213: Managing Your Money with Financial Therapist Dave Jetson
Dave Jetson is the founder of Jetson Counseling and has over ten years of experience as a professional mental health counselor. Working with his wife, Liz Thorn, they offer a wide array of counseling services, including financial counseling and financial therapy.
Dave has also developed a “Financial Recovery Program” where he helps others address any number of financial issues. He is on a mission to help his patients on the path to financial recovery as they tackle complex thoughts and feelings regarding money and the issues it creates.
In today’s conversation, Dave and I get into what it means to be a financial therapist, the links between emotions and beliefs around money that aren’t discussed nearly enough, and how to tell if financial therapy might be right for you.
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In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- How Dave’s unique practice helps people understand why they don’t follow through when given sound financial advice.
- The common signs that someone may benefit from financial therapy.
- How setting healthy boundaries helps people make better choices.
- The questions parents should be asking themselves before they give large gifts to their children - and the dangers of enabling.
- What is financial therapy and how Dave helps others on their path to financial recovery.
- "When everyone knows the rules for a game, playing the game makes sense and can be very enjoyable. Yet if there were no rules, and everyone just chose to do what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it, the game would be very difficult, confusing, and stressful." - Dave Jetson
- "When you give a person a choice, they typically choose the positive choice, once they know and understand they have a choice. People like choices." - Dave Jetson
- "Accountability isn't something you do to somebody, it's something you do for someone." - Casey Weade
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Casey Weade: Dave, welcome to the podcast.
Dave Jetson: Oh, thank you, Casey. It's good to meet you.
Casey Weade: Dave, I'm excited to have you here. As we started our conversation, I shared that I was originally introduced to you by one of our Weekend Reading articles. So, I follow Mike Kitces, one of my favorite retirement researchers, and my favorite finance blog that's kind of more designed for financial advisors, but I often find the articles that are in that blog can be really impactful to the families that we work with. There's no sales pitch, just pure education, things that are really designed to help people.
And one of the articles that really caught my eye was titled Border Wars, and I loved that title. And so, I got in the article, I saw that you were in there, I ended up clicking through, going to your website, checking out the book. And I was really excited to have a conversation about drawing up those borders. I want to focus the bulk of our conversation around setting good boundaries, borders, just financial boundaries with our loved ones.
However, before we get there, I think it might be unusual for some to say like Dave's a financial counselor. He does what? He does financial counseling, financial therapy. What is that? And so, I kind of want to talk off the top here about exactly how you got to where you're at today. What is financial therapy, financial counseling? Why did you make this transition or add this into your product mix and your practice?
Dave Jetson: Sure. Well, thanks for the question. I actually got into this by a friend of mine, a certified financial planner with Kahler, who wanted to get into financial therapy. And he was saying that he puts together these wonderful portfolios, and these people say, I'm going to follow through with them, and they don't. He said I don't understand why, because it makes so much sense. And the research is showing it's not about the logical sense that makes the decisions, the emotional sense.
And so, when I work with people, I talk to them about it's not about the money, it's about what's the emotion that is attached to the money for the person. And when we understand that, then we can actually help create portfolios that are more successful to the person. And so, that's how I got into it in a nutshell. And what I have found is, is that I do intuitive experiential therapy-type work that actually helps dig into the emotional aspect much deeper to actually see what the issues are. I've actually created 18 real money exercises. If people want to get into the core of their issues, we can get into it very fast with those exercises.
Casey Weade: Is this something that is becoming more common, prevalent? Is this an issue that's being brought to the forefront, it's more of a necessity today? How do you see that this world of financial therapy has evolved? Because there aren't a lot of you, right?
Dave Jetson: Well, that is correct. There isn't a lot of us. There's an organization called the Financial Therapy Association, which I'm a part of. And it's still in its early stages of development, but it is a growing area because people are starting to see in the financial world, especially that this emotional need truly does exist in the financial world. And so, it's about how do we integrate the emotional piece into the financial piece to create greater success. And so, there's been a merging of financial planners and therapists in order to create this arena of people.
Casey Weade: You mentioned emerging financial advisors and financial therapists. Is this where that advisor you mentioned previously wanted to get into financial therapy? I mean, is that advisor now a financial therapist? Should there be a separation from your financial therapist to your financial advisor? Or should the financial advisor be acting as a financial therapist in some way?
Dave Jetson: Well, that's a very hot topic in this organization. I mean, in the respect that, when we look at it, when we're doing the financial planning piece, you're actually using one portion of your brain, it's more of your conscious brain and your logic brain if you will. And so, the financial planners use that very well. The emotional brain is tapping more into the subconscious. And what we're going to be doing is tapping more into your emotional history patterns, into traumas that you may have had, your belief systems that you were taught from your parents with words, actions, and actions, many different ways. And so, it's tapping into different types of brains.
