On this week’s Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we speak with Jacquette M. Timmons, the President and CEO of Sterling Investment Management. Jacquette is a Financial Behaviorist who is committed to helping others manage their choices around money more effectively. She is also the author of Financial Intimacy: How to Create Healthy Relationships with Your Money and Your Mate. Her work has been featured on Sirius XM, Good Morning America, CNN, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal.
We chat with Jacquette about the four ways to best utilize your money, as well as:
- The habits that differentiate being rich from sustainable wealth
- The three pathways to achieve lasting financial wealth
- The various dimensions of wealth to consider in order to seek fulfillment
- The reluctance of reverse-engineering the number you want to see saved
- Being careful about assumptions— roles and responsibilities in relationships
- And more.
Mentioned in this episode:
Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking, powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelmed so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m so excited for you to meet our guest today, so let’s get started.
Jacquette M Timmons focuses on the human side of money. She works as a financial behaviorist and is committed to getting us to see we don’t manage money. We manage our choices around money. In addition to being an author of Financial Intimacy, How to Create Healthy Relationships With Your Money and Your Mate, she’s a frequent blogger and a podcast host. Jacquette also is the creator of the comfort circle dinner series and pricing made human a series of pricing events for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Her work has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio, Sirius XM, Good Morning America, CNN, NPR and the Wall Street Journal. She holds an MBA in finance from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and an undergrad in marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be seen running in Prospect Park most days of the week. So welcome, Jacquette we’re so happy to have you here on the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast.
Jacquette Timmons: Oh thank you so much, Davina. I’m really excited to be here.
Davina: Good to we we have so many questions. Money is one of our favorite topics on Wealthy Woman Lawyer, as you know, because the goal here our audience is made up of women law firm owners, who are all working on building successful thriving million dollar revenue generating law firms so they can live their best life. So we have a lot of questions about money, because money is so integral, and all that we do in this capitalist society, and obviously as business owners, yet, so many people have very complicated relationships with money that they don’t even really realize they have. Could you tell us a little bit about what a financial behaviorist can do to help us?
Jacquette: Sure. So you know, as a financial behaviorist, and you mentioned some of it in the intro, is that I focus on the human side of money. And really, what I’m looking to do is to get people to pay just as much attention to their behavior, their choices, and the motivations and the emotions that drive that as they do the numbers. And I know that that can still sound a little abstract. So I always like to use this example, to just kind of make it a little bit more concrete. If I were to give everybody listening $1 and then invite them to come back and tell me what did they do with that dollar in say, 30 days, each person would come back with a different answer. Some people would be in the camp where they would say they saved some or all of it.
Another group of people would be in the camp where they say they invested some or all of it, yet another group would, you know, give me the side eye and be like, Girl, please, you gave me $1? What do you think I did with it? I spent it. And then yet, still, another group would still have the dollar and perhaps have it in the same place in their wallet as they placed it after I gave it to them. And the thing is, any of those choices are valid choices, because you would have made them based upon the circumstances that you were weighing at the time, the context of those circumstances. So it’s not that one is more right than the other. It’s just that you would have made a choice, depending upon what was right for you at that time. And I always try to get people to just kind of remember that from the standpoint of we can give everybody $1 and get everybody will do something differently with that dollar.
And for those that are like pooh poohing well, it’s $1, the thing that I always remind them is, what you do with $1 is precisely what you will do when that dollar is 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000 or a million. So for those people that think that they will do something differently when they have more. This is my knock knock. No, you won’t.
Davina: Now see, I find that so interesting, because obviously, since I coach women, law firm owners and growing your business, we deal with a lot of money stories and a lot of money stuff because that’s what holds us back from you know, achieving what we what. What we most desire, right? Yeah. And I know that that is going you probably get a lot of pushback when you use that as an example and a lot of people say no, that’s not true. I if I had $100,000 you know, I do different things. I’m using something different with it. But tell me why you think that is? Why do you think that? That don’t we’re gonna do the same thing with that dollar we would do if we had more because most people think the solution to their problem is a whole lot more money. And then they can do a lot more things.
Jacquette: Yeah, you’re right. A lot of people do you think that but I, what I remind people of is you are who you are. And so you know, whatever the habits are that you have, whatever the perspective is that you have, whatever the decision making process or framework that you use, with what you have right now, you’re not going to automatically change that. Because you have more, unless you are being intentional about changing your habits, or changing your perspective or changing your decision making framework. So unless you are being intentional about changing it, you are really putting yourself in a position where you think you’re going to do something differently than what you actually end up doing.
