Meera: Oh, I love this. This is great. So Meera, as a kid, I was a very social person, like, extravert. I remember I loved school, very into school and learning and that type of stuff. But I remember the only times that I would get in trouble in school would be for talking to the people next to me. And my teacher was constantly moving me around the classroom because I would just make friends with whoever was next to me. All of a sudden, I'd be talking to them. And so that definitely translates to me choosing an industry where I get to talk to people all day long.
When I have days that are full of clients, I feel so rejuvenated by the end of those days. It just fills me up. And then Meera as a little bit older, I definitely never thought, okay, this is what I want to do with my life. This is the job that I want to have. And I think that I feel like in the world as children were asked, like, what do you want to be when you grow up?
And expected to answer that question. And as we get older, we're supposed to have a clearer and clearer understanding of what we want to do when we grow up. And then we're 18 years old, and we get to pick what we want to do.
Diana: A little daunting.
Meera: Yeah. And I really struggled with that. I always had no idea. I never had a good answer. And I thought that that was, like, something's wrong with me. And once I entered entrepreneurship, I was like, oh, this is what I want to do when I grow up, because this is all of these other things.
It's me learning, it's me growing, it's me talking to people, it's me communicating, it's me strategizing, it's me being creative. It's all of these other pieces. And so that is me as a child being like, I have no idea what I want to do. I don't feel like there's one answer. And me as an adult being like, there doesn't need to be one answer. You can do all of these different things and still end up having a successful career.
Diana: Yeah, I resonate with that so much. And we were just talking, you and I, on a different channel of manifesting generator. Both of us are. And I think that's a huge part of this, of just wanting to have the variety and get to wear all the hats.
Like, some days we're invoicing and doing admin and some days we're getting to be creative and creating new programs and some days we're leading and some days we're talking. And I think that's just a really fun reflection of entrepreneurship and why it's so different than the pigeonhole job role at a corporate situation. Can you talk a little bit about just because I know your story pretty well about your family background and kind of how that also even plays into your own money mindset. Like, who are your parents, where did they come from, what did they do? What was it like growing up in your family?
Meera: Absolutely. So my parents both came to this country from India. My mom moved to southern Colorado, Colorado Springs, when she was twelve years old. So like, from India to Colorado Springs and then my dad moved here as an adult. And so my financial background, my money story, I guess is what we would call it, is really interesting because my mom grew up with this very frugal mentality.
She spent her young life in India and there's not a lot. There are some people that have a lot, but for the most part there's not a lot. And so she has this very frugal mindset. She never likes spending money or spending more than she needs to, always looking for a sale. And I really appreciate that about her.
Like she really enjoys the thrill of finding something at a good deal and yeah, I can speak to that. And then my dad, he came over from India and we'll go back a little bit. His father actually passed away when he was quite young and so he kind of was not sure what to do. And his sister lent him money to go to medical school in India. And then his other sister's husband lent him money to travel to the United States.
And when he got here, he was just like drowning in this debt, but ended up getting a job in Pueblo, Colorado of all places, and building this beautiful career for himself as a physician in Colorado. And so my money mindset is so interesting because I grew up in a household where we never really had to worry about money. Pueblo is a very low cost of living place and if you're a doctor in a town like that, you're able to be financially successful. But I spent the majority of my time with my mom and so it was always like haggling for prices, finding a good deal, returning something if it wasn't the lowest price. And so it really is interesting the way I see these things manifest themselves in my own life and in the way that I view money.
And I never really thought about it too deeply until I started doing this work and really working with clients to figure out their own money stories, seeing that, like, oh, I have trouble spending money because I grew up with that in my head. Spending money is bad, and these stories that we pick up from our childhood are not easy to shed. It takes a lot of work, and you have to keep reminding yourself, like, hey, it's okay for me to spend money on something that's really fulfilling for me, or even on the earning side, it's okay for me to earn money. Like, I don't have to feel bad about that because another side of my story is I grew up constantly being told, like, my job in life is to get married and not like, there was zero talk of me having a career. And so now reconciling those two parts of it and being like, yeah, I can get married, I can have a career, I can do all these things. The only thing holding me back is me thinking that I can't.
