I am lucky to have David Frank join the show. He is an expert in fiduciary financial planning for therapists. As private practice owners, we face economic challenges that they don’t teach us how to solve in graduate school. David speaks about how to understand your private practice financials better. Plus, we talk about spending more time with your finances, being curious about your money mindset, and the importance of getting comfortable around your money relationship. Tune in as David reveals money mistakes you could be making in your private practice.
Meet David Frank
David Frank is on a mission to ensure every therapist has access to unbiased and fiduciary financial advice!
Through the firm he founded, Turning Point Financial Life Planning, he helps therapists navigate every element of their financial lives: from understanding your practice P&L and building a personal budget to managing student loan debt and investing for retirement… and everything in between.
Dave earned both his undergraduate and MBA degrees in finance and he also completed a certificate in personal financial planning. He’s worked for over twenty years in investment banking, corporate finance, and now personal finance.
Don’t let his love of the tax code and spreadsheets scare you off! You’re just as likely to find him with his nose buried in one of Pema Chodron’s books as reading up on the latest financial planning techniques.
Each Week Spend Time With Your Finances
There’s not a lot of good one size fits all advice out there regarding finances. So, you need to set aside time and space every week to go through your numbers. This process can be anxiety-provoking and brings up many emotions; that’s okay! In the beginning, your money days can be all about sitting with that emotional experience; get to know yourself a little bit better. Lastly, notice what’s going on. Look at your bank account balances and your investment portfolios. Down the road, the next steps in this process will be more obvious.
Be Curious and Open When It Comes To Your Money
Be curious and open with your finances. We all make mistakes. It’s not so much about the mistakes that have or have not happened. It’s more about our relationship to the mistake or the connection to our past behavior. Get curious and run experiments with your finances. Is there a different way you can approach your bookkeeping? Also, get curious about what success can look like for you in your private practice. Think about what you want your relationship with money to look like. When you open your retirement account, how do you want to feel? Next, you need to figure out how you can get there!
Learn More About Your Relationship With Money
What is your relationship to money? We need to find more clarity around our relationship with money. David recommends taking a survey that will help you discover your unconscious money beliefs and how they impact your net worth. You can take The Klontz Money Script Inventory (KMSI) assessment by clicking HERE. Many people don’t learn how to manage money well. Plus, there can be a scarcity mindset around money management with therapists. However, once you recognize what needs to be changed, you get to change it.
Life Is About Progress… Not Perfection
Be mindful of the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happened or what is currently happening with money. You should be aware and watch for the voice inside your head that is shame-driven. Virtually no therapist is given concrete money training. Everyone should realize that it’s about progress instead of perfection. Instead, we need to practice looking at our money every single week. Remember, part of progress is setbacks. When you have a setback, it may not look like progress. However, it’s important to remind yourself that’s part of progress.
Money Mistakes That You Are Making
The first mistake you are making regarding your money is not creating space to look over your finances. You need to develop the practice of looking at your finances and accepting what your reality is. Plus, David says that student loans can be another problem for therapists. Virtually every therapist he has ever talked to currently has or used to have student loans. Well, remember to take time once a week to check that website. There are many options to pay off your loans, and it can be overwhelming or confusing. The only way to get in trouble with student loans is by not looking at them or paying attention to them. It can be uncomfortable; take it in.
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Okay. Hi, I'm David Frank. I'm a financial planner for therapists. And I'm super excited to be on the practice of therapy podcast here with Gordon.
Well, hello, everyone, and welcome again to the podcast. And I'm so glad for you all to get to know David Frank and David is good. One is good people I met through mutual friends through Jessica Tapana. And also we have our good mutual friend, Julie Harris, who's in the same realm or the financial end of things with running a practice. But David, welcome. Glad to have you.
Thanks so much, Gordon, I'm really I'm really excited to be here and talk about all things money and the intersection of money in therapy and all that good stuff.
