June 15th, 2021
With Michelle Arpin Begina, a financial advisor, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®). Michelle is also an author and speaker, and launched her own business, MichelleAB, which is dedicated to empowering professional women to step into financial freedom so that they can enjoy their wealth and make their boldest, most inspired decisions from a place of confidence.
Michelle’s earliest memories from childhood all relate to money. And yet, the stories and lessons learned from different branches of her family tree couldn’t be more dichotomous!
Michelle has used the money lessons from her life to rethink how financial advisors and their clients have traditionally worked together. Rather than thinking of her role as a gatekeeper of portfolios, she sees real value in being a gateway to personal financial freedom.
To support her clients on their unique wealth journeys, Michelle is a technician of financial planning, investment, and wealth management. But what differentiates Michelle from other financial advisors is that she has spent the last two-plus decades studying the unconventional, non-financial aspects of life satisfaction, financial therapy (it’s a thing), behavioral bias, choice, and decision advising.
She believes we all need to examine the money stories, scripts, and lessons that affect our financial psychology so that we can rethink what we know about money to have more of it.
Michelle lives in Wyckoff, NJ with her husband, Mike and sons, Alex and Nick. She is an avid photographer – her sons are her favorite subject!
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- Nowadays we have a “relationship with money.”
- Contextual self control – when we bring certain motivations to different areas of our life.
- How parents can talk in healthy and helpful ways about money and finances with their children.
- “Money animates our life.”
Check out these highlights:
- 5:33 Michelle’s roots in regards to money, including influences in her childhood that shaped her own money story and relationship to money (including her parents’ tendency to share TMI in regards to money, and the feast or famine pattern they created for themselves).
- 12:21 “There’s so many differences between somethings that is private and something that is secret. Secrets harm.”
- 23:06 The money stories are unlimited. We are exposed to things at very young ages and we assign meaning because we don’t have the cognitive abilities to fully understand them.
- 39:45 Meaning of wealth according to Michelle. [You don’t want to miss this part].
- 51:27 Regarding spouses and money: we play different roles when it comes to money. [Listen for more on this point!]
How to get in touch with Michelle:
On social media:
FREE GIFT FOR LISTENERS:
Grab Michelle’s ‘Good with Money’s Success Formula’ 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 0:00
Coming up to date on Guts, Grit and Great Business.
Michelle Arpin 0:04
There’s so many differences between something that’s private or something that’s secret, right secrets harm, privacy. Right? So it’s, I think it is completely appropriate for parents to be open with their children about what they can or cannot afford, what their values are around money. I love when parents talk about their decision making process, right and none of these discussions need to discuss any numbers whatsoever.
GGGB Intro 0:37
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 and Great Business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:10
Alrighty, welcome! I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving information entrepreneurs around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business. I am so excited to bring you my new friend Michelle. I’m so excited to have Michelle here because she is a friend of a mutual connection, who I just adore. Actually, Julie Fry, who you’ve maybe already heard on this podcast, and Michelle, I should have asked you before we got started. How do we how do you say your last name: Arpin Begina?
Michelle Arpin 1:47
So it’s Ar-pin Be-gina
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:49
All right. So welcome to Michelle Arpin Begina. Michelle, I’m so excited to have you here.
Michelle Arpin 1:57
I am so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:59
You’re welcome. It’s gonna be a fun conversation. So for those of you that don’t know Michelle, Michelle’s earliest memories from childhood all relate to money. And yet the stories and lessons learned from different branches of her family tree couldn’t be more dichotomous. How many of you can relate to that? Michelle has used the money lessons from her life to rethink how financial advisors and their clients have traditionally worked together. Rather than thinking of her role as a gatekeeper of portfolios. She sees real value in being a gateway to personal financial freedom to support her clients on their unique wealth journeys. Michelle is a technician of financial planning, investment and wealth management. But what differentiates Michelle from other financial advisors is that she has spent the last two plus decades studying the unconventional non financial aspects of life satisfaction, financial therapy, it is a thing, behavioral bias, choice and decision advising. She believes we all need to examine the money stories, scripts and lessons that affect our financial psychology, so that we can rethink what we know about money to have more of it. Michelle lives in wycoff, New Jersey with her husband, Mike and sons, Alex and Nick, she is an avid photographer, and her sons are her favorite subject. I so love that. And Michelle and I actually just before going live, we’re connecting and talking about our son. So that’s really fun to see that in there. Michelle, welcome. I’m so happy to have you here.
Michelle Arpin 3:34
Thank you for that intro, I’m so happy to be here to talk about a subject that is occupies a lot of real estate in my brain.
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:42
Well, and I say I think truthfully, it does in most people’s brain, whether they live in the financial world or not, and whether they’re willing to admit it, right, this whole idea that we have almost a separate financial psychology that runs in the background alongside our other life stories and our other, you know, strengths and areas of focus in life, I think is absolutely true. And it’s it’s one of those topics that is so triggering for a lot of people and I’m sure we can dig into your experience of why that happens. But you know, like I mentioned to you before going live, it’s I love talking about money. I love being open and out and about with the importance of addressing our money issues, because my goal is The Legal Website Warrior®. My goal is to help create an industry of entrepreneurs that are more successful, right? legal support in their business is a piece of that. It’s not all of that, but it’s a piece of it and money is a huge piece of it money is directly related to our ability to create influential businesses in the world that do good. Right and and so I just I think the money topic is so important. I’m so happy to have you here. So for folks, that I don’t know you. And I know, you know, and maybe we’re jumping into the juiciest part of your story. But I know you mentioned you had a lot of shame and intensity, it sounds like around your own money story originating clear back in childhood. Do you want to open up by telling us a little bit about where your passion for money originated?