Diana: Right. Oh, my gosh. So, ingrained, as a coach, do you have a specific kind of prompt you would invite our listeners just to dig into as far as journaling around their money stories as coming from their childhood?
Meera: Yeah, there's an exercise that I do with some of my clients called the egg exercise.
But really you just kind of draw like a little egg and you start at the top and you write down your very earliest money memory, the first thing you can ever remember about money. And it could be like your grandpa gave you a dollar or whatever because that's where your money story starts. And then from there, you just keep going chronologically to try to remember all the things. Like maybe your parents would always fight when it was the beginning of the month and bills were due, or maybe your brother got something that you didn't get and it made you feel less then. So you just writing down all those memories and then looking at that as though it's a story and seeing how am I playing out the ending of the story and where are my actions being taken from the story instead of how I actually want to act.
Diana: Yeah, such a good exercise for everyone to dig into. And thank you for sharing your own version of that because I think it's so powerful and just expansive to realize we're all such humans. And even as a financial planner and a financial advisor and a financial coach, you still have your own money stories that you're working through, right?
Meera: Absolutely, yeah.
Diana: Okay, so you're a child, you're chatty, you're doing the things. You're coming from this background of immigrant parents, which we have so many guests on here that have been from immigrant parents and what that entails. It's kind of been a pattern on pollen. I think more people have that experience than we realize.
Meera: I love that, and I will say that just to add to that. I think that when your parents are immigrants, they're naturally risk taking people. Leaving behind a life that, you know, for something totally unfamiliar and new is a huge risk. And I think that as children of immigrant parents, some of that trickles down and you are more ready and willing to take risks, such as entrepreneurship.
Diana: I love that reflection. And what do you think about I'm sure it's very different. We've had people on the podcast from their parents are from China, their parents are from the Caribbean, different places. And I think everywhere is so different. Obviously, there's no blanket to it. But I think also I've seen a pattern of immigrant parents just wanting the best life for their kids because they took such a risk, and that risk can almost be held over their head in, like, we did this big thing, risky thing for you. So you need to have like, a stable job and a stable life or get married and make our risk worth it. Is that the case for you and your parents?
Meera: I would say I didn't receive that message very strongly. And I think that as a child of an immigrant, if you can create a life for yourself that feels good to you and is beautiful and you're happy, that's what your parents would have wanted. So even if you have parents that are like, no, this is the way to do it, if you're miserable, they're not going to be happy. They're not going to feel like that was worthwhile. And so I am coloring totally outside of the lines of what my parents ever expected me to do. But I still feel like I'm honoring what they did by creating life for myself that I love.
Diana: Yeah, I love that. Love that reframe. So good. So how did Meera get into finance? We're living in Colorado, growing up on the plains of Pueblo. How did we get to here? Like, what happened?
Meera: Oh, man. If you had asked me when I was 20 years old if I was ever going to work in finance, I would have been a very strong hell no.
Diana: Yeah. What did you want to work in?
Meera: Yeah. So I studied economics in college. I tried to minor in finance. I actually failed my finance minor because I hated it so much, I just wouldn't go to my classes. It was the worst for me, and a lot of it was just me being intimidated by it. A bunch of these finance bros who'd grown up with their parents understanding finance, speaking the language of finance, and I didn't speak that language. I didn't grow up in that environment. And so I had gotten used to understanding things pretty quickly. And that was something that I didn't understand very quickly for reasons we'll get into. And so I just hated it. And so I really was very passionate about working in non-profit. That was my goal. That was everything I wanted to do.
One of my jobs after college was working for a nonprofit. I went to grad school for economics because I really just wanted to help people, and I thought that was the way to do it. And so my husband and I, we moved to San Francisco, and I started looking for jobs in non-profit. And one, San Francisco is a very expensive city. I don't know if anyone has lived there, but it is not cheap to live there.
And the nonprofit arena in San Francisco is super competitive. And so I would interview for jobs and they'd be like, yeah, we can start you at that will be your salary for the first three years. And I was like, I can't live in the city at that salary. It just isn't tenable. And so I was working for free at this food start up and trying to figure out what I was going to do next, and just like, scrolling through Craigslist, and I found this job for this financial person, and I was like, whatever, I'm just going to apply to it.
