Episode 040

Managing Money as a Smart Human with Else Kramer

I love bringing guests onto the show to share their money stories, as well as their tips and guidance to help you manage your money, stay out of debt, and take care of your future self. And this week, I’m so excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Else Kramer.

Else Kramer is a master certified coach, philosopher, and host of the Managing the Smart Mind podcast works with smart humans and people with ADHD who no longer want to feel frustrated, demotivated, or exhausted and are ready to manage their minds instead of being a slave to it. She joins me this week to share her money journey in her business, and how she learned to manage her money effectively.

Listen in this week as we discuss what defines a smart person, the challenges that smart people face when it comes to money, and some of the ways people with a neurodivergent brain struggle with money management. Learn the importance of unshaming your need for financial support, Else’s experience of a money manifestation miracle, and the first steps you can take to start getting on top of managing your money.

If you want a flash of fresh financial inspiration and actionable tips to rewrite and master your relationship with money every week in your inbox, sign up for my email list! When you sign up, you’ll receive my free Money Mindset workbook that has been known to get people making more, investing more, and having warm, fuzzy, money conversations with their partners. I’ll see you in your inbox!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Else’s life changed when she discovered coaching.
  • Some advice to help you if you are an impulse buyer.
  • Why there is no shame getting help with managing your money.
  • How to charge what you are worth doing something you love doing.
  • Why it is so important to manage your money.
  • How Else’s childhood and what she learned from her parents affected her relationship with money.


Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen Episode 40.

Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money Coach Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of under earning and under saving, sabotage the growth of your business and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.

Debbie Sassen: Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. I am so excited to introduce you today to a friend of mine, Else Kramer. Else is a Master Certified Coach, philosopher, and host of the Managing the Smart Mind podcast.

Else works with smart humans who no longer want to feel frustrated, demotivated, or exhausted and are ready to learn how to manage their mind instead of being a slave to it. Her clients are successful entrepreneurs and executives who want to stop being an answer to other people’s questions. And instead, to reconnect with what it is they want and need.

Else has a black belt in Aikido. She used to teach art and photography, and she lives with her husband and daughter in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. And works with clients all over the world, from her spacious studio office. Welcome to the podcast.

Else Kramer: Hello. So happy to be here.

Debbie: I am so happy to have you here. It has been such a long time since we’ve seen each other virtually. One of these days, we’re going to talk all things citrus together, and your favorite perfume.

Else: Oh my God, yes.

Debbie: Maybe one of these days, I’ll have to come to the Netherlands and visit you.

Else: I’d love that.

Debbie: I would too. And until then, just tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. I gave that lovely bio. But tell us a little bit about how you love to coach people.

Else: So, I just love coaching, can I just say that? I never intended to become a coach. I was running this really fun business, teaching people smartphone photography, visual marketing, art, all the things, online and in person. And then, I discovered coaching. And, it changed my life completely. Right.

And I’m sure this goes for most coaches, you’re like; I thought I was doing great, but I had no idea how much better I could be doing. People just don’t know. And I was like; okay, this changes everything. I have to help other people like me, with smart brains, who sometimes tend to run the show, right? And be a slave driver, and make us work and overachieve so we get to feel good about ourselves. You know, be completely exhausted at the same time, and sometimes disillusioned. I have to stop that and you know, go out there and help people be as happy as fulfilled as I am. So, that’s what I’m doing right now.

Debbie: So, can you tell me what defines a smart person? Because in school, I was in the gifted program. So, I was actually on the borderline. I was like, almost supposed to be in the gifted program. But they put me in the gifted program. I don’t know, you know, what angels were singing my story back in the day, but I was put into the gifted program and continued to thrive. How do you define a smart person?

Else: So, this is a bit of a minefield. I have an entire podcast episode of this, actually the first one, because I just wanted to get it out of the way. IQ has of course, for a long time, been a kind of mark for being smart and giftedness. But there’s lots of problems with that. Women tend to underperform, it tends to have a massive bias towards minorities, right? People with a different language background, etc. etc.

So, it is very hard to tell; there isn’t a clear definition. The way I look at it, the smart humans I work with, what they all have in common is they have a fast brain. They are insatiably curious, right? They want to constantly learn new things. And also, they sometimes can be a bit impatient, get bored really quickly, right. And they are also incredibly creative in different ways.

Debbie: I see the LEGO® behind you. Right. So that’s one way… I mean the podcast listeners cannot see the LEGO, but is that how you ended up with art and photography?

Else: I guess. I mean, I never saw, actually that’s another whole story. I never saw myself as being creative. But I was always obsessed with art, even as a little girl. My mom told me they used to take me to the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. I was born in Haarlem. And I just used to, like, run around it and look at all the paintings, and then they they’d be like, “How can she even have seen anything?” And I’d start telling them about details in the paintings that they didn’t even notice.

