Episode 53: How to Make Better Financial Decisions by Focusing on Your Emotions with Anne Beaulieu
When it comes to money, we always think about the numbers. However, the decisions that we make financially stems from our emotions. In fact, we make all of our decisions emotionally first.
On this episode, Marc talks to Anne Beaulieu about how to make better money decisions using our emotions. Anne Beaulieu is the founder of Femme Sauvage, a regular Forbes contributor, and an author of 29 books in the The Emotionally Intelligent Way© series.
In this episode you will learn:
- Where to start when trying to learn your feelings about money
- Identifying your money triggers
- How to heal the emotional weight from triggers
- Tips for better emotional money decisions for couples
- How to attract abundance
- And more!
Tune in now to hear how to take control of your anxieties around money!
Welcome back to the Agent of Wealth Podcast. This is your host Marc Bautis. When it comes to our money, we’re always thinking about the numbers. But today, I brought on a special guest, Anne Beaulieu, to talk about how the emotional side of our money and finances is just as important.
Anne is a financial emotional intelligence coach, speaker, and author who assists us in really understanding what money means to us emotionally so that we can make better money decisions. She is the founder of Femme Sauvage, the heart of money matters, a regular Forbes cntributor, and the author of 29 books in the The Emotionally Intelligent Way© series. Anne brings a unique perspective to something that permeates every area of our lives: money. Anne, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Marc. Thank you for welcoming me and thank you for inviting me on your show.
I really like this topic. I have been in financial services for over 20 years and it really took me a while to realize how much emotions play in people’s decisions about money. How did you get started in being a financial emotional coach?
It’s a long story. I started in finance. I was a finance economist, I was a chartered financial analyst. I worked for the government, I worked for companies that had buildings and buildings under asset management.
But if you had asked me back then if I was financially literate, I would have said: yes. But looking back, I was a financial idiot. The reason for that is that I let money control me. I did not know how I felt about money. If you asked me how I felt, it was anxious or worried. If I had the money to pay the bills, I was worried and anxious. If I didn’t have the money to pay the bills, I was anxious.
Where that anxiety came from is that I did not look at the past. I thought that I could just go on with my life; I’ll get the diplomas, I’ll work, and then if I work hard enough, I’ll save some money.
All of those beliefs have been taught to me as a child. I grew up dirt poor. It was not even paved; total farmland. I never looked at all of this stuff. I went on in this career in finance, but money exasperated it. It made it worse of how I felt.
When I married, we had it made; we had everything under the sun. We had the “white picket fence;” all of it. I still felt anxious about money. It was never enough.
It’s even one reason why we divorced- my ex-husband and I; because we couldn’t see eye-to-eye about money. It was something we fought about. I promised myself I would never be like my parents, I would never fight about money like they did, even though we had it.
So, I saw both ends of the spectrum. I realized: holy cow, I need to do something about this. Then, I hired a mentor who was more financially emotionally intelligent than I was, and he basically took me by the hand and explained to me how we make decisions.
It was like a lightbulb went on and on and on. I became an expert on emotional intelligence. When I felt confident enough, I brought both fields back in and I became the financial EQ coach I am today. I eat my own pudding.
A lot of times, that’s how it happens. You mentioned how anxious you were about money. That’s probably a common feeling that people have. It probably comes out differently; some people have money, but they probably never feel like there’s enough or they always want more. Then, on the other side, there are probably people who worry that they don’t have enough money. The anxiousness probably runs the gamut of people.
We Make All Decisions Emotionally First
People don’t understand. I didn’t understand it back then either. I was raised to keep feelings out of business. It’s the biggest lie ever. We make all of our decisions emotionally first.
I have clients for example, and I did this exercise with them. I said: do you rationally (I wanted to prove that we make decisions emotionally first) welcome $1,000,000 into your bank account right now?
The client said: Oh, yeah! They got so excited and there was all of the exuberance and laughter.
Then I said: Imagine walking in the desert right now. There is nobody around you. You’re all by yourself, it’s quiet and peaceful. All of a sudden, you find a black duffel bag. As you open it, you find $1,000,000 in unmarked bills. What feeling came up?
