From Grief To Growth: How Financial Coaching Can Be Your Lifeline With Cheyenne Syverson

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Cheyenne Syverson | Financial Coaching

 

Feeling lost after a life change? Divorce, grief, or just tired of living paycheck to paycheck? This episode’s your lifeline. Tina Fornwald talks with financial coach Cheyenne Syverson of Inspiring Solutions 4U about how to find your financial footing after a life-altering event. They explore the surprising power of financial coaching, especially for those dealing with grief. Forget rigid plans – Cheyenne’s about gentle nudges, untangling emotional ties to money, and building habits for a secure future. Find solace in inspiring stories of others who found strength, from creating “don’t buy” lists to rewriting their financial narratives. Learn how to avoid refinancing traps and shed limiting beliefs passed down through generations. Whether you’re facing a mountain of debt or simply want to feel more in control, discover how financial coaching can be your anchor to financial well-being.

 

Unlock exclusive savings with this unique discount code for Widowhood Real Talk With Tina: IS4U-WRTWT. Enjoy a 10% discount using this code.

 

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

 

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide

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From Grief To Growth: How Financial Coaching Can Be Your Lifeline With Cheyenne Syverson

Our guest is Cheyenne, and she is a financial coach. You say, “Why?” It’s because I know that there is a great deal of people in this community where finances are an immense hurdle in dealing with our grief. I want you to have the tools. I want you to have access to people that can help you. Cheyenne is going to provide you with the ability to not say if I have money or not but change the narrative that is in your mind.

Not to look at it as the textile part as far as the technical terms, but understand your relationship with money, what you can do to empower yourself to change it, and how you can have a different scenario in your life and your future as it relates to things that you need to manage with money. Let’s get into the discussion now.

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Cheyenne Syverson | Financial Coaching

 

Our guest is Ms. Cheyenne Syverson and she is a financial coach. Yes, I did say coach because when you’re dealing with your money, isn’t it better sometimes to have someone who’s going to coach you through? I’m a life coach, so I can relate to that. When I hear that word as it relates to your money, you’re telling someone what your expectations are and what your goals are. They encourage and coach you through making that decision, but that’s my conversation. Cheyenne says that she is going to give us the scoop on it, which is why she’s here. Welcome. 

Thank you so much, Tina.

I forgot to mention this because I always want to get right into the conversation. If or when you decide to work with Cheyenne, she is supporting the widowhood. When you reach out to her, please mention the code IS4U-WRTWT and she’s going to be so kind as to give you a 10% discount for her services. Let’s get right into this. I want you to know Cheyenne is an early riser. She got me up. She got your girl up at 7:00 AM to have this conversation. I’m excited about the early bird mentality. Monday through Friday, I am up at 4:00 AM. I think my body has learned. Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Northern Minnesota, a small town about an hour and a half away from the Canadian border.

Have you lived there your entire life? Where are you now?

I am in Wyoming now. I moved here many years ago. I transferred to my job here and I love the mountains and all the outdoor activities that Wyoming has to offer.

When I hear the word Wyoming, I think of something picturesque and relaxing. I know it’s not like that when you’re driving to work every day, or maybe you can see the mountains from where you’re at, or do you have to travel someplace to enjoy them?

You can see them from the town. To get into them, though, it takes about half an hour to be at the foothills, but you can see them from town, so it’s a beautiful way to wake up.

Financial Coaching

How did you get into that financial coaching? Explain what that means.

Sure. It’s a funny story because I started in high school taking an assessment that said, “You’ll do good with numbers.” I thought that’s funny. I loved animals. I have a degree in Animal Science and Equine Science. Believe it or not, I was hired before I finished college into an intern position doing agricultural lending because of that background.

That’s how I got started in finance. Once I got into it, I realized, wow, we’re not taught a whole lot about it. I started to ask a lot of questions, and while I started doing my training, I started to help people at my place of employment. I started to share a lot more concepts of things that I was learning from other people.

Financial coaching, to me, is helping people tell themselves a better story around their money. I realized through the journey that we’re not taught. Even in my degree, I wasn’t taught money management. When I first started, I had to change a marketing class to even have a basic introduction to finance before I went into my job. I was like, “Why?”

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Cheyenne Syverson | Financial Coaching

 

How do you go into production agriculture? That’s where I had expected to go and be able to be profitable when I didn’t even know how to manage money other than always paying my bills first and living on the rest. Second was how I was brought up. When I went into lending, I always scratched my head, asking, “Why don’t people have better credit if they’re paying everything with cash?” Until I realized that your credit score is strictly how you manage credit. It has nothing to do with how you manage money.

It started bringing up more curiosity and more thoughts around it. Life kept happening, and I’d work on getting debt paid off because, of course, going out of college, I had college debt, started a family, and all those things. I started working more and more with people helping them better understand through my own experiences and through the experiences of others where they’d run into problems.

I’ve always had a growth mindset. I’ve always done a lot of reading and listening to podcasts. For a long time, I’m curious, “Why aren’t they teaching this?” One time, I was listening to a podcast and I said, “Why not you?” I said, “Why not me?” I started to grow that thought of going into financial coaching to reach more people than I was reaching through my job. I’ve been in the lending industry for then almost 20 years already. That’s where I’ve got my experience.

Thank you. Do you work with men and women?

Yes, I work with anybody that wants to have a conversation.

I should say whatever they sexually identify as, too. You don’t work with one particular group of people. I apologize for not being clear.

Yes, that doesn’t matter to me. Whoever wants to be open-minded and look at things a little differently tells themselves a different story around their money. I help them understand that a lot of what you learned, you learned before the age of seven, and 95% of what you do is unconscious thought.

A lot of their habits around money are stuff that they’re doing habitually and not even realizing it. I’ll preface that I’m not a therapist, but we do a lot of mind work to help people understand not to judge themselves for where they’ve been because you’re making the best decisions you have based on the information you have at that moment.

I always encourage people to say, well, up until now, this is what I was doing, but moving forward, this is how I’m going to do life differently because you can justify either way. You can justify spending or you can justify savings. Instead of doing technical work with people around their money, like budgeting, because most people react, “A budget.” No, I’m not going to tell you, you can’t spend.

We’re going to look at where did your money go and help you understand why it went there and help you reevaluate and say, “Do I need to habitually buy that cup of coffee every day or can I use it as a way of celebrating at the end of the week when, yes, I made it at home.” Now I saved money, and I have more money to put into growing for myself because you’ll never save your way to financial success.

You have to have other ways of making money. You want your money to grow for you. We’re not even taught. We’ll justify that habit of spending. Oftentimes, I’ll work with people and say, “Okay, what’s one thing you buy all the time?” We’ll multiply it, and most people are shocked by how much they spend in a year on it. I do that for them to realize, “Wow, I didn’t realize I spent that much going out to eat, having a cup of coffee, or whatever else is something that you naturally go by because you’re at the store.”

Thank you. I wanted to say this conversation is so necessary for my community. I am a Finance and Accounting major. Those are things ingrained in me, but when you’re married or in a partnership, one person takes a particular role in the household, and another takes a different role. If the person who is the money manager has died, the person who is remaining is now having to pick up very heavy responsibilities in a lane that they are not familiar with nor, most of the time, are they comfortable with, more importantly, because they have become comfortable with their partner taking on the financial piece.

They’re now having to be responsible for their entire finances in the most stressful and mentally challenging experience of their life. Also, there may be situations where people have received life insurance, or maybe the spouse or partner is no longer here. Their 401(k) or retirement distribution. Now, they may have known about money, but they’ve always had the conversation with their partner as far as where do we see money going. Their relationship with money was based on this relationship.

Another situation where people are in for some context of the conversation, we did a little bit of talking before that some people, as you mentioned, have seen money as a subject of taboo. They never talk about it being something you get and you want to be very private about what you have and you don’t want to look too boastful if you have too much or what are you doing in those things? Our conversation will probably be around that.

One thing that you said, and it’s something that appears to cross over into any situation, is that as you said, you’re changing, you’re helping people change their mindset about what they think about money and to realize they made the best decision with the information they have. When I am working with people and life coaching and dealing with guilt and letting them know, I make the best decision at that moment with the information you had.

Guilt can come into play because you’re now in your present sense, looking back at what the old you did. Of course, the old you have the numbers to win the lottery from yesterday, but so you can’t guilt-trip yourself from not winning the lottery yesterday because you didn’t have that knowledge, nor can someone put guilt on themselves for something they did previously with money.

Once they start working with someone like yourself, now take that energy and choose to lean in to make the change. I’ll say this last thing. We talked about savings during our pre-conversation. I shared that my late husband and when the children were small. After we would leave coming home from church, we would always stop and get something quick to take out to eat. It didn’t seem like a lot of money. Some people say, “It’s a family for, maybe it’s $20 or $30. We get something real quick.”

That’s easy, but I was keeping our money. I used Quicken and calculate how we’re spending our money. At the end of the 3 or 6-month period, I looked at how much $30 or $40 every week was costing us. I didn’t know where some funds were sort of dwindling away from, but doing that allowed me to sit down with my husband and explain, “This is how much money we are spending every Sunday.”

He said, “That adds up.” We adjusted our grocery bill to have items that we had when we came home. We could quickly make something to eat while people were changing clothes and still have the same benefit as what we were trying, but a better economical return. Thank you for mentioning that practical exercise that you did.

Yes, it’s important to take a look at that. By doing that, you’re bringing it into awareness, into your conscious thought, so that you can reframe it because if it stays where you keep doing it unconsciously, you’ll continue to make that same decision. Your brain is trainable by your choices as long as you bring them into your conscious thought.

Your brain is trainable by the choices you make as long as you bring it into your conscious thought. Share on X

Once you start to retrain it, say, “I want to look for ways to save money.” Now you start retraining that mindset, and your mind will start working for you in the same way you’re saying, “We justify going out to eat because we were in a hurry and we wanted something quick and easy.” Not having that conscious thought of the financial aspect of that.

Once you brought it into awareness, you told yourself a different story. You brought it into that conscious thought, and then you were able to do something different. Your brain started saying, “Remember, we have food at home. We’ll eat there.” It helped you to continue that the same as it will help you to keep spending the same.

I call them leaky windows in my coaching program when you have that $15 app you signed up for and forgot about. I do it as a compound interest. You have your compound interest, which is how that money grows. You take that $15 a month and over 20 years, your investment return now is a rough ballpark of 8%.