Michelle Arpin 5:23
Yeah. Wow, let’s dive right in. Right,
Heather Pearce Campbell 5:26
we might as well I know, it’s such. But I think it’s, I think so many people can relate to this actually. Absolutely.
Michelle Arpin 5:33
So the way I grew up really was, well, let’s let’s think about money relationship for a second. And we say we have a relationship with money. Right? What I’ve always thought is a is a strange way to put it because money is not an inanimate object. It knows it shows no signs of life, but it animates so much of our life. And my life growing up was so animated by money, but the type of animation that lit me up and made me want to run for cover at the same time, because it was rich for rich people rich for growing up. My and I’m good at little disclaimer here, I’m going to throw my parents under the bus at least once or twice during our conversation, and then I will rescue them. My parents were hard working, talented, and, you know, extremely motivated to do well in life. And they did. And they ran a successful business that they generated a lot of income from. When it came to money, they were a complete mess. So it was never, it was never that they make enough their behavior around money. Didn’t really allow them to retain the game what has recreated a ritual ritual ritual or what
Heather Pearce Campbell 6:59
it was that just like feast and famine where sometimes you had it or did you not see that dynamic from the standpoint of them having it not having it just always felt like they didn’t have it?
Michelle Arpin 7:11
Oh, no, I saw it. You saw it. Yeah, I was Ashley, you know, in financial therapy terms I was in meshed in the conversations. In other words, what we call TMI today, right? Agent appropriate information that was shared. And I think my, my mom in particular, shared things because it was a form of stress relief for her. Because she didn’t really have another outlet. And the relationship that each of my parents had with money was very different. And then when you combine that chemistry, it was combustion. So I literally saw from two senses, one because my parents were actually my mother in particular was very open about what was going on with money, and we had all the toys to prove it. So growing up, the family joke was, my father would get a new car when the ashtray was full. You name the car, we probably owned it growing up. And it also requires a lot of adrenaline and toys, motorcycles, sports cars, eventually, one of the biggest impacts was when my parents bought a yacht with funds that should have been used for my college education when I was 17. We had private airplanes growing up. And I know none of these big ticket items are relatable to anybody’s audience, right. But here’s the thing to know, every time because my parents would have large accounts receivable in their business. They always my father in particular, always had his eye on a very big ticket item, we literally would be down to our last five bucks, you’d be flying in a Cessna, and we’d be broke. Right? Just imagine like your next door neighbor that. You know, one one parents say his phone, one works. Got a couple of kids and the new cars in the driveway every couple of years. They take great vacations and seem like they have it all going on. You know, you might look over the fence with a new car and say, oh, best book to them. In your wildest dreams, you’re not gonna say they’re done in less than $1. Right. That’s how I grew up. So I was very aware of a couple of things. I was very aware of the behaviors that I was seeing. I was very aware of the fallout of the relationship and the chaos that it was creating between my parents. And I read that in like secondhand smoke, no to my course. And it made me keenly aware really early on of how connected our emotions are with our money. How could I miss that? Yeah, so that’s what I was fascinated by. I mean, it really was like a form of post traumatic stress pitches. You keep watching because your your your heart and your eyes can’t believe what it’s saying. So you’re gonna watch again, because maybe I’ll see something different. And that’s really that was the loop that what it was like growing up. So it’s just that I always say is it caused a morbid fascination that turned into an obsession that turned into a vocation. For me. What happened?
Heather Pearce Campbell 10:24
Well, in this point you make about there there being this enmeshment or TMI related to finances, right? I think that a lot of people are familiar with that concept when it comes to other dynamics in a relationship or in a marriage or in regards to raising kids. And I think it’s really important to think of that, specifically in regards to the money conversation. And even when I think of my experience, like in relating to yours, I think my parents came in with similar differences in money dynamics, but we were somewhat aware of some of that, and it leaked out, I would say that it leaked out, they didn’t intentionally put it on us, but it did leak out. And so, again, we were aware of, you know, some stress and money things that were going on, it’s not like we ever starved or, you know, didn’t have a meal. But there were certainly times where we were like pouring milk over bread for our Sunday dinner, you know, and, and I know that that was extraordinarily challenging for my mom coming from a family where she didn’t struggle for money growing up, like they had enough and there wasn’t this terrible inconsistency. And that part of the equation came in through my dad’s side.
Michelle Arpin 11:43
Yeah, that’s so interesting. You know, if you’re your mom’s perspective of, you know, just think about the adjustment, that she was experiencing something so completely different than what she had grown up on it really,
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:56
yes. And as a child, right, and as a child, you’re looking at that through a childlike lens. And so you don’t have the full awareness of what that experience must have been like. But as an adult, looking back, like, the reality of that is, you know, very heavy thinking about what an adjustment that was for her, in addition to raising six kids and all the other things that come with real life.
Michelle Arpin 12:19
Yeah. I think, you know, just going back to the TMI and parents, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s so many differences between something that’s private, or something that’s secret, right? secrets harm, privacy. Right? So it’s, I think it is completely appropriate for parents to be open with their children about what they can or cannot afford, what their values are around money. I love when parents talk about their decision making process, right. And none of these discussions need to discuss any numbers whatsoever. Like I think people are always petrified, my kids gonna ask me, How much money do I have in the bank? Or how much money do I make? And most of the time, I don’t think that really comes up. But, you know, like, I love when people talk about their decision making process without the numbers, because otherwise, it’s like, the new washer dryer shows up magically where the nuclear war magically, and they don’t understand the you know, the the trade offs that you made, what did you weigh? What were the features that you were looking for? What values were you honoring, in that purchase? What was your need? Was it more of a need? Was it a want, you know, set a budget? Did you blow that budget? Did you negotiate it, all of that stuff is like that’s the real stuff of life, whether it’s related to money or not, but it’s, it’s a money lesson in and of itself. And this is what and I also have a cardinal rule with my children. And I always say this other people is that when your children are asking, they’re ready for an answer. And you just need to give them an answer that’s age appropriate. And you know what that is, right? So if you’re stepping over that line, where you’re going to say something because you’re angry, or it’s going to make you feel better in the moment, then you know, like, okay, that’s not the thing to say to my child. And I always feel like when the child stops asking for more when they stop saying, Well, why or how come or they want to know more than you, then you scratch the itch. You answered the question, right? And it gave them what they needed in that moment. And grit is a beautiful thing to do for your kid.
