JOHN A: Maggie is our special guest on the purposeful planning podcast today. I’m very excited about what she’s going to be sharing with us. Let me tell you just a little bit about Maggie’s kind of professional background. She’s a CFP and a CPA. She’s going to be sharing with us today a unique feature of her practice where she’s utilizing a tool that was inspired by the Klontzes, Brad and Ted and their money scripts. And that this tool is called the Klontz Money Script Inventory, KMSI-R. And it’s an assessment and it is run through a special software platform that Sarah Fallaw has created. Sarah has a Ph.D. She’s going to be featured on our podcast very soon. I think you’ll want to listen to this podcast and follow up listening to Sarah’s podcast. So in a sense, what Maggie is going to be sharing with us is how she use it and a little bit of the why. And then, Sarah will be really lifting the hood up and helping you see, not just this facade that Maggie is going to share, but all of the other tools that she’s created and is creating which are really marvelous additions. I think that everyone’s practice, when they’re working with families around wealth and financial planning and financial transitions, Maggie, her practice is centered in the great state of Illinois – she’s in central Illinois, as I recall – and she’s been doing this for over 20 years very successfully. And I’ve found in my awareness of Maggie and watching her and hearing her be in what we call within the PPI world, a thought leader and a pioneer. And that she really is not willing to just settle for the traditional ways in which she serves her clients but she’s looking for tools that will help her clients gain understanding and inform themselves around the money scripts that may be in a sense, curtailing what they can do and with Maggie opening up new possibilities. So Maggie, with that, let me ask you: why is the KMSI-R an assessment that you wanted to use in your financial coaching practice?
MAGGIE: Yes. So John, great to be here, first of all. I love the client’s money script inventory assessment for my clients because there’s a number of reasons. The first was, I wanted an objective assessment that I could provide to my clients. And they could take it on their own time with their own thoughts. And it could come back as a conversation starter that I could then use with my clients coaching them through their thoughts about money. And I hadn’t really seen anything that had the science behind it that DataPoints — there’s company called DataPoints — has provided in the assessments that they have. And for me when Dr. Brad’s clients had paired up with Sarah’s data points company to then provide the KMSI. I told Sarah that I felt like the heavens opened up and the Hallelujah Chorus was behind me saying [sings] “Oh”, because the tool itself, it’s an objective assessment but it’s providing those conversations to have more meaningful discussions about clients and their thoughts about money that they may not even know that they have. So, you had introduced with talking about any scripts. Do you mind if I just do a brief overview as to what money script is?
JOHN A: No, I think that would be very helpful. Thank you.
MAGGIE: Okay. Yeah, absolutely. So money scripts, this is a term coined by Dr. Brad Klontz, who’s a financial psychologist and a certified financial planner, and his father, Ted Klontz. And money scripts are beliefs about money that typically we learned in our childhood. And the reason why they use the word script is like in a play or in a movie, you have a script for a specific character. And they’re going to be practicing that script and they’re going to repeat it again, and again, and again. So, as a child, you may be hearing from your loved ones, their thoughts about money that they’ve been repeating again, and again, and again, out loud but the thing is, that’s their script. It’s for their specific character in life, it’s not for that child. But the problem is because it’s been repeated to us, our brains are going to take that in. Neural pathways are going to be created because we have that repetition. And then, we may see happening is that those money scripts of our loved ones are then carried from our childhood, possibly subconsciously, into our adulthood. So when I utilize the camera side with my clients, usually there is this awakening or an awareness for ‘Aha!’ moments, where they see about themselves. And if I’m working with a couple with their partners to say, “Oh!” It’s generating these conversations to say, “Oh, that’s why.” This is why you felt this way about money because you’ve always believed it is the core to be happy, or something of that. And so, and then what makes it even more interesting is when working with couples, especially, when you have the conflicting statements where say a client have one partner strongly agree with a statement and then, the other partner is disagreeing, which I love that because, again, it provides this conversation where I can just ask, “So why did you disagree with that statement?” And then asking the other partner, “Why did you strongly agree?” And just by having that communication in that conversation, John, they’re able to just have more of an understanding of each other where they’re coming from with their money beliefs.
JOHN A: I think this is very, very powerful. And it is data-based and kind of rigorously researched by the classes. And now DataPoints is really kind of assimilating and they’re building on that research model as well. But what I think is really fascinating, Maggie, is that this isn’t an endpoint. DataPoints and KMSI-R aren’t an endpoint. It’s really a starting point. And it leads you into – as I understand it whether you’re working with a single individual or a couple – places that you might not otherwise get where not for the results that you can see when they’ve completed the KMSI-R. So do you want to talk just a little bit about how it starts you and where it takes you and how you kind of amplify and complement what you see from the assessment results?