And here are some really good examples. Think about the lottery winners. The reason why they go broke, you know, in five years or less often is because, yeah, they got all this money. But there’s a lot that they didn’t change as they got that money. So to help them prepare for that. And I like to also give an example of I did some workshops for the NBA as a part of their rookies in transition program. And I remember, you know, standing in front of this room with all of these, you know, newly minted basketball players who have these multimillion dollar contracts and saying to them, yes, you’re rich, but you’re not wealthy. And so it’s just this whole idea that just because you have a couple of more comments and some zeros behind that comma, if you’re not intentional about your behavior, you’re not going to be treated differently than what you have right now.
Davina: Right, right. So let’s talk about let’s use that example. And talk about the difference between rich and wealthy. Because, you know, the reason I named my business Wealthy Woman Lawyer, is because there is a distinction of they’re very clear distinction for me, but I would love to hear what you meant when you said that to them.
Jacquette: So what I meant in that regard, and I think in just in general is that rich has a lot to do with income, right? So you can, you know, have a multi million dollar contract. But if you are spending, you know, $999,000, again, you are rich, that doesn’t make you wealthy. The wealthy piece comes from how do you convert that. And the other thing that I always remind people is that there are really three if we’re talking about just the financial dimension of wealth, because I do think that there are multiple wealth dimensions. But if we’re thinking about the financial dimensions, there’s really three pathways or there are really three pathways, own a business, invest in the stock market, and have income producing real estate. And I think what’s important is figuring out which of those three if not all three, are going to be your chosen pathway. That’s the first part.
The second is what’s your number? So you know, you’ve got to practice, what’s that number that you want to grow that practice to? That will make you say, Yes, I am wealthy. When you’re thinking about your, you know, stock portfolio, what’s that number that you want to see on your investment statement that will make you say, Yes, I am wealthy. And if you are choosing to go as well, the real estate route? What’s that real estate portfolio? What’s the value of that, and I just find that oftentimes, people don’t really take a step back for a moment to be intentional about the different pathways that they are choosing, and then to be aware of what their number is, and a part of it is because they’re looking for accuracy, when it’s not about that it’s just about directionally, what do you want that number to be so that you can make better choices today that will lead you in that direction?
Davina: To whatever you perceive to be wealth for your life? Right?
Jacquette: Exactly, because you know, like, as an example, I have I live in, I think, as you said, I live in Brooklyn, I live in Brooklyn, and I have a friend who owns two brownstones and has a house that they bought in Mexico. And if you’ve ever bought property outside of the US, you know, typically you’ve got to buy those and cash. They’re no loan, typically in other countries. And so, as an outsider, I always refer to him as being wealthy and he never ever embraces that. He’s like, I am not wealthy. And so that’s just a really great example of I have a different benchmark. I’ve got a different number than he does.
Davina: Yeah, we’ve my husband and I often joke about that because we live in a we live in a community that is suburban, and it’s there. A lot of people here who make a lot of money, right. A lot of big companies out here and everything but but if you go house shopping around here, and you see inside people’s homes when your house shopping, you’re like, okay, we got a whole bunch of people here who are house poor that, you know, because they bought this big house thinking they’re wealthy, and they but then they don’t have the money to furnish it. So it’s all a facade for show.
And because I live in a place called Lake Mary, and we call it Fake Mary, as our insiders joke it’s Fake Mary, because people are walking around here and like, Oh, yeah, I got money because they’re driving a nice car. And then you actually, if you were to dig into your actual finances, it’s a different sort of thing, right. And interestingly, I’m involved in a program now where the goal of the program, this is a colleague of mine that I’ve been following for a long time, and, and a group of us got together. And there’s this kind of concept of, of creating a certain amount in passive income. Because entrepreneurs, often we build the business, we go through money. And you know, we’re not good at sort of getting the money to build us to make us more money and build wealth.
And if anything ever happens to our business, we wind up that, you know, broke. And so this idea of cash flow investments, where you’re investing in real estate to create cash flow, you’re investing in dividend producing stocks and investments to get cash flow and those kinds of things. So that you’re creating an income for yourself that is passive, so that that gives you more financial freedom. And then there are other philosophies that are kind of like Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, right. So this idea of assets, what do you have, if you have more asset, and he doesn’t believe that your personal home is an asset, right? He’s talking about real estate investments. And even businesses can be assets, as long as you can sell them, right for money. So they’re all different kinds of definitions of what it means to be financially wealthy.
