Through private consultations and in workshops, “moolah doula” Joanne Leffeld helps people uncover their underlying conflicts and deeply entrenched beliefs about money. “Moolah” refers to money, of course; in the same way that a doula assists a mother in giving birth, Leffeld likens her role to helping people give birth to a healthier relationship with their money. Talking about money is often more uncomfortable for people than talking about sex, she says, and our attitudes and beliefs about money go all the way back to childhood. The idea behind her “moolah doula” is that a person who can accept and understand the current state of their finances can more easily move forward in a better direction.
What sets Leffeld apart from other life coaches is that she’s got financial chops. Leffeld began her career as a certified financial planner in the 1980s, so she has that arsenal of information at her command. Rather than helping people manage their finances by selling them securities and insurance, she comes at it from a more mindful place these days. If you are looking for great health insurance visit www.taylorbenefitsinsurance.com/large-group-health-insurance-plan. Drawing on life experience doing hospice work and teaching yoga for more than 20 years, she now seeks to be a facilitator, educating and empowering her clients to take control of their own finances.
People must take responsibility for moving forward themselves, she says. The moolah doula service does not involve a long-term ongoing supportive relationship. It’s a series of consultations in which Leffeld helps her client identify a new financial direction and then sends them off on that path. Only rarely can the work be accomplished in a single session, she says, but it shouldn’t take more than six to ten sessions, either.
“If you haven’t seen a major shift in six months,” she says, “then I’m not doing a good job or you’re not doing what I’m recommending.”
Some clients schedule weekly sessions, while others might take a month or two between consultations in order to absorb what they’ve learned and incorporate the advice. “A lot of it is on the shoulders of the individuals,” Leffeld says. “I don’t set up the accounts, I don’t make the transfers; they do.” And no appointment is exactly like another. “How could they be? We’re all unique. Every time I sit down with someone it’s a whole new discovery for me as well as for them. And because there’s no agenda for me to sell product, it establishes a trust that is much more immediate and honest.”
Leffeld shares her home life with her two teenage children, three dogs and her husband Jeff, a lighting designer. In addition to her moolah doula work, Joanne manages sales and finances for the couple’s lighting business, LEDspin, which provides lighting design, fabrication and installation services for museum, architectural and landscape applications.
Recently New Paltz Times sat down with Joanne Leffeld to ask her a bit more about a day’s work as a moolah doula.
What do you like most about your work?
I love sharing the knowledge that I have and then seeing people start moving ahead with their lives. They come in after a couple of appointments and they sit up straighter. They have it together, whereas before it was an embarrassment for them to talk about what they had been doing up until that point.
What personal attribute is necessary to do your line of work?
What makes for a really good day?
It’s beautiful to watch when a client is starting to feel stronger, when the fear begins to subside and they find that sense of self-possession: “I can do this.”
And a bad day?
Working with someone who is not ready. I work on a deep level, and if I’m with somebody who is not showing up completely, it’s not that it’s “a bad day,” but I can’t make the connection.
Is there anything you’d like to get across to people that’s particularly important to you?
I work with people on understanding their value, and that their value is something that has to have a dollar amount associated with it. I work with a lot of small business owners who haven’t raised their rates since they started, and they don’t want to hurt their clients, but the cost of living continues to go up and why should we be making what we charged five years ago when the power of our dollar is not as high?
Do you see yourself doing this ten years from now?
I love teaching, and I will definitely continue to serve in whatever way I can to help people reach their full potential. That’s what feeds me: I’m a vehicle for change, like a gardener planting the seed. And I would like to reach out to a bigger audience.
What would you be doing if not this?
I really loved doing hospice work. That was meaningful for me; I would definitely go back to doing hospice and volunteer. When I’ve gone to that place of just being present for someone else who is towards the end, it’s so grounding. Doing that kind of work is a gift … for me! It’s a totally beautiful experience.
Leffeld will hold an open house this Saturday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in her new office at 231 Main Street. The Chamber of Commerce will hold a mixer at the site next Wednesday, May 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to check out the green and sustainable features of the new building and meet the businesses located there, including Leffeld’s. More information about the moolah doula work is available at www.joanneleffeld.com.