If you contributed $15 into that vehicle that grew your money at that rate and threw out hypothetical numbers, it would be over $8,000 in 20 years with less than $4,000 of your contribution. When you start to look at that, then you start to go, wait a minute, where else am I spending $15, $20, or $100 that I’m throwing out in the breeze per se that could be being grown in a vehicle that grows your money?

I’m not an investment planner or a certified financial planner, but even when you talk to them, you’re able to put more money into whatever vehicle is growing your money. You have more for retirement and other life events. It’s important to be aware of that and start to look again at it. I invite people to say, “You’ve spent this much money up until now. What would it look like if you did it a little differently?”

On the other side with compound interest, think if you put that meal on your credit card and you don’t pay it off every month. Now you’re paying the credit card company 18%, 22% interest, or more for that $30 you spent. Not only are you not putting the money into your vehicle to grow your money, but you’re also putting it into the big bankers to grow their money at twenty-something percent interest.

I want to go back to a very basic level. Can you explain compound interest? I don’t want to skip over some terms that may not be in someone’s wheelhouse of ever here. Can you do a little bit of a breakdown of what compound interest is, please?

Compound Interest

Sure, absolutely. Compound interest is, so say, you have your money in a bank account. We’ll use that as an example. You’d notice that every once in a while, you get a few pennies given to you, deposited into your account as a dividend, per se. That’s money that you earn without doing anything for it. Allowing the bank to use your money is paying you a percentage that is usually not even 1%. Some places do, but that’s money you earned on top of the money you put in there because you put it in there.

That interest compounds, what that means is if you leave it in there, now you have those few dollars earning more money that you didn’t have to start with. You have the balance that you originally put in there, you have the interest they paid you, and then you have now gained interest on the interest and your balance.

That compounds and accrues and gets bigger. No matter what vehicle you pick, of course, the higher the interest rate or the amount that they’re paying you, gives you more compound interest, you have more interest earning interest. The adverse effect is, say, you have your mortgage and some people say, “I’m going to refine my mortgage. My money is tight.”

If they haven’t made a current payment and so now you have this whole month of interest, that’s capitalizing the interest. Now you’re going to pay the bank interest on interest because of that refinance. When you refinance something, I always recommend that you at least pay your accrued interest before you refinance so that you’re not paying interest now on interest. Do you see how that works both ways?

I certainly do. I wanted to make sure that people who are reading this understand the concept. I want to do a little bit of numbers with the compound interest to make sure that it’s understandable. We’ll work with some whole numbers. Let’s say I have $100 in my savings account, and this is money that I am not touching. I am leaving it in the savings account.

I have decided that once a quarter, I’m going to be able to put $100 and not touch it. That’s the long-term savings. For number’s sake, let’s say I put $100 in that savings account. They give me $10 of interest. Now I have $110. The next quarter, when my interest is calculated, it is calculated at $110. I get another $10, so maybe 20, to make it funny.

You get $20, so now I have $130. Now, the next time interest is calculated, it is calculated on the $100 I originally put in. This $30 of interest I received from whatever my investment is or dividends, and now I’m getting another. They are compounding on top of each other. Is that a very basic way to explain?

Yes, absolutely.

Now, as far as using another term that I want to make sure is understandable, accrued interest. It is the same situation in a reverse scenario in which we had $100 that I borrowed from a financial institution. They have now charged me interest and I didn’t make the payment. You mentioned a scenario that is good about the mortgage. The person’s spouse has died and they didn’t have money to pay the mortgage that first month.

The mortgage went by. They now have a mortgage of $1,000 plus another $100 of interest that they have to pay, which is $1,100. Now, when they’re going to make that second payment, they have the payment that is due that month plus the 1,000 from last month, the $100 interest, and then probably a $30 or $45 late fee on top of that.

This gets into a very interesting conversation that the person that has been living in a means that was maintainable because their spouse was alive and now their spouse passes, they obtain a single windfall of money. This is the part that gets in the coaching part, the family home, making that decision that I as the remaining partner may or may not have the regular income flow to maintain that quality of life. I have this single windfall of money.

Disconnecting From Emotional Attachment

I could put that in the cover of the mortgage payment probably for maybe a year or three, but I’m not making enough money to be able to replenish the funds to be able to maintain that home for my lifetime. Now, I’m at a place of trying to disconnect the emotional attachment to this place and what I need to do with money. How would you coach me through such a thing like that?

Sure, we would explore your attachment first and see what it is. I understand that you are already going through turmoil. Your whole life is pivoting and you want to look at the long-term. Long-term, do you need the house? How would it feel if you had enough funds to live, not survive, but to live life? Do you want to hold on to that house and then live meagerly and barely figure out how to make it, or are we looking at selling the house and getting into a more affordable house where that money can go longer and better?

I want to pause right there. You said the word meager. I want you to hold, but I want to share some examples from widows that have spoken with me. When people are reading this, it’s in perspective. I am talking to people who, once they pay the mortgage and pay the utilities, have no money left. They are not moving their car. They barely have enough food to eat.