MAGGIE: Yes. So like you said, it really does emphasize and amplify what their money beliefs are. Most of the time when I’m meeting with clients, they haven’t even heard the term money scripts before. So already their awareness has been increased before they even become a client because I introduced that concept before they even meet with me, when it’s just during a prospect meeting. But then when we utilize the KMSI-R, basically what they’re doing is saying, “Okay. These are thoughts that I’ve had about money and I hadn’t maybe even thought about it that way before.” Because of that their awareness is even more heightened because now they’ve seen these actual statements. They’ve reviewed them. When I then review the results with them, I will go ahead and ask them, “Is there any of these money scripts you know?” Most of the time, a client will strongly agree with a few money scripts. Sometimes I’ve seen it where they may not agree. I’ve actually had it where a client strongly didn’t agree with any money script. And I asked her about it afterwards. And she said that she just kept waiting for a statement where she would strongly agree and it never happened. And she finished the assessment. And so that, again, it provided a conversation point so that I asked her, “Looking back now, if we go through some of these statements, is there something you would strongly agree with?” And she did. And so, using those strongly agreed statements, I’ll then ask my clients, “Is there a script that you would like to change? This is no longer serving your current self. This is not going to be serving your future self. So, is there a manuscript that you would like to go ahead and change?” Usually clients say, “Yeah. That sounds good because I want to change these subconscious thoughts I’ve had.” So what I do is I create a money script thought letter. So the concept of the thought letter I first heard from Brooke Castillo, who’s the CEO of The Life Coach School. And what she had said was, “Instead of having this thought where, ‘Oh. Now I’m going to completely change my thought’ do a 180 degree turn and say, ‘Oh, I can go from maybe a negative thought to a positive thought.’” That’s very difficult to do. That’s why we have the term ‘It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.’ But if you have incremental thoughts that go from that money script (which is no longer serving you) to getting you to a money script which is serving your present and future self, your brain is in the background and thinking of these thoughts, thinking of other solutions to say, “Okay. How can I get to this money script that’s going to be serving me?” So example, I’ve heard Brooke talked about body shaming for a thought letter. And in the body shaming example, she may start off with maybe somebody thinking, “I have jiggly thighs.” Okay, that’s the thought. It doesn’t really serve them. She then will say that maybe the first run could be a fact that could be disputed in a court of law. And so she might say, the first run is, “I have a body.” This is true, we all have bodies. That is true. And then going to get to a point where she may have the final thought being, “My body is wonderful and serves me for beautiful purposes.” So maybe that’s nothing moving away from the jiggly thighs, and just going just to a great statement that you can live with and just feel like serving your present future self. So when I’m talking to my clients about possible money script thought letters, lots of times I may start with the first run might be I have money. Because most of the time, my clients have money. It may be $1 in their bank account at the time, but they have money. They could go and they could see it. It’s a fact they have money. And so that’s removing that limiting belief. So say they went in and they say they strongly agreed with one of the money scripts in the KMSI-R which is things would get better if I had more money. Okay, so they strongly agree with that. So then maybe they go to the first run which is I have money. Remove any motion, we’re just stating a fact. So we’re trying to get to a neutral place. And then, what I like to ask my clients is, “What is the thought that you really want to have ultimately?” And so one thought might be I can enjoy my life without relying on money. And so then we fill in the other runs. And because I work with my clients, in a short term timeframe, I always like to emphasize, “Look. This is something that we’re gonna be practicing weekly. But that doesn’t mean that once we’re done working together, that you don’t really lengthen the time you go back, and you can lengthen the time between practicing each run. Because again, you want your brain to noodle on it in the background.” So going back to that money script. So again, the first money script that they said, ‘”I don’t like anymore” is that things would get better if I had more money. Then the first run is, “I have money.” Then say maybe the next one would be, “Money is a tool that I can use to improve my life.” Maybe then a third one would be, “There are ways that I can improve my life without needing money.” And then the final one could be, “I can enjoy my life without relying on money.” So this, for example, would be a client who scored high on money-focused. There’s four main money scripts: money focus, money vigilance, money avoidance, and money status. So in this case, this client scored high on money-focus on the KMSI-R, and then strongly agreed with that statement, “Things would get better if I had more money.” And then we work together to say, “Okay. Is this just a thought letter that you feel really works for you?” Because if it’s not going to work for you, you’re not going to do the work.