At this point, I just need a job. I can't keep sitting in this office working for free. Even though it's really fun to learn about all the restaurants in San Francisco. This is not sustainable. So I applied to this job for a financial planning firm in San Francisco and went to the interview and totally was expecting to hate it and just kind of one of these, like, grit your teeth and get through it.
And I sat down and I actually learned about what financial planning is. And the firm was a fee only firm. So if anyone's looking for a financial planner, that's one thing you want to keep in mind, fee only. Because that means they don't make commissions and they cannot sell you products. You just pay a fee and they give you advice.
It was a fee only firm I didn't know that existed. They specialized in impact investing, which is like socially responsible investing I didn't know that existed. And then toward the end of the interview, I was talking with the COO, and he was like, yeah, a lot of people look down on finance, but I like to think of it as you have a doctor for your physical health, you have a therapist for your mental health, and you need a financial planner for your financial health. And that's what we do. We help people with their financial health.
And that is when, like, light bulb clicked in my head, and I was like, okay, I can help people. There are people out there that need help with their money. And if I can understand this stuff, I can help those people, and isn't that what I wanted to do all along? And so I started working there. It was great.
We moved back to Colorado, and I worked at a very similar firm in Colorado, in Boulder. And then I can get into how I ended up starting my own firm.
Diana: I would love to hear that.
Meera: Yeah. So I worked for this firm in Colorado, and my husband and I, we got pregnant. And so I had a son, and he was home. I stayed with him for the first three months, and I was really itching to go back to work. I was not the type of person I was like, I'm going to just stay home and maybe forever. I really wanted to be back in working. And I got back to work, and I was working full time.
He had a nanny full time. And I just really felt like I was missing out on stuff. I was missing out on his first step, the nanny would show me pictures of him doing things that I hadn't seen him do before. And I also wasn't really doing a great job at work because my mind, my focus was so split. And so I asked them if I could work four days a week or work remotely a little bit. And I got back a no. And this was pre pandemic, of course. Now, of course, everybody there working remotely, and it's not a big deal. But at the time, I was just like, well, I don't think I can do this. So a friend reached out to me. She just started a firm. She offered to hire me at double the rate I was making working. Half the hours. I was like, this is going to be great. I'll be able to provide my family still and I'll work for this person. And two months into my contract with her, she ended the contract.
And I was devastated. I remember just like, sitting in my kitchen bawling, thinking, what did I do? I had this perfect job. I left it for this contract position that fell through my whole career. I finally found the one thing that I really enjoy doing after. Like, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. And one of my friends was like, just do it yourself. And that thought never crossed my mind.
Diana: We love those friends.
Meera: Yeah. And I was like, no, I don't think that you understand. And she's like, Just do it yourself. It's not a big deal. You can do it. And she referred me, my first client, and that was in 2017.
Diana: Wow. And what does life money balance look like now?
Meera: And now I've worked with over 45 people. At the time I was just like, I don't even know if I can make this like a business, but I'll work with this person and see what happens. And he referred me to somebody else, and then I found people through different channels, and it all was so kind of serendipitous the way that my clients have found me. But at this point, I've built out a business where my calendar is fully booked. I'm meeting with clients almost every day of the week. It really has become a real big kid business.
Diana: Yeah. Not just a side hustle, not just a fun little hobby. Yeah.
Meera: Yeah. And it was so scary. I just remember I just remember that fear of, like, what am I going to do? And now looking back, being like, we did it. We created it.
Diana: Yeah. So was the first step for you after you decided, maybe I can do this, what was that first step? Was it putting yourself out there? Was it creating a program? Was it just like getting on a call with this guy, this referred client? What was it?
