Company Culture & Values

How to Align Your Values with Your Career and Service Model

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We talked with Diana about:
  • Connections between money and life coaching, and how she merges the two
  • Her unique service model that allows her to serve the groups she's passionate about
  • Examining your views of money and goals to align with a life that matters to you

About Diana Yañez:

Nestled at the intersection of financial planning and life coaching is Diana Yañez, founder of All the Colors. By combining knowledge from her CFP® certification and her RLP® (registered life planner) designation, Diana created a space where she can empower clients to their vision of financial success. By altering the mindset around money, she encourages people to prioritize their spending where they receive the most joy while still saving for the future.

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Full Audio Transcript

Lauren (00:03):

Diana, thank you for joining us today. We are excited to jump in. I think we originally connected on LinkedIn going back and forth. So I'm excited to hear from you. I know you have a really unique approach to financial planning. We're both in this world, although very different. We're on the marketing side and you're on the planning side. So what is your journey to get here? I'm going to kick it over to you and let you get started. Tell us a little bit more about your background and how you got to where you are.

Diana (00:33):

Yeah, well, I'm going to actually start backwards. I'll get to where I am right now and then I'll let you know what the windy curve to get here was. I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, which for people listening, they probably know it's like a couple of years of education, working under somebody else in the apprenticeship model, continuing education, and then passing a pretty difficult exam. So that's a CFP®. I'm also a registered life planner, which is through the Kinder Institute at Mizzou, to be a life coach on the money end of things.

Lauren (01:04):

Yeah. Oh, interesting. Okay.

Diana (01:07):


Lauren (01:09):

Okay. So there's a Steve Jobs quote, something about you can only connect the stars looking backwards. So kind of where you are right now? What's the connection to get those certifications to where you are and what you're doing?

Diana (01:23):

Well, let me finish telling you about where I'm at right now. So as I work with high-net-worth individuals, about a third of my time through Strategy Squad, which is part of Natural Investments, a registered investment advisory firm. The other two-thirds of my time I'm a money coach with All the Colors. So CFP®s traditionally serve the top 4% to 6% of wealth holders, and I couldn't do that. I couldn't do it a hundred percent of my time. I do it a third of my time, and then the other two-thirds of my time I serve everybody else through money coaching.

Lauren (02:01):

Got it. Okay. So you've got these two pieces that you're about. Why did you go that direction?

Diana (02:06):

Because I needed to. I like having a diversity of clients, honestly. So that's why I'm both a very technical CFP® — that's the highest technical level — and also a money coach and also a life coach equivalent. It took me three careers before I finally found financial planning, and it truly is my calling. I'm a numbers person, a money person who loves people and loves seeing when people's just shoulders relax, when they're starting to understand a concept, when they're really seeing they have more options than they think they do. I love being there when people open their eyes to the reality of their financial situation.

Lauren (02:50):

So I know you work with women entrepreneurs as a target, and is that in both sides of your day-to-day, or is that just one side of your work you do?

Diana (03:03):

It was a pretty natural women entrepreneurs kind of found me, and it makes sense because there are entrepreneurs in the first five years of business, when you're becoming an entrepreneur from having been an employee, you have to get used to the fact that your income is very sporadic and you have to get comfortable asking for what you're worth, charging more money. You have to get comfortable with money conversations most people are not having, which is why they found me. I'm a money translator. I'm the technical translator of what is a SEP IRA, how do you start using it? How do I understand my taxes now? And also, how do I price myself in a way that supports the kind of lifestyle that I want; I want to be able to have flexibility to pick up my kids from school. Women still on average earn 80 cents to the dollar of a man, and I'm Latina. So on average it's like 53 cents to the dollar of a white man, which is again, why women of color came to me because they could hear I spoke their experience, I understood their experience, so it was very natural. This niche found me and I see why they needed me.

Lauren (04:22):

Can you talk a little bit more, because you have the money side of it but the coaching side, how do you integrate the two in those conversations? Does it start with one first, something that goes to the other? Are they just super connected? Can you even pull them apart? I'd love to hear about those conversations and how you build that comfort level getting into more than the numbers. It sounds like you're unpacking stuff, so tell us a little bit more about that.

