With Karen McCall, a trailblazer in the field of money coaching. In 1988, when she left Corporate America and began her second career, there were only debt consolidators and credit counselors. Recognizing a need in the market for the deep emotional work required to rewrite your money story, Karen quickly became a sought-after money coach. The suits in the room called her signature system of “saving your way out of debt” unorthodox before concluding that she was indeed on to something. Thirty-three years later, she has trained hundreds of money coaches with the Financial Recovery philosophy, giving them the foundation for lucrative and thriving businesses as they help others find financial freedom.

Join us for this conversation to hear more about how Karen found her way to financial freedom and then started a business to help everyone else obtain their financial freedom too!

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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:

  • “ I say that one of the one of the important characteristics that we have is a sense of compassion for people who have money problems.”
  • ” We want to heal the shame. It’s very important for people to really be connected to their money, but not just (in the) rearview mirror.”
  • ” I really hope for you to fall in love with your money.”

Check out these highlights:

  • 8:38 Where Karen’s story starts in relation to money.
  • 18:45 The idea for a financial recovery business was born.
  • 29:38 The relationship between emotion and money.
  • 41:00 Saving is the way to be able to dig out of the debt hole.
  • 51:35 Three things that contribute to deprivation.

How to get in touch with Lisa:

On social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FinancialRecoveryInstitute

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/financialrecoveryinstitute/?hl=en

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/financial-recovery-institute/

Learn more about Karen, by visiting her website here:



Imperfect Show Notes

We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.

GGGB Intro  00:00

Here’s what to expect today.

Karen McCall  00:02

And I have to say, I know there’s some people that just instinctively are good with money, but I’m talking about people that want to improve their relationship with money. So I feel that getting totally conscious and connected to our money. But in doing that, we’re also getting conscious and connected to what our deepest needs are. If we spend our money just on our wants and desires, well, this is why I like to say it, you can never get enough of what you don’t need. And you can never get enough of the wrong thing. So it is important to know that where we’re going to spend our time, energy and our money is going to be something that it that starts healing us by taking care of our needs.

GGGB Intro  00:46

The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of Guts, Grit & Great Business™ stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit & Great Business™ podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:18

Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving entrepreneurs throughout the US and around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit & Great Business™. I’m so excited to bring you Karen McCall today. So Karen, I’ve known for probably over a year, year and a half now maybe and you’re just gonna love her work and her business, her mission in the world. It’s phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of what she’s up to. She’s created some really neat solutions for people, especially in the personal finance and business finance space. So I’m really looking forward to sharing Karen with you today. Welcome, Karen.

Karen McCall  02:09

Thank you, Heather. It is so lovely to be here. Thank you for having me.

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:13

Absolutely. So Karen McCall. If you don’t know Karen, you’re gonna love this bio – at 78 years old Karen McCall is nowhere near done yet. A published author of eight books, a sought after speaker, and a money expert featured in Forbes, entrepreneur, money and USA Today, Karen is the founder of the financial Recovery Institute and the world class money coach training program. She is also the creator of MoneyGrit, a money management software – her second – that meets the needs of the family CFO as well as the small business owner. Karen is a trailblazer in the field of money coaching. In 1988, when she left corporate America and began her second career, there were only debt consolidators, and credit counselors recognizing a need in the market for the deep emotional work required to rewrite your money story. Karen quickly became a sought after money coach the suits in the room called her signature system of saving your way out of debt unorthodox before concluding that she was indeed on to something 33 years later, she has trained hundreds of money coaches with the financial recovery philosophy, giving them the foundation for lucrative and thriving businesses as they help others find financial freedom. With her live training online courses and software program, she continues to transform the lives of 1000s of people worldwide, as she further explores the psychological impact of money. Karen is a fellow Washingtonian. So I feel like you know, you’re just down the street from me, we’re probably a couple hours away. But Karen, I’m so excited to have you here. Thank you for joining me.

Karen McCall  04:02

Oh, you’re welcome. I’m so excited about being here. I just think of you as kind of like my new best friend. Because even though I’ve been in business for 33 years, I neglected some things like the legal things that I should be paying attention to and training other money coaches and I spoke to a woman couple years ago, she recommended you and I just feel so much better about my business that we’ve done all this. And I’m glad that some of the coaches are working with you now, you know, to get all of their legal stuff in place. You – Thank you. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  04:33

Well, I love that, thank you. And gosh, thank you so much for that feedback. How you feel now is how I want everybody to feel about their business. Right. It’s another gentleman that I worked with described that he’s like, you know, we finished up a whole bunch of work for him and I said, How do you feel? And he said, I feel like I’ve taken off a 50 pound backpack that I didn’t know I was carrying around. Right and that’s You know, things like legal truthfully things like finances, right? They can do that to us. We can have this -it’s a little bit like, you know, in the in the personal coaching world – I think it’s called tolerations. The things that we, we should like, you know, they say don’t should on yourself, but we all have a list of I should be doing this, whether it’s in regards to health or business or finances and that collective weight, we can carry that around for a while before we get it tackled.