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:30
The thing that comes up for me, the reason I’m laughing is there was a conversation that happened a few maybe two months ago in the car with both my kids, one is three and one is eight and my eight year old, who in some ways developmentally, like when it comes to executive functioning is more like a five year old. You know, we’ll ask certain questions. My three year old is like totally on board, you know, and she’s probably a bit advanced. And so if we have some really interesting dynamics around certain conversations that come up with these things, kiddos, and they were talking about how do babies get made? Right? It was the most hilarious conversation like I’m laughing as I think about, you know how I was trying to come up with an answer that would assuage both a three year old and an eight year old. And the funny thing is, I said, Oh, we have this great book at home that mommy that we can go through and talk about this and, and my son, by the time we got back to the house, like my son was just done with the conversation, he could care less. And my three year old was like, Mommy, can we go see the book? It is funny. And so we looked at the book, and Aiden came and looked with us for a few minutes. And you’re right, like they reach a point where they’ve had enough they get enough information that they will stop asking, and it’s maybe a different point. But he left and she wanted to go on a little further. And then she was done. She was like, Okay, I’ll, you know, yeah, I love that. I love that. Because I think that’s a great way to pay attention to whether or not you’re responding that to them in a way that’s giving them the right information for their age. Oh, yeah. I
Michelle Arpin 16:05
I mean, if you don’t, you know, they’re gonna keep you know, Mom, Mom, mom, like they’re just gonna keep asking, you may satisfy that. Yeah, you’re making me think of something very funny that happened between our boys. So I, our boys are 14 and 14 and a half and soon to be 18, which I can’t believe I know. And I’ve been very open about their college accounts. I show them their college house, we talk about them, and their three and a half years apart. So when I showed my younger son both bounces, I showed his I show his brothers. He looked at the difference in the account values, because it’s been funded for three and a half years less. Yes. And he said, What if you love me, you’ll even these up? And then how do you talk to your point like, you’re 14? All right, should we have time value of money conversation? composting. I’m not sure that that was the moment because he just emotionally wanted to know like, Love and War. Really funny. Hilarious. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:13
In our house, that conversation would be around pirate tokens. Oh, do you see how you know you’ve been doing this a little longer. Right. So funny.
Michelle Arpin 17:22
Wow. Our tokens turn into the education account right morning later? Yeah. Preview what’s coming? Oh, my
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:30
goodness. Well, I actually do really love this topic about money and kids and how you have a conversation with them about it. I think it’s really important. So
Michelle Arpin 17:39
Heather Pearce Campbell 17:40
I love those insights. So, you, you came from this background, right, of really being so tuned in to what was going on in your parents money conversation? At what point like, you know, take us through either the transition point, at what point did you decide like you were going to live in this world as a, you know, for your employment, like do something as a living related to money? We talked to us about that bridge?
Michelle Arpin 18:14
Yeah. Well, I think there’s a couple of things. So literally, as I was standing on the dock of that Marina, learning that my college education was, you know, bobbing up and down in the water, horrifying. What it when that happened, actually, I didn’t react, I was looking my father in the eyes taking in the information and I didn’t react, my brain literally went on fire thinking, Okay, I need money. college costs a lot of money. I don’t have any money. How am I going to make money, okay, I got to get a job literally, like by the time I left in my car, like, that’s all I was thinking about. And what’s important about that to share is I had been raised hearing, you’re smart, you’ll be the first to go to college. My father actually took me on college campus tours, which is sort of a cruel twist to this whole thing of being led to believe the support would be there. But more importantly, I had absorbed all of these messages. And as I was standing there on the dock, I was a college graduate in waiting. So that was my belief. I’m getting an education now wasn’t just because I wanted education. I mean, I blow dry my hair to this day reading books, I love to learn, right. So there was no question on that dock that I was getting an education, right. I wanted education. I didn’t want a degree. I wanted an education. But to answer your question, because I think it’s important to talk about mindset. But to answer your question, when I was growing up, I remember saying to myself, because I wouldn’t there Say it out loud because it was just would have been rude. There’s got to be a better way. And this isn’t going to be when I grow up. And that there’s got to be a better way, was always putting me on a quest of trying to figure out well, what are the better ways. And the one thing I knew about myself really well was I wanted meaningful work. I always knew that from way back, that I was just going to be in some type of work that I felt like I was making a difference. So as I gotten gear, I ended up working for a bank, I discovered college tuition reimbursements. That was like a miracle. And I said, Wait a minute, if I get a beer better, you’ll give me back 80% of the money. So eight years of night school, that’s how I paid for my degree. And then I was simultaneous as I was starting my career, where I actually thought I was going to be an accountant. And then once I learned what certified financial planners do, I said, I think they need to gain, I don’t want to be a CPA, I want to be a CFP. So that’s what started it. And it always was this marriage of loving the personal stories of the people that I was working with, and loving, analyzing everything, right, analyzing their stories, and then analyzing their numbers and marrying all that. And literally, it came out of helping people to find a better way. As I have just discovered more and more and more about myself, all of what I said is true. What I’ve also realized is that I saw my parents at their highest and best as I was growing up, and I was powerless to do anything to help them. And I was desperate to want to help them. And what I’ve realized is that what I’m up to in the world is the work that I do, I’m giving that little piece of myself that was powerless in that moment as a little girl to help people and I actually can do it now. And it was just such a big like thing to me that the thing I couldn’t give to my parents, which I desperately would love to and giving to the people that I work with now.
