HOW DO YOU GET PAID?
Money Health Solutions is a fee-only firm, which means that I only get paid by you, the client. I don't sell investments or insurance products for commissions. I don't make referrals based on getting referral fees. I don't charge based on how much money you have saved or how much income you make.
Money Health Solutions charges flat fees, which means that you only pay for advice and expertise, and you'll know up front how much your financial investment will be. I do not accept insurance.
Lastly, I abide by the fiduciary standard, which means that your interest comes first.
WHY SHOULD I WORK WITH YOU?
It's not necessarily the case that you should work with Money Health Solutions. I encourage you to check out other professionals. You need to understand their philosophy, what services they offer, how they get paid, how much they get paid, who pays them, and lastly, their personality.
Money Health Solutions (MHS) was built to address the needs of couples and individuals who feel anxious, confused, frustrated, or dissatisfied with their financial lives. MHS helps clients live more mindfully and simplify their financial lives. If you find yourself stressed out when it comes to money-related matters and you know you need to change, this is a great place to start.
I WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCE - WHERE SHOULD I GO?
First of all, great work and initiative wanting to learn more about the world of personal finance. I strongly believe that, even if you are working with a financial professional, you need to understand what is going on and how this stuff works.
Here are some resources from Money Health Solutions.
Money Health Blog: Money Health blog is a blog that publishes articles about personal finance, often bringing psychology into the conversation. Each article utilizes sketches that help illustrate the topic. The website contains all posts.
Money Health Community: By joining the Money Health community, you will get an email each week from Derek with the weekly post. This is a great way to make sure you don't miss anything. You will also receive a monthly recap.
Below is a list of the books I recommend:
How To Think About Money (Jonathan Clements): This book is full of great ways to, well, think about money. This is more about how to deal with our relationship with money than how to invest. It talks about how money can be used to make us happy or unhappy, how not to make big mistakes, and how our culture and the media influence our money decisions.
Financial Literacy, Simplified (Dan Otter, Ph.D.): This book is an excellent primer, especially if you are getting this for your children or if you are just getting started in the world of personal finance. It covers the basics of money and serves as a great intro guide.
The Elements Of Investing: Easy Lessons for Every Investor (Burton Malkiel, Ph.D. & Charles Ellis, CFA): This book is a great book to learn the nuts and bolts of saving and investing. Written in plain English, this book walks through the basics of saving, investing, diversification, and psychological traps that can trick us.
Winning The Loser's Game; Timeless Strategies For Successful Investing (Charles Ellis, CFA): This book is slightly more technical than
The Elements Of Investing, but still written in plain English about understandable topics. The basis of the book is that investing should be simple; buy the entire market. Don't waste your time, money, and energy trying to "beat the market" like the so-called pros pretend to do. A loser's game is a game that is won not by actually winning, but by not losing - like amateur tennis where most points are unforced errors rather than winners. Playing the stock market is a loser's game.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy (Thomas Stanley, Ph.D. & William Danko, Ph.D.): This book is a classic that goes into what it means to have money. The bottom line is that to have money necessarily means not to part with it. It goes into the statistics showing that real millionaires are the ones with frugal lifestyles and the folks who act like millionaires are broke.
The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways To Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money (Carl Richards, CFP®): This is another classic that goes into the traps that we all fall into and how to trick ourselves into not for these traps. The term behavior gap was coined by the author when he noticed that the average return for investments (that is, the return of mutual funds) was higher than the return investors received (the return you and I got). The difference is from our behaviors.
Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D.): I'm not going to lie to you; this one is a beast. It's very long, but that's because there is a lot of content, not because it's technical. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his work studying how our brain works and how easily we think we are doing one thing when in fact our subconscious brain is doing something completely different. The book is full of exercises that demonstrate his points.
The Financial Wisdom Of Ebenezer Scrooge: 5 Principles To Transform Your Relationship With Money (Ted Klontz, Ph.D., Brad Klontz, Psy.D., CFP®, & Rick Kahler, CFP®): This book is a quick read and talks about our relationship with money using the classic Dickens story as a metaphor. Marley's ghost is a metaphor for our denial about issues, and each of the three ghosts represents different aspects of our money relationships (our money histories, our current money health, and our financial futures).