All the majority of their money has gone into making this mortgage payment because, in their mind, I told him I would keep the house. We said this house was the most important thing. We worked so hard, he worked so many hours to keep this house, but when they run the numbers, they can almost see the inevitable down the road that now, at some point in time, they’re not going to be able to maintain it.

When you use the word meager, I want people to digest that because there’s going to be a new widow, a widower, or a life partner reading this and saying, “I may not be a financial wizard, but I know I need help overcoming this hurdle of where I’m thinking with money versus the logic card because two plus two is going to equal four.” If you have $50,000 and the mortgage is going to be $5,000 a month and you don’t make that amount of money, it’s going to run out. Thank you for using that word. I wanted to give some examples of how you go through that scenario.

Yes, absolutely. It’s important. That’s how I invite people to any expense that they’re making. What would it look like if you did this instead? Taking a different awareness of it. Honoring your spouse that they worked hard for is great, but you don’t want to do it to your detriment in the future. They would want you to honor life, to embrace them and it might be taking pictures of that home and making that memory.

Something that you can look back on and say, “This was such an amazing time.” Embrace it for the moment that it was because now you’re making new moments. It is challenging. It is like even selling stuff that you’ve had for a long time or giving away clothes that you no longer can use anymore. It’s the memories that we hold onto. That article of clothing or something, it’s not that. It’s the memory that you created in that. The same where it’s the memories you created in there. I would invite people to make a memorial over it. Take those pictures of that place and honor the memories from it.

That is good. I’m glad that you set that up because 1) My attachment emotionally to the home. 2) In selling the home, we have to deal with the contents, the idea of the items in the house, the clothing, some people that I speak with, their spouse may have passed two, three, or five years, and all of their belongings are in the same place where their spouse left them. They have not touched them. It can seem too big of a taking.

I know I’m probably going to lose the house, but I can’t bear to deal with all these other different things. What you’re helping people do is not something the financial advisor is going to walk with them on at that level, and people need to understand there is a difference. Someone may work with you for a year and then have their situation turned around where they’re now in a place to work with a financial advisor. What would you say to that or how does that process normally go?

I’ve coached them through it, and we want them to find that advisor. I have several I could recommend, depending on who you connect with. I’m all about, “Who resonates with you? “Who makes sense to you?” Everybody has their niche; they are people that they work well with, and you want to make sure that you’re comfortable with them because they will manage your money and help you with that.

I help them understand why you want to be able to put more money into it. It would be something we would cohesively work together because now, okay, as we retell ourselves a new story around how much money we want to put away and how we can put away more to grow for us so we don’t have to work for everyone.

They can amplify that with the strategies that they know. It would be kind of a cohesive unit. I won’t even say wait the year because the best time to start growing your money was yesterday. The next best time is today. I heard this example one time and I don’t have exactly all the details. It was essentially, someone that started at the age of 27 and only put money in for 10 years versus someone that didn’t start till the age of 37 and then put in a bunch of money.

The best time to start growing your money was yesterday. The next best time is today. Share on X

By the time they both got to the age of retirement, the one that only invested young, but for 10 years, actually had more money than the person that started 10 years after the fact and then put in a whole bunch more money because of that power of compound interest. The sooner you can start having your money work for you and whatever investment vehicle that growth vehicle that you look at, the longer and the more consistent you are with that, the better outcome you have.

Success Stories

I like the power of compound money. I like that statement. That is important to hear. Can you share some of your favorite success stories or experiences working with people? Not using their names, but the process from maybe the beginning to where you brought that person.

Sure. I had one individual whose situation was a little different in the sense that she went through a divorce, but she still faced the same thing. She was a similar thing as far as financially. She was with their parents and she got married. She went from her parents to getting married, and her ex-spouse handled the money. He made the majority of the income for the household.

Now, bring her to a divorce. She didn’t have any curtail on her spending. He didn’t even manage it well because he said, “Don’t use a debit card until Friday.” They had run out of funds. They didn’t have that pause that I teach people, how to pause and look at, “Do I need to spend this money?” She also didn’t have any idea about budgeting or even the mind strategies around it.

I worked her through from ground zero. Helping her understand that, “Up until now, you did this.” “From here on forward, we’re going to do that.” We worked through the budget. We worked on how to set up accounts. I recommend people set up two different accounts. One where all their income goes into and one where they’re budgeting, where their budgeted spending for groceries and fuel incidentals go into because when I worked for a credit union, what I realized is a lot of people would log into their app and say, “I’ve got money, let’s go out to eat.”

They forgot they still had their utility bill to pay because it was coming out automatically, so they set it and forgot it. Having those two separate accounts enabled her to know that when she opened up her app, the first one she saw was her spending account. When she went into that, she could see, “I only have $20 left and I don’t get paid for another few weeks.”

It could give her a reason to pause and think, “Do I need to spend this money on this expense or not?” Even though you have that money sitting in that other account that’s accruing because you’re budgeting, you’re not overspending compared to what you bring in. You still have to make that conscious thought again to say, “I need to transfer money for X out of that account.” You have to pause first.

That pause is so important because it helps you think, “Do I need it or is this something I want?” “Is it something that I need?” “Is it an emergency like the tire went flat and I need a new tire or is it that I want to go out to eat because I’ve had a rough week?” How are you telling them about it? Building in the pause and a lot of what I coach is those, “What are your triggers?”

