Connecting Your Self Worth To Your Wealth Building

In this episode, Maggie chats with personal growth expert Dawn Dahlby about how important self-worth and connecting with your values is when it comes to your finances and wealth.

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Dawn is a personal-growth expert in the finance space serving empowered women, executives, and entrepreneurs. Her unique approach combines learning how to live in your worth by aligning financial goals, personal values, behaviors, beliefs, lifestyle goals, and desires. With 20 years experience, she is a Certified Financial Planner, a Fiduciary, and the country’s first Behavioral Financial Advisor. She seeks to help women improve their lives by combining psychology and results-driven financial strategies to build WEALTH & WORTH. Dawn’s engaging coaching style and result-oriented approach has led her to become a sought-after speaker at a wide range of professional seminars and corporate events. Her inclusion on the esteemed Forbes Finance Council marks another exceptional achievement in her impressive career.

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The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano 0:05
Hi, and thanks for listening to the money circle podcast. I’m your host, Maggie Germano, and I’m a feminist and a financial writer, speaker, educator and coach for women. I’m passionate about making personal finance less scary and more approachable so that women can improve their relationship with money and take control of their finances. Every other week, I will interview an amazing, inspiring woman to talk about the issues that impact our money, our health, our independence, and more. We will touch on the societal and structural issues that we need to work together to change and the actions that we each have the power to take in our own lives. If you’d like to learn more about me and the work that I do, visit my website at or follow me on Instagram @MaggieGermano. Thanks again for listening and I hope you enjoy. Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with Dawn Dalby, who is a personal growth expert in the personal finance space serving empowered women executives and entrepreneurs. Her unique approach combines learning how to live in your worth by aligning financial goals, personal values, behaviors, beliefs, lifestyle goals and desires. In this episode, we talk about how important self worth and connecting with your values is when it comes to your finances and growing your wealth. I enjoyed chatting with Dawn about values and worth. And I know that you’ll enjoy it too.

Okay, welcome, Dawn, thanks so much for being here today.

Dawn Dahlby 1:42
Yeah, I’m super excited, Maggie. Thanks for having me,

Maggie Germano 1:45
of course. So why don’t we start off by having you tell us who you are and what you do?

Dawn Dahlby 1:50
Yeah, well, my name is Dawn Dalby. And I’m a certified and behavioral financial advisor, as well as a CEO of a multi seven figure wealth advisory firm. And when I say certified and behavioral, it’s mixing the highest level of technical advice, as well as psychological advice to help what I call helping people build real wealth.

Maggie Germano 2:14
I love that. And as a financial coach, myself, I am very passionate about the combination of the emotional, mental, psychological, and the actual numbers and like how to part so I love that you’re doing that I think it’s really important to combine the two

Dawn Dahlby 2:32
I I know it’s important as a wealth advisor, just giving the technical advice for the last 21 years, I realized life is more. It’s more than just building up the money. Money is super important, right? So let’s not, you know, let’s not negate that. But But doing building up money and building up your internal worth at the same time you’re building up that external wealth goes hand in hand to live, what I believe is the most fulfilled type of life you can have.

Maggie Germano 3:03
I totally agree. And we’ll definitely dig more into that today. But first, why don’t you tell me? How did you find yourself into this line of work?

Dawn Dahlby 3:11
Yeah, that’s a really good question. So I had a friend that was a financial advisor. And I thought as myself growing up, that it was all about wealth, right? It was all about building money, because I felt so limited in my childhood, you know, dealt with parents with scarcity mindset. And I was so limited with a big personality and like money is not going to get in the way of how I want to live my life. So I took a path and found out how to grow my money, how to grow other people’s money. And it was probably 15 years in, where I was making, you know, half a million dollars of income a year. And I was like, why do I still feel broke? Like there’s a problem. There’s a problem here. And so that’s when I started digging into the personal development side. But I got into line of work, because I believed it was all about money. And I wanted to learn how to do it.

