How to Improve Your Money Mindset to Improve Your Financial Landscape

This week, Maggie sits down with Ashley Feinstein Gerstley of the Fiscal Femme, to talk about how you can start to improve your money mindset today.

In this episode, in honor of September, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, we are talking about how you can begin to improve your money mindset and your relationship with money. One of the most important takeaways from this conversation is that we are all imperfect human beings who need to embrace self-compassion and patience as we try to improve our financial circumstances. If you’re ready to improve your own relationship with money while still being kind to yourself, this episode is for you.

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Ashley Feinstein Gerstley is an author, entrepreneur and feminist who is on a mission to end inequality through financial well-being.

She is the founder of the Fiscal Femme and the creator and author of The 30-Day Money Cleanse which has helped thousands of people cultivate harmonious relationships with money and achieve their financial goals.

As a trusted money expert, she has been featured by CNBC, Forbes, NBC, Glamour and the New York Times, among many others.

To join the Money Circle Community, visit

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit

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


Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.comMoneycircle to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week I’m chatting with Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, who is the founder and CEO of the fiscal femme. In this episode in honor of September, which is mental health awareness month, we are talking about how you can begin to improve your money mindset, and your overall relationship with money. One of the most important takeaways from this conversation is that we are all imperfect human beings who need to embrace self compassion and patience as we try to improve our financial circumstances. If you’re ready to improve your own relationship with money while still being kind to yourself, this episode is definitely for you. Enjoy.

Welcome Ashley. Thanks so much for being on the money circle podcast today.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 2:00
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here,

Maggie Germano 2:04
So why don’t we just start by having you tell us who you are and what you do.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 2:10
So as you know, I’m Ashley and I founded a company called the fiscal femme, where it is our mission to get women wealthy. That’s how I spend my days.

Maggie Germano 2:20
I love that and what does that look like? What are the kinds of things that you do within the business?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 2:26
Yeah, so we have created a lot of free resources. We have a weekly newsletter that goes out every week called the money musing, do a lot of writing some great guides and excel tools that I’m excited to share. And then my first book came out last year, so that was a definitely a labor of love for a few years, called the 30 day money cleanse, we have courses and I still I work with a few clients one on one, and I go into companies and do workshops, so all different types of things. My days look very different.

Maggie Germano 3:00
Yeah, that sounds a lot like my business to where it’s like, you know, since I started, I had a big focus on the one on one client work. But I’ve started expanding more into the writing and the speaking and obviously this podcast and I want to do courses eventually. So yeah, that’s great kind of a jack of all trades within the business realm.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 3:22
Right, jack of all trades of one trade. Yes.

Maggie Germano 3:26
And so how did you get into this line of work?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 3:29
It’s a great question. I got into it because I needed it myself. Honestly. So I studied finance. In college, I worked in finance. I was an investment banker, and then in corporate finance, and I knew nothing about my own money. And I thought, wow, if I don’t know and I had to figure it out, there was a critical time where I had a beat, took a big pay cut, and just had to figure it out, knew nothing and thought there and this was back in 2011, 2012. And just thought they’re needed. To be some different types of resources out there.

Maggie Germano 4:02
Oh, yeah, I totally agree. And your story is something that I hear a lot of, especially with people just starting business in general. And women in particular have like seeing that there was, you know, a hole in what was needed, right, like something that they were looking for that they weren’t finding or something that they saw loved ones looking for, that they weren’t finding and just deciding to go ahead and do it themselves.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 4:28
Yes. And it’s funny, because it’s hard, you can’t really know looking forward what it’s gonna look like, but then it kind of eventually all makes sense that Yeah,

Maggie Germano 4:38
I definitely agree with that. And, and so why is the kind of work you’re doing so important, especially with the framing around helping women get wealthy and why why do you think that’s so important?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 4:51
Yeah. So I had some situations in my own life, where money gave me a lot of power. So when I switched from my investment bank, job, I learned a ton. I met great people. But the lifestyle was really tough. And I knew I wanted to put my two years in and switch jobs. And I took a big pay cut. And I was able to do that because of money, I had to figure it out. There was a lot of bumps in the road. And then when I wanted to start the fiscal fam, and then leave my corporate job to run it full time, I was able to do that because of money because I’d saved up. I called it at the time, my project freedom fund. And so and just throughout my journey and talking to so many other women, I’ve realized that money provides freedom in our choices. It provides us opportunity to choose how we spend our time to leave jobs and people when we want and to invest in the things that are important to us. So for me, it felt like kind of this missing piece of our overall wellness that we weren’t looking at, and luckily it’s an Considered financial wellness, a lot of people are considering it part of that.