What can cause that pause so that you do your money differently, again, you want to break that habit of how your brain is trained and retrain it. To do that, you have to put that pause in there. I have, for example, a do-not-buy list. When I buy a case of something or an extra, like I already had the extra on the shelf, I put it on my do not buy list as a reminder to my mind that I’ve already bought it because what I realize is I would tell my mind before grocery shopping, “I needed a bottle of ketchup.”

We go to the grocery store and buy a bottle of ketchup. Ten times later, I’m putting it back on the shelf again, going, “Why did I do that? I didn’t need ten bottles of ketchup.” It’s because I told my brain, “I need to remember to buy this.” My brain kept reminding me to buy it, but now, with that do not buy list, it’s a reminder, it’s that built-in pause that says, “I already had that taken care of. Remember, we bought it last time.”

That is helping retrain my brain because life is busy and it’s so easy to set that little thought in your head and you forget that you told it that and you go about your day. Your brain keeps reminding you over and over. You can apply that concept to so many different things to build that pause and build that stop, and it’ll help you retrain how you look at it.

It is like writing down your schedule. If you’re trying to keep your schedule in your head, your mind is constantly hamster wheeling that thing around in your head over and over and over again, so you don’t forget that. If you write it down or you have it in your calendar and you rely on your alarms, you could rely on your calendars. Now, your brain doesn’t have to think about it. It can think about other things. Ways of clearing your mind so that you can consciously make different decisions.

Financial Triggers

Thank you. You mentioned a word that is used very often in the grief community, i.e. trigger. Can you explain what that looks like in the financial coaching world, instead of what people hear, that word in their mind may have gone to something different? Could you bring that into perspective for how you assist people with that looks like?

We assess in two different ways. One is the emotional side. What is triggering you on the emotional side when you’re handling your money? Is it something your spouse did and now you’re anxious or so how can we deal with that? What’s the story around that? I help people through that to better understand why that creates that anxiety when your spouse goes and spends something. Maybe you’re the one managing the money and your child goes and spends something.

You’re like, “I didn’t have that money to spend.” Why is that a trigger? How can we go through that? The other way is triggering that pause response, “How can I remind my mind to pause and make a better or a different decision around my money?” It’s something like that. Do not buy list is a trigger to my mind saying, “Yes, we’re good with that.” Their triggers can be benefits and detriment depending on how you use them and how you look at them.

When you are working with people, and this is a big swag, average, I start working with you. On average, how long does it take before my mind starts to do this shift where the aha moment comes? It’s more inspiring and enthusiastic to do the work versus, “I know I’m supposed to do this and so I’m going to do this because I have to.”

I’ve had people with one session start to retrain that and I’ve had people where it’s only taken a couple of sessions and I have one, like the one that started from ground zero that took several months off because we’re also working through the mind strategies that came from the divorce too. It depends on where they’re at in their growth.

I’ve worked with other consultants and coaches who do other things. They’re already open-minded and have different perspectives on life. They’ll catch those things and they will say, “Yes, that makes sense.” I worked with someone who had all the technical aspects of money, but she wanted all those mind strategies to evaluate where some of the triggers to this anxiety side of things came into play.

How can we work through them and make a different story? She got it because she was already open to receiving that information. It depends on where they’re at in their journey. I try to meet people where they’re at. That’s why I say it’s customized financial coaching because I’m not going to start with compound interest for someone who has never set a budget.

I’ll introduce it because I realized you can introduce many things and over time, some of those things will start to come back and the little light bulb will go off in your head and you’ll say, “I get it now.” If I hadn’t sparked that interest initially, I wouldn’t have had that thought later. We’ve planted the little seeds and watered them to grow.

I try to meet people where they’re at. Is it a one-off? Is it here and there? I don’t want them to feel pressured into a six-month or a one-year because it takes time. It’s a journey. It’s not a destination. Even with my own reframing of the buying of multiple things and justifying saving versus spending, it took several months of reminding my brain when the ego would step in and say, “Let’s go to lunch.” It took a while to train the brain to say, “No, remember you have brought lunch or you’re going to go to have lunch at home and you already have stuff.”

We don’t need to stop because once you start to evaluate what are you buying, “Is it good for me?” “How long does it take?” I used to go out for breakfast. I could grab a coffee and a bag of breakfast bagels. By the time you figured out the time you waited in line, even if you called in early, I still ended up getting to work at the same time had I fried a couple of eggs and had a glass of milk took the same time.

Society and marketing train your brain to think, “But it’s convenient and it saves you time.” “It’s so cool and it’s so easy.” It doesn’t take any less time. I think I shared on our pre-call about the justifying going out to eat. What I realized is a lot of people justify going out to eat because they tell themselves, “I don’t feel like cooking.”

It’s because no one wants to decide on what to eat. Yet when they go to the restaurant, they still have to decide on what to eat. All they’re doing is pushing off the decision. Not making a decision is still making a decision. Ultimately, when you start to retrain that brain that’s looking for ways to save instead of spend, you start planning your groceries differently. You have staples at home for that quick, easy meal.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had a grilled cheese sandwich with my boys because none of us could make a decision. It was quick and easy and we needed food, done. Grilled cheese sandwich it is. It’s not the healthiest option, but it’s still.