So, I just love looking at things. And I always, I can almost eat pictures. Seriously, they’re like food to me, totally. So, I never saw myself as a creative because I had this big brain and I was like you, in the gifted class, right? And I thought I was going to be a scientist and do all that stuff. But after a while, I realized this isn’t at all what I want to be doing with my life. And I get so excited and touched by beauty. Right? That’s what I want to talk about. And that’s what I want to help people see in the world, instead.

Debbie: So, that’s how you ended up teaching a photography course. You were you one of the first people teaching a smartphone photography course, right?

Else: Yes, yeah. Oh, my God, way back when. I think it was the iPhone 3®. I was working as a professional photographer back then. And I was like, this is changing everything. Right? Now, people can start telling their own stories; they’re going to be photographers. It’s going to change the whole industry, and it’s going to be amazing. And, I’m going to teach them, I’m gonna be their teacher.

And my entire peer group, like all the photographers, mostly men, were just laughing at me so hard. They said, like, “Come on, girl,” right, like, girl. “That isn’t a camera, and you can’t teach a workshop.” And I don’t know, like, five, six years later, I was laughing so hard, back at them.

Because I was the specialist. I started teaching marketing communication teams, becoming a keynote speaker on what I call “the visual revolution”; how we are telling our own stories and how empowering that can be. So yeah, it was quite the ride.

Debbie: And you can probably still give keynote speeches. Like now, videography is such an important tool online. And, that’s a whole ‘nother way. We’re gonna have to have you back on the podcast to tell us all the things.

Else: I can go for hours on that, yes.

Debbie: So, what got you into coaching? How did you end up there?

Else: So, as I said, I was running this business. It was fun, but I still I had this sense that it was harder for me than for some other people to do the work. I felt I was kind of wading through treacle. I discovered coaching and I noticed like, “Oh, I am having these thoughts. I’m believing my brain basically, that I should hustle. That life is hard. That I am, you know, basically no good at anything.”

I had so many beliefs that were holding me back, also around money. And coaching helped me so much in changing that, that I was like; I have to learn how to get better at this. Actually, to tell the truth, I signed up for certification. Not because I wanted to become a coach, but because I was noticing how good it was for my business to get better at coaching. Right? I was like; I’ll just sign up for certification to coach myself better.

But then, in certification, I started coaching other humans. And, I decided to just send like an email to Mensa® Holland and said, you know, to meet with your smart people, I’ll coach them for free, to practice. I just wanted to get experience really quickly, which I did. So, I was coaching these insanely smart people, and seeing how much most of them were suffering. And how they weren’t able to contribute in a way that they, you know, had the capacity to do.

So, they were suffering and we’re suffering because they’re not able to share their gifts with the world. And that’s when I was, okay, you know, this has got to stop. And I’m gonna help all the smart people, all over the world who need help to lead better lives. So, here we are.

Debbie: So, here we are. So, you left the photography, you left your smartphone behind.

Else: Yes. I mean, that never dies, right. But I do believe in focus. So, I discontinued the business. I had a massive final sale, which I made a lot of money to set me up, right, for the new business. Which was really, I mean, some people were like; oh, you need to be all in and just, you know, jump and the net will appear. Sure. Right. If that works for you, if it doesn’t completely freak you out and paralyze you. I loved having a big, fat pot of cash, right, to see me through that first year. Much more fun.

Debbie: First years are hard. And I think that’s like a myth that we can debunk right now. Because people think they can just like put out their virtual shingle on the internet and say, Hi, I’m a coach, or I’m a photographer. I’m whatever I am, and people should just start signing up and working with us. But it doesn’t say it that way.

Else: Listen, even for me, I thought; I have so much experience in business. I have a massive network, right. Both B2B, B2C, huge mailing list. Even for me, it was a massive disappointment. How hard I had to work that first year to get clients, seriously. Yeah.

Debbie: And so, tell us a little bit about your money journey, when you transitioned from one kind of business. And I think, this is also something that many of my clients face; is that they can have businesses and iterations and evolutions of the business, before they find the thing that they might stay in for two to three or four years.

Like, when I think about my journey, I started as a financial planner. Then it was financial planning and money coaching. Then, it was money coaching, kind of by itself. And then, it was money coaching and business coaching. But I still have many years ahead of me. So, I can keep growing and developing and iterating.

I think my pivots and my turns were pretty much connected to each other, in one way or the other. You made a sharp right turn?

Else: Well, yes, it does look like that. But almost everyone I spoke to, like, when I was doing this, said, “Oh, but you’ve always been coaching.” It’s fascinating, right? There’s a you’ve always… I mean, you use the medium of photography to show people how beautiful the world is, and how they can feel better about themselves, about, you know, their creative gifts, etc., etc. “In a way you’ve always been coaching,” so, in that sense, right, it wasn’t such a hard pivot.