Diana (04:47):

Yeah. I consider myself kind of like a money nutritionist. When you go to a nutritionist, they can tell you, this is what your plate should look like. This is what the calorie breakup should be. I have a background in disordered eating, so I knew a lot about the technicalities of how I was supposed to do food but in the day-to-day it was chaos. So I was talking with a friend of mine, Haley Castillo, who's a financial therapist, and she was talking about how the intuitive eating movement can come over to money.

Diana (05:27):

There's this quote I love by Morgan Housel, who wrote The Psychology of Money, and I don't love all of his book but this particular quote is gold: “Money looks like math because it has numbers but it's much more like psychology.” It's the same with food. Food looks like fuel but it's not fuel. Hardly anyone uses food as fuel.

Lauren (05:50):

Yeah, yeah, I know. And you don't think about it, right? You're like, okay, well, I'm going to go and purge on whatever ice cream and this and that but same thing with money. You could totally see those parallels. I'm going to go purge on this. I'm going to go do that. I'm not going to just sort of live day-to-day. 

Diana (06:15):

Yeah. I have a question, Lauren, about how do people do money without talking about coaching? Oh, how do you even approach the topic about money without talking about your values or the lifestyle you want to have or the things that are important to you? How would you just look at income and expenses and pretend that there's no emotions around it? I don't even know how that would work.

Lauren (06:34):

So given your target and your past experience, is there a process and the discovery you're taking them through to help uncover some of these questions? Does it kind of come out naturally? What does that look like? And then what does the ongoing engagement look like? That might be a little bit different to make sure it's not just checking in on your financial plan or checking in and making sure things are aligned because people are evolving, right?

Diana (07:01):

Yeah. Well, and both for Strategy Squad and All the Colors, the introductory process is pretty similar but the way I position myself in the marketplace is pretty different. So when you look at my website for either one of those fields I work in for either one of those branches, you can tell it's not a regular financial plan. So for All the Colors I talk a lot about community care. I talk a lot about being surrounded by people who support you in your money journey and who you support and that part of it. And then for Strategy Squad, when we're looking at investments it's community impact. So people are coming in really warm. They already know the conversations are going to encompass broader things. So there's a self-selection process that's super key.

Lauren (07:49):

It's great marketing right there. It's so true though. People are self-qualifying. They're like, okay, is this my fit? Is this someone I could feel comfortable with? And they're starting to hear those conversations before they're even having the conversation with you. Okay, so I'll let you keep going but I had to throw that out there. So true. You've teed it up.

Diana (08:09):

We offer the same thing for both of those branches. We offer a free 30-minute call to get to see if we're a fit. The questions we ask our clients, we'll already let them know we're going to talk about more than the numbers, it's not just going to be a numbers-focused conversation. And so for All the Colors, when people come in, I have a discovery workbook I work with them through and it creates money. Coaching is a shorter container. It's three to six sessions, which could be as little as three weeks if we were meeting every week when they're setting up a system or as long as maybe six months. I don't really work with All the Colors clients for money coaching. It's a setup. Let's get you to a place where you have a system, and whenever anything changes, let's say you get a raise at work that's significant, it's an extra 20, $15,000, and you're like, how do I position this? Or you get pregnant or you get divorced, or there's a big life change. That's when people will come back to money coaching to update their system for investment. That's ongoing, long term. The time span there is much longer. It's more the traditional financial planning.

Lauren (09:22):

So hearing a little bit more about All the Colors is really interesting too because that's just a different way of going about it. In fact, I feel like it's a service offering I don't even know if I've ever heard of before. You hear about it in different chunks but not necessarily fused with that life coaching side of it. So someone's working with you. Is it intense in the beginning or do they kind of get the workbook and they're able to run with it? What does that whole engagement look like?

Diana (09:52):

And the thing is, All the Colors and Strategy Squad, they're very similar but if clients need investment management, then I would graduate them to Strategy Squad.

Lauren (10:01):

That makes sense. Yep, that makes a lot of sense.

Diana (10:03):

But like I said at the beginning, CFP®s only serve the top 4 to 6%. So here's 90% of the people who with money coaching they have what they need.