Karen McCall  05:29

Yes, absolutely. And it can be scary for people to think about. I know. I mean, sure. We’re gonna be talking today about things to do in your business to be super, you know, successful, and to feel good about it. And, you know, hey, we’re not perfect right here. Years later, you know, I just dealt with this in the last year and a half with Heather. Yeah, and one of the things that stops us is like, it seems like it’s going to be way more complicated. And I don’t know if you remember this, when we had one of our meetings, and of course, it was during COVID. So it was on Zoom. My husband, who is a retired attorney, when I hung up, he said, that was the best talk I’ve ever had with an attorney that didn’t feel like an attorney. Meaning, you know, because attorneys make everything so complicated. For you, it was just, you took time, and you found out what our needs are, and you just made it so easy. And I think people are afraid of lawyers. And I can say that because I know, I always have to say, my husband’s really sweet guy before I say to people that he’s an attorney, right? You guys can get a bad rap?

Heather Pearce Campbell  06:32

Well, we can get a bad rap. And the other challenge with law is one it can be complex can it can be really hard to break down and understand. And, and the model itself, I call it the black box legal model, right, it lives inside of a black box. And it can be hard for people, including small business owners to get inside that box. And, you know, I think some of us have the heart of a teacher. And that’s how I feel is that, you know, I really enjoy teaching things in a way that help them make changes for the better, right? The true, my true insights are just immensely elated when people are living their best lives and, and they’re successful in business, right. And so for me, being able to teach concepts in a way that feel like that’s my whole goal in my business is that I want law and legal support, specifically, to feel accessible, to feel doable to feel clear and empowering. And I think this probably translates into what you do from the financial side, right? It’s all about, yeah, providing clarity. And here’s the roadmap. And here’s how you get from point A to point Z, you know, and it doesn’t have to be that hard if you if you do it the right way. So thank you for that. It really means a lot to me. But I think, you know, it’s the goal of any of us in business, to be able to do that for our clients. Because whether it’s your financial world, whether it’s personal finances, business finances, that can feel out of reach to some people, and it can stay right can stay out of reach for a while. So talk to us about where your relationship to money or finances really started, right. We all come in. And I think our early roots in life can really strongly influence how we feel about money, how we approach money, share a little bit with the listeners, what where your story starts in relation to money.

Karen McCall  08:38

You know, I’ll start kind of far back as a little kid, I grew up really poor. My father I, I didn’t live with my mother or my father lived to my father for a short period of time. And so I have a lot of insecurity in my life. And I also was a really sick kid. I was in the hospital for many years, with polio during the polio epidemic, thank goodness, I wasn’t left with any paralysis. I had a kidney disease and had kidney surgeries. And so really rough start. And in those days, they we didn’t have tutors, so I didn’t go to school until fourth grade. And they just like put me in school. And so I really grew up thinking that I probably wasn’t very smart, because it was really tough to enter school at that time, with, you know, living with either foster family or my aunt and uncle. And so I really suffered a lot in terms of just not having a lot of confidence. And in terms of money, oh my gosh, I mean, that was just something that, that as soon as I was a teenager and baby set, I started babysitting being the best babysitter in the world because I knew that I needed to have more money than I had. I knew I wanted to look better. I just knew that I just had this strong desire to have a better life, you know, then then what I instead was pretty darn young. So even though I have that early interest. What happened is I got married young. And I had two daughters right away. And my husband handled money. And the message for women in my era, and I’m sure other women have gotten this as well, is you just need to make money to subsidize your husband salary. You know, it’s like, he’s really the breadwinner, but you’re going to work the same number of hours, but you’re not going to get the benefits and you’re not going to get the pay for sure. So I worked for 15 years, graduated from high school worked in a dental office, no benefits except a paid vacation. And a little bit of a Christmas bonus never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with that at all. However, let’s fast forward several years, right, my kids were both in college and I’m working by this time I’d gone to school. I got married another time. And my husband was a professor and really encouraged me to go to college. And that was a huge, huge, huge thing during the women’s movement. You have to start at community college and get my education. And I just loved it because there were a lot of reentry women at that time, right. However, through this whole thing, my second husband, guess what, he had all the money. He was submitted by the breadwinner, which was great while I was in school. But then when I decided to get divorced, see when you get married, when you’re old, you may have two or three marriages, right? So divorced that man and decided that I needed to get a job. My daughter was in school in San Francisco, I was living in Sacramento. And I just love visiting San Francisco. So yellow pages, you know, and ads in the newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle I saw there was an ad to sell computer systems. So I called somebody and said, What’s hardware and what software when I went for this interview. But anyway, I got in with at the time the second largest computer company in the world. They sent me off to a six month training, which was fabulous. And I thought I hadn’t met absolutely hadn’t made by this time, right. And I forgot one point, when I went through my second divorce, and I got my divorce settlement, which was a lot of money at that time. I just stuck my head in the sand and did nothing except spend it. And my dear uncle said to me, Hey, are you investing your money in mutual funds? And I was way too embarrassed the time I didn’t know what a few mutual fund was. So I just said yes. I never asked for help. I felt that I should know. And I hid the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about money. So I went to work for the second largest computer company in the world, got a company car, had a great office, you know, 32nd floor of a big round, beautiful building in San Francisco. And if you would have seen me you would have thought, Wow, this woman is an amazing success. Had the suit the briefcase and a whole lot. The secret was, and it was a dirty little secret. And very nobody knew I was on the verge of eviction. I had the IRS hounding me from you know, not paying taxes on that money that I got. Everything just went in a big bowl on top of my refrigerator. So that’s how it all started. And then one day, I came home from work, and here was an eviction notice. And I thought okay, tonight is the night, I have to bring down that bowl and I have to face the music. And I was dating a guy at the time that would bring me these big stacks of self help cassettes. And so I went to that little pile and I pulled out one by Robert Schuller on possibility thinking. And I plugged that in and opened a bottle of wine and sat there and that was really start for me. The thing okay, you are living in a money coma and you have to wake up. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:43