And so, recommended is this, you have your financial planner and you have your financial therapist. I actually have worked with some financial planners, while I sit in on the financial planning sessions in order to be able to glean out the emotional piece of what's going on. A good example I had is one financial planner is working with this couple for about seven years, and he said, "We're getting nowhere." And so, I got invited into a two-hour session. What I was able to do is help them see that they're saying the same thing, but from an emotionally different platform, it got them to be able to come to a resolution. And so, that's the piece of what financial therapy brings to the table, is that emotional connection helps see what's really driving the energy.
Casey Weade: I'm smiling because I want Dave in every single one of my meetings. I imagine that's how most of your clients come to you. I imagine that most of your clients are coming to you from a financial planner. The financial planner recognizes the issue. The individual doesn't recognize the issue. Maybe I'm wrong, but if it's the subconscious where these issues are happening, how are you supposed to recognize that you actually have an issue in the first place unless somebody else points that out and says, "Hey, you need to see this guy?"
Dave Jetson: Well, the truth of the matter is, you would think that the financial planner is an initially when I first got started, that's where a number of my referrals came from. What was interesting is, is that what I found is, is most of the people that come to the financial planner first are actually into the cognizant part of the brain that this analyzing part of the brain and they haven't tapped into the emotional part of the brain. And so, typically, there's this emotional wall where they'll go to a certain degree, but they don't open the door. And so, typically, where I get most of my clients from couples that are bickering about money is what I find. And that's where the real rubber hits the road. And many times, what I'll do is I'll start in the financial therapy, and then I might refer them if we get them financially stable enough to send them to the financial planner. It works both ways.
Casey Weade: How are we supposed to recognize that we have an issue? How do we know that we need financial therapy if let's say that we don't have spousal issues, but we don't even recognize that we necessarily have an issue? I mean, are there some exercises, or just some signs that we should pay attention to?
Dave Jetson: Well, there can be signs. Are there little messages that say, for example, a good example was one person who inherited a bunch of money from his parents, and he could not spend the money because he didn't earn it? That's a flag. Or having to earn the money and saying there's some emotional history in there. Any time, any place, there's a hesitation, if you will, on making sound financial decisions. That's when financial therapy is going to be beneficial.
Casey Weade: And you mentioned experiential therapy. And before we move into this border wars discussion, experiential therapy, what is experiential therapy? How does that differ from general therapy? And is this especially effective in financial therapy?
Dave Jetson: Well, it's very effective in financial therapy. Most of the people in the financial therapy world are going to be doing more of the traditional cognitive behavioral-type behavior. The issue is that is, is it's tapping into more of the conscious part of the brain and trying to modify behaviors. It doesn't get to the core issue. Experiential therapy helps bring in more of the subconscious, the part of the brain that actually is making the decisions that you're wanting to address. And what we do is we might do sculpting, we might do role-playing. I do work with people with art and sculpting and all types of ways to get their body involved in the exercise because what it does in getting the body involved, helps get the subconscious more involved. And in so doing, we get to what the actual core issue is.
I also mentioned that I do intuitive experiential therapy because about 90% of all communication is nonverbal. And so, what I do in the intuitive is I help you see what your body is actually saying. And so, when I work with people, especially around finances, they might be saying one thing with their words, but their body is saying something very different. And this is a really important piece because when I'm working with a person, for example, what I will do is look at their body language, and I might throw out a money exercise very specific to what their body is wanting to talk about, not what the words are talking about. So, it's a little deep subject.
Casey Weade: Yeah, I'm just imagining sitting in a conference room and recognizing that someone won't spend the money they've worked so hard to save so that they could retire and spend it and have them go do jumping jacks.
Dave Jetson: Yeah.
Casey Weade: Give me an example, though. What does that look like? If I am in a conference room, and I'm having this issue, where someone's struggling to start to spend and really enjoy what they've worked so hard for, along the same lines that individual that had that inheritance, but they've actually worked for it to spend it. Now, they can't spend it. What would be a physical exercise that you would have them do? And what would you recognize of that?
Dave Jetson: Oh, what am I might do? But this, what I'm going to do is say I'm going to do this exercise, but I think it's really important that any money exercise you do, and if you're not qualified to do this, if you don't know what's going on, you can actually create a lot of emotional trauma, if you will, because of the guilt and the shame, but in a case that you're describing, I might give them $20. You say, why would I give them $20? Well, the reason is, they don't know how to spend the money, but by giving them, typically, they don't know how to receive it either. And so, while I'm not going to get them to pull the money out of their billfold possibly, I might be able to get the emotional peace out of giving them the money. And so, then it's really about how do they respond to that money when I want to give it to them. And it can go many different ways, but depending on how it goes will determine how we open that door.