Lauren (10:14):

Okay. So  do you find folks are working with you kind of one and done, or then are they swinging back in six months, two years later? What does that look like?

Diana (10:28):

Well, full transparency, All the Colors has been around for two years. I'm wrapping up my second year, and I have seen people come back. I've seen people do the initial 30-minute, the free 30-minute call, and on that call sometimes people can answer a question they have. I also have a self-guided budgeting course because cash flow is really where most of us need support. Once people go through that, then maybe they'll have a question. I've seen some clients come back when they've had life transitions, especially a client who graduated. I was working with them during their last semester in college, and then a couple of years later when they had a job that had paid off their loans — it was a really high- paying job — they came back to try and figure out what to do there. So people do come back, like I said, around life changes and the workbook, depending on my client's tempo, they'll either run with it a lot on their own or we’ll do the work together.

Lauren (11:24):

Okay. Got it.

Diana (11:25):

One thing that stands out about the way that I work is that I'm very, very mental. So I tend to attract people who maybe bought the DIY book, and they never opened it.

Lauren (11:38):

I know. It's like you buy a, I don't know, a walking treadmill, and it just sits there. You're like, okay, I'm supposed to be on that treadmill, and it's just sitting there and it's a waste of $200 or whatever. So you're there to be able to help carry them along and to be able to hold them accountable in a, I don't know what the right word is, but not in an aggressive way, right? At their pace.

Diana (12:01):

Yeah. I'm not a CrossFit kind of coach. I had a boyfriend who loved CrossFit, and I was like, oh my God, they're yelling at me. They would just throw me off.

Lauren (12:13):

Yeah, I know. It's a certain personality, right?

Diana (12:16):

Yes. Yes.

Lauren (12:18):

Okay. So I'm thinking about the All the Colors side of things, because there is such a value piece to it, are there things you feel are helpful to think through before you even are going to crack open that workbook? Things that are important to people or conversations they should be having with their spouse? Or look ahead? I'd love to hear. Or is it more just like this is an opportunity for you to get it all out there and that workbook, what does that look like to do it?

Diana (12:49):

Well, I mean, the first page of the workbook really asks what success looks like. And I divide internal and external success. What do you have to feel internally to feel you're doing well with money? And it's a success? With money, specifically, I'm not looking at a person's entire life. I'm not a dating coach or a nutritionist. And it could be things like, I want to be able to take a mental health day off even if I don't have PTO, I want to have the emergency savings for that. Or I had a client where family was a very, very important value. So she actually created an account she was contributing to monthly so whenever her family, her mom would say, hey, so-and-so's hit a hard time, blah, blah, blah. And this client, she was a first generation immigrant, she had done very well for herself at work. That way she could tell her mom, okay, this is how much is in the account. How much of it do you think I should share? And that way she had this experience of her mom would call, and then she wasn't sure but she decided, and she also talked about it with her family. This is what I'm able to do. She wanted to do that. And when we started working together, she knew supporting her family financially as a stopgap was important to her but she didn't have a system. So sometimes even just outlining what success looks like, it's kind of like where you're headed. The how isn't as hard to find. It's experimenting your way into it.

Lauren (14:23):

Do you have any other stories like that? They're really interesting, that helps to paint the picture of what's important to people, that here and now sometimes, like you mentioned the PTO piece of it. Are there other things? Is it saving, I mean, I think of more about the investment planning side of saving for kids' education and 401(k)s and all these other kinds of complex things. But is it sometimes things like credit card debt or are there common themes you're hearing from people, just real stuff, right?

Diana (14:55):

Yeah. I remember one of my clients who was making three times as much as they had made their year previous, maybe it wasn't three, maybe it was twice as much but they were spending two and a half times as much.

Lauren (15:07):

Oh, wow.

Diana (15:08):

And they hadn't really noticed it because the new income was so much higher. They hadn't really thought it would even be possible but they slowly ramped up their way. By the time they came to me, they had built up a significant amount of debt. And it wasn't until we were actually working together that they went and picked up the numbers of credit card debt and added up the total. And we looked at the total together, and I have a debt payoff worksheet that's pretty simple. It's like your traditional avalanche snowball kind of thing. And she could see when each portion would be paid off. And she left that meeting feeling like a mixture of here's how much I owe, I can't believe this happened so quickly, and here's when I'm going to be out of debt. So it was bittersweet; I often feel like I'm throwing a pail of cold water on people. I remember I had a coach who said he was the equivalent of a gentle toothpick or a gentle ice pick to the eye, because you just have to see what it is that you're doing.