And I coach a lot of people you know, who call themselves multi-passionates, multi-potentialists, who are very frustrated are very vexed. Like what should I do? I can’t keep doing all these different things. And I’m like; of course, you can. But that is such a thought error. Like all the things I’ve done from Aikido to art to I don’t know, even like the cleaning job I had when I was in high school, everything, right? Hello?

Debbie: I had one of those too, even after high school I had cleaning jobs.

Else: Everything informs what I do today, right? Like, I just keep adding things to that massive toolbox and to that wealth of experience. And, it’s just always there for me. And, I won’t always be using everything in there, that would be insane. Especially as we age, right? It just gets so rich.

It’s not like, it’s gone; it’s still there. Like 10 years of Aikido, I use that like in energy management and doing processing work with clients, and working with groups. I haven’t been in a dojo for 10 years. I stopped training, like when my daughter was born. [Inaudible] because she’s turning 16 in November. But that is still there. That’s still part of me. It’s all still there. I’ve continuously…

Debbie: Hmm, I love that. I think that, for me, that’s a different perspective on business, just from the arts. Like you’ve always been coaching because you’ve been enabling people to see the world from a different angle. Especially because we have negativity bias. And that’s like, built into us. And you’re like; no, but look at the world. It’s so beautiful. There is so much beauty. If you just shift the way you look, shift your perspective. And then, there’s so much more beauty available to you. Hmm, I love that.

Else: And hope, and love. Yeah.

Debbie: We can look at the world today and think about doomsday scenarios and how… I’ve been thinking about, sometimes, the planet is going to pot. Like how refrigerators and washing machines are designed to last for like three to five years. The parts are no longer what they were 50 years ago, when… They’re just not designed that way. They’re designed to be lower cost, and we can replace them more quickly.

I imagine my grandchildren going to the beach and seeing washing machines just floating up on shore from somewhere in the ocean. So, we can get, I can get into like; oh, you know, woe is me. I’m glad I’m not going to be around to see what the end of the story is gonna be.

Else: And that’s where you always want to; go back to the now. Right? Like so that’s your mind projecting all these horror stories, which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take action on climate like 1,000%. And that is where, some of the work I did before, like; okay, what can you see right now in front of you that is beautiful? Right? What can you find? What can you appreciate? To take you out of that catastrophizing or whatever horror story you’re telling yourself, and just be so appreciative of that and grateful.

Debbie: When I take walks in the morning, I’ll look and notice the flowers; the pinks, the yellows, the oranges, the different shapes of the flowers, the types of the flowers. Like really, because otherwise I can see all the garbage on the way, that our municipality is not clearing up and people are throwing out. And I just, I really do have to take my mind and focus on the beauty rather than the garbage.

Else: It’s really redirecting it. And some people might say, “But you’re just kidding yourself, right? Because the garbage is still there.” And yeah, the garbage is still there. You can also pick it up, if you’re that upset about it, right. If you’re like; I don’t want to look at the garbage. But why would you pick to focus on something, you know, pick something to focus on that makes you feel horrible, right? That is not constructive, productive in any way. It doesn’t serve anyone.

Debbie: Right and the flowers are still there, also.

Else: They’re such a gift.

Debbie: They are.

Else: And, I also love rubbish. I did a whole series on rubbish and like plastic bags. So yeah, there’s beauty in that too.

Debbie: Okay. I know that we have an artist in Israel, I’ve actually mentioned him on the podcast, I can’t remember his name anymore. But because we live in an area, which sometimes gets attacked by some of our neighbors, and we have missiles landing in our country, the scrap metal…

This artist takes the scrap metal and makes roses out of them. And his website, I think, is Rockets Into Roses. And, it’s such a beautiful way of taking garbage, as it were, or taking war and turning it into beauty and turning it into peace. So, that’s also interesting.

Else: I think that’s what we do with coaching, right? We take like shards and stuff that people have inside and turn it into something beautiful. Something that maybe energizes them or frees them up, and transforms them. And that’s why it is such, I feel so privileged to do this work.

Debbie: I agree. So, tell us a little bit about your money story. I know you have a big money story that you want to share with our listeners. So, go ahead and tell me about your experience.

Else: There’s lots. Like I was so bad with money. I was raised by a father who was deeply traumatized by the Second World War. He was born in 1926. And he had to go into hiding because otherwise, the Germans would have sent him to the factories to work, to make the weapons. His family home was hit by bombs, completely demolished.

And he was in hiding, there was no food. It was like The Hunger Winter in Holland where are people just eating, you know, tulip bulbs, and basically dying because there was no food left. And he brought that, of course, right, to the rest of his life. He was never able to let go of that feeling like; there’s never going to be enough. He couldn’t throw away anything. I mean, I think we were like zero waste family, before that was a thing.

Debbie: Before it was a concept.

Else: Like using the back of envelopes as paper. I mean, even like how like caps of bottles and stuff, there could be a use for it. And I have to say, I mean, he was a magician in the sense that I recall him fixing our car with tin foil one day. So, I mean, he did use some of this stuff. But there was always this sense, like; there’s never gonna be enough or, you know, tomorrow, it could all be gone. And, we need to hang on to as much as possible.

