By Denée Reaves ’11
Hello! Hi! Hello! My name is Denée Reaves and I am a Wealth Coach at, and founder of Focused Work. Through my coaching, I assist women who are facing financial challenges remove the roadblocks that prevent them from living the life they want for themselves and their families. I am also a proud alum of the College of William and Mary, class of 2011 (ten-year anniversary this year!)
Today I want to talk to you about your values. But first, I want to acknowledge that first half of 2021 have been A LOT. Between working from home and being super busy at work, and getting my coaching certificate, I have been B U S Y. I’m sure that you all have been too. And sometimes when we get busy, we also get tunnel vision, focusing on the next thing to make sure everything gets done. So I want to open your thinking a little bit in this post, and have you consider: what is possible for you?
I started my blog to take people along my financial journey so they would know they weren’t alone, provide some tips on how to manage your finances, and hopefully explain some financial jargon in more digestible terms. What I realized is that there was so much more possible for me. I took a six-month hiatus from blogging to explore these possibilities, and, as a result, have started a successful Wealth Coaching practice. I’ve taken all I’ve learned from personal experience, and from coaching training and am helping my clients discover and explore what is possible for them, in their finances and in their life. We focus on what they are deeply passionate about and align their financial decisions to that. And I want to offer a bit of that to you all here!
This is the biggest piece of wisdom I’ve gained through my wealth journey: Financial fitness and financial freedom is all about choices. This is not to ignore the very real restrictions and disadvantages caused by racist policies and systems that are built to help the rich get richer and the poor poorer. However, when we consciously and completely reject that there is only one path to financial freedom, we open up a whole new way of thinking. Madam C. J. Walker didn’t become the first female self-made millionaire in the United States by following the beaten path. Neither did Steve Jobs start his Apple empire by following the crowd.
We are taught that there is one path to managing our finances. Get an education and then get a high paying job, whether or not it’s a job we love. Buy a house and a car; contribute to your 401k. Make sure to be in debt but only be in debt responsibly. (That one particularly gets my goat.) This path isn’t wrong. It just isn’t for everyone.
We are not making our financial choices from the right place. We make them from what has been done in the past, or from a place of fear. But there is another way! And I’m challenging you to do it differently.
What if you value travel and would prefer a nomadic life style? What if you wanted to pay for everything in cash and not worry about credit cards? What if you saw a need in your community and decided to fill that gap? What if instead of a college degree, you’ve started a business out of high school that you’re passionate about? What if you made financial choices based on honoring your values?
How we use, manage and regulate our finances should align completely with what brings us value, not what brings society value. Money should be a resource to fund the lifestyle that makes us feel most alive. It should definitely not be the driving force in our decision making.
This all sounds well and good Denée, but how do I go about this? Well, I’m glad you asked! My answer is: take some time for yourself!
Maybe you can only swing 5 minutes, but try and take at least 30. Get some pen and paper (yes old school, no computers!) and start jotting down some thoughts. Ask yourself: What do I want more of? What am I passionate about? What makes me feel most alive? What am I naturally inclined to? You may be surprised what you come up with. Then ask yourself, how do my financial decisions align with these discoveries? That’s where you’ll really get some insights, and potentially some clear first steps toward your own unique path to financial fitness.
If you take away anything from this blog it should be this: you decide your financial path! Don’t limit yourself because society has only presented you with one. Channel that inner child and use your imagination. Ask what is possible. Make choices from your values instead of from fear. Explore non-traditional ways of living that can better your finances, and more importantly, your peace of mind. The possibilities are endless.
Connect with Denée on LinkedIn.