For most people, it’s anxiety, it’s worry. The client’s whole face dropped. I said: That anxiety referenced a belief or memory. I saw it flash in your face. They said: “Mafia.”
So, I said: In order for you to have $1,000,000 in your bank account, it’s either drug money or you’re part of the mafia or something. They went: That makes no rational sense.
I said: No, because we all make decisions emotionally first. Then we use our dominant feeling to validate the beliefs and memories we have associated with that feeling about money.
I asked that client: How do you feel when you pay rent? Anxiety. How do you feel when you pay for this or that? Anxiety. It was anxiety everywhere.
I said: What made you think that it would be different when $1,000,000 would be placed in front of you? I saw that same client today. We did another exercise because they’re tired of feeling anxious about money.
I said: How much would you like to make? They gave a number. I said: Would you feel comfortable saying how much you earn to your mother? To your father?
They literally backed off emotionally and physically. I said: What makes you think that you can earn that amount when you cannot own it emotionally first?
In order to have, we must be. Then, it became more homework. We make decisions emotionally first, even when it comes to money.
How do you start an engagement with someone?
The first thing I ask is:
- How do you feel about money?
- How do you feel when you pay a bill?
- How do you feel when you pay a bill and you have the money?
- How do you feel when you pay a bill and you don’t have the money?
- Is the feeling the same?
- Why not?
Another exercise that I do is: when was the transaction that you had? Maybe you bought a coffee, meal, gas?
Whatever it is, do you remember it? Do you remember how you felt when money passed your hands? Whether it was credit card, debit card, cash. Many people would say: No, I didn’t even pay attention to it. Because they are numb around money.
They don’t even think about it. The same people, when they buy their coffee, they will look at the barista, grab their coffee and not acknowledge the person, not say thank you, not leave a big tip. All of these things matter as to how we feel.
The awareness part; when there is money in our hands, how do we treat ourselves? It also dictates how we treat others and how much money we get to enjoy. That’s step one.
Step two becomes:
- Why do you feel this way about money?
Many people will say: money makes me nervous, or this or that. No, no, no. There are no new feelings.
You were taught to feel anxious about money. You were taught to worry about money. The way I explained it to clients is that we have mirror neurons.
When you look in the mirror and you look at yourself; I have blonde hair. I wouldn’t expect to see red hair. Or, I’m wearing a red top, I wouldn’t expect to see a purple top. I would expect to see this. We all have mirror neurons.
Therefore, as a child, we are like sponges. We mimicked and imitated everything we saw in front of us, including feelings. For example, if Suzie’s mama twirls her hair when she’s nervous and then one day when her three-year-old twirls her hair, Suzie’s mama is unaware and might think it’s cute that she’s mimicking mommy. But me, now, looking at that, I would say: if you feel anxious when you twirl your hair, your daughter is anxious.
She learned that. We learned our money behaviors, our feelings about money from our parents, caregivers, teachers, friends, relatives, whoever had the most impact on us.
It’s not because we said we would never be like that. If we said we’ll never be like that, chances are that we are like that because we are not seeing it. The blind spots are on.
Now we have awareness, we can kind of trace from where it came from. What’s next?
Abundance Vs. Scarcity: It’s All About Mindset
Then, it becomes about implementing and generating towards money. For many people, it’s either we see abundance or we see the lack of it.
Because we make decisions emotionally first, it has a frequency. We have a frequency around money. If we want more money, if all we see is poverty, then our frequency and vibration is very low.
If we want to attract more, we must see more, so we must open up more.; We must start seeing the abundance around us. It’s not easy. I grew up poor, so I know it’s not easy.
The default is to see the lack of it. For me, it was as simple as (I started at the basics) looking at a tree. Looking at the leaves on a tree and saying:
- The tree is abundant; I am abundant.
- The beach has a lot of sand. The beach is abundant; I am abundant.
- There are a lot of fish in the ocean. The ocean is abundant; I am abundant.
