Financial Health Impacts Your Mental Health – Bari Tessler – HPP 118

Bari Tessler

Money and mental health. It’s a topic that isn’t discussed as often as it should be, especially in the practice of psychotherapy.

In today’s episode, we sit down with financial therapist and author of, “The Art of Money”, Bari Tessler to discuss the psychology of money and where many money habits come from. Bari will also share few techniques that you can use to help your clients or patients, and even yourself,  create a more mindful and meaningful relationship with money.

Show Notes:

Financial Therapy – 06:27
And so financial therapy, for me, merges financial literacy with emotional literacy. And a simple version is that we’re helping you create a more mindful, intentional, meaningful, creative, empowered, I can go on and on relationship to money. So that’s it in a nutshell.

Why Nobody Talks About Money – 09:32
I mean, for me, financial therapy is a whole field now, compared to 21 years ago. So, it is being talked about so much more. It’s being talked about more and more. People are realizing that there’s a lot to learn about their relationship to money on an emotional side, psychological and practical side. So that’s changing what’s happening with what’s happening in our economy and the larger world.

Why We Tend to feel Shame When Talking About Money – 17:04
Shame is usually first or it is for many people. And it is the cloak that I’m not okay, something’s wrong with me. I don’t know how to do this, everyone else learned how to make money, except for me. And I’ve heard that from every different economic class, like, if I had just come from this class, then I would have learned from my parents, or if I just came from this, I would have learned a better work ethic. So, shame just shows up.

Becoming Financially Responsible – 24:55
So, when I first started reading all the money books, they were really all older guys, and older white guys. And they had a lot of tough love. And they had a lot of this is how it should be. And there’s a right way to make money. And I was like, well, guys, this doesn’t work for me. It needs to be creative; it needs to be meaningful; it needs to be intuitive, and all these other things.

Empowering the Family on Handling Money – 33:24
So, number one is that most parents realize they need to do their own work. They still have their own money-work to do. So that’s where I’m empowering the parents, whether they’re married, whether they’re separated, whether you know, whatever dynamic that is, is that they still have their own money work.

Establishing a Bookkeeping System – 42:19
And I’m not as rigid as I used to be because sometimes the phase of life that we’re in, it would be more beneficial for time and everything to hire a bookkeeper. Now, if you hire a bookkeeper, you still want to sit in on meetings with them, and monthly review and learn how to navigate let’s say, if you learn QuickBooks, or print out the reports, and how to read a profit and loss and how to read, your projections versus your actual and so it’s your money, it’s your life. But why I did want everyone to learn bookkeeping and tracking is, I just think it’s an incredible mindfulness practice.

Full Episode Transcript


Dr. Will Van Derveer, Keith Kurlander, Bari Tessler


Keith Kurlander  00:12

Thank you for joining us for the Higher Practice Podcast. I’m Keith Kurlander with Dr. Will Vanderveer and this is the Podcast where we explore what it takes to achieve optimal mental health. Hey there, welcome back to another episode. Today we are going to talk about financial health as a part of mental health. And this is a topic that often doesn’t get discussed in the practice of psychotherapy, as sort of a, you know, important aspect of mental health. It’s not a money and financial health and literacy is not necessarily in, you know, very few graduate level training for psychotherapy discuss this. And of course, there is a ton of stress for many people in the world about their relationship to money, the psychology of money, which is, I think, one of the most interesting pieces. And so today, we’re gonna go deep into the psychology of money and finances, and having your financial house in order and how that is an important aspect of mental well being and mental health in general. And so we’re inviting a guest here to speak to us today who’s focused most of her career on this topic. This is really what she does is really look at how we understand the psychology of money in ourselves? How do we work through the blocks we have around how we relate to money? And then you know, what are the steps to get financially literate and empowered. Bari Tessler is a somatic psychology Master’s therapist. She’s also a financial therapist and founder of “The Art of Money”, a year long money school. She’s the author of The Art of money, a life changing guide to financial happiness, and the art of money workbook. Her work has been featured on US News and World Report. Routers money, the fiscal times USA Today the cut, girl boss nerd wallet, real simple, Mind Body green and red book. She has also been featured on the cover of experience life and mindfulness, she lives in Boulder, Colorado with her son, husband and a clutter of cats. You can find her at And also, if you’re interested in her courses, I highly recommend you go to And check out The Art of money. She’s got a great program, and we’ll be discussing that in this episode about really working through the psychology of money. Let’s welcome Bari Tessler to the show. Hi, Bari, welcome to the show.


Bari Tessler  03:20

Hi, you two. Thanks for having me.


Dr. Will Van Derveer  03:23

Hi Bari.


Bari Tessler  03:24



Keith Kurlander  03:25

Yeah, good to see you. So why don’t we kick right off. Talk a little bit about some things you mentioned to us just now we’re going to be talking a lot about, you know, psychology of money, psychology of wealth, psychology, of all those great things, practical stuff, but maybe just kick us off on this whole concept of financial therapy where you started. When it started, what’s been going on since you know, whatever it’s been now 20 plus years?