Meera: Yeah, so I met with this guy, and he had just bought a business, and he had no idea what he was doing. And he's still my client, so we still work together. And I met with him, and I remember going to network and thinking like, okay, I need to grow my business. I'm going to go meet with some people and network. And my husband connected me with this friend of his who is an attorney who has this huge network. And we sat down to coffee, and she's like, oh, my gosh, I love this idea for your business, helping women with their finances. This is great. I have so many people I could connect you with. So do you want me to email them, or do you want me to connect you guys via email? And I just froze, and I was like, oh, no, I'm not ready for this. I don't want you to connect me to anybody. Like, what are you talking about? And having this full on panic moment, she's trying to send me clients and now looking back, it's like, what was I thinking?
Diana: Yeah, just like that messy action, like that springboard that you just really create the thing, and then once you create the thing and realize it's working, then no looking back. Right.
Meera: Exactly. Incrementally over time, the more you do your thing, the better you get at it. And so it just got more and more fun for me, and now I love it.
Diana: What was it like being a woman in that finance world? What is it like even now? Is it good? Was it not as bad for you?
Meera: I really struggled with that aspect of it because I never felt like I fit into that world. I never felt like I knew enough. I never felt like I was professional enough, like, all of these things, I never felt like enough in that world. And I remember when I started at the firm in Boulder, all the women at this firm were very like, they were pantsuits, and they were very serious. And I was like. Is that who I have to be? Do I have to change myself to that in order to be successful? And I honestly thought that I did.
I thought that I couldn't be successful as a financial planner unless I was this very serious pantsuit person. And then about a year into my tenure at that firm, we made a new hire, julie. And Julie came, and Julie was sweet and funny and chill and laid back and cool, and that was when I was like, I don't need to put on the pants, too. I don't need to change all of these things about myself.
Julie is an amazing financial planner. She's super successful, and she was able to build this career for herself, and now she's a partner at the firm and just kicking ass, and she's still like, this person I admire so much. And so that was a big turning point for me. And also just realizing that my clients are looking for a human. They're not looking for someone to kind of talk down and use jargon and lingo and all of these things. They're looking for a human being. And so I really appreciate that I can be myself, and it's fine.
Diana: Yeah. Such a metaphor. I don't have to put on the pantsuit. So good. And just like the idea that we are looking for a human, we want someone who gets it, not someone who's just trained and certified, someone who's actually lived it and had a human experience, is not afraid to express their human experience either. Just being really real. And if I had a doctor I'm just thinking even like an OBGYN type of situation, if that person is telling me that they've been through X, Y and Z, that makes me confident that they have empathy for what I'm going through, instead of just going through a procedure or a training or a certification and connecting the dots. You're actually taking each human as a holistic person in their own story and their own blueprint. I love that lesson so much.
Meera: And I feel like now we're starting to realize even more and more that when we see the human in each other, we're much more likely to take advice, to make changes in our life. Because we feel like we're talking to somebody who actually understands us and cares and not just somebody who's trying to check a box.
Diana: Yeah. Okay, I want to pick your brain a little bit about money. Are you ready?
Meera: I think so.
Diana: I want to know. There's so much guilt around money, right? There's so much guilt around making money, around having too much even to being privileged with a good job and being able to pay our bills and put food on the table. And maybe we're wanting more money, and you teach a lot on money mindset.
We're wanting more money even though we have, quote unquote, enough. There's a lot of guilt and blocking of ourselves around that because it's like, I should have enough. I should be okay with enough. But what if I want that mansion on a hill? Or what if I want that vacation experience or these things? Can you speak to that?
Meera: Yeah, I think a lot of that can come…part of it can come down to worthiness. Do we feel like we're worthy of that? And do we assume that others who have that are more worthy than we are? And that could be a part of it. But I also think that we forget money is something that we can use to support us, to create a beautiful life. And when we have more money, we're creating more for everyone around us. The way that the economy works, if we were all to just, like, hoard our money and not spend anything, things would shut down, need money circulating, and especially money being circulated by good people who are going to be conscious about how they're spending it. If you want the mansion on the hill, awesome.
You're going to employ people to build that mansion on the hill for you. You're creating an ecosystem, first of all. And second of all, it's not wrong to want a beautiful life. We don't have to be martyrs. We don't have to self-sacrifice for the sake of being good people. We can be good people. We can earn money. We can spend and donate and use our money in a way that compounds the goodness that we're doing. And especially if part of our journey in making that money is helping people around us. It's like this amazing compound effect that you're creating.