JOHN A: I think, Maggie, that was a very helpful example. And I love this concept of replacing the rungs that really don’t work. And I can see from the example you just offered, how important the KMSI-R is. I’m fascinated by the possibility that, in addition to that quest to get to say that fourth very positive rung that you just shared with us in the example, there may be a lot that clients learn in this coaching process that you’re taking them through. Could you kind of share what other benefits are other than just the manifestation of a final money script?
MAGGIE: Yeah, absolutely. So when they’re working with me and when I’m working with my clients, I’m sharing with them different financial psychology pieces. And that’s because, when prospects come to me and they say, “I really want to figure out a budget.” Or, “I don’t know why I can’t stop spending.” I could give them a band aid and say, “Let’s look at your numbers.” But I feel that in order to have them possibly change their behavior, they first need to understand why they do the things they do with their money. And so by utilizing the client’s money script inventory assessment, they have this awareness going throughout the time and working with me to say, “Oh, wait a second. That’s right. I remembered that I was gonna go ahead. And I was gonna write this new money script. This new rung down in post-it notes and I’m going to read it throughout the day.” When I’m working with my clients, it’s interesting, John, because what they’ll say to me sometimes – so I have a client right now. And she is an emotional spender. And she had said that she had many, many items in her Amazon cart. And she really was working on her money script thought letter. And realizing that taking the time, while she’s practicing it one day, she was just going through her Amazon cart, and she was just removing items. Because she was working on the wrong where she didn’t need to rely on money. And she was looking at these things in her cart and saying, “This isn’t something that I value right now. I don’t need this.” And so you can have the manifesting, but then you can also have the behavior that is now changing how they are looking towards money and saying, “Okay. Do I need these other things to bring me joy?” Or, “Can I find joy within what I have right now?” And it obviously takes time but just to have maybe a very quick, deep dive into, let’s think about, “What the money could do for us? What is it that you value?” And now let’s have your money aligned to what you value. And so while they’re practicing that money script thought letter, they are taking behaviors, and sometimes they are very excited about it. And sometimes they’re really nonchalant like, “Oh. I just did this.” I had a client who told me Ulta and Target were her calming places. She wouldn’t leave without buying something, at least one thing there every time. And we just wrapped up working together. And she hadn’t mentioned that she went to TJ Maxx and she had picked up some items. She just looked at them after walking around the store and she’s like, “No, no, no. They don’t bring me any value. There’s really no meaning (buying it).” And I said this is a huge thing. This is huge. And she was happy about it. So you never know how the clients are going to be but having that awareness just throughout the time that we’re working together. I think of it as just stringing so when I’m not always there, they can be practicing that thought letter. And so they’re always keeping that top of mind.
JOHN A: I’m struck with the universality of this. And you’ve been sharing some of these possible money scripts. I’ve been kind of checking in with myself and then, I think that I have probably a lot of money scripts. Some of them may be in conflict with each other. And I’m just not aware of this. I’d love to have you wrap up maybe if you would, Maggie, around kind of the universality of this and your conviction that this is not only KSMI-R extremely valuable, but it has kind of universal application that just about anybody, if not everybody, could benefit from going through it and working with a coach such as yourself.
MAGGIE: Absolutely, John. It is money. It touches all of our lives. I don’t see how anybody doesn’t have a money script even if it’s something that could be positive. That’s leading you towards something positive, fantastic. But to have this, I really think of the KMSI-R as having this objective assessment, this tool that just gives us some more information about ourselves. And I can tell you, John, that when I first took it I gave it to financial advisors, and just because they’re curious, I took it about 20 months ago, originally, and then I took it again this past February. And through repetition and through me coaching my clients and letting them know, “You can’t take it with you because of money vigilance.” – I was high on money, vigilance can’t take it with you – I scored low on every single money script this time. It just showed me the repetition of me going again and again and sharing with my clients, “What is your enough? What is it that money means to you? And how can we make it not an end but a means to an end? It is helping your life. It is not your life.” So I can certainly say that I think really anybody could benefit from taking the client’s money script inventory assessment. It just gives them some more knowledge about themselves.
JOHN A: And I think I love that suggestion that you’ve kind of personally experienced that. You really need it’s not just awareness, but then you need to practice with these money scripts. Catch yourself when you’re slipping into perhaps a negative money script and correcting that. I can see that being hugely beneficial. Well, Maggie, any parting words or wisdom you want to share with us before we turn this back to Shannon?
MAGGIE: It’s never too late to make change. And it’s just up to you to take the first step. So just know that you’re never behind. You’re just exactly where you need to be right now.
JOHN A: I love that wisdom. Thank you.