No, no. You can doctor up a grilled cheese sandwich. I am learning something from my current husband. Forgive me for those people who are vegetarian, but you’re probably not eating the grilled cheese anyway. You can put bacon in there, you can put tomato. He puts three or four different types of cheeses in there.

He made a grilled cheese sandwich the other day. I was like, “I have not been living right.” I didn’t even know a grilled cheese sandwich could be like all of this and then you throw in some tomato soup with that and put a little cream in the tomato soup and some oregano and basil. It’s a whole different thing and then you can probably teach the boys how to make the grilled cheese and make it a teachable moment.

Negative Money Mindset

There’s a lot of things that can come from that. It goes back to how you tell that story. In regards to telling yourself a story, have you come across any particular taboos that people have about money or a negative mindset that has been inherited or ingrained from generation and they didn’t even realize it’s what their great-grandparent did and that’s how they came to this concept, anything of that sort?

Yes, a few different options. I’ve had some people play the victim role and say, “Why didn’t my parents teach me?” “How could they teach you if they didn’t know?” It takes them out of that victim role, realizing that it wasn’t something that they did. Their parents did the best they could with what they had.

The other thing that I’ve noticed is that in the older generations, you had people who experienced the Great Depression. Either they were embarrassed because they didn’t have money, or they saved everything and they didn’t want people to know they had money. People wouldn’t talk about money. They wouldn’t share it because they were either embarrassed or didn’t want you to know they had it.

Then you have these generations that didn’t learn it. How could they pass it on because they didn’t know either? In a lot of education programs, we don’t get taught it either, or we get taught the technical aspect but not the real applicable aspect of it. My sons have taken personal finance here locally, and they have started talking about net worth.

Net worth doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to build the money. Talking about the technical terms, sure, that’s a part of it, but it’s such a small part of it, so much of your money is on how to expose yourself less. I started going to the grocery store only twice a month because I go when I have my children, so I plan that we’re going to have certain meals and then I live on the leftovers for my lunch and my dinner for the week I don’t have them.

What I realized is that even when I was an entire family, I was still limited; if they weren’t on the list, I wouldn’t buy them. It got on the list for the next time because what I realized is every time you expose yourself to that, you go to the store. How many times do you end up with extra things in your cart that weren’t on your list? If you go less often, you’re less likely to pick up all the extras that clutter your closet or things like that.

Thank you. You mentioned this term a couple of times, and I want to spend some time focusing on it. I know we’ve talked about it, but I want to shed some light on it. You mentioned you’ve worked with people and you hear people use the technical terms as it relates to money, but what you’re giving them is the relationship if I’m understanding that correctly. Can you explain that dichotomy and the power between the two?

The Story You Tell Yourself

The technical aspect is understanding analysis, compound interest, accrued interest, daily accrued interest, how to do a budget, the technical aspect of adding the money, subtracting the money, and what that looks like. What I’ve realized through helping people with budgets is a lot of the information out there is, oh, put a number on it.

You spent this much money or this is how much money you’re going to spend on groceries. I help people look at where their money went last year. we make a budget because if you say, “I’m only going to spend $500 on groceries and that’s what I’m going to budget.” In reality, if last year you spent closer to $1,000 a month because of your family size, then your budget is already skewed because now you’re trying to fit a box of candy in a pretzel container.

You’re trying to fit that huge thing into this little bitty box. It’s not possible. Your budget isn’t going to work. By looking at where your money went, we can now make a realistic budget. We can start by asking, “Where can we adjust from here with those different stories?” The mind strategy is that real application.

It addresses how you have been talking about your money. How is that relatable? I had someone who would buy dog treats every time they’d go because they did. They didn’t realize how much money they were buying until we totaled it up, and they were shocked because they hadn’t put that relationship together.

I had another lady when I explained that $15 leaky window and I said, “Would you rather have more money in your retirement or more shoes on the shelves? She admitted to me later that it resonated with her because my recreation is shopping and she enjoyed it, which is great, but she never had connected how that was limiting how much money she could put away for retirement because that was something she did for her recreation. Recreation is great. Everybody has their own thing.

Some people try to judge and say, “Why she shouldn’t have been buying all that stuff.” In reality, if that’s her recreation and a guy likes hunting or likes cars or something like that, there’s no right or wrong with what you want to do. You look at it differently. That leads me to another individual who called in wanting a loan for his dream car. He qualified, and he had a good income. In our conversation, he told me that we’re working on paying our mortgage off. I said, “How much more fun would that dream car be to drive if your mortgage was paid off? He replied, “What would that look like?”

We ran the numbers and determined if he took that car payment that we already determined he could afford and applied it to what he already was paying extra to his mortgage, he could have his house paid off in less than three years. If he looked at other expenses, he probably could have gotten that down to a year, a year and a half. I posed the question, “How much fun would that car be to drive now, knowing that?” He said, “Let’s put a hold on the car.”

I was ready to send him the paperwork to do the loan, but after that conversation, he realized that it’d be a lot more fun to drive that car, knowing my house was mine. The other thing with cars, too, is whether you are looking for the experience or the logical side. If you want more insurance, you need to store it separately. Are you looking for, “I need a garage now to put the car in and have more maintenance and more insurance,” or are you looking for the experience of driving it?