And on the flip side of that, there was this idea that rich people were evil, right? So that’s another thing I grew up with; rich people are very bad people. And the only way they can be rich, is by taking advantage of other people. So, it’s such a fun story, right? And my dad was an entrepreneur who surprise, surprise, never really made a lot of money. Right?

Debbie: No surprise there. Right?

Else: But with all these stories running, so I, growing up, decided to never have my own business.

Debbie: Okay, wait, can I ask you a question before you go on to your story? Because your father was 14 and 1940. But before that, what was his money story? Because he has the story of deprivation that came as a teenager, of scarcity and lack. How did he grow up?

Else: That is, honestly, I don’t really know. I think they were like middle class. They were relatively wealthy. But he never wanted to talk about the past. Yeah, that was like, even before the war, he just felt very angry that all the wealth had been taken away from them. And, they lost everything during the war. And, he had a really hard time talking about what happened before. But I think they were relatively well…

I have these beautiful picture books of my great grandmother, and they were actually traveling to Switzerland, in cars. I mean, right.

Debbie: At the turn of the century? Like when a car was first launched in the market. That’s not a very turn of the century term; accepted less if you’re in the year 2000. Cars didn’t launch back in those days.

Else: No. But still.

Debbie: Yeah. Interesting. But okay, so he had this money store, and it could be just the trauma of the war. In a certain way, erased the memories that he had from before he was a teenager. And then, he was living with that scarcity and deprivation. And by the way, because my grandparents lived through the war. I mean, all of my grandparents left Germany. As Jews, they escaped from Germany in 1938 and 39.

I remember my grandparents taking terrycloth paper towels, which are thick, definitely thicker than what I use today in Israel, and hanging them out to dry.

Else: Yep, yep. I totally get that.

Debbie: We didn’t throw away tin foil. We didn’t throw away anything. And today, like I don’t throw away Ziploc bags. Like if I put bread in there, I’ll just like shake out the crumbs, right? And I’ll reuse my Ziploc bags. And my kids, all my kids throw them out. And I’m like; No, but you can reuse them. And so, I totally get that story.

I remember from high school, at the end of every academic year I would go through my things, clean off my desk, get ready for the next year. And, I had spiral notebooks. And when I was done, I would throw them in the garbage. My dad picked them up out of the garbage ripped out the pages that I hadn’t used, because we can use this paper. So, I totally get this, like post-war mentality; just save everything, reuse it.

My dad, he should live and be well, he’s 84 years old. He’s a great coupon clipper, he knows how to get the best deals in the supermarket for all the things, I get it.

Else: And that’s the other thing. My mom always had to hunt for, like the cheapest stuff, right to keep us kind of feathered and clothed. And to me, as like, I grew up like you; buy the cheapest stuff. You always go for the cheap deal, the cheapest thing.

I met my now husband, I remember I almost split up with him because he bought a new coat. Which was like, I think it was something ridiculous, like 200 guilders back then, this was before the euro. And I was like, “How can you even do this? I can no longer be with you.” My brain could not comprehend how a student, right, on a student budget, could buy such an expensive coat.

And he’s like, “Yeah, but it’s really great coat, and it’s gonna last for years. It’s a great investment.” And from him, I learned how to invest instead of what I learned at home, like constantly going for the cheapest option, but then it breaks down, or you throw it away and you have to buy it again. I really had to learn that. We’re still together.

Debbie: After all these years, everything is still good.

Else: That was so hard.

Debbie: Interestingly, that’s a lesson that my daughter… My daughter and her husband are both educators; their income is pretty low. And, that’s a choice that they’ve made. But she said to me, “Mommy, we’re too poor to be cheap.”

Else: Yes. I love that.

Debbie:  So, your husband’s take on that; yes, you invest in something so it will last you for the future. It makes so much sense.

Else: Yeah. That was a massive lesson for me. Right? And there’s still, I feel still this tug whenever there’s a sale on, right? Or, there are coupons; I just feel them pulling at me. But I’ve, you know, I’ve done so much work since that. I can now realize, like I can, I can’t buy anything I want, right? But I don’t need to rely on the sales. And I can just buy the things I want, instead of the things that are on sale, just because they’re cheap.

Debbie: Do you buy less because you can buy anything you want?

Else: Absolutely.

Debbie: What’s interesting is I just celebrated my birthday last month. And I had a coupon, I joined some store, club, you know, that I could get money off, if I bought something on my birthday or the month of my birthday. And I noticed this coupon in my wallet. And part of my brain was like; oh, I get money off. I should really go this month and buy something. It’s like no, but I don’t need anything. I don’t want anything. I just like I let it go.

But it’s still a trigger. Like there’s a sale, I get money off. I have to go and I have to really think about, it doesn’t take a long time. It’s like no, I don’t have to go just because there’s a sale on.