Casey Weade: I have a situation right now with my wife that I'm curious what you would have to say about it, it's very similar. So, we have someone that offered to pay for a vacation for us. And, hey, we're covering the vacation, we took care of it for you here. It was the best, I mean, nobody's ever given us an entire vacation. I mean, this was amazing. And I'm saying, yeah, you don't reject the gift, you accept it. And my wife says, "I feel guilty. I'm struggling with this. I feel like maybe it's my pride." She doesn't want to accept the gift, and she wants to turn it down. She feels bad about it. What would you say about those two different individuals?
Dave Jetson: What I would say is, there's definitely some emotional history there, some money belief, if you will, or a script that she's learned that is limiting her capacity to actually receive a gift. Typically, what we're talking about there is, many times people, in the Bible, talks about how it's better to give than to receive, but what's really important is people can't give unless someone receives. I have a very specific example of this, my youngest daughter is a twin. And when she was born, she just about died, as well her sister did die, and their mom just about died as well. It's a very serious situation.
Anyway, these people came in and gave food to us, and came in and cleaned their house. And I did say, it was horrible for me because it was so hard to receive it. And this is what I'm hearing with your wife, it's hard to receive. And what I found is, in the gift, I found it was my responsibility to receive the gift because that was the way they could give. And that was a piece, is an emotional turning point. And that's the piece that, like with your wife and really about how do we open this emotional door to say it's okay to receive? As long as it's done with good intent, if the gift is given with no strings attached, no expectations, or anything like that, if it's a true innocent gift, then how do I truly give the gifts back by receiving it? And so, that's it.
Casey Weade: That's great. And I can already see my wife not real happy that we had this conversation, so I might need financial couples therapy when we get done with this. I want to make sure we get into the boundaries stuff because I just think that's made the biggest impact in our lives and also the lives of our clients. We've had many of the conversations that we've pulled out of your book, the concepts, we've been using those things with the families we work with that have found it very impactful.
So, if you're not aware of the Kitces's article, you can find it in the show notes. There'll be a link in there. It was titled Border Wars: Helping Clients Set Financial (and Emotional) Boundaries to Avoid Enabling Dependent Family Members. And then, also, we've got a special offer coming up here later in the show, we're going to be giving away the book that Dave wrote, Setting True Boundaries: How to Create Respect, Safety and Freedom in Relationships.
And there was a quote from the post that I think is a good starting point here, a quote for you here. And it said, "When everyone knows the rules for a game, playing the game makes sense and can be very enjoyable. Yet if there were no rules, and everyone just chose to do what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it, the game would be very difficult, confusing, and stressful." Can you just go a little bit deeper with that quote in that concept? That's kind of how you kick off the book as well.
Dave Jetson: Sure. The introduction is the image of playing a basketball game with no rules, and the chaos it would ensue. What's really interesting is that when we are in relationships that have no boundaries, it's the same thing. Notice if there were true boundaries in the relationship, you're not going to have the arguments, you're not going to have the fights, you're not going to have the abuses and that sort of thing, because there's going to be respect. Boundaries create safety, freedom, and respect. And I think that it's very important, as is most of us have no boundaries because we are never taught what a boundary is. People talk about boundaries all the time, but they don't have.
For example, I don't know if you've ever heard anybody says, "If you do that again, I'm going to kill you." Well, number one, they're not going to kill you. What you're trying to do is try to set a limit, but they really haven't set a limit. The boundaries have three pieces, three components of you. One is the limit, and most people think if they set the limit, they have a boundary. I actually read a professional magazine that had an article on boundaries. It was interesting, they didn't have a single boundary. They had a lot of limits in there, but they had no boundaries.
And many of us grew up in an environment where we just set the limit. In that example, if I kill you, I mean, what's interesting is most of us grew up in what I call the punishment and reward system. I'm going to punish you or reward you based upon how I'm feeling at the time around this issue. An example is, you have a teenager and they come home five minutes late and one time, they come home late, and mom and dad are in a good mood because they have company over, and that says it's okay, don't let it happen again, that was a reward.
Another time, they come home five minutes late, and they have a really legitimate excuse and they're grounded for a month. That's a punishment, based upon where the parent was at, at the time. And the reason is, number one, it's bigger than the situation demanded, number one. Number two is that it didn't relate to the situation. Okay. So, an example that might, and what I talk about is rather than punishment's words, I talk about consequences. You have a positive consequence and a negative consequence associated with every limit. Okay, that's where you get the boundary is with the positive consequence. And it's really important to have both.
If all you do is present a negative consequence, what you're doing is presenting a punishment. The other person will see it as a punishment. And so, the point here is, we want to set that positive consequence, and make sure the person knows what the positive consequence is. And typically, the positive consequence is life goes on as usual. They say, why is that a positive consequence? The reason it's a positive consequence is because it is familiar. People like and gravitate towards familiar.