Yeah, it’s real. That story. I mean, wow, it’s, you know, there’s a lot in there. And I think that there’s a lot in there that people can relate to, right. None of us plan for divorces, none of us plan for job loss. None of us plan for certain things that happen that you know, are super relevant to our money story. And, and yet, and in fact, I was just talking with a guy on the podcast, who same thing, built a business went through two divorces found himself at age 50. Like, basically with nothing financially, right and deciding like, I have got to figure this out. Otherwise, I’m living on dog food or tuna fish the rest of my life. Yeah. Yeah. So I think there’s a lot of people that kind of have that, you know, for lack of a better term that come to Jesus moment of like, oh my gosh, I’ve got to really look in the mirror, look at my money figure this out.

Karen McCall  14:41

You know, and be we’re just we feel so ashamed and so embarrassed, you know, that we should know. And so we’re very, very harsh. One of the things that I when I trained many coaches, I say that one of the one of the important characteristics that we have is a sense of compassion for people who have money problems and what I think found was it, I was the hardest one to find that compassion for I had regrets for a long time thinking, I’ve lost so much opportunity. Right. But that was you know, about 36 years ago, and a lot has changed in 36 years. And by the way, I am married for the third time and we just had our 24th wedding anniversary so, so just like the money finally worked out, and I also finally got the right husband.

Heather Pearce Campbell  15:24

Oh, congratulations. Oh, that’s amazing. 24 years is impressive. That is that is not something to shake, shake your head out. That’s amazing.  Okay, let’s pause just for a moment to hear from today’s sponsor. Today’s sponsor is the company money grit. If you have ever chosen a tool to help support you with your money tracking your money habits, and found that it actually adds stress does not provide clarity, or does not help you change behaviors related to money, then you need to check out money grit, you can go to moneygrit.com, it is a tool that will help you both in your personal finances and personal budgeting, and also has a business side as well. So as an entrepreneur, if you are wanting to find a tool that is able to support you in both worlds, where you can stop budgeting and start seeing the possibilities with a tool that will help you stay on track will actually help you change your financial behaviors. This is the tool for you. Finally, a money management program that shows you the whole picture. Money grit helps you gain control of your money with exclusive features designed to ensure you have a spending plan that works for you. You’ll never get caught off guard or go without. So you can stress less and live better. Check out moneygrit.com. Okay, back to today’s amazing guest. So you had this kind of come to Jesus moment with your money, right. And I think there’s a lot of folks that can relate to that and hitting hard times in life. And I mean, right now, right? We’re in the middle of the pandemic, I’m sure there are so many people that have had to face money issues in new ways, because they really haven’t been forced to before now. So what did that? What followed that moment? Like, how did you actually dig in and change either your relationship to money or how you handled finances share with us what came after that.

Karen McCall  17:41

So it turned out, it ended up really being kind of a miracle, because it really led me to this amazing career. What I had to do at the beginning, I looked in the yellow pages, we didn’t have Google them. And the only people they had were, you know, people who would consolidate your debts and put your budget counselors. And I tried those things. But it didn’t work. Because all it was was them saying, Give me your money will pay your bills would give a little bit to live on. And so that didn’t work at all. And I had a hard time finding help. I knew that I wasn’t ready for an accountant or financial planner. So I really kind of started on my own and went to therapy, I started reading books are very few books out at that time on money. And I just, I embraced this process of I am going to get smart with money. And the amazing thing that came out of it as I thought you know what, I bet there are a lot of people out there like me, right? And so I started having this idea. And I was dating John, my current husband at that point. And we had breakfast, one Sunday morning, and I said, I have this idea that there are other people like me, and I feel I want to start a business helping people who have problems with money. And bless his heart. He looked at me and he said, Oh, honey, you’d be so good at that financial recovery. So he sort of named it right, because, you know, thinking of recovery is something that’s not working well, right. If we have if we have an illness or surgery, we have to recover? Well, I have to recover. And so I started addressing it both on all three. So from an emotional standpoint, spiritual and practical. So that was just sort of the start. And at the time, I thought I’d have to be a therapist to do this. So I decided to take a career exploration class at the City College in San Francisco, Dr. Kathleen Mitchell. And she had a class on career exploration. And I took the class and my goal was number one to find out if I’d be a good therapist. What is going to tell me, and then how can I support myself while I go back to school to become a therapist. And one of the exercises that we did during that semester, was we had to do a work history on writing of all of every job that we’ve ever had how we felt about it. And, and then we got to have a meeting with her. And I thought that I was talking about our values, our skills and our interests. I thought, well, I have no skills. I do have interests. And I think I know what my values are. But I thought I had I mean, not kidding. I thought, okay, if I was a lawyer, or a dentist or a carpenter, you know, and one of the things that she helped me see was working, going to work in a big industry where I knew nothing about computers, and to be able to really thrive. And I did thrive in that environment, I hated it, I was miserable. But I thrived in terms of I started earning money. And you know, it just felt so cool to be working in downtown San Francisco. But what she’s Andale doesn’t, she said, do you have to be a therapist to help people with money. And she started talking about my skills. And boy, that just planted a seed. And I really paid attention to that. And that was in 1980, like the end of 1987 1980, I said, Okay, I’m going to start a business called financial recovery. And I’m going to find those people like me. Now, what wasn’t very smart thinking about that, if it was people like me, I wouldn’t have been able to make any money,

Heather Pearce Campbell  21:23

Right? People that are struggling to pay for your service, right? There’s a lesson in there for a lot of people.