Else: Yeah, exactly. Right. And of course, there’s a whole psychology of sales and stuff. But there, you just have to remind yourself; no, I don’t want this thing. And I, you know, I don’t come from this place of lack and there’s never going to be enough.

Debbie: But you did grow up in a house where you were experiencing and witnessing this message; that you always have to be saving and always buying the cheapest. So that was a mind switch.

Else: My dad was always spending. As soon as he did get money, he’d spend it right. And then, always get the cheapest stuff and hand me downs from… So, he was he was very impulsive. Probably also neurodivergent right, which doesn’t help either. But no, saving wasn’t like, that’s something I learned later, as well. Which I now, absolutely love. I mean, it’s the best.

Debbie: Right. So, your dad was not a saver, which is actually interesting. And it’s something that we see people, who are under earning, like when they do get money, they quickly spend it because maybe they’re not going to have enough. And, they don’t have enough money saved up for their future self.

Else: Exactly. Again, this complete scarcity, like; I don’t know what I’m gonna have money again, so I need to spend it now. Which, it doesn’t make sense at all, but to their brain it does.

Debbie: Right. So, you have a story about a hotel.

Else: Yeah. So, this has to do also with the I mean, you know, the coat and the expensive things. So, over the years, I’ve done the money work. I’ve learned how to make money in my business. Of course, feeling like I deserved to even ask for money for doing something I love.

Debbie: And it’s easy, right? Because you love it so much.

Else: Yeah. But at some stage, I think it was during certification, I realized, I am amazing at traveling on my own, booking hotels, right? Even upgrading myself to some nice seats, not business class, but still like extra comfort. But there’s this is limit, like I am like, I could never spend more than 150 euros for a hotel room. My brain’s like that’s just ridiculous and outrageous.

And, my peers really challenged me on this and my instructor. Not that I had to spend the money, right. But that I wanted to be free that if I saw an amazing hotel, which I did, by the way, in Japan, Kyoto; still planning to go there, as soon as you know, restrictions are lifted. That I was able to spend whatever I wanted on a hotel room, on one night, just because I wanted to.

So, I really needed to get coached on that. Because my brain is like; no, it’s just one night. It’s, to me, it’s almost immoral. Because it’s not something you get to keep, right? It’s not an investment. How can you spend like 500 euros on one night? What?

Debbie: On a bed and a shower.

Else: Right? And it all looks really pretty; the view is wonderful. But come one.

Debbie: I hear you. I totally get that.

Else: Think of all the other things you could do with that money.

Debbie: My brain kind of explodes at the thought of it. Yep.

Else: So. But this tells you everything, because this is my brain, again, telling me; but if you spend it on this, look at all the other things you could do with that money. You won’t be able to do those.

Debbie: As if there’s no more money in the world, once you spend $500, or the difference. It’s really just the difference between 150 and 500. It’s just $350.

Else: It’s insane. I’d spend that on LEGO any day, right, before hotel, or arts, or books. So, it’s so interesting. And this stuff tells you so much, like wherever you have an upper limit. It’s so interesting to go there and see like, what’s going on here?

Like, do you not feel you deserve this experience? Right? Can you only buy things where you think they are valuable, Because you can resell them or pass them on to someone else? Maybe the next generation or whatever? Are you still in that sense of scarcity mindset? And I totally was.

Debbie: So, I’m curious, if you didn’t go to this hotel for $500 a night, what would be the alternative?

Else: I have had the alternative. So, I went to Austin, to Mastermind, right? To Coaching School Mastermind. And I got a hotel, a really nice hotel room on the top floor. Which was absolutely fabulous.

Debbie: Ooh, nice.

Else: And so good.

Debbie: And, it wasn’t $500, or it was?

Else: Well, I think it was around $500 a night, probably.

Debbie: And, it was worth it.

Else: Totally. And the thing is, but again, it’s so interesting that I’m justifying this by saying, “Yeah, because it was so nice and quiet. And right, I could be more productive.” So, there’s still that urge to justify the expense, instead of just saying it was amazing doing that. And looking at the view from like the, you know, the windows; it was fabulous. Totally worth it.

Debbie: Good for you. So, how do you charge what you’re worth, doing something that you love doing?

Else: That’s the other thing where I’ve had to work really hard, for years. To overcome all my thoughts about; if you want to be of service, you need to offer everything for free, or maybe five euros. And, I have totally done that in photography, like I’ve offered so much stuff for free. Which by the way, I do highly recommend.

Debbie: How do you even determine what you’re worth? Because that’s such a minefield, also. Because on one hand, our worth is unlimited. There is no value that we could ever put on ourselves, as people. And that’s a different discussion about getting your net worth and your self-worth mixed up into like spaghetti.

Else: Yes, you don’t want to do that.

Debbie: Right. But how do you even determine what you are worth, so that you can charge it?