Now, the negative consequence, it's important that it is not bigger than, less than, that it just is enough to get the other person's attention on this issue. For example, in this coming home late five minutes, so tomorrow night, we're going to invite. How do you come home? You're choosing to come home 30 minutes earlier for curfew. That would be an inappropriate, negative consequence in that case. And so, this would be an example of a positive consequence, but most people don't have that. What they have are this punishment and reward, and that's what the chaos is about, and that's what the sports example, the basketball example my book is talking about.
Casey Weade: So, just get some clarity there. Here, consequence, there's a positive and negative consequence, then there's rewards and punishments. So, just to enthuse me here. So, if we're talking about a negative consequence, or let's say a positive consequence, so we have a positive consequence. Once students get a positive consequence and a reward, it is maintaining a status quo, we don't actually reward anything. It's just things stay the same. Is that what you're saying is the difference between punishment, reward, positive, negative consequences?
Dave Jetson: Right. Yeah, because many people that want to do the rewards, I'll give you $5 if you do this, well, yeah, that work for a little while, but then they're going to say, "No, I deserve $10," sort of a thing. And so, that's where the rewards get out. A positive consequence is consistent. The negative consequence is also consistent, and what makes them consistent is the consistent follow-through. I'm just going to follow through with what you're choosing with your behavior. And this is really important. When you give a person a choice, they typically choose the positive choice, once they know and understand they have a choice. People like choices. And that's the beauty of a true healthy boundary is you actually give them a pass, a choice.
Casey Weade: It seems like there's a lot of reframing that's going on.
Dave Jetson: There is.
Casey Weade: And I think about the example that you give about screens or reframing the consequences, we're taking away the screens as one way to say it. And then, you say, well, instead of saying we're taking away your screen, you say you are choosing not to use the screens.
Dave Jetson: Yeah. And that's really an important thing. And this is one of the things I struggled with parents with a lot on, like an example, when you're done with your homework, you can use the screens, is a common one that I work with people on, if you will. And so, the parents go home, and they take away the screens. The child sees that is the punishment. I think it's really important to understand is this when you punish me, I'm going to figure out a way to punish you back. I might not be able to punish you the same way, but I will punish you.
So, we want to take those punishments out of the equation. And so, it's really important. It's a reframe, and it's a real critical refrain because boundaries are allowing you to have a choice. When I'm doing the punishment, I'm not giving you a choice, I'm inflicting the decision on you. And that's a big difference. And so, it's really critical that you frame it. This is one of the few times I really encourage you to use the word you. You are choosing the negative consequence of your behavior.
In this case, you are choosing not to use your screens because you're choosing not to get your homework done, and it's a choice. When you're done with your homework, you can have your screens, it's okay, I mean, because that's what you're choosing, because the screens are only used for homework assignments, nothing else, until the homework is done. And so, it is important to reframing. And what I have found is the people that actually get that reframe, things change. It's a critical refrain.
Casey Weade: Yeah. I think one of the things you said, and something that needs to be reinforced is how boundaries are positively impacting both parties. I think as parents, we just want to do everything for them usually, we just want to give them everything, we need to take care of them. We don't know how to put boundaries in place because it's not right. We want to give them everything, but the boundaries are in place for both parties. And we use this in our business, where we say, accountability isn't something you do to somebody, it's something you do for someone. And I see some similarities there.
Dave Jetson: Yeah. What's interesting is, is when I really got into the boundaries, I went to the Bible, there are many references about boundaries in the Bible, and that's a different topic and a different discussion, but it's really about creating safety and respect for both people. A good example would be, I had this family come in, and the child was just being a teenager, being very defiant, wouldn't follow through with anything that they said. It was amazing. I mean, this person is very obstinate in everything.
Casey Weade: Nobody's ever experienced that.
Dave Jetson: No, not at all. Anyway, the point in that is you say, "Why you change something?" And I say, "Well, you might want to consider putting some boundaries." And what was interesting is I suggested a boundary, and you know where the greatest opposition was, and the child was there. The greatest opposition was the parents, not the child. And what I found is when we got the parents on board of actually doing the boundary and following through with the positive consequence and negative consequence, the behavior changed. That was amazing.
And I see this time and again. And what was interesting is one of the areas I learned about boundaries was with these teenagers that have been arrested as much as 75 times, and they weren't even 18. And they said, "You know, I wish my parents would have set boundaries with me." And I said, "Well, why?" "Because it meant that I mattered to them and that they cared about me." That was profound. And the second thing I said, "Well if they set the boundary with it, would you follow through with them?" Is this, hell no? You don't have a boundary unless it's tested. That was such great wisdom. And I think that's really important when you set boundaries, you have to be prepared and know they're going to test it until they know it's secure and consistent because that's what they're really looking for.
