Author Archives: Carolyn Nunez

November 2016 Blog Posting: Can Money Buy Happiness?

Posted in Financial Planning, Goals, Happiness, Women and Money on by .

Beth and I recently attended the Financial Planning Association conference and learned more about the research of Positive Psychology and its applications to financial planning.

We learned about “Wellbeing Theory” which states that wellbeing and happiness are a function of five core elements (PERMA):

1. Positive Emotion
2. Engagement
3. Relationships
4. Meaning
5. AccomplishmentIt is believed that these five elements can help people achieve a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning.  How does this relate to money?  Well, you can promote greater wellbeing by aligning your spending with these 5 elements.  The idea is that “if money doesn’t make you happy then you probably aren’t spending it right.” (Dunn, Gilbert, and Wilson, 2011).

Discretionary spending priorities that promote wellbeing include:

  • Buy more experiences than things.
  • Spend money on others.
  • Buy many small pleasures versus a few large ones.
  • Delay consumption, buy it now and consume it later.
  • Be cautious of comparison shopping
  • Pay close attention to the happiness of others.

Of course, it is not just about how you spend.  You can do a lot to foster wellbeing without spending a dime.  Enjoying the outdoors, reading a favorite book, spending more face to face time with friends, and volunteering are all free.

Here are two exercises you can do if you would like to promote more wellbeing in your own life.  Research has shown that they increase happiness levels over time:

Exercise 1:   What Went Well

For one week write down 3 things that went well every day and why they went well.

This exercise is especially useful for major life transitions and when you are trying to change your behavior.

Exercise 2:  Gratitude Visit

  • Select an individual who has positively contributed to your life and write a brief but specific letter to that person.
  • Arrange a meeting with that person and have a conversation with that person about this topic.
  • Then read the letter to them.

This exercise is especially useful for promoting positive relationships across multiple generations.

If this topic intrigues you, go to the University of Pennsylvania’s website on Positive Psychology: for more information!

Carolyn Nunez, CFP®  and Beth Remick, CFP®  
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Executive Coaching May Increase Women’s Wealth: Interview With Jean Stafford

Posted in Career Management, Financial Planning, Goals, Human Capital on by .

(**See special offer at the end of this posting for a free executive coaching session!)

To grow wealth and reach your financial goals it is important to recognize that your largest asset is your ability to earn a living.  Yet, many of us invest very little time or money on career development on a regular basis.  As holistic financial planners we make it a point to talk to our clients about their career satisfaction and explore how they can find meaning, maximize earnings, and experience greater success with less stress.  In many cases we encourage clients to seek executive coaching as a way of moving forward.

We spoke to Jean Stafford, The Executive Coach for Women, in McLean, VA about the challenges working women confront and how she helps women in her coaching practice.

Carolyn and Beth:  What are your clients saying when they contact you?

Jean:  Many of my clients are mid-career professionals struggling with feelings of “is this all there is?”  They have accomplished what they originally set out to accomplish and now what?

  • They feel that what is important to them is getting lost in what they have to do every day.
  • Their efforts to move forward don’t seem to be working.
  • They know they can be more successful but something is in the way.

In addition, many clients struggle with issues with bosses, the predominantly male work culture, career transition and perceived age discrimination.

Carolyn and Beth:  What is the biggest thing that you work on with clients?

Jean:  I find that most of the women who come to me have little experience in asking for what they want.  Often they have trouble even thinking about what they want.  They have prioritized everything and everyone over themselves.  So it’s no wonder then that most women struggle with articulating their value proposition. And there are not a lot of role models for them to look at; coaching provides real value in this area.  I really believe that you are your own competitive advantage.

Carolyn and Beth:  What are some top tips for women?

Jean:  1. Know what you want.  2.  Let other people know you are capable – understand and be able to articulate your value proposition- why you should be put on that project. 3.  If you are having trouble with your boss, remember that if you can change your behavior you can change the relationship.

Carolyn and Beth:  Do men have the same issues as women in the workplace?

Jean:  Research shows that women and men show up at work in significantly different ways. For one thing, women measure success in terms of relationships.  This leads them to give credit to others, downplay their accomplishments, care what others think of them.  Men, on the other hand measure success in terms of accomplishing things. So they compete for visibility and talk about their achievements.  That’s why it is doubly important for women to be effective communicators about their unique value propositions.

Carolyn and Beth: Thank you Jean!

At Ithaka Financial Planning, we believe executive coaching can be a very smart investment.  To start investing today, Ithaka Financial has arranged with Jean Stafford to offer readers of this blog a free, 90-minute coaching session valued at $375. But hurry – there are only 10 slots available for this very special opportunity!

Book Your Complimentary and Confidential
 90-minute Coaching Session NOW!

Find out why so many of the world’s most successful women have used executive coaching – even though they often keep it a secret.  Contact us at to arrange your free coaching session.

For more information about Jean Stafford, The Executive Coach for Women go to: