Vancouver Sun

Money matters, simplified

Book uses real- life examples to demystify the financial world

- By Tracy Theemes Lifetree Media Tracy Theemes’ Sophia Wealth Academy runs on Oct. 18 at the Renaissanc­e Harboursid­e Hotel, Vancouver, with all proceeds going to Dress for Success.

Vancouver’s Tracy Theemes is a certified financial planner and licensed financial adviser with a previous 12- year career as a practicing counsellor. As co- founder of Sophia Financial Group, she specialize­s in educating women in money matters and empowering them to take control of their financial lives. The Financiall­y Empowered Woman is her first book.

Q Tell us about The Financiall­y Empowered Woman.

A My book is designed to help women become what the title suggests: financiall­y empowered. This means they feel more confident, more knowledgea­ble and better equipped to manage their finances. Through my decades of work as a financial adviser, I have learned that education — for women of any salary bracket — is a powerful tool in successful money management. The Financiall­y Empowered Woman is designed to provide the foundation of that education. Through the use of real- life examples, anecdotes and practical advice, the reader can clarify their values around money, explore unhelpful behaviour patterns and start habits that will assist them to achieve their financial goals.

Q Why did you write the book?

A Over the past two decades I have taught hundreds of workshops to women about investing, retirement, negotiatin­g and leadership in both the U. S. and Canada. After classes, women regularly asked me for a book or a summary about what they had just learned. … Creating a book that responded to these requests was a natural extension of my work to date.

Q Describing behavioura­l and physiologi­cal difference­s between men and women can be controvers­ial. How did you navigate this to create a book with an empowering message?

A I have learned that not addressing our difference is disrespect­ful. As a woman and as a financial profession­al, I’m tired of being told that the status quo is acceptable: that women are OK, that how things work is just fine and that everyone is doing great. They’re not. Most women express that they feel disenfranc­hised from their financial advisers, bankers and their personal financial situation. It’s not OK that we feel so alienated and subsequent­ly stressed about money.

Q How has your work as a counsellor affected how you approach working with women to manage their finances?

A Working as a counsellor has helped me to understand that 95 per cent of finance is psychologi­cal. My background and education significan­tly informs both how I look at people’s behaviour and how we deal with their financial lives. Even the stock market is about human behaviour — not charts and graphs. And people’s net worth and cash flow is all about their emotions and ensuing actions. And what we think and do needs to be understood so we can more authentica­lly and gracefully make money work. The basic principle of my book is that a person should boss their money around, not vice- versa. Money has no meaning except what we apply to it. So finding meaning and applying it is the first and most important job of a financiall­y empowered person.

Q The Financiall­y Empowered Woman combines practical advice with personal anecdotes and descriptio­ns of research and studies. How did you fuse these into one message? A I just pretended that the reader was in one of my classes. I have heard the same questions so many times and the same heartbreak­s and fears from so many women that the stories live in me. I just told the stories as they rolled from my heart and my memories. The book audience became as real for me as the women who sit in front of me in a workshop.

Q What are the key messages you hope readers take from your book?

A Some of the most important messages in the book include that women and men are different in how they manage and feel about money; that there are five steps in financial planning, and regardless of where you are on the wealth continuum, your gender, your age or stage of life, this architectu­re applies; to learn to recognize what is in your control and what isn’t, to take care of what is, and let go of what isn’t. You can’t control the markets but you can watch your cash flow; that a financiall­y empowered person owns their life and takes responsibi­lity for it. Good or bad, rich or poor, it is what it is. We can always do something today to take a journey towards feeling powerful and secure in our finances; and, above all, I hope people remember: you are good enough. You have what it takes and are capable of getting to where you want to go.

 ??  ?? The Financiall­y Empowered Woman is Tracy Theemes first book.
The Financiall­y Empowered Woman is Tracy Theemes first book.

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