Casey Weade: You can't be upset when they test the boundary.
Dave Jetson: That's right.
Casey Weade: That's just the nature of boundaries.
Dave Jetson: It is the nature of boundaries, but what's really interesting is people said, "Well, it's going to take a lot of work in order to get this boundary put in place." And initially, there is work. In the long term, there are dividends that pay off. The work disappears, and the comfort is. For example, one of the things I deal with people all the time on, it's not financial, but the point of the matter it could relate it is having kids get ready for school in the morning.
What's really interesting is that when I got the boundaries in place in my house, I never woke up my kids, never reminded them to take a shower, didn't remind them to do all the personals, pack their backpack, eat breakfast, whatever they needed to do. I just said, "The car leaves at 7:30. If you want to ride to school, be in at 7:30. If you don't, you'll be finding your own ride to school. And obviously, you didn't get enough sleep, so you're choosing to go to bed earlier tonight." And people say, "How could you do that? You know, I got to call my kids 10 times before they get up." It's really about setting the boundary in place. And I told my kids, "I'll give you two alarm clocks if you need them, but it's your responsibility to set them and get up."
Casey Weade: It's just that consistency, and it continues throughout your entire life. And I imagine some of the families that we work with are in this position when they're 65, they're 70, and maybe they're 60, just they now have had a lifetime of not setting boundaries or not consistently following through with the boundary, not consistently enforcing the boundaries or setting limits. They've missed some of those components throughout their entire life. And now, they have an adult child that continues to be a financial burden, and maybe the burden is too strong of a word, but they simply cannot afford to keep that child and continue to support them financially.
There are many different issues that could arise. Financially irresponsible children, we see all the time that is coming from wealthy families. They didn't have boundaries when they were a kid. And then, can reverse that? And is it too late? I think we're all a little concerned about screwing up our kids. And I was just talking about this with our Vice President, Marshall, here a little bit ago. I said, "We're all concerned about screwing up our kids, and we're doing everything we can to make sure we do the best job, but what if we make a mistake down the road? When they're 30, 40, is it permanent now? Is it irreversible? Can we do anything?"
Dave Jetson: Well, as parents, we're all guaranteed to make mistakes, guaranteed. I made mistakes, you're going to make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. And it's really understanding, can I live up to those mistakes and take accountability? And in the case of the boundaries, you say, "You know, I didn't set boundaries because I didn't know what they were." And you can set boundaries, know that as it gets older, the tension can be greater, and it still can happen. It takes more work if you will, but it still can happen. It's about really creating consistency.
And I work with people in their 60s, even 70s, where we work on boundaries because they haven't, but the greatest work actually is going to be with the parents, trying to get them into the mindset of what a boundary is. We've been taught that a limit is a boundary, and I'm taught to give. Many times, parents give out of guilt and shame. And so, it's really about can I work through the emotional aspect of that guilt and shame to say, I have a right here to take care of myself at this point in time. My children are grown up. And so, it's really about working on an emotional level first with the parents, so we can set the boundary that they can actually follow through it.
It is possible to do this with people at the age that you're talking about, it just takes a lot of emotional reframing first, if you will, like what we're talking about in the beginning of the broadcast here. And there's a way to do it, yes, but it's a process. It's not saying, "Okay, let's just do this. It's going to happen." It doesn't work that way.
Casey Weade: It reminds me of a situation that a couple I was working with where they just said, "I have to help the kids." And it wasn't so much about their child as it was about their grandkids. They wanted to make sure the living condition, they can't have those types of living conditions, we need to help buy them a house. They're not safe in that car, we need to buy them a car. And they're just perpetuating the issue year after year. What kind of guidance would you give to someone like that? Where do we draw the line?
Dave Jetson: One of the things that I always tell people around financial therapy is that when we enable, we disable. A good example I have of someone who enabled, which disabled was this guy I was working with, 75 years old, working every day, working full time. And every weekend, his kids would come over, and he would give them their envelope, their weekly allowance. They were in their 50s.
Casey Weade: We laugh. Alright. I can't imagine, I just can't even imagine, but it happens. I mean, there's someone listening that they're experiencing the same exact thing, and they want to know, what do I do?
Dave Jetson: Yeah, and the point of the matter is that it's really about inviting them to look at, what are you teaching? And this is where I typically work with a person, what are you teaching by giving your grandchild this money? What are the lessons? And when we look at, well, I'm teaching them to love. I said, "Well, there's truth in that." I'm teaching them that they matter to me. Yeah, how about this? You notice how you're also teaching them that they don't have to take care of themselves. Are you going to be here to take care of them after you die, because the more you enable them now, the less tools you're giving them to take care of themselves when you're gone?