Heather Pearce Campbell 22:29
Absolutely the thing that they needed. Well, and it’s you know, those healing stories of when we heal ourselves and heal our our own stories, you know, we’re healing others, and we’re healing the next generation. It’s just so true. And this is one example of how that can happen. In your work in this field, do you find that there are kind of a limited number of the most common money stories? like is that an unlimited world? Or do you find that there’s like, five main different money stories?
Michelle Arpin 23:05
Great question. So I would say the money stories are unlimited, because everybody’s got a different background. Right? Yep. And our brains are wired to the environment that we grow up in. And as you pointed out earlier, you know, were witnessing things or experiencing things through a very young ones. And we’re making them mean things when we don’t have the cognitive abilities to understand, to reason to critically think, right, because we as we evolve, we feel before we think as we’re growing up, right? So we sense first, and then we start applying our brain power to it. And okay, so the stories are countless, everyone has a different story. I mean, this is like everybody’s got a different set of fingerprints. Right? Yeah, the money scripts, I think is part of what you’re asking. Right? So there’s some work by some therapists, Dr. Brad and Ted cloths or Father, Son team, and they’ve done a lot of research around money scripts, which there are four main ones or some other ones, but the four main ones are money, avoidant money, worship, money, status, and money vigilant.
Heather Pearce Campbell 24:20
So this tends to be the behavior that develops out of those money stories.
Michelle Arpin 24:26
Exactly. So these scripts, each of them has a subconscious belief. And when I want to talk about subconscious unconscious for a second, because I think a lot of people might think I’ve got to really, really dig deep and maybe go into therapy to figure out well, my money beliefs are and I actually think, right, this is not science, but our money beliefs are like, right at the bottom of our consciousness and right at the top of our subconscious, they’re right there on that surface, and I’ve got to really do is just give it a little time and attention and think about it and it really like discover Bring your money beliefs, it’s pretty easy. It’s what did you hear growing up? What did you experience? The big moments positive and negative? And I’m sorry, what did you hear? What did you see the flash points? And, you know, just really digging into that stuff
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:17
when I if I bet and maybe I’m off, but when I look at my own, I also would think that it has to do with what were your son with some of your earliest interpretations and understandings about money, right? Because isn’t that when something really takes hold, is, you know, some of your very early experiences around what money means in your life or your parents life. And I know, like, when I look at my own art dad and my family who had a similar experience to you, Dad, yes. Not from the standpoint of having had a feast and famine kind of experience. But being told if he worked on the farm, worked on the ranch did everything his dad wanted him to his college would be paid for. And then time came for that. And it wasn’t his dad had no money he couldn’t. And so he had to go join the railroad and like you figure out how he was going to pay his way through college. And, you know, this was at a time when like, he literally, my dad’s story is, is like a generation ahead of him. A lot of people who are my age, a lot of their grandparents might have stories like my dad had, he was hunting squirrels and animals as food, while he went to call it you know, he was a real country boys. And this is just how he got by and, you know, just kind of craziness in my mind. But, but what he did for us turning around, I think he was so horrified and didn’t want to repeat that pattern is that like, at age five, starting kindergarten, I got the lecture about, you’re going to pay your way through college. So here’s how you do that is you’re going to get a scholarship or you’re going to be a good athlete, or you’re going to save your money until then. And so we knew at a very young age, all of us in our family were responsible for that. Right. But I think it’s because he didn’t want to repeat the money story that he’d inherited from his parents.
Michelle Arpin 27:13
Absolutely. We know that you’re bringing up with so many, we’ve got so many open loops here, we got to close them off. what you just described, I think, is one of the kinds of things that parents can do for their children is to tell them the truth about what they can or cannot do. Right. It’s just and we’re afraid to do that sometimes. But it really truly is the kindest thing to tell the truth about it. Yeah. And so let’s go back and talk about money scripts for a second because that’s sort of the the underlying belief. So money avoidant is the underlying belief is people with money are bad? Okay, well, if people with money are bad, and I have money, we’ll get out of that money. Yeah. Yeah. Money worship is more money, we’ll fix all my problems. Okay, this is like, I’ll talk about myself, okay, when I went 113 pounds again, ever, like everything, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:09
Everything will be,
Michelle Arpin 28:14
money worship kit, you know, and each one of these scripts, there’s not only an underlying belief, there’s a propensity for different behaviors as well. Money status, it’s, I think, the most visual of the four, it’s what it sounds like,
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:30
right? There’s like or keystation, keeping up with the Joneses kind of a
Michelle Arpin 28:35
really visually keeping up with the Joneses. But we can silently keep up with the Joneses to write or non visually keep up with the Joneses. But the underlying belief is my, my net worth is my self worth. And the underlying belief from money vigilance is money is private. Those are the four. So if we don’t discover our beliefs about anything in life, right, that just imagine this for a second. So your daughter, let’s say, she walks into the room right now. And she’s three. And you just got your, you got your Sep account statement, right? fork it over to your daughter and say, Would you open this? You know what, let me know what you think about the asset allocation for me, right? Like that’s what we’re doing. So our inner child is running the show. And like I said, it doesn’t take a lot to raise these beliefs. Now. It’s, it’s easy to raise the beliefs and then what do you do with them? So I want to go from a bank to a boat for a second. My very first memory with money was actually in I’m sorry, dad. Were three under the bus again. Was my father asking if he could borrow money from my piggy bank? I was five. And I asked him I was a gutsy little kid. I asked. Well, what do you need the money for? And he said cigarettes? And I said, No, you can’t have the money. Because I was matching my money with my values. I didn’t want to contribute to him smoking, which is bad for him, and I didn’t I want him to be healthy. Well, he didn’t honor that. And in front of me, he reached into the piggy bank, and he took the money. And he gave me this look of disgust on never forget it. And I was crying my eyes out, and I was crying out of frustration. And I remember this like it was yesterday. So that was an act of what I call pretend permission, pretended to ask me permission. He did it again. When I was 10. He bought a Jaguar, not the four legged Jaguar, he bought an automobile, Jaguar. And my mother was out of town. He called an Astor. You know, I’d like to buy this car. But do you think Can I do it? And she said, No. And he did it anyway. And he swore my brother and I to secrecy. Now, the 10 year old, I have a bit of a smart estimate, the 10 year old and he was like, do you think she’s not going to notice when she comes home? Okay, so there was an explosion when she came home.