Else: I think asking; what am I worth? You’re right, that is a really, you know, difficult way of going about that, because you can get really confused. Like am I worth $100? My God, this doesn’t feel too good. So, maybe I should charge 50,000? I don’t know.

So, I love to go about this in a way that; what do I want to charge that feels good to me, right? That doesn’t freak me out completely. That I can say at least, kind of with a straight face… Maybe inside I’ll be like; Oh! But you know, I don’t want to dive under a table and hide.

But also, what can I charge that feels good, in the sense that it feels like a good deal for people. It feels like an amazing deal. Right? They’re getting an amazing deal. I love charging in a way that I think like; oh my god, you’re so lucky to hire me for this amount of money.

Debbie: Right. Okay, I love that.

Else: And I what I do for myself… I’ve also trained with a with a Sufi teacher and I love… So, we’re using heart-centered practice for this, and checking in with your heart for your pricing, and really feeling into it. Because the brain tells us so many stories, and of course, we can do all the money work, and it’s massively important.

But a kind of shortcut, is just checking in with your heart. Like, how does it feel if I charge 4000 euros for this? Right? Does it feel good inside? And also, is it like a price that doesn’t make me feel resentful?

Debbie: Yes, I’ve talked about that before; my resentment price. Where I don’t want to get out of bed and do my work for that price.

Else: And you hate your clients, because they’re like; you’re taking advantage of me.

Debbie: When I set a price to begin with, right? We’re not doing that anymore.

Else: I had a membership, which was like 15 euros a month, and I just became very resentful. I was working so hard creating so much content, and like I, it was all my doing, but you know, I started feeling exhausted. And then, my experience with a very low-price level, is that the level of customer service you have to do, is actually way higher than if you just have one-on-one clients for say, you know, 3k, or 5k, or 10k.

Because they just don’t ever send you an email saying, I can’t find this thing, please help me. So, you want to decide ahead of time, like; am I going to feel amazing working for this price? Is it going to nurture me? Is it going it energize me? And does it feel like an amazing deal for my clients?

Debbie: So, you drop into your heart, you drop into your body. And when you sort of feel that, like, I almost think of like that musical, that like resonance, where you’re just know that you’re on key. That’s the price.

Else: Yes, that’s exactly it. Yes. And, just trusting that.

Debbie: Right and going with it. So, tell me about smart people, smart people and money. What challenges do smart people have, that those of us who are just kind of like regular smart, we’re just average people, we don’t have. And, you also coach people with ADHD, right?

Else: Yes. So, there’s a couple of things. So, a lot of smart people, and you know, if you are one, you know. And if you suspect you are one, you also are one. And society has been kind of telling you; you should keep yourself small, but that’s a different story.

They tend to be very intrinsically motivated. So, so many smart humans I know are like; I don’t care about money. Money isn’t important to me. I just want to do meaningful, interesting work and not be bored. And it’s all true, up to a point, until the other person gets a promotion. And then, they get very mad, right? They’re like; but this is not fair. I am doing you know, work, which is much better. And they’re not seeing it, and why are they getting a promotion.

And it’s again, it’s got nothing to do with the money, in their mind, but with acknowledgement. But they still get mad. So, where my work is, is in pointing out to them; that money does matter, and that they need to assign meaning to it that serves them.

So, a lot of my clients are not going to be motivated by say; let’s make 100k this year. They’ll be like; no, why? I don’t care, I can pay the bills. But if I tell them like you can achieve this thing, right? Or, you can contribute to this charity, or maybe even start your own. They’re like, yeah, I want that. Or, support this amazing artist, and so on and so forth. That is when they start getting something, and they’re like; oh, maybe this money isn’t too bad after all, right?

Debbie: So, money’s like the thing that falls out of the equation. Right? That’s the answer to the equation, because they can have more achievement in the world. And the money is a reflection of what they’re doing. But it’s not the thing that motivates them to work harder, get promoted. Get ahead.

Else: And sometimes there’s also some judgment in there, that we need to clear up, right? Because sometimes they do want the money, but they just don’t want to own up to it, because they’re judging themselves so hard.

But sometimes they really aren’t interested in the money. They just want to sit in a lab and play with things and invent things and they couldn’t care less. Right? And then again, you have to be like; okay, but how do you make sure you get to keep doing that?

Debbie: Asking for money.

Else: 100%.

Debbie: What’s interesting is my husband is a scientist and he loves being in the lab. He loves science, just 100%. And then, when you get too high, you get promoted to management. And that’s a problem because he really wants to be a scientist.

Else: So, that’s another thing like I help clients with. I’ve just helped someone, actually the other day, who’s an architect. He was like, “I am just managing, I hate my job. I’m not programming anymore; I want to create things.” So, we, together, redesigned his function, his position. So, he would love it again, and create autonomy for him and take out, you know, 80% of the managing, so he could create stuff instead.

Debbie: So, my husband is just writing a book instead. He found something else to do with his time. He does a lot of volunteer work, he writes a book, he shows up at work. And he’s really, he’s busy with all the things because I think his brain is like that also.