Karen McCall  21:29

But what happened right away, right away, was I started meeting I really did do a lot of my marketing, it was all, you know, word of mouth going and meeting people and talking about what you did, we didn’t have this type of technology then. And what I realized is that people from all walks of life, and all income levels have problems with money with their relationship with money. So I had to confront some of my fantasies, like, one of my first clients, the first three months was sent by a therapist, she had inherited $7 million. And now she’s on her last 100, and she’s been hemorrhaging it. Wow, my fantasy, give me $7 million, I won’t have money problems, right. And so I had to open my mind and my heart even bigger, you know, to explore. And, you know, I started doing workshops, being invited to speak for, like inherited wealth, organizations and that type of thing. So it was just, you know, my world in terms of who needed help, was all of a sudden very fast.

Heather Pearce Campbell  22:35

Yeah. And well, even when you said the name of your, your business, right financial Recovery Institute, I thought, Oh, so many people can relate to that that phrase or concept of financial recovery, when either I needed it, or I do need it, or, you know, maybe some people don’t yet know they need it, because they, right, they have money, they’re just not managing it well, but it’s, I think it’s so relevant, and the what you talked about, there’s so much shame around money around how we manage finances and money, it’s just so true, keeps people stuck, keeps people from asking help from opening up and saying, you know, here’s what’s going wrong.

Karen McCall  23:16

And, you know, that is one of the things that I think sets us up to end up in places that I ended up in and other people as well is that when we grow up with a lot of neglect, or abuse or trauma in our life, and certainly all of the medical stuff I went through and you know, not having a mother and dad to take care of me. There’s a lot of that. And so what happens if we don’t as kids say, it’s their fault, you know, they’re not, they’re not taking good care of me, I deserve to be taken care of, what we do is we internalize the idea that we are deeply flawed. And so if we’re deeply flawed, how in the world can we be successful in life, whether it’s in marriage, and in business, you know, with money or anything. And so I knew that the part of my process, there was going to be so important, in addition to actually looking at the numbers and learning about financial part that had to absolutely heal those wounds of shame and deprivation that we grow up with. And I think that was one of the things I have my, the I defer my business was late 8788, I started doing all the work. And I have my very first client, February 2 1989. And because nobody was doing this, and I had people writing newspaper articles, got a lot of attention right from the get go. And it was a blessing for two reasons. One, I was able to support myself, but to I had all these people who came to me were my teachers, you know, I could see what they needed. For example, when I started my first part of the process was just people in their personal finances. And then what I realized that people who have their own business, they had a back door You know, it’s like, oh, no, I’ll just do that to my business. Oh, you know, and I thought, Oh, I have to include business people who are business owners, we have to include the processes that getting their arms around their personal finances, but also their business. And so my clients or my teachers, you know, I could see what they needed. And, you know, it’s been all these years, and it’s just been an absolute blessing. One of the things I love is having work that feeds my soul. Because I think that’s one of the things we all want, we want to have impact, we want to make a difference in people’s lives, you know, you like hearing about the guy where he was able to shed that 50 pound back pack, you know, and my story and you know, Michael, and story about how good it feels to do all of this. Yeah. So I just always felt like I kind of had a guardian angel. And so my business just kept growing and expanding. And then the really cool thing. The woman, my very, very first client said, This is my, after a couple of years, she said, this has made such a difference in my life. I want to do what you do, will you train me? And I have several clients go through that. And so eventually, what I created was the role cosmetic coach training, training many coaches internationally. And in the early days, they had to fly to San Francisco. But now, you know, we can do this

Heather Pearce Campbell  26:22

right? Anywhere. Right. Yeah, it’s amazing. So what what would you describe is the difference in the work you’re doing, you’re talking about getting a lot of traction early on, and getting some exposure in the media, what, what was different about your approach versus what other people were doing at the time,

Karen McCall  26:42

One of the main things was really trying to identify the emotional components or driving people’s behaviors. The very first book I wrote, I had some lovely women all agreed, including that teacher. When I started, I rented an office from a from a therapist, I got all the crappy hours, but it was a nice office, I felt proud of that. And I, the very first book I wrote was writing your personal autobiography, because I knew we had to really look at our history, and to see how we develop the beliefs and attitudes about money that drive our behaviors, you know, did we grow up feeling that you better really be successful because the family is counting on you, or you better not be successful? Because we’ve got to protect dad’s ego. You know, I mean, their family messages sometimes. They’re so loud, even though nobody has spoken them, they may as well be posted, you know, on the refrigerator in big letters. And so I recognize right away from the beginning, and you know, I think because I have to be honest, I think one of the things that ended up being a gift for me, all that early deprivation and neglect and illness. Just I think it gave me a really a gift of being able to have tremendous empathy and compassion for people. And somehow I have this mind that was just, you know, hey, we need this. And we need this, we need this. So, you know, over the years, the program has become very robust. But what sets us apart is yes, we want to heal the shame. It’s very important for people to really be connected to their money, but not just rearview mirror. That’s what a lot of money stuff. Yes, rear view mirror? Yes, I have to say, I know there’s some people that just instinctively are good with money, but I’m talking about people that want to improve their relationship with money. So I feel that getting totally conscious and connected to our money. But in doing that, we’re also getting conscious and connected to what our deepest needs are. If we spend our money just on our wants and desires. Well, this is why I like to say that you can never get enough of what you don’t need. And you can never get enough of the wrong thing. So it is important to know that where we’re going to spend our time, energy and our money is going to be something that it that starts healing us by taking care of our needs. And so in the software money grant, by the way, I love that we both have grit.