And then on top of that, there’s work life balance, or enjoyment, or freedom, or whatever it is that we some people don’t need as much money, they just want to be able to travel the world, and that makes them feel wealthy, even if they’re doing it staying in hostels, you know? Right. Right. So I think so the first thing I guess, that you help people figure out is, what’s your definition of wealthy?
Jacquette: Absolutely. And you know, that one of the things that I always remind people to, again, speaking to those that have a practice or any other kind of business, I always say, start with your personal financial vision. Because whatever business you are creating part of its job is to help you fulfill that vision. And some people might think that they are automatically doing that. But I can say both from personal experience and from observation of a lot of the clients with whom I’ve worked, you can have a profitable business, you can have a cashflow positive business, and yet you yourself be personally broke.
Davina: So true, it’s so true. And I think you can also be You can also have a really prosperous and successful profit, profit business, and be really unhappy. Because you’ve created a life and a business that requires you to pour into it way more than the value you’re getting back. So the no amount of money kind of thing where what I do daily, I just hate it, but it’s built with handcuffs. Right?
Jacquette: Right. Yes.
Davina: So there’s that I think that figures a lot into when you talk about intentionality, really thinking through what do I want? We always start with personal goals when I’m working with a client, because what do you want your life to look like? What do you want to do with all this money that you’re going to make in your business? Right, you got to start there.
Davina: What you want to get you? Yeah, and one of the things I’ve learned is, oftentimes are things that you can get what you want, and it doesn’t, doesn’t require the money that you think it does.
Jacquette: Right. And that always, I think surprises people when they realize that, and I think part of the I think part of the reason for the surprise is also because whether it’s people haven’t given themselves the permission, or they just haven’t given themselves the time, that moment of reflection to really think about, well, what is it that I want? What is it that I want money to do for me and all of these different dimensions if I break it down in terms of time, and if I break down, you know, investing, not only about financial wealth, but social wealth and time, wealth and physical wealth, and just overall well being, if I think about it in terms of lifestyle. I think oftentimes people don’t think about those things, in part, because they feel like if they put down a number on paper, that that number is forever sketched in stone, as opposed to thinking that whatever the number is, as I said before, it’s directly And it’s not about accuracy, or certainty, as much as it is about curiosity and clarity.
Davina: Now, I love that curiosity and clarity. Tell us what you mean by curiosity and clarity.
Jacquette: So I walk everybody through a signature exercise of mine called The Financial Wheel. And with the financial wheel, we’re looking at very broadly, the four dimensions that regardless of where you are on the income spectrum, or the wealth spectrum, the four things that you can do with your money, earn it, save it, invest it and spend it. And I asked people a series of questions as we travel around the financial wheel. And I’m always astonished even after 20 plus years, at how difficult it is for people to put down a number when you say to them, how much do you want to save?
How much do you want to see in your savings account a year from now, or when you’re doing a look back from the, you know, perspective of the age of the oldest person that you know, and you’re, you know, beaming back with pride on how much you have saved? Like how hard it is for some people to come up with a number? Because they are so stuck on well, how am I going to do that, as opposed to Well, let me just write this number down. And I can figure out how I can reverse engineer that at a later point in time. But at least let me write something down. It’s amazing to me how often people kind of tense up and don’t give themselves the permission to even write something like that down.
Davina: That’s the reluctant there’s so much fear around just writing down a number and voicing the I think that condition that comes from like other people’s judgments, like there’s a judge in their head that says other people will think I am crazy. If I who am I to think I can make this amount of money, or I can create this for so there’s always some fear around actually making that thing, writing it down. so other people can see it, even if it’s just you, or just them or whatever. You know what I mean?
Jacquette: I do. And I think it’s I think it’s definitely an element of what you’ve just mentioned, in terms of judgment, I also think it’s an element of identity. And I think sometimes when it comes to the identity piece, I’ve just seen enough examples that some people are just not honest with themselves, about what they want and what they don’t want. And that can just get really tricky, because if you write it down, it just kind of, if you let it, it invites you to deal with whatever is surfacing. And you may or may not embrace all the stuff that’s surfacing for you.
Davina: Right. I do think that most everyone has limits in their mind, based on money stories, and you know, how we, how we grew up, and all the things that have influenced us all people who’ve influenced us. I know, I was at a retreat one time with a coach that I had, and they had a whole bunch of Monopoly money, you know, fake money, and they were giving us money. And they would say, okay, here’s your million dollars, write down a list of all you’ll do now you’ve got a million dollars, what would you do with it? Because your million dollars is always the first thing in people’s mind. Right? Right.