Oh, yes. Yes. And it's, it's a great topic. And I know, folks have heard from me a lot about the importance of knowing your numbers, and really kind of being able to delve into the whole financial side of practice. But before we get to that, why don't you tell folks a little bit about your journey and how you've landed? In this particular niche in this field?
Yeah, yeah, happy to do so. So yeah, I sort of mentioned my name is David Frank, and I'm a financial planner, a financial advisor, we use a lot of different terms, sort of in the financial space. But I work with therapists, that's, that's my niche that's there, you all are my people, you are who I wanted to work with. And I have, I've worked in finance in various capacities for really all of my professional life, it's been over 20 years now, which kind of boggles my mind. But you know, here we are, in my mid 40s. Yeah, no worries. And a number of years ago, I was, I was in a job that I liked, but no longer felt super passionate about. And through a lot of work with a therapist and a life coach, and the coaching and all this stuff, I came back to this, this passion that I really have around personal finance, and one of them that really helping other people connecting with other individuals on a one on one basis, and really helping them to improve their lives. And that's what therapists do, right? It's like we help people live better life to improve their experience of living. And therapists have a certain set of tools they use to to enable that. And I'm not a therapist, but I'm a financial guy. So I have a particular set of financial tools. But the goal, the way I view it is really to do the same thing is to help my clients lead better lives. And I use the tools of financial planning to do that. And, and therapists are just I've always kind of resonated with the population, I think I probably share some perspectives and attitudes toward things that that are common amongst therapists. So when I was trying to decide what's the right niche for my business that I was starting of my financial planning practice, my life coach actually reflected back to me that like working with therapists might be a great fit. And it was one of those lightbulb moments where I thought, Oh, my God, yes, that's exactly right. How did I not see this? I just needed someone to kind of reflected back to
me. Yes, yeah. So I love I love hearing people's backstory. And I think that's one of the things about us as therapists is, is that a lot of times, our money mindset gets in the way of really kind of helping us. Get ahead. So I know that was something we were just kind of chatting about a little bit before we started recording, but what what do you think would be fee important, as people begin to think about the financial side of running a practice? What are the places you feel like they need to start?
Yeah, I think just that concept of getting started, I think that that can be a little bit of a painful place to begin sometimes. Because before we move into taking action, or really looking at or reflecting at something, that thing, whatever it is, in this case, you know, your practice finances, even your personal finances, it's like this big monolith of off, oh boy, how am I even going to begin. And what I suggest for most people, is I don't think that there's there's not a lot of good one size fits all advice out there, maybe on anything, but especially when it comes to finances. And so what I encourage almost everyone to do is to just start by kind of setting aside some time and space every week, I kind of call it a money date. So you can literally put a money date on your calendar block off an amount of time, maybe start with a half an hour if that feels right. If that's too overwhelming, make make it shorter. And just put it on your calendar every week. Schedule it for a time when you'll have the bandwidth, the energy even perhaps the willingness to sit down and do it and then just take those 30 minutes put your phone on silent, close those other windows and just start digging around and looking like what's going on have I looked at my practice p&l lately have I haven't done bookkeeping or if it's outsource checked on how that bookkeeping work is going. Or even on the personal side, just like looking at bank account balances or investment balances just rummaging around and just sort of make space for that and just see what comes up. It could be for sometimes, especially in the beginning, that can be an intensely emotional place to be, there can be a lot of emotions that come up. And that might, you know, sometimes we might say, Oh, it's impossible to make progress, because I'm just getting so anxious or worried or amped up in some way. And the way I think about it is really, you know, that's totally okay. Let's just just welcome that experience. And maybe, in the beginning, money dates are just you sitting with that emotional experience of overwhelm, and just, you know, getting to know it a little bit better. How does it feel? Is there anything that it's trying to tell you bring it the calling your temperature, attention being pulled toward? And then just noticing? It's I think it's a lot of notice. And I think if you develop kind of that practice, some of the next steps start to become more obvious.