So, let's look at the whole picture, and look at the emotional piece of this. Is this money about giving to them really about them? Or is it about you? I work with many people when the kids in this situation, they have much resentment of their parents because they haven't been taught how to manage their money, how to take care of themselves because mom or dad is always there to bail them out. And then when mom and dad set a limit with them, then they get really upset. And because they've learned if they get upset, they can convince mom and dad to give them money. And so, that's a learned behavior.
And so, it's really about understanding the behavior and walking through each behavior, each aspect of this in a way that they can feel and understand, and not to guilt or shame them, but say, this is the pattern that has been created by this behavior. And if you want that behavior to go on to your grandkids and children, that's okay. If you don't, that's where we might want to look at a different approach.
Casey Weade: That's a situation that happens over and over with the families that we work with. They've accumulated a significant amount of wealth, and they'll say, "Well, I want to watch it have an impact on their life. I want to give the money to the kids while I'm alive, so I can see the impact that it makes in their life. I want to pay off their home mortgage on them, buy them a new car. I want to put the grandkids through college." And yet, they never received those things when they were a kid, and that's exactly why they want to give it to their children. And is there a way to do that effectively without handicapping your children?
Dave Jetson: Oh, yeah. I think a good example is my oldest daughter. When she went to college, I did not pay for her college because, at the time, I didn't have the financial wherewithal to do that. Okay? What was interesting is when she graduated and said, "You know, Dad, I earned this. This is mine, and nobody can ever take away." She was so proud of it, and it really helped her be successful. What's interesting is working with other clients in that is when some of the clients have coached them on having their kids pay for their own college and then paying them back as a graduation gift without them knowing that that might be becoming.
And the reason is, is this in that, you're actually teaching that child, what does it take to get a student loan? What does it take to get into debt? What does it take to be really responsible? What does it take to really know what it's like not to have all the luxuries of the world because they're being given to me? So, that would be one example. And I'll just tell you that, in the case of my daughter, she was so proud that she actually did this. And that's what I see, is the people that actually have been able to do it on their own, it means a lot more. And so, that's the teaching piece. There are ways to teach, I mean, if you want to give, there are ways to give, but it's about how do you make it a teaching opportunity?
Casey Weade: How do you pay for your child's mortgage? How do you pay off their mortgage and set a boundary around that and make sure it doesn't become a habit? Or you've done something wrong? If we want to do that, let's just use that specific example, we want to pay off their mortgage, what should we do? What should the boundary look like? Do we just do it? Or is there something that we need to put in writing or explain or have a conversation around before we do it to make sure we don't make any mistakes? Where are the pitfalls of that?
Dave Jetson: Well, the reality is, is that if I was going to do that, and I said I really need to do that, I might not give it to them directly, I might put it into the trust. And the reason is, is because then they haven't gotten it. I mean, at the end of the 25 years or something, if they have been able to manage their life and that sort of thing, that trust can go to them, might be an option. And so, it's really about helping them create, saying, this isn't mine, it's something that I'm earning, I get to use it, because I've known some people that parents have given them a house, and they sell it, and then they spend all the money. What was taught there? I got another bunch of money from mom and dad.
And so, this is about if we really wanted to teach and give a legacy, how do we create the legacy? How do we put it in a way that format it? And that's where the boundary would be, so to speak, is with the trust.
Casey Weade: It seems like you're very much against large gifts to children.
Dave Jetson: I'm not against them. I think it's really important because this is that if we're going to give them, what is our true intention? And how is it going to help our child?
Casey Weade: Not today, but you're talking in the long term.
Dave Jetson: In the long term, yes. And what are we really teaching them? Because really, we are stewards of teaching our children and in around finances, how do we teach them to be fiscally responsible? How do we teach them what's a good approach of saving and spending? Because we have to do both, we don't want to be like Ebenezer Scrooge, not spend anything, nor do we want to spend everything and have nothing. We want to get into that middle road. And the way to do that is to create caveats, opportunities, or ways of making that happen.
There are times when it is important to give large amounts of money. For example, someone who truly needs it because it will actually help them, someone who has had nothing in his crate forever. It might be helpful to give them some money. I mean, every situation is unique and different. I'm talking from generalities if you will. Generally speaking, this is the way, but there are times that large amounts of money can be helpful and beneficial. And even with my kids, I have given them. I don't give any of my kids money directly, though, I will give them gifts because I want them to be fiscally responsible for their own finances. And I do not ask them about their finances.
Casey Weade: Yeah, that's good. I want to rewind something you mentioned earlier. You said that most individuals are coming to you as not individuals, but as couples that are bickering. Are there boundaries that we should be setting with our spouse financially? Could you offer a couple of examples?