Else:  Yeah, he needs to keep doing stuff, right? And to keep creating.

Debbie: He’s a type A+. Not just type A, but type A+, yeah. So, how do people with a neurodivergent brain struggle with money management?

Else: So, for a lot of people with ADHD, there is the impulse buying, right? Not all people, but they tend to have like, some people tend to have very poor impulse control. And they just see the thing and they buy it without pausing to think; can I afford this? Do I even really want this etc., etc.

And they can actually run up a lot of debt and can get into a lot of trouble. And then there’s also, on the other side of that, not doing the admin. So, I also have people in my practice, who are actually paying off debt, right.

Which, it still blows my mind, it’s amazing that they are investing in a coach whilst like in massive debt, because they know; I need to sort out my brain, and to sort out the way I deal with money, because otherwise, it’s just going to get worse. That really sucks.

Debbie: So, can you give us some tips? That really sucks. I know, and I’ve worked with people with ADHD neurodivergent brains. What are some tips that you can offer my listeners? Like, what are the first steps that you would have somebody take to start getting on top of it, rather than…?

I mean, I know there are many people that I’ve worked with over the years who, you know, push the bills into the drawer, don’t look at them, not interested, just put it off to later, bottom of the to-do list; I get that. There’s a lot of interesting things to do in the world. Much more interesting than paying bills.

Else: I do still need to do my taxes for last year. Yeah.

Debbie: Okay, I just got all of my documents to my accountant in July. I’m waiting for one that is not in my control. A different accountant is busy preparing it, I hope. But what are some of the ways that people can start getting control on their money?

And it’s interesting that you said impulse buying, I didn’t realize that. How can they slow themselves down and start taking control of money, so that they don’t end up in debt? And they do take care of their future self. Like, I’m real big on taking care of your future self.

Else: When it comes to taking care of your future self, there’s the automatic deposits, right, which I’m sure you talk about. Like, that’s also how we save. Like, we set aside so much money for different things, that the amount of money we have in our current account, just is enough for the month, right.

So, we’re never tempted to expend it, and not even notice it. We’ll notice it because we won’t be able to buy groceries, right? And then, we’ll have to move money from our savings account. And then, we need to like make a conscious decision; is this really what we want?

But if you are an impulse buyer, and it’s getting out of hand, first of all, you have to kill your credit cards. Or, at least give them to another person. If you think it works for you, if you are able to abide by your own rules, you can also set a moratorium, which can be super useful.

Yeah. And then, on the other hand, like dealing with the admin, get help. Do not do it on your own. Seriously. So many people are like, I can’t do this. And, they do push it into a drawer. And it is beneficial to acknowledge that it’s much harder for you than for other people.

So, get help, and also break it up into really small chunks. Make it like, don’t make it as big. Right now, it’s really massive, it’s sitting there, and you’re thinking; oh my God, I don’t know where to start. This is going to take me forever.

Find something you can do, like in 10 minutes, do that, right? And find out another thing you can do in 10 minutes, and so on and so on.

Debbie: I love the advice, to get help. Like just like we would hire somebody, we do hire someone in our house to clean the house. And there’s no problem paying for that. But I guess when it comes to managing our money, we have this belief. But there is no shame in getting help. There are people who love to do this work.

Else: Yeah, totally. And the thing is people shame themselves, right. And I did this for years, and that’s another area where coaching helped me so much. I was like, “How can I have like this insanely smart mind? And in some areas, I’m like, a crazy nine-year-old. I just don’t know how to do it. I can’t do it. I feel so dumb.”

Literally. I felt so much shame. Why is this okay for other people? Why can they just do it? And why is it impossible for me? What’s wrong with me? Instead of saying, “Okay, this is an area I do not excel, with my brain. Not a problem; outsource it.”

Debbie: That’s so good.

Else: Without a judgment.

Debbie: That is so good. I’ve talked before on the podcast, about unshaming debt. But unshaming your need for support, for financial support, is huge.

Else: Yeah, yeah. There’s so much internalized able-ism with neurodivergent people, because we’re so used to judging ourselves, in a way that; I should be able to do this. I should be more normal.

Because in many ways, it’s like an invisible disability. So, you start beating yourself up and saying, “I need to live up to this idea of someone who can do all the things,” which doesn’t exist anyway. Right. And then, you get all the shame and the guilt, and that makes it even harder to get started. So yeah, just be aware of that, that’s massively important, too.

Debbie: I love that, I really do. And when you stop shaming yourself and beating yourself up, and avoiding the money, and just outsource it to someone who loves doing it, there’s so much more energy to do other things in the world that you love to do.

And just like you said, your client who wanted to go and build a nonprofit or foundation or something like that, like there’s so much good to do in the world, when we just give up on this thing that isn’t working for us.