Right? Yeah, just what occurs to me, as you're saying, this is, you know, probably not too much different than what we we say to our clients along the way, I think you're right, I think when it comes to money, and really looking at our finances, where we're anxious about that, maybe afraid of getting some bad news about it, or afraid that we're, we're doing a bad job with our, with our money, all of those kinds of things can play into that. And I, what occurred to me is, is that I think if he can take a curious approach, yeah, rather than be going on the defensive about it, or are getting too caught up in anxiety, which is a projection into the future, all of that kind of stuff. A being just okay, well, let's look at let's get, let's get a, let's just look at the lay of the land, so to speak and get curious about that. I think is it I agree with you is a good place to start?
Yeah. Now, I love that word curious. Just curiosity, openness, and curiosity. And if if elements of judgment, if aspects of our personality or parts of ourselves, want to jump up and judge what we've done is good, bad. Whatever, it's okay to do that. That'll happen. But yeah, just being like, okay, you know, thank you for that feedback, just to that part of you, like, just maybe sit down, sort of like, imagine that part of you like sitting down next to sit next to you. So he kind of be like, be mindful of that. But yeah, just the more we can be curious about what's happened, what we need to do, just be open. And, you know, we all make mistakes, like, everyone makes, quote, unquote, mistakes, I almost don't even like that word. But it's, it's not so much about the mistakes that have or have not happened. It's really more about our relationship to the mistake or the relationship to our past behavior, or even our current behavior and just being like, let's just get curious. And then like, run experiments, like, why don't you know, just like, play around with it? Is there a different way I could approach my bookkeeping? Is there a different way I could approach retirement savings? And really also getting, like, just starting getting curious about what success would look like? Like if something is not the way you want it to be? And it feels uncomfortable, just saying, Okay, well, how would I like things to be instead? Like, what do I want my relationship with money to be like, when I open my retirement account? Or look at my practice, p&l? What experience will What do I want to happen? How do I want to feel about that? And then just think, again, be curious and open and just say, well, how what do I need to get there? Because there is there is no one path. As I said, before, you know, personal finance, and even practice finances, small business finances, it's all personal. There's not a lot of like, you must do this, or an S Corp is always right. Or it's always wrong, you should always outsource your bookkeeping. It really depends. So much of it is personal and contextual. And so as you said, I think that's why the curiosity element is so important. Get to know yourself and your own needs, as deeply and honestly as you can, before rushing to a solution.
Yes, yeah. So I love that. And, you know, I know we were talking a little bit about mindset around money and what you want to say more about that just one of the some of the things that you find that people run into with their mindset around money.
Yeah, no, I would love to. I think we've kind of hit on it a little bit. But what I think some mindset is, it's a fun, fun word. What I think the way I think about it is it's really, um, it's relationship. It's what is your relationship to money? What's your relationship to your money skillset? What's your relationship to your current circumstances? And just getting kind of clear and open about that? And, and I think, you know, oftentimes, and this is not unique to therapists. I think this is most people, including financial professionals. So often we think there is a Right or perfect solution, there's something I should be doing. And then there's all the things that shame on me, perhaps I should not be doing. And there really are. But that's, that's a fairly rigid view. And I don't usually subscribe to that. Like, there's some circumstances in small areas where it's like, yeah, we need to file your taxes, you need to do certain things. But by and large, it's more just understanding, like, what is my relationship with money and bringing some clarity to that there's, there's a link, we can put in the show notes to this survey, it's, um, it's, my name is escaping, it's, um, it's kind of it brings, it's a questionnaire that you can complete that will help you categorize like, it'll help you bring awareness to what your relationship is to money, and like how you think about it, whether you kind of like worship money, or your avoidance of money, or you're a steward of money, and just bringing some awareness like that to your son, just so you can be like, Oh, okay, you kind of catch yourself, if you're wanting to avoid money and be like, Okay, I'm doing this thing. It's based on family of origin, and just how I've experienced my life. Now let's I can, I can, again, be curious about that, I can start to experiment with it. And just recognize that, yes, I have a relationship with money, I have a relationship with my with my money skills, and how I think about that. I'm just bringing it into your awareness and being like, Okay, this is how I, I typically react, it's kind of like bringing a pause into that reaction. So it's just like, Okay, this is how I've done things in the past, or this is my natural inclination, how else might I approach this? What else do I need to know? What do I need to learn to be able to navigate this area more efficiently, or just better or in a way that I would feel better about? And that'll highlight areas for additional education or potentially hiring an outside professional? Things like that? Yeah, just making space for that making space for the emotional side of it? Because it is, money is intensely emotional. There's so much bundled up in it. And yeah, I think we, it's, it's so seductive. And I just think the way we talk about money in our culture in this country, it can be very much just like it's cut and dry. It's not emotional. It's just do the right thing. You know, whatever, follow this prescription, and you'll be fine. And I just don't think that's, that's just not realistic. Raymond Dean's emotions are steeped into all of this.