Bari Tessler  03:56

Yeah, sure. So I trained as a somatic therapist at Naropa University in 1994 to 1998. And I thought my topics would be body sexuality, food, intimacy, grief and death. And then when that school loan came due, and flipped me out, I realized we never talked about money. When I was training to be a therapist, there was not one class, let alone discussions, let alone, how do we understand our own relationship to money? What are the emotions that come up for us? How do we work with them? What are tools that we can work with? Let alone how do we start a private practice and deal with accounting and bookkeeping and all the business side of things, so it was so shocking to me that I thought of running away. And then I also thought, Okay, I’m gonna face this like, I have every other big topic. I’m gonna face it. What is my relationship? money, and from that moment, many, many, many things happened. But pretty quickly, I realized if it was all another thing, I thought I was the only one who had shame around money. I was the only one who grew up, who didn’t learn about money. I grew up in a middle class, you know, middle class entrepreneurial family, they taught me some things and many things were left out. So I really thought I was the only one which is pretty normal, right? And then pretty quickly looked around and realized folks from all different backgrounds, all different lineages, all different economic classes, have some strengths around money and some things that they learned, and many missing pieces. So most of us just simply did not receive a full financial literacy education, right. But we also didn’t receive an emotional literacy education. So in 2001, I merged my somatic psychology background with these, I was a bookie. I ran a bookkeeping business as this little transition, , and I got such an inside view on other therapists, artists, coaches, I did that for four years, they just threw their books at me, didn’t want to have anything to do with it had no idea I had a master’s in psychology. And I really got to see how people earn and spend and save and give. And so in 2001, I put together a methodology, that when my husband looked at it, he’d always been my namer. And he said, Oh, this is financial therapy. And I said, brilliance. And so financial therapy, for me, merges financial literacy with emotional literacy. And a simple version is that, we’re helping you create a more mindful, intentional, meaningful, creative, empowered, I can go on and on relationship to money. So that’s it in a nutshell. But, you know, in 2001, no one was doing financial therapy, I was one of two people, there was another woman in Canada. And eight years later, in 2008 2009, a whole financial Therapy Association was created, and they certified people. And it was originally financial planners who wanted to learn the emotional side, and psychological side of money. But I created my methodology with integrate, which integrates money healing, money, practices, and money map. So again, emotional literacy and financial literacy, merging them together. And I’ve been teaching it in small groups and large groups and couples and women and creative entrepreneurs for 21 years.


Keith Kurlander  07:33

So here’s an entry point. So just kind of speak to why still in 2022 very few, if any psychotherapy programs have courses about how to work with clients around them, their money psychology, why is what’s going on here?


Bari Tessler  07:51

Good question. I mean, I attempted at one point to go back to my university or to try to get into that world. And I just realized, honestly, it was an uphill battle. And they didn’t pay well. And I thought, I’m gonna do this on my own. You know, I’m gonna teach this to folks in the world. And my large program is lay folks. And now I’m doing a Mentor Program, which is more therapists, financial planners, and so on. But why is it still missing? I don’t know. I mean, I think there’s just starting to be financial literacy courses in some high schools, I work with a lot of parents and they learn to have a healthy relationship with money first, and then they can start to pass on new habits and behaviors to their kids. And so why is it still such a missing piece?


Keith Kurlander  08:39

Is it a shame piece? Like, why is this not a part of culture? Do you think?


Bari Tessler  08:43

Okay, I can answer that. I don’t know why it’s not in graduate programs, you know, training to be therapists. That’s ridiculous at this point, right. But what are the biggest issues in culture like every 10 years or so there’s new things that we need to take on. And so for a while, knowing, you know, we couldn’t talk about death. Okay, wait, let’s go back. We couldn’t talk about tax, then we couldn’t talk about death, then, racial issues came up. Now. You know, now we’re all we all need to learn how to talk about race. Right? Money, I used to always say it’s one of the last frontiers. It’s just one of the last frontiers. And yes, is there shame? Is there guilt? Is there regret, is there anger? All the emotions that come up in any other big area in life come up around money as well. But it’s changing. I mean, for me, financial therapy is a whole field now, compared to 21 years ago. So it is being talked about so much more. It’s being talked about more and more. People are realizing that there’s a lot to learn about their relationship to money on an emotional side, psychological and practical side. So that’s changing what’s happening with what’s happening in our economy and the larger world. People are really realizing there’s a lot of parts about money, even just the basics, how to pay down debt, how to buy a house, how to save money, like those are all the basics. And I go, I go into that, but you know, my realm, I love the emotional psychological piece. So Am I answering your question? I just think it’s one of those big areas in our culture, there’s been lots of shame, it’s, you’re not supposed to talk about it in a family from all different classes. We don’t talk about this outside of the family, for all sorts of different reasons. So there’s been, yes, a lot of shame and secrecy and hiding, but that’s been changing for a while. And many of us are learning how to talk about money, with ourselves, with our parents, with our partners and with our kids in new ways. So that’s changing.