Heather Pearce Campbell  29:11

Right? It’s a good theme. Yes, yes. And so really quick on this on this concept of you know, looking at the emotional drivers or relationship to money. Is your view, is it that money is just an extension of self? Is it one of the ways that we are expressing ourselves? How do you like talk to me a little bit more about that relationship between emotion and money, right?

Karen McCall  29:38

Sometimes we miss that because we just don’t know and we don’t look. So let me I’ll answer that question. Let me kind of back up a little. And so for example, a lot of people track their money rearview mirror, or they enter it in QuickBooks or Quicken rearview mirror right? To really begin to understand our behaviors with money, what are you know, what are those triggers? It’s very important that our tracking is against a plan. So, and one of the things I built into the process in the software, by the way, is when we create all of our categories, and I’ve got a very robust set of categories, you want people to customize them. But as they get to every category, whether it’s in their birth, personal finances, their business, every section, you get to you want to ask yourself, How do I feel about this part of my life? Because I want people to like when you were talking about tolerations earlier, where people just kind of make, do they have a lot of incompletions, right? I’ve built into the software where we’re really taking a thorough inventory of our business as we go through and create our categories and customize them. And then when we go through and do a stunning plan, so for business owners, that would be you get to professional development, it’s like, how am I I’m on the latest things, right? You know, and then we get to technology, you know, hey, if we, if we use technology in our business, are we working with old computers or old headsets or old microphones? So you want to go through and take a thorough inventory of every part of your business and in your personal life of your personal? I’ll give you an example. So if, say, somebody’s in their home, and how do you feel about your home, I never have anybody over, I’m embarrassed and shamed in my home. So in that process of both creating the categories and starting to do a spending plan, we’re creating and once a needs list, what happens about once a need some people, if they grew up where it was really unsafe to have needs, because they would never agree that they may have no needs. Thank you very much everything. So what the opposite extreme is someone who cannot delay gratification, everything’s a need, right? So what I tell people when they’re doing their needs and wants list, if you don’t know what, whether it’s want or need, put it on both, because it will get clearer over time. And so that’s one of the things that sets it different that when we start we’re not only looking at what we need to spend on areas of what we want to spend, but we’re really looking at the quality of our business and of our personal life. And then what you do is you start planning and for people to unlock their earning power, you know, because these are the problems that people have. They’re under earners. They don’t believe that they really deserve overspenders, chronic debtors. You know, so many business owners, it’s feast or famine. Yes. And so when we go through and do the plan, and this is where it’s really super, super, super good. And super smart, is if you’re tracking against your plan, and you deviate from your plan. Now what you do is you say, Okay, I plan on spending 200 here, but I spent five, most programs, you would just go and erase that original figure and put in five, but we’ve built in the software, no, you don’t do that you’re going to put it as an adjustment. And you’re going to ask yourself these questions. Did I deviate from my plan, spend 500 instead of two, because I’ve just never tracked and I really am guesstimating in terms of what things are going to cost might take a few months to get everything kind of figured out. Or Did something come up by number two Did something come up that I could not have anticipated? i You will never in any of my work or in my books taught hear me talk about an emergency fund because reality besides earthquakes and floods and that type of thing. There are very few emergencies. Things are emergencies, if we haven’t planned for it, like in a hurry parasomnia emergency, but it feels like it. And so we really work with people on the different types of saving. So they’re begin to save for their periodic expenses. And oh, and then the other thing we asked is, so first was done not paying enough just guessing. Second is Did something come up? Third thing is, I saw it, I want it, I bought it to heck with my Senate. And if we do that, now, here’s where the work comes in. Because then we want to track back. How was I feeling? You know, what was going on my life that I did that. And to me without having that adjustment process? If you just go and change the initial number, you miss the opportunity of beginning to really understand you know, what those triggers are?

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:38

Yeah. Well, and that is, yeah, I think so often people are responding to triggers without really slowing down and thinking about them. 

Karen McCall  34:47

Exactly. So that’s built into the process for one thing. And because then then another thing that I have is besides the adjustment process, that’s one of the things that sets us apart and the other is It’s one thing to break denial, looking at our spending one month at a time, but I built so that you can see side by side every month. It’s not just a grand total, but it’s right helping you see. And when you go on spending 50 here and 50 every month, all of a sudden, it’s like, no, that’s not meeting my needs. And also probably not meeting my values, you know. And we just so many people are just in the money fog, or no money comment as I was like, really deep asleep. And they just are so disconnected. So I think that the way out is really starting to work at that level. So I built software, because, believe me, started out paper and pencil, then went to excel. And then this sounds a second web based program, I would never have gone into the web, the software business, if there was a program that could accomplish these things. For people who like me who really needed, you know, and I’m saying maybe it’s everybody doesn’t need it, there are people that probably manage so many fine doing that. But for people who really are struggling, feast or famine for business owners not being able to take off when you’re sick, because you can’t, you know, not being able to take a paid vacation, those kinds of things. So those are some of the things that we built into the process.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:21

Yeah, so money. Great. Just to clarify, you’ve built some of the teachings and it sounds like even like the behavior modification part into the software.