You are giving of yourself, and that deserves to be compensated, and you're using that compensation to give even more. It just grows and grows and grows. And so I think a lot of the block is like, well, who am I to be that person and who am I to earn that much money? But I always remind people, think of all the people out there who aren't going to be doing good things with that money, who are earning that money.
Diana: Right. We made a little claim it.
Meera: When you enter the equation yeah. And you're generating that wealth for yourself, you're counterbalancing whatever that person over there is doing that maybe isn't so great. So you should strive for more and strive to create more and more.
First of all, you should.Of course I say should, and I don't mean you should, but I think it's important to reach your full potential or try to reach your full potential. And I think in doing so, if that creates wealth for you, you can appreciate that and you can use it in a way that makes you feel good.
Diana: Yeah. Appreciate and appreciate.
Meera: Appreciate and appreciate.
Diana: Yeah. I love that. Such a good answer. I think even for me, I used to be such a martyr. And coming from like a ranching family where it was like everything needs to be hard and we have to work really hard for our money. And even hearing I don't want to be a millionaire because I don't want to be like those people because they have such a reputation and being like, okay, well I have to put myself below that glass ceiling so that I'm not like that person. People with lots of money can't be good people, of course, and just unwinding that and being like, yeah, we need more people that are good with more money so we can start doing good for this world and make changes. And even just as far as like it's not necessarily starting a charity or starting an organization. It doesn't have to be daunting.
It can be as simple as outsourcing was a huge thing for me. Even just getting someone to clean my home was so stretchy and still kind of gives me a little bit of the feels, right? Where I realize I can do so much more with my time by hiring someone to clean my home. And I am just like you're saying, spreading that money outward and letting someone else and paying them well, like making sure you're paying what people are worth, not just paying them $20 to clean your entire house type of thing. Right, paying people fairly. But things like that are really hard, I think for people who have backgrounds like ours, where it was we're looking for the sale, we're trying to save every dime and our parents are really pushing that on us. So I love what you said just as far as spreading that wealth around and the resources need to be flowing. So do you have any thoughts on outsourcing?
Meera: Yeah, that's exactly what I was going to say, is that part of your business growth is going to require you to hire people out and that can also be some of the good you're doing with your money. Making sure that you're hiring people and paying them in such a way where they're able to create wealth for themselves and do their part and all of a sudden more and more good people have money and that can actually just shift the way that things work in the world.
Diana: Totally. Totally. Yeah. Looking at it as expansive versus oh but I should clean my own toilet, but I could do that and it's like, well, I could also do a lot of more impactful things with my skills because I am not actually good at this thing.
Meera: Exactly. Yeah, I'm always encouraging my clients to align. Like this goes with paying and outsourcing, but even just aligning your spending with your values. And it's not always possible to buy the locally made, ethically sourced, sustainable thing, but if you can just start paying attention to it, then I feel like you'll start to feel so much more in control of your money. Because you'll see how your money is creating a better world for everyone around you.
Diana: Yeah, I want to speak to donating for a second, I think where we are leading with this conversation of really wanting to do good things with our money. Do you have any sort of formula around donating? Do you suggest people and businesses do a percentage of something? Do you see that happening and do you advise on that at all?
Meera: I think it's a very personal thing to decide whether or not or how to donate. I know people that don't actually believe in the nonprofit model and think the model should be creating jobs and sustainable sources of income instead of throwing money at something and hoping for a solution.
So, I would never say you should be donating 10% of your money XYZ and for most questions like that, I don't have this strict metric that I use. But I do think that if people do feel called to donate, it's so important to do research, it's so important to understand where your money is going, if it's going to the right place. Like I said, I did a lot of work in impact investing and sustainable investing and there are organizations that you can invest in that could give you a social return or an environmental return in addition to a financial return. So there are ways for you to put your money out there that can do a lot of good in the world and it doesn't necessarily need to be making a specific donation to an organization.
Diana: Yeah, I love that reframe or just like an expansive outlook on that. One way to make impact is donating to a cause. But one way to make impact is creating jobs and letting people also live beautiful lives and spreading the wealth a little bit that way.