Dr. Will Van Derveer  10:50

I’m curious about your perspective on this Bari, because one of the kinds of shadow sides of the shame, I tend to think about shame and pride as two sides of one coin. And I’ve noticed in myself, as a physician, in private practice, and also in my friends and colleagues, who practice as physicians, or practicing medicine, maybe their nurse practitioners or even therapists, there can be a certain kind of pride in struggling around finances, or a pride, almost like a martyr kind of complex of like, Hey, I don’t care about money, like, I’m above that. Like, I don’t, I don’t touch that, like, I throw my books at you, as the bookkeeper you were talking about. And like, there’s just, there’s an interesting component of health, I think that you’re pointing toward, like an aspect of health, I think, is financial wellness empowerment.


Bari Tessler  11:50

Definitely, you’re starting to get into, you know, the mindset of doctors and therapists, and you know, that we go into these fields, because we believe in them, we want to do good work, we want to live with purpose, we want to bring, do good in the world, we want to do service, right? And many of us, I’m going to lump us, put us all together, we’re taught to not talk about money, strive for money, you just do your good work, and somehow you’ll be compensated, and somehow it’s going to all work out. Right? And or we shouldn’t charge for what we’re doing. Because it’s just a service. And that’s not the economy we live in. So we do live in a capitalist economy, hopefully with more socialist pieces coming in, and the way we exchange is through money. And so, yes, I’m working with lots of therapists, and some doctors and healers, in lots of this community, and we all come from it as well. And so you know, what’s going to shift? What’s gonna get you to shift to start looking at your numbers, let’s say or set up a bookkeeping system and realize that’s actually can be very grounding for you. It can be really empowering for you, instead of completely sticking your head in the sand and not wanting to deal with this part of life. You know, how do you embrace it? How do you make it more meaningful, or more creative? And from day one, I’ve added as many tools as I can to make it more meaningful to make it more creative. And I can share some of that, but so many of us come in, just wanting to, like ignore the money part, just do good work. But at some point, if we’re in private practice, we have to realize we are running a business. And that’s not a bad thing. But from our communities. It is like marketing, sales. Revenue, it’s all those are all four letter words, instead of, how can we do this in a way that feels authentic, that feels honoring that feels good for us? And can we also be generous with our services and in our community as well? So how do we set up our business models? And how do we price things? And all of that is really important to learn step by step. But I remember for me, there was a moment where I was working in the mental health fields, I had a master’s degree and I was still making $11 an hour, full time, and I could not get a massage. I could not get self care. And I could not buy the good dark chocolate to bring to parties, you know, that I wanted. And I think there was a moment even there where I thought either I’m going to be an advocate for other counselors and social workers and therapists in the mental health fields, and really advocate for the value of our work and get us paid more. Or I’m going to start my own business somehow or practice or do my work in a different way I didn’t even know about the online world. And it was that moment of am I going to do what which direction am I going to go in and I realized I could serve more people by doing my own work and creating some kind of financial therapy methodology, right, and learning how to break through my own money ceiling so that I could donate and give more and redistribute resources more or so it’s been a long journey is what I teach, too. And there’s a whole what is it called? I have a colleague, Michael and Valterra, who’s a financial coach that calls poverty, noble poverty. That’s what he calls it. You know, those of us in service oriented fields, of not wanting us to say like, how can we have a healthy empowered relationship to money? And this is my whole, it’s the whole process. It’s understanding the emotion psychology around it, but there’s a lot of practical things. Learning your numbers can be very healthy. It can, it can lower your blood pressure it sure I mean, meaning like, it was so grounding and empowering for me to learn how to do my own bookkeeping. After thinking, I’m a therapist, and I’m a dancer and creative person, I can’t learn that. And when I did, I learned so much about myself that the numbers tell a story, I learned how to run a business. Like, there’s so much in all these financial literacy pieces. So again, I don’t know if I answered your question. There are many different threads from doing this work for so long, but that’s a little taste of that.


Dr. Will Van Derveer  16:26

Thank you. It’s a bit of a hurdle I guess, with any topic that is shrouded in shame. There’s a bit of a hurdle to overcome the social risk, let’s say, of taking something on, in this case, we’re talking about money, but it could be anything. It could be race, power differentials in society, and so forth.


Bari Tessler  16:51

So let’s talk about shame for a moment and a little tool around that, or yeah, how do we unravel something like shame because while all the same set of emotions come up around money that come up in any other big area. Shame is usually first or it is for many people. And it is the cloak that I’m not okay with. Something’s wrong with me, I don’t know how to do this, everyone else learned how to make money, except for me. And I’ve heard that from every different economic class, like, if I had just come from this class, then I would have learned from my parents, or if I just came from this, I would have learned a better work ethic. So shame just shows up. I don’t know how to do this. I’m not okay, everyone else learned this. So one of the first things is, again, going back to, most of us did not receive a financial education, a complete one, we might have learned bits and pieces. But so that’s just to share that, that’s real. And I don’t know if that’s going to decrease the shame, but it may move it a little bit like most of us didn’t receive a financial education. We’re all having to learn this as adults, how do you learn anything, it happens in baby steps, you need to titrate it, you know, you need to get support. So I love financial support teams, whether that’s a bookkeeper, financial planner, financial coach, financial therapist, or you add one at a time as you’re ready as you can afford it, right. So getting support or taking a course. But shame is just that initial thing, like something’s wrong with me. And so, I mean, that’s why I’ve always taught in groups, I do very little private therapy, I’ll open up 10 or 20 slots every few years. But in groups, what happens? You learn you’re not alone. You see yourself and other people, you see someone from a different background, and you’re still doing the same money behavior, you see yourself from the same background, and you can, have some understanding, or you learn something about someone that reminds you of your mother’s relationship to money, or your brothers or your sisters, there is just so much that can happen in groups. So from day one, I would teach this work in tiny little groups of 10 people in San Francisco and that grew but it was, I wanted to be in groups so that we could be on shame, we can start to be on shame.