My voice drops and everything slows in that feeling; that alone does more to attract money, opportunities and everything to us than pounding affirmations or self-help books. It doesn’t matter because it’s knowledge.
Knowledge without application, in my opinion, is useless because we make all decisions emotionally first.
Even though it seems like such a small thing, that will get someone taking years of their emotions and their attachments and getting them on the right path at viewing money in the right light; in that abundance versus scarcity mindset.
I have people who ask how long it will take. How attached are you to your beliefs? A lot of the times, the money beliefs that we have are not true. We just take them as true.
I was watching a video the other day and it was fascinating. It was this guy. When we went to school, we saw that 1+1=2. It was drilled into us. This guy proved mathematically through algebra that 1+1 can equal anything you want, including zero. It’s a belief.
Unless we examine every belief that we have, unless we stop ourselves- that’s the discipline. The discipline is learning; unlearning what we were taught so we can learn new behaviors. So we must question everything about money. I always tell people: show me what’s inside your wallet and I’ll tell you who you are.
Tips For Couples
Now, we’re looking at a person; you’re looking a mirror coaching a person. How is it when you add the complex dynamics of when there is a couple? When we’re looking at two people? You mentioned it earlier: you and your husband fought about money. Love and money are two things that people fight about. How can spouses and partners work better when it comes down to the money?
When it comes to dating, I tell my clients that by the third date, you must bring up money. You must bring up money. You pay for your meal yourself. They pay for theirs, you pay for yours. You must have that conversation.
You must know what money means to them. If you ask them, because this is the beginning of the relationship, and you watch them, most people squirm. They’re squirming, they’re uncomfortable.
Everything that’s going on in that moment shows you how they feel about money and why they feel that way. People think that love will conquer all and it’s going to be all magnificent and “we’ll get through it when we get through it.” But, by the time you deepen the relationship, it’s quite painful because those red flags that were there in the beginning didn’t go away; they just got magnified in the relationship.
One of the things that I say to people who want to go into a relationship is that you attract exactly where you’re at. That makes people usually angry when I say that.
Here’s why: let’s say you are a 9 and you meet a 2. Would you date the 2? Most people will say no. Why not? Too much work. Do you think the 2 would date a 9? And they say yes. Would the 9 agree to that? Most likely not.
Now let’s reverse. They’re the 9 and we’re the 2. It’s the same thing. When it’s the 2 dating the 9, they say of course the 9 won’t date the 2. Let’s be realistic here, and they say no most likely not.
Let’s say a person is a 6 and one is a 5 when it comes to the understanding of money. Then, it’s within the same vibration and understanding. We may fight with somebody about finances all of the time, but that person may have similar money beliefs as you.
You will say that that makes no sense. No, it makes sense because even at two extremes of the same pole, it’s a belief that holds both ends. It’s like if you pick up a stick and hold it at both ends.
For a couple that’s already in a relationship, they first need to do the work separately. They need to really understand what money means to them emotionally.
And why? So the next time they are triggered about money, then they know it has nothing to do with the person in front of them.
A trigger is always from something in the past. I’ll give an example. I have this client and I was loud chewing. I annoyed the crap out of that client.
I said: when did you hear loud chewing for the first time? They stopped and were like: I was 9 years old. My father and my mother had split up. My mom started dating that guy. That guy was a loud chewer and he sat in my father’s seat.
They spent 30 some years being angry at every loud chewer even though they were angry at the situation that had nothing to do with it.
It’s the same about money. If we worry or are anxious about money, and if we’re financially nagging people, if we are feeling responsible for everyone and everything around us financially, all of that comes from the past.
It’s not who we are, but we just choose to relive that history over and over because we haven’t learned our lesson yet or we have been deeply deeply hurt. Instead of healing ourselves, we drag what we call baggage on to the next relationship until we can heal it.
How do you heal it? How do you get them to let go of that past attachment to it?
They need to set their goals. For example, if one person saves every penny and is very frugal, the other one is usually the opposite and is a spender. You see it a lot in your field, too.