Maggie Germano 6:04
Yeah, no, I’m fully on board with that. And that’s, like, you’re speaking right to my brain to with, you know, like, when I talk about money I’m not saying like, or I’m usually saying, you know, it’s not just having a bunch of money just to have money money for money’s sake is not the goal here. It’s so that you are getting that freedom, you are having that choice and you’re able to make those decisions, like you said, leaving a job or leaving a relationship or, or some other toxic situation and just having the ability to even do that.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 6:37
Yeah. And I think what’s really exciting about this conversation is that everybody wins. It’s not just like the individual women who are getting wealthy that wins. It’s like the whole planet wins because we’ll have more investment in women owned businesses will have more diversity and companies, more women leaders, women actually invest more into their families and communities than men do. So and invest better. So it’s just a win all around. And that makes it kind of a no brainer and really fun to have our fun to have it be a mission of mine.

Maggie Germano 7:11
Yeah, I totally agree. And so related to that, and also, just because I was looking on your website earlier, and I see that you very clearly identify yourself as a feminist. And that’s something that I always lead with to like, my bio is like, I’m a feminist and financial coach. And I always try to make that very clear that that is a major part of my mission. And so it seems like that is a big piece for you. Can you tell me a little bit more about why it was important for you to build that in to how you identify yourself as well as you know, influencing your business with it?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 7:48
Yeah, so this actually, I guess, the last I don’t even know how many years but it’s something that I really got connected with in my business and thinking of course, like helping everyone Experience financial well being is very meaningful and makes me love my work. But then when I just got really connected to that, this part of helping women, and I believe that money is such a big part of equality and women getting paid, so I’m just so passionate about a lot of the feminist issues and believe that women should be equal to them. And, and so I think that’s like, not just, you know, it’s not like, Oh, this is my business, and I’m also feminist, but like you, it’s like, this is why I do it. And so it’s a really big part of that.

Maggie Germano 8:33
Yeah, no, I love that. And, and I think you’re right. Like, it’s, it sounds so simple in the way you put it like, Well, I think women and men should be equal. It’s like, yes, that seems so simple. But that’s not always how things play out. And obviously, we know that with the wage gap and the investment gap and, you know, women’s businesses not getting invested in on an equal scale and all those sorts of things. So it has widespread repercussion.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 9:00
Yes, and it you know, it’s kind of, um, there are a lot of people who aren’t. So when people are looking for their people and want to align with brands that believe in the things they believe in, it helps makes it easy to find us.

Maggie Germano 9:16
Exactly. That’s and that’s one of the thing that’s important to me too is the people that I’m working with, I want them to know exactly where I’m coming from and exactly kind of how I frame things, just with the way that I think with the way that I talk, how I’ve approached my business, and so that they can know that they will resonate with that as well.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 9:35
Mm hmm. Yeah. So important.

Maggie Germano 9:38
Agreed. So the reason I decided I really asked you to come on here today was to talk about money mindset, because I know that that’s something that’s kind of out there like that language is out there a lot in social media and other podcasts and blogs, and I know that I talk about that a lot, especially within my coaching business. But can you talk a little bit about what money mindset is and why it’s important?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 10:08
Yes. honestly one of my favorite topics so money mindset, we and it’s kind of really relates to our relationship with money. So our relationship with money is how we interact and relate to money. It’s like, I think it’s a fun exercise to think of, Okay, if I treated my money like x friend or my to my friend, like I do money and put them in place, like what would happen to that relationship? And then how that I think mindset relates to that is it’s how we view our money and how we make decisions around it. And it’s kind of like, how we frame it. And I think it’s interesting. The people I see who have the most success in their financial lives are ones who have very specific mindset shifts. And not only does it give Have them achieve their goals more quickly. But it also makes it a lot easier and more fun. So an example of a mindset shift, I and I was in this camp before that dealing with our money, or like spending time with it and figuring it out and making a plan that’s going to be limiting my fun and restrict me in something that I don’t want to do. And then when you reframe for that are like a mindset shift, and that’s kind of like perpetuated in our world, like, oh, after budget, I have to save money. Like it’s not something that we view as this act of self love that it is. But when we actually put together a plan, some shifts happen just naturally like oh, wow, I can actually spend money on the things I want without feeling guilty because I know what’s going to work before I had the plan, everything kind of felt guilty. And so we start to see that making this structure and a lot of my clients or a lot of the people in my community want to be more spontaneous and we even can build in a spontaneous fun like we can create that for them. But it’s so a mindset shift is like this, this restricting thing that I don’t want to do that I avoid to having it be viewed as this act of self love or this gift to myself.

