Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

Private Practice Success

04/30/2020 8:30 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Maria Gray,

Buckets of Money

I’ve read many books about money; I’m fascinated by the way our attitudes about money influence our countertransference and the fee setting process. One of my favorite money books is Bari Tessler’s The Art of Money. Tessler is a somatically trained financial therapist who teaches a yearlong online money course which I took several years ago. One of the valuable practices I learned was to divide my money into separate “buckets.” These buckets help me stay organized and clear about my business finances.

My first bucket is a business savings accounts labelled “Quarterlies,” I transfer money to this account every week so that when the end of the quarter comes, I have enough money to pay my taxes. My second business savings account is labelled “Gray’s Bank” which I use for my rainy-day fund to cover me during the slower times and to save money for training and other “Big Ticket” expenses.

I use the same system to manage my personal finances, but the structure is based on my personal values and interests. I value fitness and I invest in yoga and Pilates classes which I purchase in packs of 20. I’ve created an account called “Pilates and Property Tax” for my property taxes, yoga, and Pilates, and an “Adventures” account that I use to save for vacations. In the past I’d charge my vacations on a credit card which resulted in having to pay off a large debt when I returned home. Now I have the money ready and I can pay the card off immediately without any pressure.

I have a main savings account where I’ve saved three months of living expenses. Most financial professionals recommend saving more than that, so I’m working on building that account. I began writing this article prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, and now I’ve decided that in the future, I’d like to work toward saving six months of living expenses.

Maybe this sounds like too many accounts to you, perhaps you’d prefer just one or two. I’ve found that paying myself first and planning for emergencies, vacations, fitness expenses and taxes has created more ease in my financial life. It helps me manage the ebbs and flows of income that come with being self-employed.

I try to update my profiles regularly, but sometimes I fall behind. I’d love to hear about your practice and what sites you use for referrals. You can find me online or in person at an LA-CAMFT meeting.

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP, CGP, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Century City, where she specializes in trauma and addictions and leads groups. She enjoys working with adults who grew up around mentally ill or addictive family members. To learn more, go to www.mariagray.net.

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