Maggie Germano 4:05
Yeah, no, I hear you. And what you were saying about making lots of money and still feeling broke? That’s something I’ve heard from some of my higher income clients as well, where they thought that all it took was to just make more money, and then they’re still feeling the same way. They’re still having some of the same issues and struggling with the same kinds of like spending problems or debt and things like that. So I’m glad you mentioned that.

Dawn Dahlby 4:31
Yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, I’ve seen it on both sides. I’ve seen where clients have had spending problems. I’ve seen clients where they won’t, they also won’t spend their money, right, as an advisor working with clients that are in retirement too. I mean, yeah, it’s just really interesting, that relationship with money that fear based control relationship with money is a horrible relationship. It’s a very negative draining relationship and I want to teach not I want to I have teach and I want to teach more. people to really build a lifestyle. That’s how you want to live as a human being, and have the money follow you versus just looking at what kind of money is coming in. And that kind of dictates how you want to live. And I think that’s wrong. I think we need to build ourselves up first. And that’s why I have this program. And that’s why I’m talking to you. And while you what you’re doing, what you’re doing is amazing.

Maggie Germano 5:21
Thank you. So you know, you mentioned the worth piece a few minutes ago, but why don’t you tell me a little bit about generally how you talk about worth when it comes to wealth and the work that you’re doing? How do you kind of frame that when you’re having these conversations?

Dawn Dahlby 5:39
Great question. Well, so here’s the thing, if you really look at what Maggie’s ideal is in life, like what do you want to achieve? What do I want to achieve what all your listeners wanted to achieve in life? What does it come down to, we all want to be happy, we all want to be fulfilled, we want peace of mind. And we want security. Right? So that we have all of that, then we are able to live that we want security for ourselves, we want security for our family, our friends, you know, everybody in our life. And so what it comes down to is how I bring in the worst part about building real wealth is teaching people how to build both their internal personal security. At the same time, they’re building that external financial security, because it takes a combination of both of that, because money alone will never provide what we all want in life. However, we need money, like we need oxygen, right? It’s so important. So we don’t want to downplay the money, like we all want more money. But why? Because we want more life. And in order to live this fulfilled, secured, happy peace of mind life that we all I need as human beings, we have to integrate that workpiece. And so I integrate that I just like I told you, it’s exactly how I bring it up to clients. And then we go through a process of aligning ourselves to our money. And that’s the key is aligning ourselves to our money, not the other way around.

Maggie Germano 7:06
Yeah, I’m a big fan of framing it that way, too. So how do you work when you’re working with their clients and starting to try to find that alignment? What does that process kind of look like at least from the beginning?

Dawn Dahlby 7:17
Yeah, so I have a process called own it, earn it and grow it, where you’re owning your worth, you’re earning the right type of wealth, which is the right type of income, and you’re growing your life or growing your assets. So we go through owning earn it grow it and the ownit part is owning who you are as a human being, your purpose, your goals, your strengths, your core values, and your beliefs in and your weaknesses to like, let’s be okay, in our own skin, right on ourselves. We’re all we’re all imperfect human beings, and we have to realize, and we want to grow our self esteem, we have to realize that we need to own our entire worth as a human being our weaknesses and our strengths, our values, our purpose, our vision, why we’re here, why we’re here and getting true on who we are. That’s the only piece. And then the next process is the ernit, which I teach people how to earn the right type of income. Because the income is the key to building the right type of wealth, right? You can’t build money if you don’t have the right type of income coming in. So it’s earning the right type of money for yourself. And it’s also what I like to call earning the right to earn the right type of income. And I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the personal development. It’s how we think it’s mastering our mind, mastering our most emotions, and also mastering that money. And that’s why I call it earn it because it’s hard. We are dealt with crap all day long. We all know that, right? Let’s not frame that life is perfect. Like we have challenges all day long. And it’s all how you think through those challenges. And how you manage your emotions through those challenges, really helps you earn the right to earn more money and earn the right to to actually align to your own worth as a human being. And then the growing part is literally the technical piece, the fiduciary CFP advice that I’ve been teaching clients how to build the technical part of your money, which is actually the easiest part. It is complicated, but it’s the easiest part. And, you know, typically I work with clients in my, you know, 21 years of clients had to have a million dollars to come in and work with me. And now I’m like, you know what, the people that really need the advice are the people that want to be the Millionaire’s that don’t have a million dollars yet, and we need to figure out how to own it and earn it so they can grow it.