Keith Kurlander  19:12

I’m curious, Bari, this unchanging process. one thing that I think, first of all, I was in this mentality for a while, which I’m not in anymore, but I think this is very common in the healing arts profession is that it’s a zero sum game. So if you go out and make money, someone has to lose money. There’s sort of this, you know, mentality that the more wealth we decide to accumulate, the more others will suffer from that. And that’s a very big narrative in many places, obviously, in America and some of that narrative is obviously based in reality, but it also leads to, I think, a lot of shame and guilt and confusion. Yeah, narrative. So I’m curious if you’ve dealt with that narrative and how you’ve worked with it?


Bari Tessler  20:06

Of course I have. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, right. But it’s interesting because I would never gender, this is the gender, but I see more men. I’ve heard more men saying that over the years now, to be fair, I get way more women coming to me, like 80% of my community are women. And sometimes you get male female partners, and sometimes you get solo men. But over the years, it’s typically been a man coming to me and saying what you’re saying, right? So if I make more than someone else is going to lose, right? I mean, so and I don’t have that personally. So, but for me, it’s the people that I know that are sitting in that concern, right, that you feel things so deeply. That’s how you see the world? It’s, well, what other questions can you ask there? Or if you do make more money? Are you concerned that you’re going to change and that your values are going to change? Or what if you as you made more money, were able to donate more and redistribute funds to more of the black community or redistributed to other organizations that our money system was set up in a way that they were definitely getting the raw deal? And still are? Right? So is there a way for you to look at it as if you would do so much good with this money? So it’s an interesting one, it’s one that kind of stumped me, I’m not stumped just that I don’t have that, I come from a different place. And yet, there have been men who’ve asked this question, and I have a wonderful interview again, with Michael and belterra. And she answers it so beautifully from that noble poverty place, but I will give it to about shaming. Okay, so I don’t know if I can answer you. But is that shifting anything? Like, you’ve worked on this already? So how have you unraveled this for yourself?


Keith Kurlander  22:16

You’re asking me directly?


Bari Tessler  22:17

Yeah. So I’m asking you directly?


Keith Kurlander  22:20

Well, I guess I would have to think about it. I don’t have that narrative, currently, I have had a narrative for a long time. But I definitely think I had that narrative in my early 20s, to some degree. And I was working with it. And I definitely heard it quite a bit from clients over the years. For myself, how did I shift the narrative, I felt that I could do more benefit by not being poor.


Bari Tessler  22:47



Keith Kurlander  22:48

That’s how I shifted the narrative yourself. I said, you know, I, I just said, well, you know, I was making 11 bucks an hour also. And I was just like, I mean, outside of the fact that maybe I wanted more for myself, I was like, I can’t really do more for anyone with money, I’m not gonna be able to impact anybody, if I don’t have more resources to impact people, okay. And then I also went through a process later of realizing that, you know, there’s a real benefit in having an organization that has an engine of capital behind it, because then you can influence a lot of people, then you can actually get education to a lot of people. So you know, that just showed me evidence of that. So for me, it was sort of similar. I was like, I was making $11 an hour, and I’m like, I can influence more people here, if I keep doing so and I grew up in a middle to upper middle class family. So I grew up around some money in my system, and I was part of what happened with my narratives, from my 20s, I was like, I don’t want any part of that.


Bari Tessler  23:52

Right. Okay, I’m interrupting you but that’s where I think that you were seeing some things from your childhood, and family and those around you that didn’t sit well with you.


Keith Kurlander  24:05

I think that’s right. Like, that’s the thing that I’m curious to see with all the work you’ve done like, there’s so many injuries, right and childhood, and we could take it any way we want. And some people go, that was the problem.


Bari Tessler  24:18



Keith Kurlander  24:18

Maybe it wasn’t but they go that was the problem. And then they make it obviously a problem forever.


Bari Tessler  24:23



Keith Kurlander  24:23

So I made money a problem as a kid.


Bari Tessler  24:26

All of the money.


Keith Kurlander  24:27

Yeah, all of the money.


Bari Tessler  24:29

My husband did the same, right? So I’m not going to have it. I don’t have to deal with it. I want to have responsibility, because money is the root of all evil and people who have it are greedy and this and this and this, right.


Keith Kurlander  24:41

It’s a distraction. It consumes you. Okay, yeah. Yeah. So I saw that and, you know, eventually worked through that stuff. So are these the kind of things you’re helping people with every day?