Lauren (16:21):

Yeah, that makes sense. It was just you can be living in that day to day but not actually have it all right there on a timeline.

Diana (16:28):

And that's so common. I mean, life is so busy. Next thing you know, people hire coaches for accountability. They hire coaches so they have time to step back and look at the big picture. They hire coaches when they're at a new stage of life and they want support on that. And then for Strategy Squad, the more specific work we do with clients, there is the community investment options. One of my favorite ones is Iroquois Valley Farm, which is in upstate New York. And that's a real estate investment trust. It's a REIT, and not everyone is qualified to invest into it but it's an organization that's indigenous led and they're creating organic farming in that area. The stories we get to share with our clients, the access we are able to provide — because a lot of these nonprofits or organizations have social justice values they're not going to be able to have the conversations with investors. So they need a financial advisor to act as an intermediary.

Lauren (17:35):

Makes sense. And you're able to provide that.

Diana (17:38):

And we're able to provide that. And Natural Investment Strategy Squad has a huge due diligence team. We do a lot of research before we share anything with clients, before we propose anything. I remember hearing that alternative investments impact investments. It's kind of like the Wild West.

Lauren (17:58):

And I think in all transparency, I mean, what we see is a lot of firms are even trying to figure out how to position it. It is kind of politically laced and all of that, or it could be, right? And so it's fair, it's the Wild West but it's not in some ways. But I don't know. It's this gray area but go ahead.

Diana (18:18):

Yeah, I mean, I do understand that because also a part of my faith, as I'm Quaker and I'm helping my Quaker organization do its impact investments, I lightly have my investment hat on. I'm more of just an oversight on a volunteer and hearing them, hearing my peers or my Quaker friends talk about understanding the different options, I'm like, wow, I get confused looking at these prospectuses. I can't imagine what they must feel like doing this. So again, through Strategy Squad, it's like being that intermediary, both helping the organizations that need funding and then helping our investors invest in things they feel really aligned with.

Lauren (19:06):

So one other question on that too is do you ever have situations where you've got individuals on either side of the business who feel like their career, their day-to-day, and their values are misaligned? And how have you handled those situations? Does it kind of open up a whole other can of worms about whether we need to shift careers or tell me a little bit more about that?

Diana (19:32):

It definitely happens. And sometimes people decide to stay where they're at because there's other goals that are more important. It could be the financial benefits they're getting or they may start to think about, well, these are the things I have to have in place for me to make a switch. Because I'm working with a lot of entrepreneurs, though, we don't generally have that problem. We're already doing the thing we want to do.

Lauren (19:55):

Yeah. They're already jumped off the deep end and are going for it. Yeah, that's fair. Well, this is really great. Anything else you think would be helpful to share about your day-to-day work? Or folks who are at a place where they're just trying to get started, things they should be thinking about? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

Diana (20:18):

Yeah, like I mentioned a couple of times, I'm available for 30-minute calls. That's part of the way I give back to the community because it's really important for me to be of service with people. I think it's really helpful for people to define success for themselves. What does a well-lived satisfied life look like, internally and externally? And again, just knowing what will get you warmed up to move into how. And I also think people should move at their own pace. Sometimes this sense of urgency that things need to get figured out now, and when you live a full life, there's always a new set of problems a minute away. So we're never going to get to a place where it's all resolved, which means you might as well take your time and actually make a decision that's not going to be counterproductive in the future.

Lauren (21:08):

Yeah. So well said. Well, Diana, thank you so much for your time, and we'll make sure to include the links to the two different organizations below. I know you're active on LinkedIn, so we'll make sure to include your LinkedIn too. I appreciate you taking the time and sharing a little bit about your background and also the good work you do. I think there's definitely a spot for just support, right? People need it and having those conversations in such a unique way, it's not just about money but it's also about the coaching side and the life side and the wellness side, and really unpacking the full story.

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