Maggie Germano 12:11
I love that. And that sounds like it would be such a life changing shift too, because you’re going at it with an idea of like, I’m doing this for myself, instead of I’m punishing myself with this structure with this budget, and I’m actually giving myself more freedom rather than feeling more restricted. And I think that that that’s like such a necessary shift.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 12:37
yes, and you feel it what it happens, like we can’t just say it and haven’t happened and we have to experience it and really get it but having a little taste of it. I think even if it’s a small step or a small win starts to have us move over to that side. So you can imagine how different your life looks financially if you’re approaching all of your financial to dues and all of your spending. you’re earning from this place that it’s an act of self love rather than this, oh, I have to do this thing, or I should do this thing that I’m going to keep avoiding.

Maggie Germano 13:08
Yeah, exactly. And so what are some of those small steps or small shifts or winds that can happen just as a way to kind of get started and get that motivation?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 13:20
Yeah, so depending on where we’re starting from, but some of my favorite things are getting clarity. So the first, we often are ostriches, with our head in the sand when it comes to what’s happening with our money. And I think we feel and a lot of us believe that if we are not looking at it, it’s going to be less stressful. But every single person who looks at it reports that it’s like a weight off their shoulders, because no matter what I find, now I can actually do something about it rather than worry about it. I don’t know what’s actually going on. So a place to start with that is just writing down our spending and putting it into I call a spending plan and happiness This allocation because I think it’s a much more fitting word like the word budget feels like very restricting. So the language you use is actually another tangible thing to start switching out like i would i, you can maybe catch me saying it, but I try not to say, cutting an expense, I would say, let’s let go of that expense, or I choked because it feels like a choice rather than something’s being pried out of my hands. And so I would, so get some clarity around where the money is going. And then the next step after that is to get conscious. So how a really fun exercises just to write down a few of our variable spending items like things we do all the time, whether that’s like grab lunch at work. Go get one of somebody in one of my workshops, got smoothies often and those end up really adding up very like random different things and then look at them in terms of items that make us happy. So For somebody that might be like, I want to go on a vacation, or I want to save up to start a business, or I really want to pay off this credit card, whatever it is, we can look at those expenses in terms of these other things that make us happy to help us choose because unfortunately, we can only spend each dollar once. So how do we want to allocate it in the way that’s gonna make us the happiest in the short and long term?

Maggie Germano 15:26
That is such a good point. And that is also like a wonderful reframe to of not using the negative language and shifting over to the more positive language and framing things around the goals and the ultimate place that you’re trying to be rather than, you know, what you’re depriving yourself of, so it’s less of, you can’t have smoothies anymore and more of you’ll be able to take this vacation in this amount of time if you’re saving all that money instead.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 15:56
Yes, and the person in the workshop was like the reframe. I could go to 48 dinners with my friends. If I didn’t get my smoothie, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, he could still do it like once a week, once a month and still get away more dinners with his friends, which is what was actually making him happy?

Maggie Germano 16:15
Oh, absolutely. Because Yeah, I think that’s the thing is, sometimes we think that the smooth like the daily smoothie, or the daily coffee, or the daily lunch is what is making you happier every day when there are actually other things that maybe a little bit more expensive, but you’re not doing it as frequently and it actually brings more joy into your life. And so allowing yourself to kind of shift that.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 16:39
And the cool part is like there’s no wrong choice. It’s like you could choose to do the daily thing if you take a look. And beside it actually is the thing that’s treating you more or you can switch so it’s, I think a big part of the process and in my book to the 30 day money cleanse, it’s around, seeing what’s happening, and then conscious being honest with ourselves about what will actually Make us the happiest in the short and long term versus like, pretending that something is going to make us happy or is making us happy when somebody else would make us happier.

Maggie Germano 17:11
Oh, absolutely. And I had a client last year who I had her sign up for mint and it pulled like the last year’s worth of her expenses and different spending. And she saw that she had spent, I think it was like $4,000 at Starbucks and like $5,000 on lift over the past year, and she had a bunch of credit card debt to and so that was like a shock to her system because she was like I could have put $9,000 towards my credit card debt and like cut it in half rather than like getting this coffee that I don’t even love or taking a lift because I woke up too late and couldn’t take public transportation to work and it was very frustrating for her but it also gave her the clarity like you meant have like this is actually how much all those little charges add up to over the course of a year. And I think she basically just fully stopped going to Starbucks after that it was like not worth it to her anymore and she was able to immediately make that change. Lift is a little bit more difficult for her because that was gonna take more lifestyle changes and yeah, planning and all those things, but just having that awareness for her was an immediate motivator and I think that the clarity piece is really important.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 18:31
Yeah, sometimes when you see those numbers, you’re like, no way this is happening ever again. That’s all you need to see is what’s happening. And then others like the lip, it’s like, Okay, how can I incentivize myself to want it I have to get up on time. Maybe I have a podcast I’m excited to listen to or there’s reward you know, like different behavioral things to get us to get that down but some of them here that I hundred percent agree you see it and it’s never going back.