Yes, yes. And I think, you know, that's something I've learned along the way for myself is that I think there was something that I've struggled with in the past is what I like to refer to as money shame. You know, of, like, you're alluding to just, you know, I realize that in the past, I've not necessarily managed my money well. And also, I came from a family. And I realize this later in life, that what I never really learned how to manage money well, and just in terms of investing well, and all that sort of thing. And there was kind of tied into that a scarcity mentality about money, and all of that sort of thing. And so I was okay, to use the cliche, a lot of times, I was maybe penny wise, but dollar foolish, foolish, with, with how I was managing my money, particularly with my practice and being able to invest in things that would give me a return on the investment. And, you know, it's I think you're exactly right, David, same thing that we tell our clients, or in more I work with our clients is that we we approach our work with clients in a non judgmental stance, yes. Now just not putting any shame with what they tell us and the mistakes they've made and that sort of thing in their lives. And you're exactly right. I think we need to do the same thing with our money. And also recognize that once you recognize that what needs to be changed? Well, the good news is you get to change it. And so salutely
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I love what you said. It's, it's, yes, it's like it's that judgment piece, like judgment can hold us back and the judgment gets bundled up or leads to shame, or it's just like, all tied up in there. And I think being mindful of the, of the stories that we tell ourselves, about what's happened or what's happening, and just being being aware and just watching for that voice that's more shame driven, like, oh, I should have figured this out. I should be better at this. You know, if I were a successful private practice owner, this wouldn't be an issue for me or people who are successful have figured this out. You know, virtually no one is given very concrete, money training or money skills. It doesn't really exist in our educational systems. That's starting to change. But if you're listening to this podcast, chances are you've got absolutely no formal training unless you've heard actively sought it out. Um, and family of origin like there's, there's, you know, some of us have gotten good and family of origin advice around money. Some of us none. Some of us maybe slightly not not the greatest or maybe just not a good fit for where we are in our life. And I think that that's it's, it's it's a journey, right? Like it's just, it's just it's a progression. One thing I encourage everyone is like it is about progress rather than perfection. We're not aiming to get things perfect or right or just done. It's it's a practice of engaging with your money and looking at that stuff. And just getting more open to it and continuing to make progress. And oh, by the way, part of progress is setbacks, right. So it's not like we're just like a consistent trajectory upward. It's like, No, we're gonna make progress. We make progress. We make progress. I'm killing it, everything's going great. And then something happens, right. And there's a little bit of a setback. And it might not look like progress. It might not look like what we think of as progress, but it's part of the process. And when you hit a setback, what I tell people, when I try to remind myself is like setbacks and avidly happen, things don't go according to plan. So when that happens, first, how do you talk to yourself about what just happened? Can you be really kind to yourself first, rather than beating yourself up for not attaining some mythical standard of perfection? Mm hmm. So that's point one. And then point two is like, okay, then then what next? What's the next thing that you're going to do to like, just help yourself get back on track? It's just like, it's just, it's just a journey, you know? Right. Shea's almost, but it really is, it's just yeah, journey.