Dave Jetson: Well, many times, we'll have a couple. One is a spender, and the other one is a saver if you will. And so, there gets to be real tension. And so, I want to do in those situations is look at how is the money being spent. And we might look at what's the spending plan and how are we saving the money and how do we incorporate both of them into the equation. And so, there might be a different way of distributing the money, if you will, and saying, you have an allowance, maybe, potentially for your spending. Okay? And I'm going to have allowance for my saving, and then we're going to have this other pod to make sure we have our bills covered and entertainment, whatever.
So, it's really about looking at the details with that couple, if you will, very specifically, and saying as far as if we want to work on the boundaries and that sort of thing, what's the emotions associated with this? Where's the fear and the anxiety? Okay, for the person who's saving many times, I'm afraid, money is about safety and security. So, you're throwing away my safety and security. And for the other person, this person is spending all the money, it's really about I have to spend it while I have it because it's going to be taken away from me. Money is about freedom and love and joy and that sort of thing. And so, it's really about how do we set a boundary saying, the boundary could be about an allowance, in that case.
Casey Weade: I'm sure it's the demographics that you're usually seeing with these particular issues if my assessment is correct. I'm sitting in a seat where I'm largely visiting with individuals that are stepping into retirement or retired, and I see them all of a sudden having financial conflicts that they really didn't have for most of their life that are coming to light as they step into retirement, but that's just my position. And maybe I'm just in a silo over here. Where do you see these issues rising the most in a timeline of life?
Dave Jetson: Well, what I would say is that I see couples in their 20s and up, on these issues. And many times, it starts off as an emotional issue, and we get into the boundaries if you will, and then when we start getting into the boundaries, then the finances come to the surface. Typically, the finances are not the first thing that they come to me for, but there are people that do specifically come to me for the financial piece. What's interesting, they're having tension in the relationship, and in the course of looking at the tension, we're seeing the boundaries are really necessary in this area, and then comes the money piece. And it's like a whole nother chapter. And so, that's how it typically migrates, and it's right from newlyweds on up, so to speak.
Casey Weade: I imagine a lot of these couples are also coming through your financial recovery program workshop. Can you talk to us a little bit about what financial recovery is? And what those workshops look like? Maybe what you see as the biggest takeaway for many of the attendees?
Dave Jetson: Well, the big takeaway is how many definitions around money people have. I will tell you that I work with people, and I will invite them to share their definitions of money. And I usually at a typical workshop, will get 50 to 70 definitions. None of them are the real definition of money actually is. And every one of them has an emotional component associated with it. So, I'm very interested in who's saying what definition they have for money because it's creating an emotional definition around what they have.
And so, in that, that's what we're going to want to work on in the workshop is their emotional definition of money. And based upon that, what we'll do is I might incorporate certain real money exercises to help them feel that pattern, and then help dig into the emotional historical pattern associated with it. And what's interesting is I invite people to look at their first memory of money. And many people would bring up where there's actual money involved, sometimes they don't. Many of our financial patterns were not created with actual money. It was about there was value in something in a situation that they felt value or felt the value being taken away from them. And those are the patterns that we really want to dig into and look at, to explore how those patterns created their financial patterns.
Casey Weade: I see that being a really powerful question. And I'm wondering about the definitions, and I'm thinking back to my childhood as that confidence or peace, is it usually a one-word, get a synonym for them? Or are they offering a broader definition? What do you often see? And what impact does it make?
Dave Jetson: Most are one-word adjectives, if you will, to describe money. And there is an emotional relationship component. Love, safety, security, freedom, power, control, I mean, are all very common definitions of money, I mean, and the list goes on, but the point is, it's always really interesting what that is, because if we understand their definition of money, then we can start looking at how they interact with money. And as a financial planner, and you're wanting to set limits in the portfolio in a way that's going to be helpful and successful, those definitions can actually help steer and guide your planning.
Casey Weade: It reminds me of a question that I would often ask, and the workshops that we would do and say, "What does retirement mean to you?" Give me a one-word answer typically, but you'd hear some pretty negative things, right? I mean, every once in a while, you'd have someone say it never going to happen, or boring or death, there's a lot of negatives there. And then, there's also a lot of the positives, the peace and the freedom and confidence. If someone's listening, and they have this word, so they come up with this word in their head, what should they do with that word? What's a good next step for them to dig into?
Dave Jetson: Your journal. What does this mean? Free-flow journaling, and I invite, though. And what I mean by that is you start journaling about that word, and whatever comes up after that, you put on, you might say, retirement is never going to happen was I think the first one you said because I'll never have enough money. And I wonder what I'm having for lunch right now, whether it's related or not. And the purpose of this, do not worry about penmanship, neatness, grammar, punctuation, or anything, what we're trying to do is tap into the subconscious because the subconscious is aware of the motivations and the reasons for those definitions. And so, we want to get these little aha's. And so, that's why I invite people to do it. And journal every day until they really get those aha's.