Heather Pearce Campbell 31:16
This is like, this is reminding me I grew up watching coach, right? This is the coach episode where he buys a Harley and put parks it in the garage and covers it, you know, under a big tarp or whatever under that, like, you know, it’s gonna get discovered there’s no way to hide this.
Michelle Arpin 31:32
Exactly. It was like that. Okay, so then fast forward to is it is anyone in this audience now surprise that my father bought a yacht with the money that should have sent me off to college? Okay. So here’s the key is that his behavior never changed. Right? I should have seen that coming with the boat. Really, I should have seen a calming because I observed all this behavior. But it’s complicated that your parents, right, you rely on them for your safety and security. And you just think like, they’d never do something like that. Right? So the point of my telling all that is that there are behaviors that we’re acting out, that relate to our beliefs. And if we don’t just take a look under the hood, and figure out what’s our belief, and what behaviors are driving, we will just keep repeating the same pattern. Right? So there’s just a little example, if you know, Michelle, from five to 17, that behavior never changed. The difference with Someone once asked me fairly recently, like, why is the boat story so impactful to you? It was the first time I took the torpedo. Everything else was happening around me. And I too, like we had a house. I never wanted for food, you know, we had the basics. And by all outward appearances, it looked like we had it all going on, right. But behind closed door, it was a very different story. And the thing that I wanted the most growing up was to feel secure. And I was very driven for security.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:07
Yeah. Well, and I think I mean, one, I think the security instinct is quite natural, and particularly on the female side of the equation, where that usually comes first as a primary driver for a lot of areas, and then we can get into tackling some other things. But if we don’t have security, becomes this almost fight or flight response to that issue or that conversation? Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Michelle Arpin 33:33
Well, we, you know, it’s been proven now with an fMRI studies that fear around money. In particular with stock market, when it is declining, we experienced that exactly as if it is a life or death situation.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:54
Oh, that’s right. Well, and you look at, you know, divorce statistics from the legal field, right come from the legal field. And it’s a it’s a massive percentage of it’s like, 90% of divorces are driven by lack of money, not a, you know, differences in money. Like it’s a huge, huge part of the equation around why relationships fall apart.
Michelle Arpin 34:19
Yeah. You know, the travesty about money causing divorces or contributing to it is for families that have resources, they have enough money coming in, right? What drives the divorce rate is not necessarily the amount that you have or not, it’s the communication around it. That’s exactly where it falls down. Right? Because you’re because think about this when you’re, you know, we’re sitting across from each other on a zoom. And we’re talking about our money. Well, I brought my parents and Can you see my grandparents Can you see my great grandparents and my kids are probably in here too. And so does everybody else?
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:05
Michelle Arpin 35:05
So we’re all here. There’s a lot of people here talking about a topic that never gets aired out. So that’s
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:12
right. Well, and I even think about so you know, my husband and myself, we grew up with very different circumstances around money. I had a stay at home mom, I was one of six kids, we were very poor for a big portion of our growing up experience. I mean, we were provided for but like, there was some secret of stuff. I remember my mom buying us girls, small things like literally a little bottle of lotion. And you know, there were four of us. But if she did that, like that was a splurge, she would tell us go sneak this up into your room. I don’t want your dad does it because she didn’t want the confrontation. She didn’t want the dynamics that came with her not having control over any portion of that money conversation. And so tired of the fight that she just was unwilling to do it. Yeah, right. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And so
Michelle Arpin 36:03
all the time.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:04
Yes. So I have, you know, my own experience around money and childhood and how that informed my beliefs around money. But then my husband was a single child, to parent income, both work for Procter and Gamble, never had conversations about money, because they always had enough. Right? So his his awareness of money and like the feeling of needing to be on top of it, or really be strategic, like, it’s just, it was never in his awareness as a child. So it tends not to be in his awareness as an adult. And the differences of trying to like, come out the money conversation with totally opposite experience. It’s, it is whether you want it to or not this conversation about money, like we have plenty of other people in the room here with us, just like you described.
Michelle Arpin 36:51
Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, he really came from more than enough. And up from just enough. Yeah, that’s very different. Yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:59
Yeah. Well, and modeling a very different approaches around whether you even talk about money, and you know, parents that don’t.
Michelle Arpin 37:09
Right, really, really
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:11
Michelle Arpin 37:13
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:14
yeah. So where do you see when in your work with clients that you’re doing now? I mean, it sounds like you can go way back and go deep and dig out all of these things out of the closets, right? Is that where you start?
