This post is provided by Vancouver BC financial advisor/planner and former counselor Tracy Theemes.  Tracy applies her understanding of the process of grief to the work she does assisting women emerging from divorce and other losses to attain financial empowerment.

One afternoon last week two women came in for appointments.* Both used a fair amount of Kleenex wiping their tears. This is not unusual in itself. I do not exaggerate when I say that I go through a box of Kleenex a month in my office. No, what struck me was the contrast between why each woman was crying.

Barbara has been struggling after a divorce. She’s doing some part-time work but she’s having difficulty living within her new budget and has gone through a significant part of her savings. She wants to be able to pick her children up from school and maintain some semblance of the lifestyle she had as a married stay-at-home mom.  Her skills, however, are not current and she expresses feeling lost and panicky. She is also very angry that she has to deal with these issues. She cried out of rage and helplessness.

Marianne, on the other hand, has received a large monetary gift. The gift actually came to her 10 years ago but she only recently decided to look at her statements and acknowledge its existence. When I explained about  keeping gifts and inheritances in a separate account and not comingling them with her husband’s money, her eyes lit up with interest. “It would really be mine?” she said.

As we outlined the planning process we would embark on so she could make wise, empowered decisions about this money, Marianne repeatedly nodded and said yes, yes, yes. And then she began to cry. Really cry.

It struck me that women cry when they feel the grief of staying behind the wall of financial power, ashamed and overwhelmed about money. And they cry when they walk over that wall and stand in the light of financial power: this is mine, I am responsible and I am going to do something wonderful with it.

The path of financial mastery and self-direction can be an emotional one!

*Note: Client names and identifying details have been changed to protect their privacy.

Tracy Theemes, MA, CFP,  is a financial advisor, certified financial planner and co-founder of Sophia Financial Group in Point Grey, Vancouver, Canada. Sophia is a full service firm that specializes in meeting the financial planning and investment advisory needs of women and their families. She is a fourth generation business owner and has a background in psychology.  For more information call Tracy at 604-569-2891, or visit the Sophia Financial Group online at