So then they gave us $10 million. And then they gave us 100 million. I mean, they kept giving us money and going now what would you do, and you’re, every one of us had paps, we have limits, you know, kind of once you run out of the, I’ll take care of everybody in my family, and I give to charity, and I’ll, and I’ll buy this house or several houses, and I’ll travel around the world. What do we do now? Right? So it was interesting to play with those sort of mental and emotional limits? What do you what are some of the things you have seen in dealing with your clients? And do you see differences between limits among men among women, you know, among black men, or women and white men or women or people in different geographic locations, the country or in the world? Or whoever you worked with? Have you noticed some commonalities and differences in mindset?
Jacquette: Well, one commonality that I see is the perception that everybody else has it figured out, but them. Everybody always says, oh, my God, I my situation must be really bad and so unique and and I’m like, no, it’s not and no, it’s not.
Davina: Right, right.
Jacquette: So that’s across the board. And, you know, I have shied away from a gender difference, because I’ve had situations where, you know, if I think if I think about couples, some of the couples with whom I’ve worked, you know, what stereotypically is, you know, what the guy does and how, quote unquote good he is supposed to be with money. It’s actually the woman who had that role and the relationship and vice versa. So I tend to shy away from that, because I think it contributes to an unhealthy narrative. And also one that doesn’t always, of course, there are exceptions doesn’t just doesn’t always play out in reality. But what I do think is that everybody is searching, right, they’re searching for what is there enough.
They’re trying to have that balance between what it is that they really want, and what they think other people think they should want. They’re trying to find that balance between the conditioning that they have had around money and work and their role in a relationship and how that is actually playing out in reality. So that an example to make that perhaps a little bit more concrete, if you’ve grown up, and you’ve always had this expectation that you were going to get married, and, and this is the voice of a woman, you’re going to get married and your husband’s going to be the one that is the breadwinner, and then you the reality is you get married, but you’re the one that’s the breadwinner, but you hadn’t. You hadn’t factored that in, and neither of you did, and it’s bringing up issues in your relationship around roles and responsibilities. I think that has caught a lot of people off guard. So that would be a good example. And I probably could go on, but I think those, well, I’ll stop there.
Davina: Yeah, I think, yeah, right, we could very quickly get devolved into a whole convo. That’s a whole nother podcast. But again, going back to the audience, this podcast being women law firm owners, I know that in coaching, a lot of women law firm owners, it’s definitely the case that more and more women are out earning their spouses in this area, and finding themselves also with a desire and a passion to build a business in a way in a big play a bigger game. And yet, there’s also sometimes we see a real lack of confidence, and not dreaming to that level. So to give you an example, what I mean, there are a lot of law, large law firms in the United States, and some national law firms, some international law firms, and almost without fail if you pick up their annual report, or you could go to their website, and you look at who the partners are, they are what I call the white men over 50 Club.
And what I say to women is that at some point, two bros from college, graduated, decided we’ll start our law firm. And then they overtime had built it up to this, you know, large law firm by hiring and growing and all that. Oftentimes, when I’ve worked with women, they tend to have, you just don’t see that with women. So they’re part of that there’s not been enough time to pass, right, or the history that we have of men being dominant in society and culture. But you also don’t, when I talk to women, law firm owners, you’re starting to build their own businesses, often they don’t have the aspiration to have a multimillion dollar multi state law firm, with a whole bunch of people working for them. And some of it is tied to, you know, our gender roles in our society, and traditional ones. And some of that is tied to I think, kind of maybe, like they just never even considered the possibility or thought.
And so I’m the reason I brought that up in our conversation is because I kind of like to challenge those things. I like to put it out there and say, what would it be like? If you said, I’m going to graduate from law school with my girlfriend? And we’re going to go and we’re going to start a law firm? And what how would that play out? If more and more women did that, and now you’re looking 25 years down the road? And you have more women on black women owned law firms that were you because right now we just don’t see it, the ones that we see are smaller, right. And most often women don’t sort of aspire or dream that big.
Jacquette: Yeah. And I think, you know, it goes back to what I was mentioning before with regards to start with the personnel. And so you know, get clear as to whether or not that is really an aspiration that you have, and if so go for it. And then if you’re like, no, it’s not, then figure out what your number is. And I think part of the challenge is, Are you not going after it? Because that’s not what you want? Are you Are you not going after it because you don’t think it’s a possibility. And I think you can only get clear about that if you start first with what it is you want money to do for you personally, because then that help drive the kinds of business decisions that you make regarding how you set up your practice, how you perhaps charge the kinds of clients you work with. Like it’s a cascade of the impact of the starting with the person who has a cascading effect on the things that you make decisions about when it comes to your money when you’re when it comes to your business.