Michelle Arpin 37:29
Yeah, where I actually start is with one of my favorite questions, which is what does wealth mean to you? And I don’t ask what is being rich mean? Yeah. And the reason that I like that question? Well, you know what, let me so can I ask you a question? Yes. What does wealth mean to you?
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:48
Oh, well, to me, means feeling like my cup is full across the board, but across all areas of life, right? relationships, work life balance, being able to feel rejuvenated, right? So even from an energy standpoint, to me, that’s a huge portion of, you know, feeling wealthy and feeling abundant. Having time for relationships, having time in my life to do some of the things that are really life supporting and joy inducing. You know, and a big portion of that is whether or not our financial picture looks the way that it could or you know, should to be able to support that. Let’s call it time and life balance. Yep.
Michelle Arpin 38:51
So tell me about like, when you say do really life supporting Joanne dusen types of things like what were some of those things day?
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:01
Oh, adventure is I love adventuring with my family time in nature, you know, time being able to and obviously COVID makes us very tough seeing seeing my sisters, I adore both of my sisters and their families and you know, having those kinds of time. And, and not just vacations because yes, we do a lot of connecting with people when we go to schedule vacations, but really just having a lifestyle that allows us to do those things that do refill our cup in virtually every way possible. When we need to when we want to in a way that creates some flow and balance, you know, mixed in with all the rest.
Michelle Arpin 39:45
And we finally got to it. So the universal answer is to What does wealth mean? Hmm. Is I’d like to do what I want, what I want how I want with who I want, right and that’s totally What you described, and you’ve also revealed some of your values, your family, nature adventure, you’ve told me that time is really important to you, we could go on, but like asking the question, What does wealth mean to you? The answer is always financial and non financial. Right? Money animates our life, there’s no doubt about it, it touches every you know, every fiber of our being, it’s just us. So asking that question, it’s my favorite, because the person is going to give me their definition of what they want their life to be. And plan planning. Your Money is really in service to that. So the answer to that question, I am probably right, if we keep going deeper and deeper, what I’m going to understand about you as who you are, what you value, who in your life, your value all relationships, I’m going to understand what you’re doing what you want to do, we didn’t get an aspirations, we would go there, right, you would tell like you would paint me this beautiful picture, and you just see like a couple questions like, easiest, right? Okay, so then some of the tricks are, like, if you look at your, we don’t often think about looking at our values through the lens of money. But they’re there. And where we can feel out of balance is when we are not earning to support the things we want to do. When we are earning. And we’re not spending where it’s an alignment. This is where we can start to feel out of alignment. And all of this sounds harder than it is it’s it’s pretty easy to do. Right? The first step always is kind of take taking that step into the dark cave, because we haven’t been here before. Right? Like what I think is so fascinating, thankfully, is that I think we’re coming into an era where we’re all talking about mental health more and more. And what’s always flabbergasted me it’s the brain is just another organ in the body. Why would we not? You know, if we had, you know, if our appendix needs to be taken out, wouldn’t we take care of it. So we need to take care of our brain. People, it’s so therapy, right? People are going to therapy, people are seeking mental health professionals more. But yet, I’m not sure that when people are stressed about their money, or concerned about their money, that they are not not necessarily knocking on the door of a therapist for that reason. They’re not saying you know, there’s something with my own money, I got to explore the going for other reasons, and they just don’t touch that rail. So I hope we come to a day where I got a money issue and you think about an advisor and you think about a therapist, because one of them is going to help you differently. Maybe a coach, yeah. But you know, there are people out there that can really hold space and help you uncover right. So I think some of our stuff with money. We don’t get a chance to normalize it because we don’t speak about it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:08
And I think that yes, either. I’m just gonna interrupt because I think that what you just said is so important and unique to money, that the level of shame around it keeps people stuck in a way that they may not stay stuck in other areas of their life.
Michelle Arpin 43:27
Yes. So can we go there for a second?
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:29
Michelle Arpin 43:34
Okay, so the boat, by the way, was called another toy. And you know, when you’re healed when you can laugh, and when I first finally was able to tell that story, or for the mindset that both should have been named Michelle’s tuition, just the fact that I could laugh, I was like, I’m good. I kept that story. It was the money secret that hid in plain sight. I mean, I wanted to keep the secrets of my parents spendthrifts behavior under wraps. It was, in fact, when I really wrestled with this, the reason that I didn’t share with anyone that my parents chose to buy a boat, I mean, no one knew was because my 17 year old self feared. Others would wonder what I had done to deserve that.
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:31
We’ll write that that’s the only way you can interpret it as a child right is like, Oh, they obviously value the boat more than they do my future, right? Because we just are not able to separate out the real issues. Exactly. Right. And so what a shame inducing experience to feel like which kids do because they can’t possibly put blame on the parents. It’s not what it’s not what children do.
Michelle Arpin 44:59
That’s exactly Right, and it took a lot of years to unwind it. The the fast version of the story is that I ultimately got to the point where I was ready to talk about it, and telling the boat story bar none was beginning to tell it was one of the hardest things I ever did. And thankfully, I had read enough Bernie brown to understand that petri dish that she talks about, or shame lives. And that was certainly alive in my life. I actually signed up for a public speaking course, a one day public speaking course, with the intention that if I had the chance to tell the story that I would,
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:42
like, not only am I going to tell it, I’m going to tell it to the whole.