Maggie Germano 18:59
Yeah, totally. So I also want to talk a little bit about, so Okay, so we’ve talked about, like, why it can be so freeing to kind of change that mindset over to a more positive outlook and how that can feel better and, and feel more motivating. But let’s talk a little bit about how those more negative mindsets can affect financial behavior. Like what have you seen, just whether it’s in your workshops or with your one on one clients to be those kinds of behavioral outcomes based on negative mindset?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 19:35
Yeah, so I think the probably the most common one is avoiding or not facing something. So ostrich head in the sand again, where we think it will be less stressful to not see it, but it ends up causing us way more stress. So I think one of the most and it makes sense, we’re like, busy, we’re not really sure where to start. So I’d say probably the most common behavioral thing is ignoring it. And then as we ignore it, it becomes like this bigger and bigger thing that is harder to face. So they would say that’s one. I would say, Mom, another mindset thing I see a lot is giving up as soon as we’re not perfect. So if I say, let’s keep the money journal and in the book, that’s one of the first things we do. And if someone messes up, they forget one day, because of course, we all are going to forget it’s a new habit, then it’s like, oh, I’m done. It’s like, I ate a piece of cake. I’m eating the whole cake now. And kind of like when we die it in a very restrictive way. So it’s interesting when you go back to your mindset and look at what are we telling ourselves in those moments? Is it like, oh, I’ll just never be able to do this or I can’t figure this out. And so I think that the the behavior there is like throwing in the towel pretty quickly, like as soon as we see a bump in the road, and as we challenge our money, beliefs and our money lives, like you You better believe there’s going to be things like popping up like please don’t change stay in this, this negative place I like this I like to be this ignorance is bliss kind of thing. So we will have challenges and I still make mistakes all the time. And it’s I encourage people to think of it almost like you’re a detective, like, oh, what happened? What can I do next time like, in the case of your client, like, Oh man, I I said I wasn’t gonna take a lift this month. I already took one. It’s day one. Instead of saying, oh, you’ll never be able to do this thing. Okay, what happened? Maybe I should set my alarm 10 minutes earlier, maybe I should delete lifts off my phone. Maybe I can just be late one day, you know, so thinking about ways to solve the problem but from like a place of non judgment.

Maggie Germano 21:47
Yeah, and that’s a really important piece. I think the the non judgment piece and allowing yourself to screw up because you’re human, and it’s a new thing that you’re trying and like, if you’ve I always struggled with it your whole life, how could you immediately be perfect? So like having some of that forgiveness? And yeah, allowing yourself to kind of come up with solutions, because I think I see that a lot with people where they’re like, okay, I want to be better with my money. So I should just be better with my money. And like, this should be just a self control issue. And I tell them, like, that’s just not true. Like, a lot of times it’s a matter of having the right systems like you said, so with that one particular client, one of the solutions we came up with was like, can you pack your lunch the day before the night before so that you don’t have to be scrambling around packing your lunch to take to work. I had another client who she had to spend a little bit of money to put the system in place but she got a coffeemaker that she could automate and have on a schedule to so that her coffee would be ready in the morning so that she wasn’t buying coffee. On the way to work or wasn’t going to be late because she stopped to make her own coffee. And it’s those kinds of systems that you can put in place. And it’s a matter of finding the solutions that actually work for you. And allowing yourself to go through some trial and error because the first things not necessarily going to work.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 23:16
Right? Yes. And I honestly so my, this year, I have the theme of the year my word is deliberate. And so I am definitely guilty of being someone who just like, plows through life, like doesn’t really reflect on things. How could you do them better? And I think that’s a big part of it. It’s just like, taking a step back when something doesn’t go as you want and think, Okay, what can I do next time and it takes time to brainstorm those solutions. Or you might have to hire someone or enlist the money buddy to think through it with you. Because sometimes when we’re in it, it’s hard to see those, those different options that we have.