Davina: Right. Right. And my my question is, I guess I follow a Rachael Rogers I don’t know if you know who she is, but she is a million dollar. Multimillion dollar coach attorney turncoat and she’s recently got, you know, put a book out that should be coming out soon called, we should all be millionaires. And she’s kind of on this mission to make every woman she meets a millionaire. And if that’s what they desire, you know, and one of the questions that always comes up for me with my clients is, do women not want this? Because they’ve been told, like, because people don’t have the imagination for it, right? They, because society has said, This is as far as you can go.
And so that’s why I don’t expect that the answer to the question, it’s more of a challenge, like putting that out there and going, you really see some disparity between men and women, and not all men and women against in general, between men who are multimillionaires, and women not saying this is a thing that it’s possible for me and open, you know, is there for me in the same way that a lot of men sort of see. This is a possibility. Right? So that’s kind of what why I brought the question up, why I was throwing it out there. Just to see what your thoughts were on that with people you’ve worked with. Because I definitely seen that in a women law firm owner space, or even a million dollars a year seems like a whole lot. You have men own law firms who are making millions of dollars a year.
Jacquette: So when you say it seems like a whole lot, meaning they feel like the revenue number is a whole lot or the the work that they need to do to get to that million dollars is a whole lot? Like where’s the whole lot coming from?
Davina: I think there’s I think there’s I have seen both, okay, I’ve seen some people who have a money story that says they can’t visualize, you know, the year, a million dollars a lot, but they can’t really visualize that in their life. So therefore, it holds them back forever cheap, because you can’t even visualize it, like in your bank account in your life, and how are you going to achieve that? Right? And then there are other people who look at it and go, yeah, I can have that. But it’s gonna take me too much work. And I don’t want to do that. And that’s the belief that the story may or may not be accurate, you know, because there’s certainly a lot of people who’ve made millions and, you know, they got the same 24 hours a day as anybody else, and they’re doing it, and they may not be killing themselves, you know, in the process, right?
Jacquette: Well, yeah. I think that, you know, a million dollars, what a million dollars income, a million dollars in terms of net assets. Like, I just think that
Davina: I’m talking about gross revenue. So one of the things I’m discussing with my client is that million dollars in gross revenue, so create a law firm that generates a million dollars in gross revenue, right? You know.
Jacquette: Yeah, no, totally. And so I guess the question for me, is, when you’re having those conversations, are you also sharing with them different examples of business models that can get some there, because I find that a lot of the people that are in the online space, especially their online, their million dollars, is because they’re doing something like that’s like an online course or an online program. But if that’s not you, if you don’t offer that if you have no desire to offer that, you might have a difficult time seeing yourself at a million dollars, and it may not mean that you don’t want to get there, but you’re having a hard time connecting the dots to figure out, oh, how can I make that happen for myself?
So I think we need to have even more or broader examples of people that do have million dollar practices, but their practices are designed in different ways, and focus on different, you know, types of clients, I think that will go a long way, in terms of helping people to see a what’s possible, and then really make a choice around whether or not that’s something that they want to go after.
Davina: Right, right. Yeah, it’s definitely something and, you know, in the work that we do, where we’re discussing law firms. Making your million dollars with law firms and their different models that can get you there.
Jacquette: Right. One of your one of your interviews was someone I if I’m not mistaken, created a virtual law firm. Is that right? Am I good? Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Davina: Yes, we had actually a few, several, we’ve done that. And a lot of a lot more people are doing that because of the pandemic and it’s changed the way they’re functioning. So they were headed down a path of traditional law firm. And then pandemic happened and they started to they needed to begin to think differently. So I thought that was really fascinating and really awesome, incredible, because it open people’s minds up to possibility of Wait, I don’t have to I can make all the money I want to make whatever that amount is. And not continue to do things in a way that that does not serve me. Right, right.
And so I was excited about that possibility being open to more more people. But I think that there have been a number of and I think women, particularly, you’re sort of leading in this area, because so many have come out of law school, and they have children, they have small children and families, and they’re thinking of ways that they’re going to make that work. And so you have a lot of them who have embraced that model long before the pandemic, and said, I can have a lot of flexibility, make really good money, support by family do the things I want to do. And I don’t have to be, you know, blocked in a law office all day. So it’s exciting to see those the possibility and the changes there.