Bari Tessler  24:56

Of course, you know, so there’s, there’s things that we see of course in our childhood, you know, via religion, the religion, we grew up the heritage we grew up in, right? So we can go back to ancestry and all of that, how did they make money? Where did they escape from? How did they immigrate? Those stories that go back, they tell they do influence our current day money stories, but then there’s just stories from our childhood. And many of us make declarations. And you know, sometimes they’re sweeping like you did, right. And I had my own because my father was very controlling, in general, and around money. So my declaration was, I’m never going to have a man who’s going to control me, I’m never going to be with a man who is controlling and controlling money. So I met a hippie guy, you know, and married a hippie guy, and we grew together. But so yes, we all make declarations in our teenage years in our early 20s, we’re still learning, we’re still living in some kind of reaction or rebellion to what we grew up in, until at some point in our 20s, and sometimes it’s 30s, or 40s, we realize, you know, we need to carve our own path, we need to have our own relationship to money, we need to become an adult in this area. Because most people I know, have matured and developed and are adults, they would say in every year of their lives. And sometimes again, money is the very last frontier. And for so many folks, they feel like God, I still feel like a teenager around money, or God, I still feel like an infant around money. There’s, I’m so successful in my work. And yet, I’m still ignoring this whole thing called money and overspending or what have you, there’s I can give 1000s of examples. But I do want to make sure I give everyone a somatic tool for shaming. And talk a little bit about the three phases. So you can see how I take people through the journey a little bit. Because we are part of understanding what our related money is, our relationship to money is step one is, of course, mindfulness and awareness. So what did we grow up in? Right? What was healthy? What was not healthy? What did we learn about money from mom, from dad, from grandparents, from mom and mom from whoever was raising us, right. And then there’s also siblings, so I’m the oldest, but I was known as the spender and my family, my younger siblings, they were the Savers, my brother had a bank at age five. Now, same parents, same situation in the 70s, 80s, what was going on? So then that gets back into our personality types, and the Enneagram. And what we bring, so it’s both what family was being raised in our heritage or lineage, race, ethnicity, religion, all of it, right? So bringing some understanding to our money, stories, and then learning now wherever we start to look at this, our relationship to money, whatever age we are, what money habits and patterns? Are we continuing now that we are working? What still feels really unconscious, or negative? Or even damaging? That’s part of it. So that’s the whole money healing. So the first phase that I take people through is, number one, what are the emotions that come up for money for you around money? What are they right? And how do you even discover that? Well, we start with the body check in, we start with a somatic tool from my background, right? So when I first started reading all the money books, they were really all older guys, and older white guys. And they had a lot of tough love. And they had a lot of this is how it should be. And there’s a right way to make money. And I was like, Well, guys, this doesn’t work for me. It needs to be creative, it needs to be meaningful, it needs to be intuitive, and all these other things. And now Jacob Edelman, who is my favorite, though, he was a philosopher about money and the meaning of life or something like that, and his book blew me away. But the rest of them were very tough love. And sometimes we may need that, right? But I knew from the beginning, we needed to bring in a somatic tool from the beginning, because so many people are stuck in their head. And I want to get you into your body because that’s where the emotions are. That’s where the sensations are. That’s where you can start to understand what’s going on for you when you’re about to have a money conversation with your spouse, what’s going on for you in the middle of the money conversation with your spouse, what’s going on for you after the money conversation with your spouse. So, the number one tool I brought in was the body check in. It’s so simple, we all do a version of it. If we’re on this call, we all do a version of it, whether we call it meditation centering. It’s simply checking with your body on a physical level, sensation level, emotional level, breathing level, what’s going on, getting curious and they’re stopping, pausing, slowing down. If you could do it for five seconds, you can spend a minute you can close your eyes if you keep them open. So this is the number one tool when people say to me, how do I have a healthy relationship with money. Give me one tool, I say the body check in number two, I say learn a bookkeeping system. But number one, is start doing body check ins as a practice. So again, when you’re going to go making a purchase, like when you’re gonna go buy something, and you’re gonna go do some online shopping, do a body check in, do it in the middle, do it after when you’re going to go buy a car. So what is this doing? I mean, it’s helping you stop and slow down and pause, and start to gather and be curious about what’s going on. What am I doing, you may think I already know what I’m doing about money, like, I’m just freaked out or I go into freeze mode. Okay? Well, let’s actually sit with it a bit longer. And so it’s so important to do the body check in as a practice. But for me, it’s when as a prep before, you’re going to go to negotiate a prep before you’re going to go talk with your parents, your aging parents about where their accounts are? And do you know did they write down all the information so you can have it or you know, with your spouse to go back to that sometimes we forget a body check in before but in the heat of the moment, all of a sudden, you’re like body check in? And that’s a great moment to check in. And then afterwards is a debriefing? How did that go? What did I learn? What would I do differently next time? Because there’s no perfection here. There’s learning, there’s experimenting? How did I buy the car this time? What mistakes? Did I make so called mistakes? How can I do it differently and better next time? So that’s a little bit for me. The body check in is step one is a practice. But it does start to unshave. It does start to unravel. Like, I’m not okay, I don’t know how to do this. Because you’re giving yourself some time to just sit with WHO ARE YOU around money? What is your relationship? So it is a bit like inviting it for tea? And bringing the witness, and watching what you do. So that is the whole money healing section is what did you learn as a kid? Where do you feel you still have regret about something? Where do you need to add some forgiveness? Where do you always need to add huge doses of compassion? What can you learn, so that we can start to make some changes moving forward. And then you go into money practices and money maps. And that’s all about, you know, seeing money as a self care practice. Right, and setting it up that way. So daily, you know, might be five minutes a day, you have a money day, it may be every few days. So there’s all these practices that I put in, and I use the language that we all use, you know, in our other self care practices, right. And we bring it to our relationship to money. And you know, how we set up money dates with ourselves and our partners, how we learn a bookkeeping system, do what people call budgeting, I can tell you lots of little tools in there. But that’s a little bit about the journey.