Yeah. So So I'm curious what, what sort of, for lack of a better way of putting it money mistakes that people make in their, in their practices? What are some of the common ones that you're seeing in your work with people?
Yeah, I think, I think you're kind of highlighted, like, I think the biggest mistake, and again, as such a charged word, but like, you know, like, as you said, for lack of a better word, I think is, is it's not, it's not having, not creating space, just to look, not not developing that practice of just looking and being really accepting of whatever the reality is. I think you mentioned it earlier being the fear of getting bad news, the fear that things aren't going as well, or I'm not saving enough, or whatever it is, I think it's just that's the biggest quote, unquote, mistake is just sort of not being willing to look, and not just being present with it, because then that's, that's the first step. That's how the door opens, I think that's the biggest one. And then that kind of ripples out to specific areas, I think student loans can be can be a big one, virtually every therapist I've ever talked to, um, has or had student loans, and student loans, especially when they're federal student loans. There are so many good options. It's very confusing, it can be very overwhelming, having $100,000 or more that's typical. It's not an exception. That's super, super typical, sometimes much, much more than that. And the only way to get in trouble with student loans is by just ignoring them and not looking at them. Because there's so many great options for repayment for forgiveness. And yes, loan forgiveness is a real thing, like it's actually happening for people, but like not looking and then that extends to everything, saving for retirement, personal spending, just being mindful for that just looking and getting clear. And often, that involves sitting with some discomfort. And like you said, like maybe you're gonna get some bad news. Maybe you're not. But just like getting clear and knowing I think that's, that's far in a way. That's far and away the biggest one. Yeah, and just sort of being being open. I think, if the other big one is that I think there's a tendency to maybe think too small when it comes to money and just be like, Oh, it's this, it's the separate little thing that I just sort of need to take care of. I think just being clear, sort of, like holding the lens through which you look at money is really, you know, yes, it's not an album. I mean, it is do you have any other money certainly as an obligation of being a business owner or just being an individual, being an adult in society, I guess, but it's not something we just have to do because it's a burden. It really is a tool to help us make our lives better, um, money. You know, I think we can especially in this country, sometimes we can think of accumulating like making six figures or saving up a million dollars as these like amazing goals. And I don't those aren't really goals to me like those are. Money is a mechanism it's a tool to accomplish things in life. So I think, you know, we all we don't have financial goals, we have life goals, and many if not all of those life goals have financial implications. So I think Get really clear about what is a good life look for you look like for you like how do you want to be living? What? And not like vacations and big homes made sure those those things might factor in but like, what do you want your daily experience of living to be like? How much do you want to be working? How much do you want to be volunteering, spending time with family or children, or whatever it is? And then the financial quote unquote, goals come out of come out of that? What does your great life look like? Oh, I think we put the cart before the horse, it's like, I'll be happy when I've saved a million dollars or making six figures. It's like, okay, we we can move towards that, if that's the right supportive money, infrastructure you need in your life. Sure. But let's be really clear about what do you want? What do you want for your life? And then we'll figure out what kind of money support do you need to make that happen?
Right, right. And I couldn't agree more with that. Because I think it's, it's one of the things is that we, you're right, in our culture in the United States, we've got this, this this perception that if we have more money, than it's somehow or another going to make our life better now, certainly, having more money, does free us up Psalm in that we don't have maybe as much, maybe so much pressure, internal pressure that we feel from maybe being in debt, all of those kinds of things. But I agree with you totally. David, I think you have to really look at what is the lifestyle you want to lead. And I think for most of us, you know, none of us are really all that interested in the big houses and the planes and the boats, and all those, you know, kinds of things that are touted, kind of by the Ultra Rich, we just want to live, you know, a simple life and be able to do the things that we want to do and be able to support our families and be able to, you know, go on a vacation when we want to go on a vacation, go out to eat all of those, all of those kinds of things, and then save for retirement. And, you know, it's really pretty simple. And so there's probably $1 figure that is associated with, we'll get you get you those things, and you really don't need much more than that. To make it work. Yeah.