Maggie Germano 9:40
I love that because yeah, I’ve definitely heard that where there is that that mental block but also the income block where you know, you can’t go from one place to then having a lot of money if you’re having that difficult relationship with money or you’re stuck in kind of that scarcity mindset. In conjunction with not earning enough money,

Dawn Dahlby 10:03
it’s a combination. I mean, you know, it’s one thing to earn the right type of money, and it’s not earning the most type of money, it’s earning the right type of money that’s in alignment with yourself. But then it’s also going okay, we all know, we can all earn the right type of income, but there’s still life’s expensive, you know, I don’t know about you, if you have children, but I have a husband, I have two teenage daughters, I have, you know, we all live in expensive life, right? We live in a, we want it now life, right? We start like, we just the way our society is today, right. And so life is expensive for all of us. And I don’t care what type of income you’re at, it’s expensive. And so what we have to do is really, you know, along with a mindset and earning the right type of money, we also need to, like, realize, how do we how do we free up this money? from a technical perspective? How do we free up the wasted money that we waste on a daily basis? How do we free that up? And how do we apply that to be able to afford to hat still have some of this freedom of spending today, and also secure your tomorrow? And no matter what income level you are at, you can definitely do that if you hone in on that, like, Where am I wasting my money? And getting really clear with that? And that’s the technical advice. That’s super important, as well to growing your wealth.

Maggie Germano 11:17
Yeah, I totally agree. And is that something you work on clients do where you go through, like, Where is money actually being wasted? or How can I be more efficient?

Dawn Dahlby 11:24
Yeah, absolutely. Because if we all want to live a fulfilled wealthy life and live wealthy, you got to do both. You can’t just focus on the mindset. You can’t just focus on alignment, like you got to take action, right? And so to take action on these type of things, is where you got to dig in and look at where are we wasting money? And there’s like three key areas that people waste money in? And how do we free up that money? and have it worked for us versus working for somebody else? not okay.

Maggie Germano 11:53
Right. Yeah. Agreed? Um, so what kind of tips do you give to clients when it comes to actually improving that self worth and doing some of that more emotional work, while also, like you said, taking action to improve their finding?

Dawn Dahlby 12:08
Yeah, great question. So I would say the first thing is to earn money in relationship to your strengths. So if you’re listening and you’re not happy with your work, at least, like 75 to 80% of the time, you got to readdress what you’re currently doing on a day to day basis, you’re not happy, either, because you’re in a toxic toxic environment, or the fact that you are not like, like using your skills and your strengths on a regular basis. And if you’re not, you’re going to be unhappy with your work. So you got to earn money in relationship to your top five strengths. That’s the first thing. The second thing is you need to spend your money like we’re talking guilt free spending, in alignment with your core values, like what are your core values as human beings, right, because we, our core values are things that we don’t want to like, we don’t want to live life without them, they’re so valuable to us that we’re we’re not willing to negotiate or sacrifice any of our values. So that’s where you get really crystal clear on your core values. And that’s where you have that guilt free spending, like, where there’s, you know, guilt free, right. And then anything that’s not a core value is where you clean that type of type of expense up where you negotiate. And you try to minimize those expenses, where you get frugal with some of that spending. And then you apply that to your your future and technical piece, that technical piece, the most important thing is two things from a technical side is you need what I call power cash reserves, because it puts you in power. You know, we all know we need savings, we need emergency money, right? But it, it’s boring to talk about we need a savings account for emergencies. But why do we preach that as advisors like you, Maggie, is because it puts us in power to be able to say, screw you boss are not going to work with you anymore, because this is toxic. It says Screw you, I’m not going to be in this relationship anymore. It gives you the power to be you. So building your power cash reserves key, and then setting your savings like you need to be saving a minimum of 15% of your gross income. And so your gross income is your top line income right? And so I always tell people, the Don dalvey definition of net worth, or I should say net income is after taxes and savings, your savings needs to be just as a non negotiable as your taxes are. So you get your top line income which is your gross income, you take out your taxes and savings and boom, that is your net income and that’s what how you live on that net income and then again, go to your your spending and you know, aligning your spending to your core values and getting rid of the garbage so you can afford to save.