Mind Over Money: Overcoming The Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health (Brad Klontz, Psy.D., CFP® & Ted Klontz, Ph.D.): This book is a deeper dive into our relationships with money. It goes through the reasons that our dysfunctional relationship with money is not our fault, how our brain works and how it's evolved to not be very good at thinking about money, and the many different money disorders that we may face. It closes with some tools and exercises we can use to overcome our disorders and have much greater money health.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language Of Life, Life-Changing Tools For Healthy Relationships (Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.): This is not a book about money, but since how we communicate about money (or how we DON'T communicate about money) is important and since money is the number one cause of fights in relationships I thought this would be a great addition to the book list. Nonviolent communication is about communicating with empathy rather than judging who's good or bad, what's right or wrong, criticizing, speaking without listening, and so on. If we can learn to communicate more effectively, including money conversations, we'll be in a place where anxiety and stress are replaced with peace, calmness, and confidence.
I DON'T LIVE IN THE TWIN CITIES. CAN I STILL WORK WITH YOU?
Yes, you can work with Money Health Solutions even if you don't live in Minnesota! In fact, I work remotely even with clients in my same town.
Money Health Solutions is location-independent, which means that I work with you wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection. Working this way offers you flexibility, and you can meet without having to drive to an office somewhere.
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH OUT-OF-TOWN CLIENTS?
Money Health Solutions is location-independent. I am able to meet virtually and your experience will be just as pleasant as if you were at my office.
Here is some of what we'll use together:
- Zoom for virtual meetings and two-way screen sharing
- Highly secure document vault for sharing documents
- User-friendly planning software so you can examine your financial life in real-time
- Weekly articles to keep you educated (via
Money Health blog)
SINCE YOU CHARGE FLAT FEES, CAN I WORK WTH YOU ON AN ONGOING BASIS?
Great question, and yes. Once you are a client, you are free to ask me all the questions you want, tell me about your concerns, and let me know about your wins!
Most people find that after our initial work together, having a meeting quarterly, semiannually, or even annually helps them with accountability and support. It's like getting a check-up at the denist or doctor's office.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A MINIMUM ABOUT OF MONEY SAVED IN ORDER TO WORK WITH YOU?
No, there is no minimum account balance, no minimum amount to have saved, and no minimum income level to work with me.
Many fee-only financial planners get paid based on how much of your money they manage. That means they will have minimum balances to make it worth their while. Many people don't save that amount of money until later in life, however. Plus, many people are starting to wonder why those advisors get twice the fee for managing twice the money, even though they don't do twice the work.
Many "financial advisors" who work with people without minimums get paid by selling products - either insurance products (life insurance, annuities, etc.) or investments (high-cost mutual funds, commissions on stock trades, etc.).
Some planners charge hourly fees, which is a step in the right direction. With hourly billing, though, you won't know how much the experience will cost until the end and it can be more difficult to determine if your financial investment is worth it.
The Money Health Solutions model is different. I charge flat fees so that you know how much it will cost. You will get advice that is in your best interest, without conflicts of interest.
WHY CAN'T I JUST DO THIS STUFF ON MY OWN?
Some people can. If that's you, I'm not for you. The exterior side of finance, that is, knowing the mechanics of money, savings, spending, investing, insurance, tax, estate planning, college planning, and so on, is relatively simple. Most of these answers can be found with enough time spent on Google. The trickiest part of the exterior side of finance is knowing the right questions to ask.
I work with clients on interior finance - the emotions and behaviors surrounding money and financial decisions. Having a third party who is well versed in the psychology of money can help you look more rationally at your financial life. I hold you accountable and provide the motivation you need to change.
People come to Money Health Solutions when they have something in between them and financial health but haven't been able to get past it on their own. I help people get unstuck.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have four professional certifications; The Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) certification, the Certified Financial Behavior Specialist® (FBS®) designation, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter, and the Certificate in Investment Management (CIPM) certificate. In addition, I have training in financial life planning through the Society of Real Financial Advisors and have been trained in Exquisite Listening® through Klontz Consulting. I earned a Graduate Certificate in financial psychology and behavioral finance from Creighton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in ecomonics from Minnesota State University Moorhead. I am taking steps to earn the Certified Financial Therapist-I® (CFT-I®) designation.