And like you said, they a lot of them are looking to other business models. You’re looking at other industries, yes. And saying, can we can how can we do that, but but the legal industry, so thanks, very exciting. Shifting gears a little bit, I, I’d love to talk a little bit about how you came to do this work, what kinds of things occurred in your life in your journey to lead you to this kind of work?
Jacquette: I got interested in behavioral finance, even though I didn’t know that that’s what it really was, in 1987, I was a year out of undergrad and I was at a major investment firm. And when the crash of 87. I thought up close and personal. You know, some people that literally if they could have jumped out of a window because of how much money they lost for themselves and for their clients, they would have. And yet there was another group of people that were really calm. And at 20 years of age, I didn’t have the language, but I just, you know, have the observational skills to see that there were two drastically different reactions to this one event.
And I just became really curious around a, why and B, why are they not talking to each other to kind of, you know, try to get the other person on their side of the line, if you will, and further amplified by my time in the private bank, managing money for high net high net worth individuals, and really coming to understand that, yes, these people have, you know, several commas and several zeros behind those commas than I did growing up. But at the end of the day, they have the same kinds of questions that my mother had raising me or that I have as a young adult. And their questions and their challenges, and their frustrations and their desires are very much the same. And I really wanted to do two things I wanted to, in my work, get people to see that success with money is a not just about the dollars in the sense, because at the end of the day, two plus two is going to always equal four.
And so if that equation is static, then there’s got to be something else to why we have different results, experiences and feelings when it comes to money. And then I also wanted to just really kind of nip this narrative in the bud that says, you know, rich and wealthy people don’t have concerns because I saw them up close and personal. Yes, they do. And on the flip side, I wanted to also change the narrative that said, people that don’t have a lot of money, don’t know how to manage their money, because that’s also not true. So you know, that’s kind of what got me interested in the behavioral finance part of it. And even though, you know, behavioral economics and behavioral finance has been around for many, many, many years. My goal was to take it out of academia and bring it to the kitchen table.
Davina: Right, right. So what I know you’ve written a book, actually about financial in intimacy, and really considering your partner in financial decisions and making financial decisions together, and I’m, you know, I’m sure anybody who’s been involved in a relationship where they’re cohabitating, or they’re married, have had experiences where they’re with a partner who’s not on the same page with them financially. So what kinds of tips can you give us when it’s not just us as single people doing whatever we want with our money, but we have to consider other people’s opinions family, the opinion of a spouse or spouse or significant other, what kind of things can we do to have the circuit conversation and have that conversation and try to get work together better?
Jacquette: The first thing is don’t make assumptions. And I know that that may seem so you know, incredibly obvious, but let me give you this example. A client came to me a couple they came to me about nine months into their new marriage, even though they had lived together for four years before getting married. And they came to me because after marriage is when they started fighting about money while they lived together everything was 50-50. They split rent 50-50. Utilities, vacations, like everything was 50-50. And they had separate bank accounts. After they got married, the wife was expecting that a they would have joint accounts, they would shift to that. And be they would shift to splitting things proportionately. Why? Because that’s what she saw growing up. Her father was an entrepreneur, her mother was a stay at home mom, but she managed all the finances.
So she never saw this, you know, separation, A and B, you know, she saw her parents talk about money. He, on the other hand, grew up with divorced parents. Both parents professional, and by that I mean, both his mother and father worked outside of the home, he never saw them talk about money. He never saw them fight about money, and therefore, or not, therefore, but he also never saw that they had any commingled accounts. So from his perspective, they got married, yes, but he was like, why should anything change? All we did is get married. And from her perspective, everything changed once they got married. And so when I say don’t make assumptions, I think we make a lot of assumptions around. Oh, this is how I think things ought to be, of course, my partner thinks the same thing.
Davina: My way is the correct way.
Jacquette: Exactly. So the first thing is don’t make assumptions. The second thing is to, you know, be just as curious about your own relationship with money, as you are about theirs. And what I mean by that is, I don’t feel that there’s any question that’s off the table. However, you cannot ask a question that you are not willing to answer. And ideally, that you are not willing to answer first.
Davina: Give me an example of that.
Jacquette: We’ll talk about debt, because that can be a thorny thing for some folks, if you want to talk about, you know, somewhat how much someone how much debt someone has, I think you’ve got to be willing to say how much you have. And you can either start the conversation by saying, I’ve got this, you know, X amount of debt, or at one point, I had this, and I now have zero, What’s your story? I think you can start it like that. And I think of one of the people that I profiled in the book, who was with someone who was adamantly against debt, and therefore she lied about how much debt she had.