Maggie Germano 14:57
Yeah, no, I love that and I love Thinking about it that way where it’s like the savings is required money and has to go aside whether it’s for retirement or some other future goal or like you said, the power of cash reserves, which I love that term. I think framing it really about empowerment is so important. But yeah, not looking at savings as like what’s leftover after I’ve spent all my money, because as we all know that there usually isn’t much and

Dawn Dahlby 15:23
at the same level, I mean, my income has gone from nothing to like seven figures, right? So we all were human beings, right? We’re, we spend what we make, and it’s just the psychological part about being a human being. And so we all spend up to that map. So what is that man, we got to take away the non negotiables? First so important, because I’ll tell you something, here’s, here’s a rule of thumb. Now, it, it’s really hard to say like, what are you going to need in retirement, right? Because nobody knows exactly, unless you do comprehensive financial planning and blah, blah, blah. But rule of thumb is this is that if you take your expenditures, your monthly expenditures, are you spending $5,000 a month? Are you spending $10,000 a month? Like what are you spending to meet all your needs before savings? Like what are your household expenditures, take that on a monthly basis and take it times 12. So you get that annualized number. So pretty easy, you know, $5,000 a month equals times 12 is $60,000. But you take that and divide it by four, that’s going to tell you what you’re going to need in a retirement bucket, like what are you going to need in your big pile of money, your big bucket of money to support your retirement lifestyle, and it’s in you, most people that are going to do that math from this podcast, you’re going to like wanna vomit, right? Because you’re like, Are you kidding me? Like, I’m gonna need 3 million, I’m gonna need 2 million or whatever the number is, and the number. Yes, you are. Because it’s a different world, our government is not going to support us, you think social security is going to be around in 20 years? If it is like, it’s gonna be a fourth of what it is, and it’s going to be taxed higher. Nobody has pensions, nobody has that support that we used to get that our parents get our grandparents got, it’s going to be gone. And so unless you want to work until you’re 99, you got to put money away.

Maggie Germano 17:17
Right? Yeah. And, and the idea, I feel like people get really scared of the number when it comes to retirement, but also thinking about like, what if your quality of life has to significantly decline once you’re in retirement because you didn’t start saving earlier because you weren’t prioritizing that investment in that saving, and you like you said, you have to keep working or you have to downsize or whatever it might look like I know, for myself, and for other people, I know, retirement is this goal of like, maybe not doing very much, maybe just being able to relax or you know, be able to travel or whatever. And you can’t do that if you can’t even support yourself financially. So thinking about it that way, like you were saying, like what what do you actually have to live off of and then plan ahead in that

Dawn Dahlby 18:05
right. And as we all age, we do get tired, right? We we want you know, here’s the thing, I have 18 year olds that still are out and about like doing stuff like are they tired desert like her? Yes, does their you know they need shoulder surgery, but we’re all living longer, and being more active longer. And I’ll tell you something, you talk about mental health, right? We earlier we talked about managing your mind and your money. And this mental health part about retirement, like you don’t want to be in a crappy environment, because you over you ever wasted your money, not overspent your money, but you wasted money on the wrong things that took away from you. So you can’t live a more fulfilled future when you’re older. And like, nobody wants to go from where they’re like the lifestyle they have today and go into a really crappy environment, because that’s going to impact your mental health. And that’s not how you want your last third of your life to be lived.