I have over 17 years of experience working with money and helping people with their finances.
I am a member of Financial Psychology Institute, Financial Therapy Association, FinancialTherapy.org, Financial Planning Association, CFP Board, and CFA Institute.
YOU ARE A ONE-PERSON COMPANY. WHAT HAPPENS TO MY MONEY IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU OR YOUR COMPANY?
Yes, Money Health Solutions is a small firm. While many people like that aspect, I take my obligations to clients very seriously.
Since Money Health Solutions is location-independent, I can work from wherever I have access to a secure internet connection. I only use software that utilizes highly encrypted security and data that is housed on their servers. If anything happens to my office, there will be no impact on any of your data.
I do not manage money, and your money is held at your banks and financial institutions. I do not have access to any of your money.
Since I offer advice, if something happens to me, you will be able to take your financial plan to another advisor and work with him or her.
DO YOU OFFER PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Money Health Solutions does not offer psychotherapy or psychiatry. Some of the tools from therapy will be used, but only in the context of helping you achieve a balanced and healthy financial life. If you need help with mental health issues, Money Health Solutions is happy to help you find a qualified mental health professional.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
I believe that you are the expert in yourself and have a natural instinct to want to grow and better yourself. Nobody knows you better than you know you, so let's tap into that expertise. I use a solution-focused approach where we look for solutions that help you as we look forward to your ideal life. We don't dwell on problems or mistakes.
Further, I believe in giving you a budget-free, and goal-free financial life.
I believe that once you know what money's purpose is in your life and what your top personal values are, then you can live a life that supports you, without a budget or without strict goal-setting. Supporting your values is empowering and helps you from being distracted by peers and media.
WILL YOU MANAGE MY INVESTMENTS?
I do not manage investments. I provide education and show you how to do this yourself. I cannot make decisions for you, but I can give you a framework to use yourself. Once you know how to do it, it is very simple. I show you how to use mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are both types of companies that manage your investments for you. You don't need to pay someone to put your money into funds that charge you to manage your investments. We seek simplicity and low costs.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
Many people have tried on their own to better their financial situation but haven't been able to. I help you find motivation to want to make a change. We explore your history with money and learn where your beliefs and behaviors came from and change any beliefs that may have a negative impact on your financial health. Next, we explore your personal values and money's role in your life. Finally, we look toward your future and explore trade-offs and put a system in place that helps you live life on your terms.
Most people do not want to become personal finance experts; they want a system that keeps them on track, allowing them to do the things they love (which is not entering numbers into spreadsheets).
I'VE TRIED DOING THIS BEFORE AND IT DIDN'T WORK - AM I OUT OF LUCK?
NO! Many people are in your same situation. It's a common belief that there is one right thing to do and if you aren't doing it there must be something wrong with you. That's simply not the case.
There is a whole spectrum of stages of change. If you are at the stage where you are ready, willing, able, and have confidence in your ability to change, then information can help you move in the right direction. Only one in five people are here.
It's likely that you are in a different stage of change. Maybe you don't have enough reasons to change yet. Perhaps you lack confidence in your ability to change. For some people it's not that important yet. Any of these are fine.
I help you understand enough about yourself to move to move you closer to being ready to change. Once you are there, everything else is simple.
I know if sounds crazy, but you probably just have a couple little things blocking you, keeping you from financial health. Together we'll discover what those are and get past them.
HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FINANCIAL ADVISORS?
I am not a financial advisor; I am a financial therapist and coach. That means I combine money stuff with financial therapy and psychology. Money skills are more than just knowing what to do, which is exterior financial knowledge that applies to everyone. I figure out how to help YOU implement that knowledge after learning about your history with money, your relationship with money, and how emotions interact with your financial decisions. I help you find the motivation to change your behaviors and facilitate financial health. It's about aligning your use of money with what's important to you.