My story is meant to inform and inspire your story.
The Lifestyle Guide Journey . . .
Not long after being granted tenure as an elementary school teacher, I knew I’d reached a goal and was ready to change careers. Learning how to grow minds was the gift that I would take with me.
I transitioned into the financial services industry so that I could teach people about their money. Over many years, I worked in various roles. From financial planner to employee benefits manager for a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, I then became the private asset manager to a single wealthy family. I was the gatekeeper and trusted advisor accountable for multiple entities, and their substantial real estate portfolio. I learned that people with high levels of wealth have unique challenges with financial well-being.
Heartstrings and Transitions
As my two daughters were headed off to college, a dream was becoming fulfilled. Raising educated daughters was a mission of mine. My (ex) husband and I had built a beautiful new home in a small gated community and were about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I felt like I’d reached my version of having it all.
Life was far from perfect, but I worked to have gratitude as I accepted the bad with the good. Deep down, I knew that there was something very broken, but I couldn’t see it and couldn’t fix it, despite all my efforts. I wondered if this was as good as life gets, outer success with an inner emptiness, a well-decorated lifestyle masking struggle.
I wondered if this was as good as life gets, outer success with an inner emptiness, a well-decorated lifestyle masking struggle.
Cracks That Let New Light In
One month before our big anniversary, my marriage ended, and suddenly everything changed. Not just through the divorce itself but as all of our marriage struggles spilled out from behind the mask of perfectionism—that fear of public humiliation that keeps many of us trapped. I had no idea that emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse even existed as something to beware of, let alone something that could harm you. There was a lot to learn, and I began to get the answers I needed to let go. Letting go felt good as I finally exhaled. It was time to rise and create a more abundant life of well-being and joy.
So began the journey of discovery and the complete transformation of my life. There were a lot of people who I needed to leave behind as I took my blinders off and grew my worthiness. As I journeyed forward with no guide and no roadmap, I felt like I needed another woman to guide me, someone who had been through this process before. I needed someone who could teach me, encourage me, explain what was happening, and help me to make big decisions. I needed a lifestyle guide and a thinking partner.
Time To Bloom
I dreamed a new dream and walked in faith.
One step at a time, I got busy being my authentic self with my values and boundaries blazing for all to see.
I opened my own wealth management firm, bought a cute little house in a new town, and surrounded myself with all new friends – healthy friends. I could see that broken attracts broken and healthy attracts healthy, and as I was becoming healthy from the inside out, I needed a new girlfriend tribe. I was on the path to my new normal with self-loving choices, acutely aware that some women do not thrive in transitions but become lost, stuck, bitter, or simply unwell. I was mindful not to give away my future happiness and determined to bloom into the best version of myself.
Create The Future You
As I continued to grow in my career, I became interested in understanding transitions and studied with the Sudden Money Institute. Transitions have different stages with corresponding characteristic behaviors and learning this helped me to see my own journey from a clinical aspect. Transitions not only involve emotional, social, and physical changes but financial changes as well, and that all needs to be accounted for as we consider possible next steps. What felt like crazy behavior during my transition was actually normal when put into context, and we need that assurance as we allow ourselves to become vulnerable and evolve into butterflies.
Change With Purpose
I completed the coursework to sit for the CFP exam and became a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Seeing how much women in transition need support, it became my passion for focusing on in my career so I transitioned again. I became a Certified Life Coach and authored a white paper, How Women Can Achieve Greater Wealth and Well-being with a Holistic, Female-Centric Solution to Lifestyle Management. I spent time as a program manager to a women’s wealth and well-being initiative at a $4 billion wealth management firm where I worked to train mostly male financial advisors about the special needs of women in transition. I also had fun hosting a women’s summit where women could come together for a full day of learning and sharing.
The financial services industry is challenged with well-publicized integrity issues and well-established gender discrimination. There is an in-congruency with alpha males as financial advisors to emotionally overwhelmed females—basically, they can’t hear each other. It is violating to have a financial advisor prey on your lack of knowledge to essentially steal your money to meet his sales goals. I ultimately decided to leave the industry altogether, taking all of my financial education and experience with me. My mission is to support women in transition, including their financial well-being, and it was clear that I couldn’t do that with any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
Dreams Do Come True
As life began to normalize, I took my daughters on a celebratory vacation to Hawaii. Our second day on the island, hot, tired, and hungry from a fun day of exploring, we sat down at the sushi bar of a busy restaurant. I imagine that God smiled a big smile as my daughter asked the handsome stranger next to her if she could borrow his menu when he was done with it. It was her future step-dad, the man of my dreams, there on vacation with his daughter celebrating high school graduation. We all laughed together, and he asked me if I’d like to go for a walk on the beach after dinner. We married back in Hawaii a year later.
The life we’ve built together is the life of my dreams. I am happy, loved deeply, inspired, supported in my ambitions, and know what it is to have a life of well-being – simply that, well-being. I am grateful for knowing joy and peace in our marriage and having a husband with a kind soul. We lived on a beautiful lake in the Pacific Northwest for many years then moved to the sun-drenched healing desert of the Southwest. We love paddleboarding, pickleball, long walks, hiking, beach vacations (obviously☺), our four kids, and our black cat, Chinook.
Pink Balloon Passion
Pink Balloon is the heartfelt creation of all my education, training, work experience, research, and personal challenges. I’m making my own path forward now and not conforming to any single career path but blending them all as a private client consultant to women in transition. Creating online learning that embodies all that I want to share also helps me stay in alignment with my values to help as many women as possible. I’m deeply passionate about supporting women who are ready to change their lives for any reason. A beautiful life is always an option.