Financial planning and the practice of yoga have at least one thing in common: Remember to breathe.
I've been a certified financial planner for 22 years, teaching yoga for seven of those years. In under a decade, I've felt a shift in my own life both professionally and personally, that has convinced her the link between mindfulness and money is not so weak as some might think.
Health and wealth are absolutely related, and should be. Yoga and financial planning are aligned naturally because they both aim to help an individual live their best life, whatever that means to them.
The Sanskrit word Dharma, for example, refers to one’s life purpose or life calling, and is a prevalent concept of yoga practice. As I see it, my calling is to help people with their life choices in a financial sense, so merging the two concepts of financial planning and yoga instruction does not seem strange to me. They are both about balance and trade-offs, and they both help achieve self-awareness and self-actualization.
My yoga practice also helps me improve in my work with clients. Financial advising is much more than analyzing numbers; a planner is at once a teacher, therapist, translator, and all-around financial advocate, guiding clients through the ups and downs of the financial world. Sharing personal issues with my clients is part of what I do — the more I know about them, the more I can help them.
While we all share common traits, some people are driven by a sense of commitment when making important financial decisions: a desire to take care of the people and causes they love. Others make decisions largely based on fear, constantly ensuring that safety nets are in place. Others still are pleasure-seekers, looking to enjoy what their time and money will provide.
Similarly, not all yogis seek relaxation. Just like their finances, different people will approach yoga in different ways, and enjoy it in different ways. My preference, for example, Vinyasa or power yoga, maintains a rigorous pace and adds to that feeling of inner- and outer-strength. Other methods focus on other things: Kripalu yoga centers on self-empowerment, and Restorative yoga is focused on renewal and flexibility.
Yoga helps keep me centered, balanced, and peaceful, and I find I can communicate more effectively with clients, each of whom have different strengths, challenges, goals, and anxieties.
During the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis, I learned that it also helped me be a rock for my clients. If I hadn’t had yoga during that time, I don’t think I could have been as strong.
Cary Carbonaro, MBA, CFP®, Managing Partner, United Capital of New York and New Jersey, provides objective, impartial and comprehensive Private Wealth Management Services. She has more than 20 years of experience in high-ranking roles at JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Lord Abbett Investment, and has been seen on “The Today Show,” CBS, Fox News and ABC, in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Money Magazine. She is coauthor of the book TIPS from the TOP: Targeted Advice from America's Top Money Minds (Alpha, 2003), and a contributor to The Wealth Management Manual.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. We recommend that you discuss these ideas with your tax adviser. United Capital does not offer tax or legal advice; therefore, this article should not be taken as such.