And they ended up not getting together because of that lie. And so if she had been willing to deal with his reaction around that, maybe they would have ended up in a different place. And so that’s what I mean by, you know, initiating a conversation. But you’ve got to be willing to either answer first, or at least answer at some point in time, but you can’t ask a question you’re not willing to answer.
Davina: I think that can be really scary for couples, though. Because if you think, you know, not just this discussion of debt, but just anything around money, if you have certain beliefs around money, and you you feel a certain way about it, it’s a very vulnerable thing more so than people want to admit, because money seems like it’s this thing that we, you know, we have to buy groceries and pay the rent, whatever. But it really is so much more emotional. So why do you think that is?
Jacquette: Because I think so much of it is tied into our identity. And it’s tied in to our definition of self worth, in terms of, you know, what we deserve. I mean, there’s just so much tied into it. And I think it’s, it’s wrong for people to think that there isn’t an emotional element to money. I think we all of us, regardless of who we are, we all react to money emotionally. And we have this idea. And sometimes it’s true, that people are judging us, either based upon what we have or what it is that we don’t have. So it is scary. But I say this, number one, we need to stop expecting it not to be scary.
We need to stop expecting conversations around money to be easy. Because if you think of any other aspect of your relationship, probably those things that were the most difficult to talk about and the most vulnerable. Those are actually the things that brought you closer together. And so look at it more as a communication tool that will enable you to get to know someone on a deeper level and likewise put you in a position to reveal more of yourself on a deeper level.
Davina: Right, right. I have been my husband and I’ve been together for about 20 years married for 18 and our conversations around. First of all, we didn’t have them very much when we first got married, which is a huge mistake, but I think And we both had vague assumptions about things as you do in many aspects of marriage, right, and roles and things like that. But it’s been interesting to how our money conversations have changed over the years, by all the different things that have happened in our lives that have caused us to have to discuss money.
And so not only do our individual relationships with money change, but then in our relationships with others, it’s going to change as well. So you might not be it’s just like a moving stream. Because all kinds of things can happen in your life that you never anticipated happening, that can affect your finances, either in positive ways or negative ways. And even the party’s most positive ways can require a lot of big discussions.
Jacquette: Oh my. Yeah. I tell people all the time, you know, there are two questions that I think you will have on an ongoing basis. One is what should I do with my money? And the second is, what should I charge for this?
Davina: Right, right.
Jacquette: I have those two questions all the time. And I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. Because life is not static. And therefore, the questions ought not to be static, because your life evolves, your business evolves, the nature of your relationship evolves, or the nature of your relationship with money evolves, the goal shouldn’t be not to have the question. The concern should be if you are getting the same answer, every single time you ask the question, because then if you are, you are not learning some key lessons along the way. And you’re not giving you know, money and and its role in your life, the container that will allow it to shift and change and evolve and expand and then sometimes contract when it needs to do that as well.
Davina: Yeah, our needs and desires change, too. As we go through our journey of life, you know, what, what once was so important, becomes less important. And all of those kinds of things. When you mentioned fees, I want to discuss that briefly before we before we need to end. But that’s a big conversation a lot of women law firm owners have and discussing what should I charge for my services? And how do I charge my services and wanting to know what other people are charging, and trying to get information and everything. And I once had someone say to me, and I have said others that you charge that the highest number you can say, without stuttering?
Let’s try that. Let’s just try that first. Right. But it’s amazing how many people are constantly sort of looking for external answers to that question of what do I charge and not really doing a lot as much internal work, and which results in them oftentimes, under charging, because there’s an internal internal work that hasn’t been done. Because money feels like a you know, it may feel like it’s something that it’s shameful to ask other people for money, even if you’re getting paid for a service, for instance, feeling like they’ve got to they can’t charge something different than what other people in the market are charging or looking to blend in as opposed to stand out maybe that money. Have you what kind of stories have you heard around fees and charging for your work? Because it’s so tied to your personal if you offer personal services, it feels so tied to your to who you are as a person and your personal worth and value. So how do you advise people to sort of separate that?
Jacquette: So I’m going to say a couple of things. The first is I hate that term, charge what you’re worth, and I emphasize the hate and I know that I realized for me that it probably stems I’m black, right? My ancestry is Jamaican American, my heritage is based on a price being placed on someone’s humanity. So I really, really dislike that notion of charging what you’re worth, you’re not charging what you’re worth, you’re charging on the value that you are bringing to your to your clients, right. And some of that has to do with the concatenation of your education, your experience, your perspective, your skills, your talents, etc. But at the end of the day, it’s what is the result that you are giving or providing and what’s the container in which you are doing that.