Dr. Will Van Derveer  33:24

I’m curious about it. And I might be getting ahead of ourselves here a step or two. But what’s coming up as I’m listening to you. And I know that you and I are both parents, I have a 20 year old who, in some ways, is still a teenager in some ways as a young adult. And one of the things that comes up for me a lot as her dad is really wanting to have a helpful influence on her around everything, obviously, but around money, there’s this I feel like in myself, there’s this kind of dance between wanting to challenge and support my daughter in the right amounts around development of maturity around money. As apparent, you know, sometimes it’s so hard to know whether the influence you’re having is anywhere near what the intention was, you know. And so, yeah, just get curious about your journey around I’m guessing you know, just from how much work you’ve done around money, in the psychology of money and as a parent, you must have a lot of thoughts about wanting to empower your children. And so you know, there’s so many different paradigms out there, or different people with different advice and different programs you know, for how to teach your child to be empowered with money. So am I just very curious how you think about that for parents and children.


Bari Tessler  35:06

So, number one is that most parents realize they need to do their own work. They still have their own money to do. So that’s where I’m empowering the parents, whether they’re married, whether they’re separated, whether you know, whatever dynamic that is, is that they still have their own money work. So let’s start there. And then also, I certainly have things to say about parenting and money. But let’s start there. Right? So what are you working on every year? There’s things to fine tune, right, we’ll be working on a relationship to money until we die, just like every other big area. So every year we’re fine tuning. So what do we need to learn this year? Do we need to change up our bookkeeping system? Because we’re in a big life transition? And it’s not working anymore? Do we need to get a new financial support person on our team? Do we need to work with the money ceiling? And why do we want to break through it? What are we going to do with those resources? And, how do we get there? What do we feel is holding us back? I mean, or do we want to have more loving, compassionate conversations with our parents, you know, there’s right every year, we can have different goals or next steps that we want to take around money? Right? So or even just being honest about what you don’t know. Right? Like, are you looking at numbers? Do you have money? Are you doing money dates? Are you reviewing your reports? And you know, if you do that, years ago, I didn’t, I would just glaze over. And I had to get a really good handhold, during Teacher to show me how to do it. So right, there’s so many things that every year, we can be fine tuning and adding. Right. So that’s number one. And then there’s the couple of dynamics. So if you are a partner, then there’s tons of stuff to be working on there. Because no two people ever come to a marriage that earn and spend and save and give and invest in and so on in the same way. So they just, you know, they may have even come from the same class or a similar family background, they still do money differently. So there’s so much to work on with couples dynamics, because there can be a lot of fighting and argument and stress and disease there. Right. So I’ve known couples that have amazing marriages, and can communicate and, you know, are great in so many ways, and they fight about money. Like that’s the area that it all gets put on. And it was more just again, their lack of financial literacy, they felt shame, or they felt stupid or a couples polarize, you know, one person becomes somehow the smarty pants, they know, they know how to do money because they had a finance degree. And, you know, in those finance degrees, you don’t learn anything about the emotions or psychology, the other person feels stupid, or one person just needs a more creative approach. And the other, you know, one person sticks their head in the sand, one hypervigilant. Like there’s so many ways we can polarize. So there’s a lot of couple work, couples dynamic work that can happen, right as well. And, you know, in it, try to do money dates for couples. So you don’t talk about numbers first. Number one is you tell stories about your relationship to money. And what you remember, I’ve had couples that were 20 years old and learned new things about each other, you know, so there’s a lot of steps, right?


Dr. Will Van Derveer  38:28

it makes sense that you would start with the parent doing their own work, and then also work on the interpersonal parenting dynamic. Absolutely.