If you’re only looking for the experience of driving it a couple of times a year, take a family vacation, make some memories, and rent and drive that vehicle. Now, you get the experience without all the other expense that comes with owning the car. It’s that story that you tell yourself and that’s how I work with people. Let’s look at where your story is at. What have you been telling yourself? Does it serve you anymore, or does it need to be adjusted?

Refinancing

Okay, thank you. I want to circle back to two other things. We touched a little bit on the idea of refinancing. I am not a financial advisor. This is my personal experience. Before we see what we see here, I was a Finance and Accounting major. I owned an accounting business for several years, and I did mortgages for people. I want people to thrive. You mentioned something about people existing, not living.

The statement I’m going to make is based on my experience with that. I would have people come in and say that they want to refinance because they want to pay off their credit card bills. I would ask them, “Why would you want to put your entire home at risk to pay credit card bills that you’ve realized you don’t have the means to manage?” Dealing with the credit card not being paid is a different experience than dealing with not paying your mortgage. I ask people to caution against putting those two together.

The idea of refinancing can seem very easy because not everything is one payment, and it’s gone down to versus all these other things. I would often find people coming back in a short period in the same situation and now trying to do that instead of learning how to deal with the credit card versus the separation from the mortgage. You mentioned the word refinance. We didn’t unpack that. That’s a scenario, but I want you to speak about refinance, however you would from that.

You showed a great example of that. You are not solving the ultimate problem. You’re putting a Band-Aid on it by refinancing, back to that interesting example where now you’ve refinanced that mortgage. Maybe you’ve accrued interest on your credit cards, you have interest on your mortgage, and now you’re paying interest on interest again.

You are not solving the ultimate problem at your best, but putting a Band-Aid on it by refinancing. Share on X

You’re compounding the problem by refinancing it because now it frees up more money, but then if you go back and put the money back on the cards, you’re lengthening out the time it takes. If you think about it, say a 30-year mortgage, if you pay the minimum payment on your credit card, it’s going to take 30 years to pay.

Now, you’re putting that onto your mortgage and doing another 30-year mortgage. Most people don’t realize the interest you will pay on a mortgage over 30 years is going to be more than the principal amount, even with the low interest rates. You have a hundred thousand that you spent on the house. You’re going to spend over a hundred thousand in interest to pay the bank to have that mortgage.

That’s where working with that story you’re telling yourself is so important because I’ve experienced the same thing. We’ve used vehicles and different things to get people out of that credit card debt because the interest rate is ridiculous. We were doing so good for them to come back a couple of years down the road, but this happened.

That’s where having the right vehicles to grow your money is so important because now you can leverage your own money or your assets differently, but by telling yourself a different story, you can start to curb your spending. Maybe look for other ways to make money because you can only save yourself. Save money to a certain point with inflation and people say, “Inflation caused this.” Sure, it kind of did, but in reality, you have to look at how you are spending differently now because, rather than still spending the same, you have to reevaluate.

You only can save so much. That means let’s look at other ways to make money. How else can you have a side business or some other source of income so that you can pay things off quicker versus looking at, “Let’s refinance and get more debt.” Let’s look at how we can bring in more income to pay the debt down. When people are paying off their credit cards, I say, “Don’t close them because it affects your credit.” We talk about that more depth of how they can do that but that’s a whole other topic. Back to the whole thing.

Get Financial Coaching

Yes, but that is why they need to contact you because they may say, “I’m enjoying what Cheyenne is saying, and I’m hearing all of this.” They’re taking notes, and they think, “I’ve learned how to do this.” I guarantee you may take the notes, but if you don’t have that relationship and that coaching, you are more than likely going to be right back having the same patterns.

I’m glad you mentioned that there are so many other things that you’re able to help people do that we will not be able to dive into in this conversation. This is more of an introduction to what they would have. You mentioned something also having this conversation, they get to say, “I feel like I could work with Cheyenne.”

I’ve heard this conversation. I think she was relatable to me. She can understand some personal life struggles. She may not have understood the particular plight I’m having, but she has had experiences in life where I know that she understands. You mention that when you are in the store, you have learned to tell yourself not to buy that.

That sounds good seeing it quickly, but sometimes that’s such a huge struggle. I have been in the grocery store explaining to myself why I don’t need to buy something or why I do, but it sounds like you would have said, “We’re not buying that,” and able to keep moving. How are you able to do that?

I have worked diligently to change the way I trained my brain to work for me. I used to justify why I wanted that and I’d buy it. I started thinking that this was not helping me. I’m doing the same behavior patterns over and over again. I started telling myself a different story. I started saying, “I wanted to look for ways to save instead of spend.”

The little ego, the little voice in your head that says, “Buy this, yes, we need it.” The brain that you’ve trained comes in and says, “Remember your goals to save money and not spend money.” I start putting more power into this, and the ego’s voice gets quieter and quieter. It’s still there. I’m still human and there are still times it wins.

I’m not going to lie. There are still times when Oreos or whatever is still appealing, but I keep feeding this one, reminding myself, because then I also feed it by saying, “Remember, this is our goal.” “This is our plan.” “This is where we want to be in life.” Realizing that this little chitter chatter of the ego kept telling me, “Just buy it, who cares?” “You don’t know how long you’re going to live, so let’s justify it.”