Karen McCall  36:35

Absolutely. Yes. And this was designed,

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:39

Right? Well, and I yeah, I would imagine that a lot of it, like you say, I mean, even QuickBooks, or some of the standard ones that are out there are really just reflections of what happened. Okay, that’s what happened last month.

Karen McCall  36:52

It’s looking backwards, it’s review mirror.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:54

Right? It’s a lot of reconciliation, like going to your bank account going to, you know, whatever accounts you’re using, and making sure that all the numbers are translating correctly, and that they’re all accounted for, but doesn’t necessarily give you a plan, help you change course, you know, modify behaviors, right. I mean, I It’s not to say that people don’t modify things once they start observing it for a while, because I think like you say, so many people are disconnected enough that they just don’t even want to look at it, that feels too hard to look at it and get into that level of detail. Right? What do you say to those folks who were like, Oh, I probably need this. But it still sounds hard, it still still sounds like a lot of work.

Karen McCall  37:36

This is what I would say, I really my parents really would be that you would fall in love with tracking your money and getting connected to your money. Because it’s where in the beginning, yes, it can be kind of painful to realize, we don’t have enough money to meet all of our needs. We’ve been spending our money rather unconsciously and hasn’t really. But when we can start feeling I’ll give an example. My daughter, Tammy, when she graduated from college to call me one day, she had her first job and she said, Mom, do you want the bad news, the good news. And I said, Well, I want both, of course, which is the bad news is, my car just broke down. It was $750 to fix it. The good news was, I have it in my periodic savings account. And so instead of being a victim, like oh, this bad emergency happen, she had an old car some years. You know, if you have an old car, you want to have some funds when your car breaks down. So it moves someone from feeling, oh my gosh, all these bad things keep happening to me to feeling empowered, she actually felt good about spending that money. So I do have a whole process to in terms of how we think about savings, because for business owners, a lot of business owners carry a lot of debt, and certainly a lot of people do in their personal life. And I have a process called Save your way out of debt, where we cannot just focus on credit cards, we have to focus on our relationship to saving money. Because if you think of a pyramid, a three tier pyramid of savings, where it starts with, here’s my savings for my periodic expenses, these are savings I’m going to spend. The next level is safety net, that’s where I want to be able to have a paid vacation or take time off if I’m sick. And the third one is your investments. And so a lot of people have that. But if they don’t have the safety net and the periodic savings, that pyramid just collapse, and it’s going to take away a lot of their security, maybe they’ll have tax consequences and certainly lost opportunity in terms of that money growing.

Heather Pearce Campbell  39:41

Yeah, absolutely. Well, and yeah, the idea that you know, there are principles that work together. It’s not just one strategy, but understanding the relationship of what needs to be in each bucket how those all work to create a strong financial foundation is really important. I think people can get really deflated. And I was having a conversation with a gentleman who talked about his early days trying to figure out finances where he finally saved $3,000, which at the time, you know, this was probably, I don’t know, quite some time ago, that was a big deal for him. And then he learned shortly afterwards that he had a $3,000 tax obligation right there when his savings and it left him really deflated. And yeah, he’s like, but if I’d been in conversation with people about money, could have changed the script a little bit to say, Well, look, you had it in saving somebody without that in savings would have had to finance that that would have come with interest, right. So but it’s, you know, I think it can be challenging for people to know how to layer on those strategies if they don’t have support.

Karen McCall  40:45

And that’s a beautiful story. And whoever said to him, you had it, it’s just sent it was labeled, like if people just like, it’s just savings, or like the message I got saved for a rainy day, whatever that means. However, if you name it, this is going to be money, I send it then as a positive thing. But the interesting thing happens that I love, because that is the only way people are going to be able to dig out of the debt hole and be able to stay out of the debt hole is having that periodic savings. And so what happens is, if people have never saved, they like it, so then they’re tempted, I’m going to keep it there. And then I will use my credit card again, right? However, it’s things are changing, we start changing our mindset, start changing our down deep are feeling that we can, that we are worthy of receiving, you know, that we want to have, we want to want to earn what we would like to earn. And I’ll just give an example of this, because I just I love the story of two stories, coupons. One is, if people are living in a lot of deprivation, they’re not meeting their needs, right? Underneath, all of that is this belief I do not deserve. I’m not worthy of this. Thank you very much. So we have to start taking care of the needs, because that starts pushing us in deeper, so it’s on the surface. So there was one winter where I think I had two or three people come in big storm. And one of the things was on their needs. This was new windshield wipers, right little thing doesn’t cost a lot. But changing it, I swear there was three people in that month that said, Oh my gosh, I got my windshield wipers. I could see, you know, and I just thought that such a metaphor are such a good metaphor. And then another woman, a therapist, she’s given me permission to tell the story. When we started working together, she had nothing on clothing, you know, just clothes and nothing. And so I said, Well, hey, let’s make some broader categories. How about like workout clothes, lingerie? She’s like, don’t do it. And well, how are you? How’s your lingerie? And she said, I never spend money there. And I said, How about we put something in for lingerie and, and so, you know, several months later, she said, I cannot believe this. I went from not being able to get myself underwear, given myself underwear, and I now have $10,000 in the bank. I’ve never saved a dime. So when I say those little things, and when we take care of them, it feels good. It starts changing things inside, where we do open up to be way more able to receive.