Bari Tessler  38:38

But the third thing is that, yeah, we want to teach kids about money in ways that we didn’t learn, or we didn’t get from our families, right. And there are some, most people at some point get really angry at their parents for not teaching them about money. And then at some point, they let that go and realize, but they weren’t taught. They didn’t learn or they had to deal with these situations, or they were here during the depression, or they had to escape Ukraine in the 1900s. There are so many different, right that things that add to this, but they’re some you know, so from a very young age with my son, it was what age appropriate, and what money conversations can I start having with him at three and four, and five and seven, and, you know, and was just trying to be as open as I could about having these discussions as a family. If we don’t send you to Montessori anymore. We can use that money to travel or to donate more. And we made that decision at some point as a family or, and again, what’s age appropriate? Because I remember when my son came to me and said, How much money do you make? And I would be happy to tell him but without the context of well, let me tell you what our monthly expenses are. And let me tell you how much it is to run a business. So But making it so it was an open space to talk about money, right in the family. And that balance of what not too much, but not too little like that a lot of people talk about. So I’ll just finish with this that I’ve written quite a few articles about, where we’re at. When I was going to do a second book, my publisher wanted me to do it on parenting and kids. And I said, Well, when my kid is 25, then I will maybe be an expert about parenting and kids. For now, I feel an expert around couples, and money, and so and so but I was like, I vote. She asked me this when he was like nine or eight, right? But there are some people. So Ron Lieber, who writes for The New York Times, has some good books about money and kids, and I can never remember her name. It’s a woman who writes about, like, here’s age appropriate money conversations to have with your kids, you know, I’ve shared it on one of my blogs. And I agree with some of what she says. And then there are other things she’ll say, like, Don’t ever tell your kids how much you make. And I’m like, I don’t agree with you. So, go to read these books, and then you decide which ones feel good to you. But then the last thing is that they’re going to be different than you. They’re going to have their own money style, they’re going to have their own money way based on everything they’ve integrated from you. And their own Enneagram, and all of that. And, they may be really different, as well.


Keith Kurlander  41:37

What do you do with, so let’s say someone comes to you, and they’re like, look, I’m ready. I just need the practical right now and I don’t know a lot about money. Where do you start practically with someone like so they’re like telling me what to do? Do you start with net worth? Do you start with budgets? Do you start with behaviors? Do you start with something all totally definitely like, no we’re gonna talk about emotions first.


Bari Tessler  42:09

Okay. So, as I’ve already said, my methodology is money healing emotion psychology first, and then you move on to money practices.


Keith Kurlander  42:20

Let’s pretend they did that and then where do you start in the practices?


Bari Tessler  42:23

Well, then I want you to learn a bookkeeping system, right? And back in the day, I wanted everyone to learn a bookkeeping system and do it themselves. And I’m not as rigid as I used to be because sometimes the phase of life that we’re in, it would be more beneficial for time and everything to hire a bookkeeper. Now, if you hire a bookkeeper, you still want to sit in on meetings with them, and monthly review and learn how to navigate let’s say, if you learn QuickBooks, or print out the reports, and how to read a profit and loss and how to read, your projections versus your actual and so it’s your money, it’s your life. But why I did want everyone to learn bookkeeping and tracking is, I just think it’s an incredible mindfulness practice.


Keith Kurlander  43:08

We start there with both business owners and people who are employees also, or?


Bari Tessler  43:14

Well, again, so I have my year-long program and methodology that I take people through, right, and they go through months on a healing for months and many practices for months of money mapping, which is all about budgeting, and how to make good money, decisions and so on. Right? So everyone goes through the same process, right? Now, if they were like, I just want to do a budget, then I would say, Okay, here’s my wonderful referral list. And I have some excellent financial coaches. And all they do is like even they even collaborate, some people take my program, and then they go to a financial coach or financial coaches, you have you’ve been tracking your numbers, you’ve been tracking them for three to six months, you have some sense of what’s coming in what’s going out, right? And I always say, add this little move the judge or critiquer, move over to the side for a little bit and just let yourself look, where are you spending? You know, is that a value of yours? You know, is that a priority? Are there other things that you would add in to replace that or what’s negotiable, what’s not. So that’s a lot of work I do in my money practice thing, but they can also just go to a private money coach person, right? And just work on their numbers and where they’re at and create a little mini financial plan at what people call a budget or projections, you know, based on life phase, their values, what’s important to them priorities, and come up with a year plan or a five year plan or a 10 year plan.


Keith Kurlander  44:44

What type of goals are you identifying in your work with people in terms of like, so they’re sort of like how to order your money in a daily practice, like budgets and those kinds of things? And then what kind of goals do you talk about with people and how to help them establish tools.