The reason is because the saver wants to learn how to relax a bit more with money. The one who is too relaxed with money wants to learn, but they are trying to learn from one another.
In a relationship, you cannot coach your wife and you cannot coach your husband. You cannot because that makes toxic relationships.
I wish I had learned that 20/30 years ago because if you coach somebody, then we think we know better. If we know better, somebody’s on the pedestal and someone is lower; there is no equality in the relationship.
Therefore, they must do the work separately. You must know how you feel about money, why you feel that way, where your money beliefs come from. Once you know all of that, then you do your ultimate best not to bring your money triggers into the relationship.
If you bring them into a relationship, it has nothing to do with the other person. We’re the ones self-sabotaging in that moment. We’re the ones ruining the relationship.
I’ve had people say to me: I can’t be with that person, they subtract my credit card by so many thousands of dollars. I can’t, they’re ruining my credit, whatever it is. But, they chose to be with that person to begin with.
We cannot change anybody. We change when we’re ready because we make decisions emotionally. We change when we feel the need to change, never a moment before. Therefore, it becomes: does it work for me or not?
If it doesn’t work, you can walk away. If it works, then you stay. It’s a choice. For most people, they find it very tough to make those choices; they would rather stay in a secure relationship than step up and be with someone who is more their caliber when it comes to understanding emotional maturity.
You put money on the table on the third date; it’s better to find out earlier?
It is better to find out earlier because when we’re in love, the love chemicals last anywhere between 6 and 18 months.
Money is crucial in a relationship. People can say that they’re not about money. No, it’s about money. Money permeates every area of our lives.
Yet, people make it so taboo because they were told never to bring up money at the dinner table, or we don’t talk about money, or if you talk about money it seems like you’re a golddigger; all of these beliefs around it.
People walk into relationships blind. I ask people: if you have a business opportunity, would you go into business half/half with somebody without checking them out? No. Would you check and make sure they’re financially sound? Would you do your due diligence? People say yes.
When it comes to relationships, most people don’t do their due diligence. I didn’t. I thought if I liked somebody, it was enough. Until the shit hit the fan and we realized we had very different beliefs. By then, if you love somebody, it hurts much more than walking into a relationship with our eyes wide open. That’s emotional maturity.
It comes down to: does it work for me or not? Many people must check money; it’s one of those boxes that you have to check. You must make sure you have the same beliefs around money. Otherwise, is it worth pending 10, 20, 30 years fighting with somebody over money? Like I said, many of my clients may not want to do the work around money, but that divorce is going to cost you more than hiring an advisor, consultant, or coach; that’s where they go very quiet.
Do you see it being fixable? So you have a couple who is having trouble with money, maybe they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum like you said, one is a saver and the other is a spender. Can they meet in the middle? Can you help them get to some point where they are able to move forward with it?
Yes they can. It depends on what the relationship means to them emotionally. Are they willing to do the inner work? Each of them working on their own triggers, understanding all of their money beliefs, and what it stands for, and what they want money for.
Somebody might want money to buy a house, but somebody doesn’t want to buy a big house and is very happy with renting for the rest of their lives; that’s divergence of belief. That has to be somehow reconciled.
If I were to give one tip: never believe you can convince anyone else; we can’t. We can never tell somebody how to feel. We can never truly know how somebody else feels.
In a relationship where somebody wants to empower one another, when they feel the money trigger (the familiar money fight) coming one more time, you both stop and take a deep breath.
One says to the other: I can see you are triggered. What are you triggered about, exactly? Ask to be precise. The trigger must be specific. You can ask open-ended questions. Where do you believe it comes from? What makes you feel it? Without judgement. What do you need right now? You’re feeling anxious about the situation; what do you need right now?
Oftentimes, they’ll say: I need you to stop nagging me. That’s not the answer. What we need often is to drink a glass of water, take a walk, journal. It has nothing to do with the other person; our needs.
From that place, we can say: we will reconvene in 24 hours and we’ll talk about this one more time. You can come back as often as necessary, until you get a clear understanding not of your position, but the other person’s position intellectually and emotionally.