Yeah. I think I love what you said, it's so spot on, I think. And what comes up for me as I was just listening to you is just like, Oh, I wish people realized it's like this, this, it's so much closer than they think. I think like, honestly, if you if you have the courage and bravery to show up and look at your money, and it does take courage and bravery a lot of times, but if you have that courage and bravery, and really start to get clear and understand your money and what you need, and what's your great love, like look, can't easy for me to say what's your great life looks like? Yeah, it's it's usually so much closer than we think it then we think it is. There's so much. There's so much more reason to be hopeful than there is to be pessimistic.
Right. Right. Good. Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, and I want to be respectful of your time, David, and I know, we could spend, I could spend hours on this for sure, for sure. Just thinking about our money mindset and what we need and what we want. And one little side note, something that I was reminded of, as we were saying this is that I had ran or heard somewhere, it was probably on a podcast somewhere that it at least in the United States, at the time that we're recording this particular episode, I had heard that once a person reaches kind of gross income of around depending on the area of the country you live in, and the cost of living and that sort of thing. You know, once a person reaches a gross income of around $150,000, their happiness factor doesn't go up by having more because that's a that's kind of an average area where people can, you know, have a nice house to live and drive a nice car, you know, have you know a lot of the perks of life and that sort of thing. So you know, more isn't necessarily batter. Yeah, is matter of fact, Pete, you one of the things that you hear is that people that are ultra rich have very complicated lives. And I think we can kind of see that in the media and that having, you know, being rich or being a millionaire or whatever label you put on it. That doesn't make us necessarily happier or more content in life so
100% Yeah, it's so it's it's so funny. You And that too, because actually in the back of my mind, I was thinking about those studies as well. And I just didn't bring it up. But thank you for bringing it up. Interestingly, oven, I want to go back and look, and we can maybe put a link or two in the show notes afterwards. But, um, I've heard a similar thing, that once you reach a certain amount of income, then happiness just isn't really related to income. It's related to other things. But I've heard a number that's much lower, it's like, $70,000. Okay. I'm curious. But I think like, the the point is the same, right? Like, it's like, it's never about the money. It's about, it's about living your life. And money can make that easier to up into a point. And then to make it more complicated and more challenging in some ways. But it's just money. It's just there bouncing around involving myself in our lives. And so we just need to be mindful of it. Yeah,
yeah. So well, before, before we get caught up. Again, like I said, I wanted to be respectful of your of your time, David, tell folks about what you've got through your website. I know you've got some great resources there and how people can get in touch with you and find out more about that.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. So yeah, my the name of my business is turning point, my website is turning point hq.com. So the abbreviation for headquarters HQ, turning point HQ. And yeah, I have a ton of free resources there. And recently put together a resource that I have right on my homepage, you can sign up an access, I put together a list of the seven common money mistakes that therapists make and how to avoid them or what to do about them. If you sign up for that, I will also walk you through over a series of weeks, a lot of what we covered today, we've covered a lot of ground today. And so like through a series of emails, I just gently introduce you to different concepts around how to engage with your money, and just how to be mindful of it. And simple things you can start to put in place to change and really transform your your relationship with your money. And thereby I think, make your life better. And yeah, after you go through that, you can also take a look at my website. There's services. I work with folks one on one. And yeah, I'd be happy to chat with anyone. So just,
yeah, it sounds great. And once again, we'll have links to all of this in the show notes in the show summary so people can can get to it quickly. Well, well, David, I'm so glad you joined me for this episode. And I'm really looking forward to hopefully maybe chatting again in the future here because I think this is really important stuff as it relates to private practice and being business owners and understanding the whole financial side of private practice. Yeah,
thanks so much. It was really a pleasure to be here.
It was great to have you
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