The more you realize that it’s bringing in that self-awareness of, “What are my triggers to letting ego win.” It’s going to the grocery store hungry. It’s going shopping frequently. You’re allowing that voice to get louder. If I don’t go, guess what? It has nothing to say. You don’t go. You don’t expose yourself to marketing because you have to think about all the packaging and the store layouts, the smells in the store, especially at dinnertime, and how many times the deli makes chicken when you go in there after work.

It’s because they’re working with human psychology to make it appealing for you to buy more. I go in the morning after church, there are not as many smells, and there are fewer people I can get in and out a lot quicker. If you slow down, maybe you’re visiting with someone while it gets you off track of that mind of I’m going to save.

If you take time in the store and dilly dally instead of having a list that exposes you to more of that ego chitter chattering in your head if you wander the aisles saying, “I’m going to look around.” You’re going to end up with about 20 extra things in your cart and an extra $100 that you didn’t budget to spend.

If you get in there and you go and you get your list, you give yourself a pause to make sure you didn’t miss anything important. You’re not enticing yourself to go back because you missed the milk. If you went in there for milk, maybe you should go get milk first. Make sure that you’re getting the things on your list and stick with it. Yes, you’re human. You’re going to buy those things every once in a while, but you want to decrease your exposure to them.

Very good, thank you. I know I’ve asked a lot of questions. When you thought about having this discussion, were there some particular topics that you wanted to make sure we covered that we did not?

One thing would be, even on your credit, people are coming from challenging places. Maybe they’ve made those human decisions that haven’t helped their financial status. I remind people that their credit is pliable. It could come back. You can recover it with the right strategy. You can bottle your debt. You can bring in more income.

It’s a journey. It’s not a destination, but it needs you as the driver. You can’t be looking in your rear-view mirror. You have to learn from the lessons of your rear-view mirror and then keep driving forward, making a different decision, and getting more information to make a better decision. Don’t stuff your head in the sand because that’s still not going to resolve anything.

One of the biggest challenges I have is people will say, “I’m going to justify it anyway.” Okay, then you’re going to find yourself in the same spot tomorrow and the next day. Be open to learning and letting it be as it is because that’s what happened. Now you can create a new future and a new identity for yourself in that.

One other thing, thank you for that we are living in unprecedented times where so many people are struggling economically from society, not even now including the impact of the loss of a partner that we had this financial plan of what we were going to do with life. If I’m this person who’s struggling financially and hardly has enough money now, why would I think I would want to spend money to work with somebody to tell me stories about money that I don’t have?

I had someone that I worked with, even on their discovery call, went back and revisited and saved $800 in a month and by one conversation. It is something because we do so many things out of habit. We’re not realizing how much money we are sinking into things we don’t need. I keep the cost down because I want more people to have it.

I have other options. If you want to do a group, I do a free discovery call to say, “Where are you at?” Realizing that a coach can get you to this level versus staying down at the bottom level can mean a lot of money growth for you, but if you don’t have the coach or the awareness of it, you’re going to stay down here living paycheck to paycheck instead of opening your mind to the possibilities of more because your ceiling is only where you place it.

I will allow you to close out this conversation with final comments. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for accepting my invitation to talk to the community and have these conversations. There are so many people for whom this is their first time being responsible financially and working with someone such as yourself would be that easy step into understanding finances versus saying, I have a financial advisor, but I also have a financial background.

We started that early on. This may be someone’s first opportunity of dealing with money. They may feel intimidated by going straight to a financial advisor because they feel like they already have to have a plan of what they want and this financial advisor will help them execute the plan. Being able to work with someone who can help them understand themselves as it relates to money is very empowering.

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Cheyenne Syverson | Financial Coaching

 

That’s why I was glad to be able to have you and have this conversation. I appreciate it, and I’ll let you close us out with whatever final words or direction you need. Please know that the links to reach out to Cheyenne will be listed in the show notes. Please be sure to mention the code IS4U-WRTWT. Go ahead and close us out. Thank you.

I certainly appreciate the opportunity you’ve posed here because my whole goal is to reach out to as many people as I can with different perspectives on life. I’ve been through it. I’ve been through medical issues, I’ve been through a house fire and lost everything, a business deal gone bad, a divorce, losing my job and life keeps happening. I want to meet people where they’re at because I realized we’re not getting this information. My goal is to help people where they’re at with the stories they’re telling them and help them do it better, taking back their lives one financial decision at a time. Thank you.

Thank you.

 

Important Links

 

About Cheyenne Syverson

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Cheyenne Syverson | Financial CoachingCheyenne Syverson began her journey in financial services immediately following her studies in Animal and Equine Science. Life’s unexpected twists and turns sparked her passion for financial literacy and coaching. With over 18 years of experience as a lender and financial coach, Cheyenne has weathered the storms of life’s economic challenges and now uses her extensive hands-on experience to guide others. My coaching style is based on my 19 years of experience as a lender, my experiences coaching others, and my financial and life journey. As a disclaimer, I am not a certified financial planner or advisor, accountant, tax advisor, attorney, or therapist. The information provided also does not represent any current or past employer or business.



 

Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

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