It’s coming from that place of empathy, feeling what they feel, and looking at their world and beliefs around money through their own lenses. That will do more for relationships.
Why? Because the partner will feel seen, they will feel heard, they will feel understood. They will start opening up. Then, there’s a chance at healing whatever was that money trigger. It’s work. Relationships are work.
Instead of just trying to push your position, it’s better to understand.
If anyone tries to convince us, we usually tend to just dig our heels. It becomes a head thing instead of a heart thing.
That’s why my company is called “The Heart of Money Matters” because it’s not only the heart of the money, but the heart and the person with the money; they matter.
If we want to understand somebody and heal a money situation, we must address how that person or how we feel about money and why we feel that way. Then, we can know which action to take. Otherwise, we just keep repeating the past and that leads nowhere. It’s like a cat chasing its tail. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your field of work.
Definitely. I guess it’s either if that happens, it’s just at one point, someone just gets tired and fed up and decides it’s not worth it.
Yes, and they jeopardize the whole relationship instead of looking within. Like me in the past, I did the same thing. I thought it wasn’t worth it, I would just move on to the next person.
But I, we, you, we are the common denominator with every experience that we have. One of the biggest lies that I have told myself was that I could behave around money differently around my husband, my kids, my parents; no.
Between your life partner and yourself, the common denominator is you. Between you and your children, it’s you. Between you and your coworkers, it’s you.
It’s like a computer: the computer makes no difference who sits in front of it, it will behave the same way. We behave the same way around money no matter where we are. When we start paying attention to every money transaction we make, how we feel about money, we start getting a very good feel of our money beliefs, where they come from, and where the emotional blockage might be.
You don’t realize how much your beliefs and behaviors are ingrained in you. It’s not easy, but it’s something that can be worked on.
What’s the alternative? You keep going through life proving the world that money is hard to earn, that it doesn’t grow on trees.
When we understand the fractional banking system, there’s plenty of money. Money is a concept; it’s an illusion. You deposit $10 in the bank, the federal bank reserves the right to take $9 out of your bank account and lend it to others, while your $10 sits in your bank account. So, how real is that money? It’s not real.
We think it’s real because we associate heavy feelings to it. But money itself was never the problem. There’s plenty of money. But, whether we see it as abundance or lack, it’s a feeling.
It always comes back to feeling. Feel the feeling; you’re golden.
I mentioned in the intro that you’ve written 29 books. Did you just write 1 and say you were going to crank out 20 more? How did you get started in writing?
Like pretty much in everything else, my mentor said to me: have you ever written a book? I answered: I don’t write, I’m no writer. I had no idea. I have never written an article, a book, any of that.
But, see, I had a belief that I was no writer. It came from my grade 2 teacher who told me that I could not have written what I wrote because it was too good. It impacted me for decades.
We went to work, now that I knew where the belief came from and how I felt about it, and started writing. Then, the first book came out, and then they started coming in one after another like an assembly line.
I would get this idea and I would write and write and write and they came like that; one after the other. In flow, I can write about 1,100 words an hour. I love writing.
I managed to switch that belief.
For me, it’s about sharing. We all have wisdom and we all need to share it. We all have those abilities. Whether we choose to develop them or not, we’re all creative.
We’re all powerful, I truly believe that.
We’re just about out of time. Anne, thank you for being on the show today. How best can someone find out more info about you or get in touch with you if they want to?
On the website, I have a webinar coming up . You can sign up for it. It’s about debunking all of those money myths, beliefs.
I have an online course coming up and also a whole strategic planning and financial EQ implementation for entrepreneurs because most of my clients are entrepreneurs; they are pivoting, but as they become more and more aware of society, they are realizing that their money beliefs are actually what’s preventing them from going from 5 to 6 figures or 6 to 7 figures.
They’re going to the root of the problem, which is the right way to go.
Great, we’ll link to all of that in the show notes. Again, thank you for being on the show today.
Thank you so much for having me, it’s been my pleasure.
Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s episode. Until next time, have a great day.