Maggie Germano 19:02
Right? I totally agree. And like you said, we’re all living longer. So if you’re in a crappy situation, it’s going to be that way for a while because you’re going to be living for a while. And I liked what you said about you know, how you framed it, where it’s not about overspending money, it’s about over wasting money, because you were saying in the beginning of our conversation that getting your spending aligned with your values and making sure you’re spending money on the things that matter most that means you’re not wasting money. That means there shouldn’t be guilt when you’re putting money towards those values and those things that matter most. And so it’s more about spending money on the things that don’t matter are the things that maybe you’re not paying as close attention to.

Dawn Dahlby 19:40
Right. And I think that’s why people are really afraid to get advice from a wealth advisor like myself or yourself. It’s because they’re like, it’s a skillful relationship that we all have with us money, right? There’s never enough and it’s, you know, I don’t want to go talk about money because they’re going to tell me that I got to quit spending. It’s like, No, you just got to spend have the right stuff and quit wasting. So I agree with you, maybe 100%?

Maggie Germano 20:03
Yep, I’m there with you to definitely not in the shame game, I’m in the like, figure out what matters most to you. And then, you know, throw your money towards those things. Love it. So once people are doing this work to improve their self worth to really start aligning their spending and their financial goals with the things that matter most to them, Do you believe that money can actually buy happiness? Once that work has been done?

Dawn Dahlby 20:30
You know, that’s a great question. I will say this money alone will never buy happiness. It just won’t. However, the the the worth and the wealth together will, money alone will give you opportunities and experiences. And, you know, that’s what we all want. They don’t give us new shoe, it’ll give us you know, some of us, like lovely Louis Vuitton bags and shoes, or whatever we want, right? It’s everyone’s, what they want from a materialistic standpoint, is also okay, right. So money does buy that and all that kind of stuff provides some short term happiness. But what we’re really talking about the human need of long term fulfilling happiness, money alone will not provide that just won’t, and I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it in I mean, a wealth advisor for 21 years, I’ve seen how money does not provide happiness, but worth and wealth together does.

Maggie Germano 21:31
Right, and being able to prioritize those values and the things that actually, like you said, Bring you fulfillment, whether it’s family, or travel, or learning or whatever it might be, and not to mention just the overall security to have like having your financial ducks in a row and knowing that all of your necessities are covered, you’re safe, your family is safe, and you don’t have to worry about that day to day peace as well.

Dawn Dahlby 21:56
Right? super important to security. But I’ll tell you that external security is important. But alone, you got to do the internal security as well. Like if you really want to meet, the gift that we all have on this earth is to live fulfilled, peace of mind, happiness, all that kind of like that long term thought, you know, and to be honest with you, I don’t believe we ever get to that full fulfillment on this earth. Like, I really don’t think because we’re always searching and struggling. And you know, and going through life challenges, I don’t think we get to that full fulfillment. But as much as we can on this earth, like, it feels really good. And I’ll tell you, I built up my wealth. Like I said, I like multi million dollar firm, investment firm like, I have it right. And it wasn’t until I truly dug deep into myself and realized I was enough in my own skin and worked on me, then my money became enough. And it’s that alignment piece, which is so important. And you don’t have to make a million dollars a year to find that alignment. Everybody’s different. It’s about being true to yourself, and true to your own core needs and wants and desires and purpose. When you find alignment to that, then money is enough. And you’re enough as well. So important.

Maggie Germano 23:21
Yeah, I agree. And do you have any tips on how people can kind of figure out that value piece or though you know, those core values and the things that they that are most important to them? Because I know for people that I’ve worked with, like they know, in theory that spending aligned with their values is really important, but sometimes they struggle to actually figure out what those are. Do you have any initial tips for how people can start that process?