Casey Weade: What you said about the subconscious and journaling, I tried a new form of meditation recently, and actually, I was introduced to it through another podcast I listen to a lot, Tim Ferris had a guest on that said, "I don't meditate in the traditional sense. I spend two hours every morning just thinking, sit down and let my mind take me wherever it wants to go." And that was, I never thought about that. I sat down for about an hour, it was an hour and a half. I just held our daughter, and I sat there at night for about almost two hours, just letting my mind wander where it wanted to go. I initially sit down, I go, I don't know what I think about, this is stupid.
And before I know it, I'm going through everything that's ever happened in my childhood through this timeline. And there were so many realizations that I had. I had no idea I had so much going on in my head at the time, until I just let it free flow, as you said.
Dave Jetson: Right. And that's the beauty of it, is if you want to just free flow in that regard, I mean, in putting all those thoughts down, there's lots of information that we ignore. And by putting it on paper, it makes it become more a reality.
Casey Weade: There is more on our minds than we think there is.
Dave Jetson: Oh, there really is. And people say, "Well, my mind is so busy." And so, this is where I invite people to get a contemplative prayer because it helps empty and quiet the mind as well. So, we can actually get more of those gold nuggets. And in prayer, in contemplative prayer, that's where I find God is able to help guide my thoughts even deeper if you will.
Casey Weade: So many times, we say, "Well, meditation is just sitting down and clearing our mind, not thinking about anything." And that's what I would usually do. I don't think about anything, but the real value is in the thoughts.
Dave Jetson: It can be. I mean, it can be both. And so, that's the piece, because sometimes my thoughts are so racing, I don't have the time to really relax, to see the deeper message, the deeper things that I'm being invited to hear and feel. And so, there's a time for the thoughts, and there's a time for the quiet, and I think both have beneficial benefits, depending on what you're wanting to embrace and work through.
Casey Weade: Well, Dave, it's been a great conversation. As we come to a close here, I've got one final general question for you. I'd like to know, we've kind of hit on this, I haven't heard it from you yet, what does retire with purpose mean to you?
Dave Jetson: Being able to live life comfortably to the fullest extent and having joy and in connection with the people that I love and with God.
Casey Weade: Joy and connection, that's what I hear.
Dave Jetson: Yes, joy and connection.
Casey Weade: That's great. And we could probably dive into your past and your history as a child. I think that's exactly why you came up with that.
Dave Jetson: Because I didn't have it as a child. How's that sound?
Casey Weade: Yeah, everybody has a reason for the words that we use. Dave, if someone says, you know what, I am having trouble setting boundaries, maybe they're having trouble implementing a financial strategy, making a change in their financial life. They're struggling with these things mentally. How can they engage with you?
Dave Jetson: They can get a hold of me via my website. And all my contact information is right there, JetsonCounseling.com would be a way.
Casey Weade: I know you work with people all over the country. We will make sure that we put a link to your site, so the individuals can engage with you. So, there's a link in the show, notes to engage with Jetsons. And I say the Jetsons because...
Dave Jetson: That's right.
Casey Weade: It's both Dave and Liz. So, you have a couple of different options there, but we also have a special offer for you. Dave is so graciously sending over a box of his books like many of us have, and we want to give them out until they're all gone. The book is titled Setting True Boundaries: How to Create Respect, Safety and Freedom in Relationships. That could be a good starting point for you, if you're struggling with these things, maybe you want to read up on it before you engage here with Dave and check out a site.
If you'd like to claim a copy of his book, all you have to do is write a review for the podcast on iTunes. You can do it very easily at RetirewithPurpose.com, just check out the podcast tab. After you leave a review, shoot us an email at email@example.com with your iTunes username. We'll match it up, and we will get a copy of this book out to you at absolutely no cost. Before we close, Dave, do you have any final words?
Dave Jetson: I do. As far as the book is concerned, if you get the book, I invite you to read it slowly. The people that have had the greatest effect on their lives and changing is reading the book slowly. At the end of each chapter, there are questions. Now, if you want, when you get the book, you can go to my website, and there will be a PDF link. The point is, is you can download all the questions from the chapters of the book and you have a piece you can write it on, on paper, so you can actually do this. The goal of the book is when you're done, you'll actually have boundaries you can implement.
Casey Weade: Well, Dave, I used the link today, worked perfectly, and started filling out the PDF for myself. And it is a great set of questions. And as Dave said, you really need to take your time, these are important elements. Dave, thank you so much for taking the time to come to the show today.
Dave Jetson: You're welcome. And thank you for having me.
Casey Weade: Alright. We'll see you again, I hope.
Dave Jetson: Hopefully so. Thank you.