Else: Totally. And even for people who are like; I can’t afford to hire an accountant or I don’t, right, I don’t have the means or my admin isn’t that big. Don’t even get an accountant, just get someone, could be a friend or family member, who just sits next to you. Or, even get accountability on the internet. Right? Right now, there’s so much available, you can do admin hour, right? Just find someone else who’s going to do their admin, and just sit there and be accountable and get it done.

Debbie: I love it. I love my accountant. My accountant does all the things. I just send the documents over and they send them back and I sign on the dotted line. Such a pleasure. I’m so glad I’m not an accountant.

Else: I have the weird type of brain that does… I do love like entering numbers into Excel® sheets. So, I do love that part.

Debbie: No, no, no, no, no. Okay, listeners, you can be this type or that type. You can love the Excel sheets, and you can not love them. That’s great.

Else: I just do not love like the physical receipts and finding them.

Debbie: All right, because you probably don’t remember what you did with them. So, let’s wind up the interview today. You have an experience of a money manifestation miracle.

Else: Oh my gosh, so many, by the way.

Debbie: Oh my gosh, we could be here another hour. So, share some manifestation miracles with us. Do you believe in manifestation and law of attraction? Let’s just start there.

Else: Okay, yes and no. It’s a paradox, right?

Debbie: I see your neurodivergent brain. There’s some yes. And there’s some no.

Else: I don’t believe like I can, like people are saying, like, I manifest a handbag that I really want. I’m very judgmental about that. Let’s just put that out there. But I do believe that if you tune your energy to what you really want, and start feeling your way towards it, the most amazing things can happen. So, that’s how I see manifesting.

And two things: Coaching certification; I signed up, didn’t have the money yet. Two weeks before it started, I received an inheritance from someone I hadn’t seen for 30 years, to the exact amount. And it’s a long story, you know, I’ll spare you the details. But it was a beautiful kind of reunion with someone that I hadn’t seen for way too long.

And then, the other thing that happened magically, is I ended up coaching a whole bunch of authors on their money blocks, simply by being on a coaching directory, right? So, sometimes we’re like; I don’t know where the money’s gonna come from. I have no idea, right? Where am I going to get my next clients? I don’t have enough people on my mailing list. I don’t have enough consults or whatever, enough leads.

And when you’re just in belief that clients are coming, but you’re open to them coming in the weirdest ways, then they can come in the weirdest ways. So, this New York Times bestselling author reached out to me saying, “I’m looking for a coach to coach in my program. To coach all the authors on your money blocks. You interested?” And interestingly, my brain immediately said; this is a hoax. This can be really hard to manage it.

Debbie: I would think that also. It’s like no, no, it can’t be true. No way.

Else: It’s too good to be true. I did the self-coaching, the mind management, hopped on a call; it was amazing. And now, I’m coaching all the authors and having a really amazing time.

Debbie: That is an amazing story. As I always tell my clients, you just open the front door, you just do your thing, you advertise in the normal ways you’re supposed to advertise, if you have a business, an online business. And then, you open yourself to miracles, the back door, the window, the chimney, the money and the clients can come from anywhere. Just be in belief. No idea. No idea.

Else: And don’t make it your business to know. Right? Your business isn’t to know where they’re coming from. That’s not your business at all; it’s much more fun to be surprised, honestly.

Debbie: Oh, that’s interesting. Okay, if I agree that it’s fun to be surprised. Is it more fun to be surprised? I’m gonna have to think about that.

Else: Love miracles. Yeah.

Debbie: I’m a control freak.

Else: I love not making it my business. I am, too. But it’s so much fun when I let go. Right? So, I do the things. Of course, I do all the things, and I do the podcast, I show up on LinkedIn®. And wherever I show up, I do the things. But the rest, right, I let go. Like surprise me, universe, show me what you got.

Debbie: Good for you. So, before we wind up the interview, what is one or two things that you would like to leave my listeners with, especially listeners that are highly intelligent, and/or have ADHD or neurodivergent brains?

Else: So, if you think you don’t care about money, you want to look at that, right? Is that really true? Or do you need to just add value to money; which in itself is meaningless, right? But start deciding; I want more freedom.

For example, at work, or in my business. Okay, what does that mean financially, right? And then, you start caring about money in a way that actually energizes you, that makes you want to do the things you need to do, etc., etc.

But when you say, “I’m really not interested in money. Money doesn’t mean anything.” To me, you’re usually either lying to yourself, denying something, or just ignoring the huge potential that’s out there for you, to have even more fun and impact in the world.

Debbie: I 100% agree with you. And, where can my listeners find you? On LinkedIn.

Else: LinkedIn, Instagram®, and Managing the Smart Mind podcast.

Debbie: All right, we will put all of your details in the show notes. And, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Else: My pleasure, so much fun.

Debbie: So much fun. We’ll have to do it again soon.

Else: I’d love to.

Debbie: Alright, bye.

Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast visit MasteringMoneyinMidlife.com.

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