Dawn Dahlby 23:47
Yeah, super awesome question. So first of all, I have a website that I’ve been working on. If you do website’s right and I didn’t realize this, it’s been seven months in the making. So it goes live at the end of June now there’s a coming page right now like a coming soon page. It’s donde lb calm. But you can take a what’s your worth quiz on there, you can take a core values quiz, it’s free. And you can you can go in and take your you know, take these quizzes and determine what your top five core values are. So that’s the first step. And then I also will have on the website, some courses that you can actually pay to take. But when you’re designing your, your own financial plan, it’s called a wealth alignment plan where I have I literally lead people and guide people through, like detailing out their core values, the meaning behind their core values and their spending. And we come up with a bucket of money, a percentage of money that they can actually spend on their core values, and then it’s guilt free spending. Like there’s no argument with your spouse. There’s no you know, argument with your significant other. It’s like no, this is my bucket of core values. setting that I can do whatever I want there. And so we go through the technical process, and that just picking out your core values is one thing, but living them out and spending in alignment is another thing. So we have a course that actually designs people to not just do that, but to you know, learn how much they need to have to retire, learn how much they need to have to buy that new car, or that new home or upgrade that home, like the whole wealth alignment plan with maximizing the dollar so you can maximize your goals.

Maggie Germano 25:27
I love that. And I will definitely link to that in the show notes too. So people can get access once that’s ready. So is there anything else that we haven’t touched on that you want to make sure that listeners take away today?

Dawn Dahlby 25:38
Yeah, I, you know, I can’t stress enough the internal external security. And what that means is building you need the technical part to money. Especially I’m sure there’s a lot of women that follow you, right. And I think women get really shy on talking about money for multiple reasons. But ladies, if you’re listening, you need to stand in your worth, okay, you need to get paid for what you’re worth, and not be shy about talking to money with your friends, over your glass of wine with your significant other with whomever. because money is so important. And you need to learn the technicalities of how to build that wealth. But it doesn’t you don’t build it by not opening up and talking about it and not opening up and getting paid. Getting paid for what you’re worth. I mean, still women today, don’t negotiate, right. They don’t look for those to stand up and say, Hey, I’m worth this. And I need to get paid more. So I can do more. And that is the key because this whole thing about building wealth, even though it starts with your worth, but it really also starts with the income the worth is behind the income. But it’s get paid for what you’re worth. And I think that’s so, so important for women to take, take charge of that, and show up to the table with the right type of strengths and skills. But also show up to the table and get ready to feel uncomfortable and ask for that that pay raise the money or do the things that make you uncomfortable to get paid more.

Maggie Germano 27:15
Yeah, I’m with you totally agree. Anything you just mentioned your your new website coming out, but anything else you would like to promote to listeners?

Dawn Dahlby 27:25
Oh, well, I love to promote because I love to help. So the website Don del Again, there’s a coming soon you if you want to like put your email address in there, you’re going to get access to all of the upcoming stuff that we have for free. Also, I have a private Facebook group called Don Dobies building wealth and worth in its private I do live shows in there every week. In fact, it’s Wednesday I’m going to do its wine wealth Wednesday. So I go on there for 15-20 minutes, where we talk about a specific topic like tonight we’re going to talk about what does it take to build this real wealth is mindset stuff. And I’m going to go deep with that. But it’s the technical stuff. And it’s the psychological stuff about building real wealth. So people have access to that for free as well. And I have a ton of videos in there a ton of resources. And you know, for people that are just starting this build building their wealth journey, and they want to learn more. I mean, there’s so many free resources out there that I provided over the last year.

Maggie Germano 28:22
That’s great. And I’ll link to all of that as well. Anywhere else folks can get in touch with you or follow your work, social media, anything like that.

Dawn Dahlby 28:30
Yeah, well on Facebook, even if they don’t go in the private group, it’s the Dawn Dahlby page on Facebook. There’s a Dawn Dahlby, a YouTube, there’s a Dawn Dahlby, Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn. So all over the place, in terms of you know, being able to access this free resource.

Maggie Germano 28:50
Great. Yeah, so lots of places people can follow along with you. I’ll link to all of those. But thanks so much for taking the time to talk today. I am a big believer in that self worth piece and the values piece when it comes to finances. So I’m always happy to talk more about that with other like minded people like you,

Dawn Dahlby 29:07
I love what you do to your work is amazing. I appreciate you as well.

Maggie Germano 29:15
Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more and to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me subscribe to my weekly newsletter at Maggie to learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward hearing from you. Bye bye.