So let’s get away from that whole charging what you’re worth phrase, let’s get away from that, right terms of you know, the pricing piece. I come at it from a couple of different perspectives. Number one, the price you see and the price that your clients see it’s the same number, but you were both coming to the table with so much wrapped up into that for you as the owner of the practice. It is a reflection of your relationship with money with yourself with your business with the people that you serve. And the thing that I like to give people as an example of how to think of it in terms of like, where do you find your sweet spot is if I go outside my home, I’ve got four different coffee shops within less than five minutes to err on my block literally directly across the street from one another. And then there’s two right around the corner, you go to get a black coffee, they charge different prices, right?
You got any other specialty, they charge differently? If I get on a plane, which no one that well, very few people are doing now. And I leave from JFK, right, I could have two airline options leaving from JFK, arriving at the same destination departing and arriving at around the same time, and they’re going to charge differently for the price on their seats. So the thing that people I think, need to think, and keep in mind is, where do you want to be when you think about a continuum? Do you want to be at the premium level? Do you want to be at the mid range level, the standard or the budget. And I always like to use the example of a burger, I love me a hamburger. So I’m always gonna have a hamburger outside of my house. But I have options, right? I may not eat a hamburger from McDonald’s.
But there’s McDonald’s. There’s the diner, there’s the neighborhood, Bistro, or pub, and then there’s the steak house. Each of those have a different price point, each of those will come with a different experience. Each of those will come with a different quality of beef. And it may sound like a really crazy example. But your price should be a reflection of where do you want to be on that continuum? Not only Where do you want to be, but where do you want people to see you on that continuum relative to other practices providing similar work. So I think that you’ve got to consider those two, like all of those dimensions that I’ve talked about the emotional, the financial, and the personal side that you bring to it. And then where do you want to be on the spectrum?
Davina: Right, right. I love what you said about first of all, I’m going to be telling everybody, they need to pick what hamburger they’re serving out. But I love when you talk about hating charging what you’re worth, I love your perspective on that. I think it doesn’t separate out the service you provide from the person. So it’s not it’s not about what your word if the service is what we’re talking about. Right? Right. Um, but also, I know how painful it can be for a lot of women, law firm owners and their lawyers, when are just service providers in general, when people feel they can negotiate with you about your with about your fees, right? Because, you know, you don’t go into Best Buy or Target and start negotiating the fees.
And yet somehow, when people see attorneys or people providing personal services or services of some kind, there’s this feeling of, oh, well, this is negotiable. And I know for some people, there’s a cultural aspect to that. And then other people are just, you know, looking to get the best deal. They think attorneys are wealthy, and so they can afford to come off the money a little bit. What do you say to clients who feel the pain of that when someone is trying to negotiate with them?
Jacquette: I think you definitely know before you go into any sort of sales conversation, regardless of where you might be in that conversation, whether it’s conversation number one, or conversation number five, you need to go into it with an awareness ahead of time about what it is you’re willing to negotiate. And if you do indeed come down on number, then whatever package you’ve put on the table, something within that package needs to come off the table. So my whole thing is, you know, sometimes Yeah, you do need to negotiate.
But if you want the business and you say, yes, I’m willing to negotiate, then I think the question becomes, what of what you are offering comes off the table so that someone doesn’t feel like oh, you know, they quoted me initially $15,000 for this engagement, and I got them down to 10. And I’m getting everything. No, you want to get me down to 10. And I say yes to that. Not a problem, but you’re not getting everything that I proposed to you when it was that 15 so that’s how I that’s how I think you approach it.
Davina: Yeah. I still appreciate all you’ve here today. And I you’re just a wealth of knowledge. And I encourage everybody to check out your book, Financial Intimacy, How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate. And also tell us where we can find more resources by you and connect with you if we want to.
Jacquette: Sure. Well, if you want to connect with me, I love me some Instagram, so reach out to me on Instagram, just put my name in the search bar, and you will find me to my knowledge. I am the only Jacquette Timmons, but yeah, my Instagram handle is my first name, middle initial and last name. And then if you want to do the financial wheel exercise which is a free exercise which will help you to either create your financial vision or reconnect with it, you can go to jacquettetimmons.com/wheel
Davina: Really great. And we will provide those links in the show notes too, for people who check out the show notes to make that easy for you. So Jacquette, thanks so much for being here today. I really enjoyed our conversation we were introduced by a mutual friend, and I’m so glad she introduced us and I look forward to continuing a continuing relationship.
Jacquette: Likewise, thank you so much for having me today. It was a pleasure.
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