Michelle Arpin 45:48
I’m going to tell it in a skyscraper in New York City, where it’s like, you know, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, I just have some reasons like, Oh, I’m gonna put all the stakes on it. And I literally the the last exercise that they had a student was group work, and then we break out into smaller groups and go back and forth all day. So we were in a small group breakout. And the coach literally walked in and said, okay, you’re going to take all the tools and techniques you learned today. And each one of you has one minute, we’re gonna videotape you. And you could tell any story from any part of your life. And I’m I go, I know which story I have to tell. And I literally thought I was gonna have a nervous breakdown. Thankfully, I went outside the room with the coach, and she coached me through it. And I was able to go in and tell the story. And that fighter flight was alive. And well, I literally thought I was going to die if I uttered the words, and I was able to do it. And then I remember standing there thinking, I’m alive, like, I’m still alive, I didn’t, I didn’t get struck by lightning. And I think it’s an important part to share. Because now I did it in a really public way. And I was very fortunate that I was healed enough to tell the story, because there is this circular thing about this, you have to be healed enough to tell your story. But yet, you have to tell your story to be healed. And only you know that balance, and you need both. And it wasn’t so much that I needed any external validation, although I did get that from the group who gave me some really positive feedback, which was really helpful in that moment, particularly, but you really have to know. And you, you know, when you do, when you do tell it, as Rene brown talks about you, you need to honor your stories with the people who will honor you, as you tell them just need to receive those stories and not judge them because it’s a really important piece. But there was like, you know, people always talk about there was life before such and such day or time and there was that? Well, there was life before I told that story. And there was life after and probably the saddest part for me is that I had kept such a major part of myself under wraps that it was like a surgically removed a part of myself. So who really knew me. And when I think about that, now, it’s a little sad, but it was, you know, it all made sense to me, as I was growing up with why I did that it was a form of protection. That’s what our mind does, right? And I stayed very focused on all of the practical aspects of getting my education, getting a job, getting my career started all of that stuff. And then I dealt with all the emotional Fallout a lot later. And this is a person who was doing this for a living and helping others. And if you would have asked me if I had any shame around that, I would have said absolutely not. I didn’t do anything like cognitively Well, it happened to me, I didn’t do anything to cause that. And then when I really started ticking, and I did it by way of actually writing, I started writing my story in a journal, and I really let it rip. And boy, did I make some discoveries. There’s something magical about putting a pen to a piece of paper.
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:11
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. That that processing of it. And you’re right, that it has to be done in the right way. And I think sometimes you don’t know what that is until you’re in it and you’re observing, how, how is this going? Is this the right way? And I bring this up as an example because like so this big issue of money stories, addressing it in the context of relationships, you know, everybody has to navigate those waters at some point and with different backgrounds and but it was one of the major hurdles, I will say in my relationship with my current husband. The money story was just one of those blocks that would not move and we could not have a conversation about money, get on the same same page about money. We got early therapy around stuff all Also involved like, none of it worked, right. And last year, we ended up doing therapy again. And I had to quit the therapy. It was not because of the way that it was happening. It was like, it was like taking me back to the PTSD in a way that was, and again, this fight or flight conversation about money. What does this mean about me? So for you, the example of your parents is a really poignant one, right. But even in the example of my relationship, early, early on, in my marriage, when I thought, okay, we need to get on the same page, we should do some planning together things that seemed obvious that we just could not do. I felt that same shame of like, wow, I’m not even valuable enough for him to want to have this conversation with you didn’t mean and that, like, you end up trying, trying, trying a certain number of times. And I feel like as I looked at my mom’s habit and pattern with money in relationship to my dad, she just turned that off. At some point, the, the trauma and the struggle was so big or so insurmountable. She just stopped trying to have the conversation. Yeah. And I feel like there is something very unique about this fight or flight response, this experiencing shame. What does money mean, in the context of the relationship? What does it mean about me, you know, all these things that can be very complex to unwind?
Michelle Arpin 51:27
Oh, yeah, for sure. And then we, you know, between spouses, we also play different roles. Right? So we play different roles in terms of the functional aspects of who is going to manage what are we delegating everything to one to the other? Will? will you manage parts? Will I manage parts? And then as you said, you know, really understanding what’s the script, and then what’s the underlying belief is huge, right, really understanding each other’s backgrounds, which is helpful, but then, really understanding what’s the script. So I give you an example of a client that I worked with, who came to me because she is a powerhouse in the office. And when she comes home, she is acting like a completely different person when it came to her money, and what we were able and she had delegated everything to her husband. And that was fine in her marriage. Until it wasn’t she wasn’t comfortable with that anymore. And she wanted to play a different role. And was having a really hard time doing that. And what we uncovered is that she heard money is private as she was growing up. And that splashed all over her relationship with her husband money, it’s private. So even in her marital relationship, I can’t talk about his money, I can’t talk about money with him because money is private, it was stopping her from and with the irony is she knew exactly what she wanted, she knew exactly who she wanted to be in the relationship with him around money. But there was this belief. Now once we unpack that, the cool thing about all you know, all kinds of change, when you discover beliefs is that you don’t only get the impact of the thing that you’re trying to change, you get all of this other positive impact of things that you didn’t even know needed improving. Because when you change, like, there’s all these other things that upgrade along with it, which is sort of the magical part of it, too. So she had noticed, like some relationships in the family where the dynamics were better. As a result of that. It was really it was very cool to hear all of the power that that had, you know, and how she’d released some things?
Heather Pearce Campbell 53:49
Well, absolutely. And I think that, you know, that example, in the way that you describe it, there just shows how much like what you say about money touching every aspect of our lives being true, right, because the way that we relate to money, the way that we use money in the world, is in some form an expression of our values. And I think that’s why it’s particularly hard to unwind as because values generally are pretty stable in a lifetime. There’s so much a part of who we are, that it can be a really hard thing to negotiate around.