Heather Pearce Campbell  43:22

Yeah, well that, you know, that’s a great example of ways that, you know, we can use our money to take care of ourselves first. Pay ourselves first, right? I mean, even the concept in business, right? Because I think so many business owners, this idea of rear view mirror accounting, or, you know, financial approach happens to so many people in business, and it’s like, well, whatever’s left over is what they get to take home and you know, pay themselves with? What in your experience for folks that turn that around? What tends to be a predictor of business success when it comes to Financials?

Karen McCall  44:05

You know, I just love that. I love that leftovers idea. Right. You know, that’s what a lot of people believe they only deserve leftovers. Tell me the question again.

Heather Pearce Campbell  44:15

Yeah. So for folks that are shifting, you know, because I think a lot of especially small businesses, entrepreneurs, who, you know, have built a business that is getting by is paying the bills, but they really want to thrive, right. And you’ve mentioned several things that are interesting one, how to unlock your earning power, you know, I want to revisit that. But for folks that are moving away from this rear view, mirror type of approach, what can they do instead that will really drastically improve their success?

Karen McCall  44:46

I’ll tell you a story of a client right after I created the business sending them the business version. This was stolen. I was in San Francisco and he was a high end photographer, but he lived like a popper. You know his whole mindset Was he was four and …

Heather Pearce Campbell  45:01

The start the starving artist, right?

Karen McCall  45:04

Absolutely, he just did it to a tee. And he also attracted women who wanted to take care of him. And so there’s a lot of Yeah. So, but what we did, and this is crucial in people being able to overcome under earning or unlocking their earning power is when we do the annual plan, I said that, you know, one of the things that sets us apart is the adjustment process. But then there’s this annual process. And and this is crucial when a person wants to determine what they want to earn in a year. So you do your personal plan, you figure out what you need to pay yourself. And then when you go through and do a thorough spending plan for the year and you look at what you may need in your business to grow your business. You know, whatever your goals are, and then you look at what you’re projected to earn. And when we did that, because he had never earned over like $60,000 a year and for the field he was in could have been much, much different. When we finished that process, what he realized is he only needed three more gigs, to totally meet this plan that he created that this is what I would like to have to live on. This will take care of my needs and my wants and desires, I can take care of myself, I can take care of my business. And we have to get to that. And when I wrote my last book, one of the things I saw, because I went through and I just reviewed a lot of my client files. And what I saw was people who’d worked on both their business and their personal and separated them. So important to separate our business books from our personal that with rare exceptions or businesses and had gone on to thrive. But we have to really do work about what we want to earn. And so that is what I found. And another thing I will have people do is write a thorough work history. I got the idea when I took that class, and then I expanded on it, one of the things I have them write down is for every job. What did they do? How did they feel about it? How are they paid? How do they feel about that? So that people can start realizing like me working 15 years for a dentist, you know, with nothing never occurred to me that anything was wrong with that. So it we work on all these levels. And what happens as we’re doing it, it’s just starts changing our, our insides, you know, this, this belief. Everybody talks about mindset these days. And I think it’s great, we have to change this and to change this. We have to be grounded in the numbers as well. You can’t just talk about money. I mean, maybe some people but not the people that I’ve worked with, and certainly not me.

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:45

Right, right. The the point that you just made we have we have to be grounded in the numbers. I think that’s often one of the hardest pieces for people to actually look at the numbers, right we I had a separate conversation with somebody who’s a CPA, who talked about why we have a numbers of version rights drilled into us since we’re young, like, there’s so much negativity around numbers, grades in school, you know, stepping on the scale, like you talked about, he gave example, after example of all the ways that we have a negative relationship with numbers,

Karen McCall  48:19

Our FICO score, if things aren’t great right now, 

Heather Pearce Campbell  48:22

Right, like numbers, you know, are definitely a feedback mechanism. And what you say about getting really clear and grounded in the numbers, I remember it was actually a couple of years ago now. It was post kids for me, like I’d had my baby girl, which was a hard milestone to get to I had a long tumultuous journey to get her here. But I kind of like refuse to look at my numbers because we had so much medical debt, until we got like, I joke that I have $2 million babies, right. And it just took us a lot and it cost a lot and and we were willing to do whatever it took to get them here, regardless of the numbers. And so I just kind of was like, Well, I’m gonna close the book on this for a while until I have the capacity to deal with it. Well, after having her it was probably a year or so after her birth. Guess what I did? I sat down and I finally looked at my numbers, right? What did we need to be able to make to get by what did we need to make to pay off all of our medical bills, like I looked at all the numbers, and I quickly realized why we had felt pinched. And it wasn’t until I had done that. Like I literally got it down to you know the dollar of what we needed to and I analyze it at different levels. But within days of doing that work, an opportunity showed up and guess what it was it was to the dollar what I needed in a year to cover our expenses. I mean, it was amazing how correlated those were I mean when I sat down and actually looked at the numbers, it blew my mind. But that was the that was a really poignant example, in my own life of how of what you just said, the importance of grounding yourself in the numbers. Because until you have that, you don’t have clarity, you don’t know what you’re working against, or what your goals are, or how to create it. And your, your brain can’t get busy spotting those opportunities, and creating the pathway until you know, what is it what is the pathway? What is that final number?

Karen McCall  50:28

I love that story. And I’ve heard that story so many times. And the thing I would say is also, you know, just that touched my heart is like, maybe it’s like, I can’t look at the numbers, because I can’t stop this class, I’m going to have these babies, right. So just feeling that compassion, that sometimes we can’t know. And sometimes we need help. By being able to do it, we need help. Somebody holding our hand in that process. But I’ve heard that story. So often, when we get clear, it’s like then, you know …

Heather Pearce Campbell  51:00

Doors open. There’s the path. Yes.