Bari Tessler  45:00

Everyone’s so different again. So some people want to know if they can go on a vacation. You know, some people want to know if they’re out and about, can they buy the boots? I’m sorry. They want to know, if they’ll, if they can at the car dealership, you know, so I’ll give you I’ll tell you a little story of how my three phases show up together. Okay. And so, okay, so years ago, we were going to buy a car. But that wasn’t the plan for the day it was to go for coffee. Next thing we knew we were next to a green car dealership. Forrest, my husband, had been dreaming of electric cars since he was a kid. All right. And he had been researching this Nissan LEAF since he was a kid. So you know, next thing, you know, we’re in the car dealership, we’re taking a test drive, and I’m in there and I’m starting to hyperventilate. Okay, and I’m noticing that my breath is moving up. Alright, so I’m, I quickly say husband, car dealer guy, I’m going to the bathroom. The bathroom is a great place to do a body check in, I go to the bathroom, I do a body check in. I start naming what’s going on for me, identifying where it is my body. hyperventilate, like there is just movement, wrapped up in my breath up in my throat. So I start naming it, I’m anxious. What’s going on here, I sat with it a bit, I was able to get my breath down in my body. Because I’ve done a million body check ins. I was able to say what’s going on here? Oh, I don’t like making quick money decisions. Now. This was years ago, right. But I was able to then go, okay. Okay, what does this remind you of? And then the next question was, oh, we need to have a money date. In the car dealership, I left the bathroom, we went out to the forest, and my husband sat down and had a money date for 20 minutes. So I teach people how to bring questions to all these situations. And they’re different for everyone. So questions like, Is this purchase in alignment with our values? Yes, right? Do we have the cash flow for this? The only way we would know is if we’re actually tracking your numbers and working with them, right? Yes. Is this this choice? Is this decision going to impact our long term goal of buying a home? Right? No. So we just went through a series of questions that we practiced somewhere new at that moment, and we weren’t making the best decision we could at that moment. We left the lot with the you know, with the Nissan LEAF, and then afterwards, we did a whole debriefing. Was that a good money decision? How was that? Okay? So I’m teaching people all the basics of how to have a healthy relationship day in day out weekly, monthly, heard of money, dates, weekly, monthly, how to review everything logged in, then what are your short term and long term goals? But that’s when eventually I pass you on to a financial coach in a financial planner? Who’s going to get in there with you more and be like, do you want to buy a home? Where do you live in the world? Where’s your business that you need to grow your business? How do you add in revenue streams? Like, what phase of life are you in? Are you having a health crisis? Well, maybe during the health crisis, you don’t want to grow your business. Maybe you’ve had your first baby, and you want to stay home more? And you know, be within that your priority. So it’s always evaluating what phase of life are you in? What’s most important to you? What are your values? What are your priorities? And, you know, integrating that with your actual numbers. But yeah, we look at where do you need to spend less, but a lot of people it’s how do you need to increase income? How do you need to learn how to save? So there’s a lot of nitty gritty stuff like that. I’m, I’m teaching people, the practices, the self care practices, I’m giving everyone all the tools so that they’re creating a foundation that they can repeat for years. And if they need a few extra players like a financial coach, financial planner, bookkeeper, then they go to them as well, along the way.


Keith Kurlander  49:01

Well, let’s end with a question of, what would you tell the person who thinks often about wanting to change their way they relate to money and they feel badly about how their money situation is? Yeah, and they want to change it, but they haven’t done almost anything in terms of changing it in a long time. And they’re in that cycle? What would you say to them?


Bari Tessler  49:31

Well, I mean, the tool that I would invite them to start practicing is the body check in, right? That’s number one, start practicing that. start bringing that to all your money interactions, learn from it. I mean, what I’m trying to help you to do is bring more mindfulness so that you can understand your money stories more, which, awareness leads to understanding leads to change. We know that from our psychotherapy training. So that’s the beginning journey. So that’s the process Just I would give from me, but I would say, go to my podcast and listen to the all the interviews I’ve done with other folks who are talking about this in a more meaningful, creative, empowering way than just dollars and cents, or just black and white, or just like, just live within your means, while we’re like, what does that even mean? You know, or I’m trying or, how do I even get any new ideas of how to do money differently. So, go read my two books, I have the art of money, a life changing guide to financial happiness is my entire methodology and stories and tools. And the second book that just came out a month ago is a workbook that is standalone, but also as a complement to the first book. So go read my book. And then in the back of my book, there’s a lot of other like minded folks who are teaching emotional literacy and financial literacy, to the communities that we serve, because we need to have a relationship to money in a more creative way. And so there are many of us that are teaching it this way.


Keith Kurlander  51:09

Nice. Yeah. So if that’s you, go take Bari’s course. You are far worse. Yeah.


Bari Tessler  51:16

Go to my course,


Keith Kurlander  51:17

your course is actually I know people taking a course and they love it. So I think that would be a good idea for those people. Well, thanks Bari, so much for sharing and being here and doing what you do.


Bari Tessler  51:30

You’re welcome.


Keith Kurlander  51:31

Thanks for Thank you. Yeah, thanks for being on the show.


Dr. Will Van Derveer  51:34

Yeah, great. Speaking with you.


Bari Tessler  51:36

You too. I hope that was helpful.

Bari Tessler

Bari Tessler Linden, M.A., is a Financial Therapist, Mentor Coach, and Mama-preneur. She has guided thousands of people to new, empowered, and refreshingly honest relationships with money through her nurturing, body-centered approach.

Bari earned a Masters in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University and worked in body-centered therapy for over a decade before unexpectedly falling in love with bookkeeping systems and money work. Her unique methodology integrates these two worlds into deep money healing that honors all the facets of our money relationships: body to spirit, lineage to career, smart practices to deep visioning, and much more.

Bari is currently leading a global conscious money movement via the year-long program The Art of Money, which she founded in 2001, weaving together money teachings for individuals, couples, and entrepreneurs. The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness, published by Parallax Press in June 2016, is her first book. Bari Tessler lives with her family in Boulder, Colorado.

To Learn More about Bari Tessler, visit: