Find your tribe

Some of us got the memo early in life: Pay yourself first, make it automatic. Some of us (see my hand waving?) didn’t. If you are trying to build new financial habits, draw on some conventional wisdom and put together a support network. Assuming the famous Jim Rohn quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” is true, you better strive to surround yourself with a tribe of people who embody the changes you’re trying to make!

Saying “yes” to life

David Bach’s excellent story The Latte Factor reveals his “three secrets to financial freedom”, simple truths we can all live by. {Spoiler alert: I’m going to tell you what the third secret is, so skip this paragraph if that’ll ruin the book for you. I think it’ll be a great quick read, even knowing the final secret, but you can make that decision yourself.} Secret number three is to live rich now. Sometimes when I’m working with a client who is wrestling with overspending, I can see that they’re thinking that the alternative is a life of deprivation. I’m the last person on this planet who would recommend that! As Bach’s book beautifully illustrates, we can say “yes” to life today without mortgaging our lives (my definition of overspending). This is not, however, the path that most Americans choose. Which means you’ll need to carefully cultivate a tribe, a new one, to support you in changing your habits.

It’s important to find your tribe.
— RuPaul

We’re human, we’re all about belonging (even you loners, I’ll venture to guess). Diversity is a wonderful thing, makes the world go round, sparks the best solutions and most creative innovations. But knowing that we fit in to a group, where our idiosyncrasies as well as our values and beliefs, are cherished and not just tolerated, well that makes life worth living.

Part of growing up is learning that not everyone will like us…and being okay with it. Life improves measurably when we learn to draw close to us those who really do get us, who are on our wavelength, who delight (yes, friends, delight!) in the things we say and do. It’s not just your mom! Find these people, get to know them, spend time with them, love them—they’ll feed your soul and keep you strong so you can go out into the world and do the work you’re meant to do, starting with changing your relationship with money and spending.

Think you don’t have experience finding a tribe? Think again! You’re probably already a member of a number of tribes in your personal and professional life.

Tribes at work

When I started my financial planning business, I got the most encouragement from Dennis Mosely-Williams, a guy who didn’t even know I existed until I started commenting on his blogcasts. Dennis helps financial advisors create transformational experiences for their clients. You see, Dennis’ videos felt like they were created with me in mind. How did this guy in Ottawa know exactly what I was struggling with in Winston-Salem and then have the words to help me see my path forward? Because his insights made a difference in my life, I had to reach out and tell him…and he’s kind enough to respond. Why? Cause he recognizes that I’m his tribe, just like I know that he’s mine.

Earlier this month I spent four very intense days at the Garrett Planning Network retreat. This annual gathering, my first, of GPN members is an opportunity for us to commune with our fellow unicorn planners—the folks who offer financial advice without minimum requirements, who have built their practices around making financial planning accessible to everyone, not only the very wealthy. (I’m fully aware that there are planners using different delivery models who share this goal, but in GPN, it’s our raison d'être, we’re united around this goal.) What a rush to be surrounded by people who devote their careers, often their lives, to serving others, who are fiduciaries by nature and by choice! I became a planner because of a long-standing desire to help others, to make clear and understandable what hadn’t been previously. And these are people who share this value—they’re my tribe!

Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters (NOT)

In the most difficult times, I turn to my sister-in-law. Laurie has known me for 40+ years. Though our approaches to life look very different, she has always shown me that she sees me. What a wonderful gift it is to be seen! Because of this, I look to her for comfort and advice when I’m struggling. And, because she knows me, deep down, she’s always able to give me comfort and advice that speaks to my soul (no pressure, Laurie, dear!). Who are the people who really see you? They’re your tribe.

We may meet kindred spirits anywhere in our travels through daily life. Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a potential companion for my dad. Keeping a 97 year old active and entertained is a job for a team! Rachel was referred to me by another member of my tribe, so not surprisingly, we hit it off during our very first phone call. As Rachel described her passion for working with aging adults, I knew that we were on the same page—part of the same tribe. It can be that easy.

Choosing change

Changing our financial habits, replacing the old ones that no longer serve us with new habits that do, is tough. To be successful, we have to find a new tribe to support our new choices, model the behaviors, and encourage us on our way. The hero in Bach’s story, Zoey, does exactly this—as her world view changes, she meets new people who support her transformation. And she recognizes kindred spirits in her current circle, like her boss, that she hadn’t noticed before. Who are the people already in your life who would support you in changing your habits? And where might you meet new tribe members? The growing financial independence community is hard at work creating useful resources—check out . Financial independence is for all of us, not only those working towards an early retirement (i.e., the FIRE movement). Reading a book, joining a group, using social media to make introductions, pick one and get started. It’s like counting yellow VWs on the highway—once you start looking, you’ll see them everywhere!

If you’re looking for a partner on your path to financial independence, we just might be members of the same tribe! Send me a note or give me a call at (336) 701-2612.

Investment advisor representative of and investment advisory services offered through Garrett Investment Advisors, LLC, a fee-only SEC registered investment advisor. Tel: (910) FEE-ONLY. Fair Winds Financial Advice may offer investment advisory services in the States of North Carolina and Texas and in other jurisdictions where exempted.