Karen McCall  51:04

And I’ll just say a couple more things about earning for for business owners who have to set their own fee. Right. So whenever we are responsible for our own earning, it brings us face to face with our relationship with money. Very different than showing up and they pay you twice a month. Right. Right. And a lot of it you know, when I was talking earlier about the fact that you know, people overdo, like overdoing, right? overdue. Oh, I didn’t say this. That was something I did earlier. Today, I’ll just quickly say this, there are three things that really do contribute to deprivation. One is doing without things that are really important to making do that type approach to life, the incompletions and then overdoing that overspending over working. And what people do who don’t earn enough, quite often they’re delivering way more than they’re charging for. Yeah. And that leaves us depleted. So in, in setting our fees, I found that that’s like a whole piece of work to where we start out. And I say that we’ve got to have an idea of our floor and our ceiling. Because if we set our fees too low, and we’re over delivering, resentment is going and burnout is going to set in. Alright. However, that can be a challenge, if we don’t feel like we’re really deserving. And that’s why all of this trick is designed to help people get to that place, but then the ceiling, if we set our prices too high, and we don’t our fees, and we don’t realize that we might have an early ceiling, not something that we could see. But you know, it’s like, Who do you think you are that you want to make that? And so, you know, we want that Florida raise so that people feel they’re really being paid for their services? No, is that meant feeling good about it? Yeah, and then doing, doing some work to get through the earnings ceiling. When we do that. And then we really do these funding plans. Now we say, personal, this is why I need to pay myself, this, I need to run my business as I need to grow my business. When you’re armed with that figure, now you can plan your work, how are you going to earn your money. And what I’ve seen this so many people is when they, you know, they may have set their fees fine. But if they don’t believe they deserve, they want their billing out. Or if they get their billing out, and then they won’t be able to collect. So if this when people would call, they won’t work on my enter earning or I want to work on this. It’s all together, you know, they all work together as we do this process.

Heather Pearce Campbell  53:39

Yeah. Well, it’s yeah, that you’re right that in in small businesses and entrepreneurship, you know, you can be really quickly faced with that dilemma of how do I value myself right, and how do it in a way that makes me feel good, that allows me to show up fully in my business that allows me to stop the overworking. I know exactly what you’re talking about. When you say you know, especially a lot of people that I serve, heart centered, mission driven, they just want to be serving their clients and doing amazing work in the world. And they very often overwork and over deliver.

Karen McCall  54:19

It’s usually one of the models, you know, if your parents want to be a model for your son to know, you know, if if you’re a female, we want you to take really good care of yourself because you’re modeling that for your son and your daughter. And so, so important and women, I’ve seen men do it as well, but we tend to give ourselves away and end up very, very depleted. And so you know, one time sometimes it’ll motivate people to realize, yeah, I’m not just feeding myself. I’m hurting, you know, the people that I’m hopefully a model for. So radical self care is a really important thing for all of us whether we’re business owners or not.

Heather Pearce Campbell  54:59

Yeah, No, I love that such an important reminder and all of this ties into our self worth and how we view that right? Even, you know, self care is our relationship to self worth and whether or not we deserve to take time out of our day for ourselves or treat ourselves to something. Caring for folks that are listening. This is you know, there’s so so many gems that you’ve shared in this conversation. And I know you’ve got lots of resources. You have amazing books, you’ve got some, I’m sure some amazing resources on your website that can be shared. Where do you like for people to find you?

Karen McCall  55:36

They’re interested in moneygrit.com. My blog posts are on financialrecovery.com for now. I just really did a cool blog series on women and meeting their needs around close. About four is totally cool. I loved it. And so either one financial minute, financial recovery.com is the email Carona money. And then the two websites are the same.

Heather Pearce Campbell  56:00

Perfect. So we will share those if you are listening, check out the show notes, legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Karen will share your social media links there, we’ll share both of your websites. What final either tips or Takeaways Do you want to leave with our listeners today?

Karen McCall  56:20

Well, I sort of said it earlier, you know, I really hope for you to fall in love with your money. And when people think, well, it takes so much time. One of the things to do is to ask yourself is my money worth my time, because my money touches all these areas of my life. So you know, I really hope you fall in love with tracking. And just know that through this process is where we start seeing possibilities where we move really truly move from surviving to thriving for everybody.

Heather Pearce Campbell  56:52

No, I love that. And even that, that bit about time, you know, the reverse of that is what is it costing you in time not to pay attention to your money. Because people often don’t think about that, whether it’s health, whether it’s money, whether it’s anything else, it’s costing you something not to pay attention to it probably includes time, Karen, I’m so grateful for you. I’m so glad to know you. If you’ve been listening to my podcast, you’ve probably heard some ads for money grit, because I’m such a fan of Karen’s work. And I really believe that financial independence, especially for women, is the key to changing the world. I just I believe it’s that related. You know, when people have financial independence, they are able to make right choices that align with their values and create the influence in the world that they want. It’s all connected. So huge. Thank you for what you’re doing. I’m so happy to be able to share this with my listeners. If you’re listening, be sure to pop over, give us a rating and review. I’d love to know that you’re there and I’d love to have your help and and helping other people find the podcast including this particular conversation with Karen. Karen. I know we’ll be talking soon. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Karen McCall  58:09

It was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Heather Pearce Campbell  58:12


GGGB Outro  58:28

Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit & Great Business™ podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you’re doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.