Michelle Arpin 54:26
Yeah, although I think yes, I do agree that and then our mount our values do more for it, we have these core values, but we you know, for example, we may want achievement as we are going through our careers. Yeah. And then that may you know, that that light might dim a little more as we get older, and maybe health is more of a priority or out right. So they’re I think they’re like primary and then there are the secondary is that, you know, fade away, you know, become less important and other things, you know, their profiles raise, so to speak, as we, you know, move on. But I think you know, what’s really interesting about women in particular kind of going back to this client is the role that she was playing in one world versus another. And you know, you and I talked about this before we started the podcast that we have a mutual pet peeve in the how she does one thing is how she does everything, which I think is baloney.
Heather Pearce Campbell 55:28
And I’m so glad you remembered to bring that up. Because yes, that that phrase has always annoyed me so much. I think my interpretation of it is like, absolutely not. We all have areas that we are strong in, and we might show up very fully in and then others that are just not our strength, then we struggle, or we have to really put additional support in place in that area to do it. Well.
Michelle Arpin 55:54
Exactly. So. So there’s something that’s called contextual self control, which means we bring certain motivations to different areas of our life, right, that we can control ourselves based on the context. So is it our health? Is that our home? Is that our office? Is it our chair, whatever, we just bring different selves, because our motivations different. So going back to this point, she wanted harmony at home, what did she want in the office? She wanted to kill it? Right? She totally different value set. Right. So that drives our behavior, we’re still the same person. So I, I do not believe this. I have met it just like my parents, right? They were high performing defiant people. Right? They made it was not an issue of did they make enough money, they made more than enough money, they blew a king’s ransom, right. And no judgment. And it’s just what happened. They were really successful people, but a mess when it came to their money. Okay, so what I think is that we each have a success formula, but we don’t actually take a look at all we’ve got to do is go back in time and look at financial or non financial success stories. And take a look. Right, so what were our values? Who will we be in when we went from point A to point B, right? Like I was a college graduate and waiting, but I was also tenacious, determined I could write I was indomitable, right? That’s who I was being in that context. So when you take a look at your special X Factor, that you know, she’s got it, you look at that, and you absolutely can take those traits, and nurture the type of relationship you want to have with your money into existence. And you you know that success leaves clues. When I hear that expression, I always think, well, that means look at people who’ve gone before me and what they’ve done, and I can learn from them, which I do, and I love that. But it also means I’ve left clues of my own success. And I can look at that and use that as well. But I don’t think we really stop and think about ourselves that way that you know that anybody who’s listening to this podcast is successful person in her own right. Now she’s just gonna maybe take a look at, well, what really did make me a success? And how could I use some of that, to bring about the type of relationship the type of money that I want to have to show for all this hard work that I’m
Heather Pearce Campbell 58:46
doing? Absolutely. Oh, well, it’s just it’s such a fascinating, complex, right, multifaceted topic. I love that you are in the world of hosting this conversation, facilitating this conversation with other people with your clients. For folks that are listening, where do you like to connect? Michelle, where can they find you online?
Michelle Arpin 59:11
The best place to find me is my website with China’s Michelle AB it’s Michelle with two L’s ab.com. And Ashley, if they go to my homepage, they can find the good with money success formula guide, I put together to address this contextual self control and how she does one thing it’s not how she does everything.
Heather Pearce Campbell 59:33
Oh, I love that. I love that you’ve got a tool built around that because I agree so much we we as much as women are so multifaceted. I feel like and I don’t you know this could be off. I apologize if I offend anybody by saying this. But in my experience, men are much more easily able to compartmentalize certain aspects of their life and women. Like all the pieces mush together. It’s like a little Like a multicolored clay ball that’s in a swirl versus a pie piece of right. But I think it can be hard for us to translate like, oh, we’re being really successful over here, how do we take that skill set or take some of those strengths and translate them into other areas. And so I love that you have a tool based around that, if you’re listening, make sure that you check out Michelle’s work and and also, we’re going to share her her gift, that link that you talked about accessible from your main page. At The Legal Website warrior® forward slash podcast, which is going to have the show notes as well. Michelle, it’s been so great to connect. I know, this is just a very small portion of the conversations that you have with your clients. What else what what Final Thoughts? Would
Michelle Arpin 1:00:49
you like to leave with the
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:00:50
listeners today? Any takeaways, any next steps, any quotes? Anything?
Michelle Arpin 1:00:57
I think the biggest thing, just piggybacking off your last comment is that women I think, tend to also be very self critical when when we don’t do something well. And my my takeaway would be to think about your money so that you don’t have to worry about it. And by doing that, you don’t take that self critical stuff right off your shoulders.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:01:31
I mean, I just feel relief, even hearing that, because I know that anybody who’s listening that’s ever had either struggles with financial planning with the money conversation with a spouse, like, there’s various ways it shows up in the world of money. The idea of taking that stress off and having, you know, a system that works for you, or having your money rules figured out or you know, even a facilitator of that conversation, so that it just goes easier. I mean, I just I think it’s one of the biggest gifts we can give to ourselves, especially if we’re in business.
Michelle Arpin 1:02:07
Yes, absolutely. Especially in business.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:02:10
Absolutely. Well, Michelle, so great to connect with you. Thank you for coming on today. And having this lovely conversation. I really look forward to sharing your information, sharing the show notes, and I hope we have the chance to connect again.
Michelle Arpin 1:02:23
I hope we do too. This was great. And this was like a dinner party conversation. (Laughter). Bring the drinks please, right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:02:31
Thank you, I appreciate you.
Michelle Arpin 1:02:34
I really appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you for having me on.
Heather Pearce Campbell
GGGB Outro 1:02:43
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and 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 The Legal Website Warrior® slash 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, t0o. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.