Maggie Germano 23:51
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Like I said, and like you were saying, it can be hard to start changing habits that you’ve always had. So it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to understand what those new solutions are. And and like you mentioned earlier, the even if you’re not happy with the situation you’re in now and the negative mindset that you have now it’s still the thing that you’ve known for a long time. And so that feels safer even though it doesn’t feel good and it’s obviously not working. It’s safer. It’s like the you know, the enemy that you know, versus Yes. So when you don’t And so yeah, again, just like letting yourself figure all that out. And and I liked what you said about having an accountability partner to so that there’s someone else kind of in the mix.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 24:40
Yes. And something you said with forgiveness. I think it’s really important too, because we have so much working against us with money like we didn’t learn about it. We can’t talk about it. It’s so emotionally charged. As women we have all these other things like paid less pink tax, like investing less all of these different things. So I think a really important mindset shift and part of the process of moving forward on our money journeys is to forgive ourselves and have some compassion for where we are otherwise we’re going to self sabotage, we’re going to keep ourselves stuck, because we’re trying to keep ourselves on the hook for the mistakes we’ve made. But really, anyone in that same situation with the same knowledge we had would have made the same choices. And so we kind of got a give us cut ourselves some slack and let ourselves move forward.

Maggie Germano 25:30
Oh, I totally agree with that. And I feel like I say that on a daily basis to clients of like, why would you know how to do that if you were never taught? And why would your parents know if they were never taught like, this isn’t something we’re inherently born with, that we should just be expected to know. It’s something that we have to be educated on and that we have to seek out the education on you know, once we realize that’s something we need, but you can’t expect yourself to just 100% know how to do something when it was never done, taught to you.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 26:00
right? It’s not like learning to walk. Exactly. It’s not instinctive, right? And we’re really irrational with it. Like you said, we have to put systems in place to protect ourselves from ourselves

Maggie Germano 26:12
exactly like automating savings and automating retirement and putting your bills on auto pay and all those things that just takes the human aspect out of it. Because we’re humans, we like, we like that immediate instant gratification and all those things. So you have to kind of, yeah, like you said, protect ourselves from ourselves.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 26:32
It’s kindof like I always compare money to food because I think they’re so similar. But if I’m trying to eat healthier, I would want to build into my system to stock my house with healthy foods. If I filled my whole house with my favorite dessert, that would be really difficult and I’m sure I would mess up multiple times a day on my like, on my healthy eating, so it’s, it’s kind of like setting ourselves up for success.

Maggie Germano 26:58
Oh, exactly. It’s again with the self control. issue you. You don’t have to just expect yourself to have self control. It’s a matter of set, like you said, setting yourself up for success and allowing yourself to be a human that is operating within the systems you’ve created for yourself.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 27:14
Right? It’s like if my whole desk was made of ice cream or something.

Maggie Germano 27:18
Yeah, I I am addicted to Hershey’s Kisses. And I haven’t had them in my house in 2020. So I have not been eating entire bags of them in a day and that has helped because they’re not around,

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 27:31

Maggie Germano 27:33
So what’s some advice you would give around forgiving yourself and having more self compassion? Because I know that, at least for me, and for most of my clients, that’s something that’s easier said than done.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 27:44
Yeah, no, it definitely. So I really think if you think about whatever x mistake is, so first, identifying what you’re punishing yourself for. Is it like accumulating credit card debt? Is it for not getting started until now like get clear on what And it could be a few things, and then figure out, like, write some reasons why that happened and why that would really happen to anyone and almost think about it. Like, if my friend was telling me, oh, they were giving out credit cards on my college campus, no one told us how to use them. And I accumulated credit card debt with like really high interest, which is hard to get ahead of. How would you like how would you feel about them, like you would feel so much compassion for them? So affording ourselves that same compassion and spending time with the the reasons why something happened? And then I think it’s also just like a choice. Like, I’m getting over it. I’m choosing to forgive myself and then that’s kind of like but of course, we have to process that and really get there but then it’s kind of like and then we can remind ourselves of it like, Am I punishing myself again for this? Okay, let’s go through this again. Let’s go through the list of reasons I need to be compassionate for

Maggie Germano 29:01
I love that. And I really like what you said about viewing it as if it was your friend who went through the same situation because I forget where I heard it. But like years and years ago, I think I was watching something. It’s probably a movie or a show. And someone said something mean about themselves. And their friend was like, don’t talk about my friend like that. And ever since then I say that to my friends, if I hear them say something really nasty about themselves. I’m like, excuse me, don’t talk about my friend like that. Because that’s insulting to me as their friend as you’re right. And it always kind of gets people to kind of snap out of it for a second because they’re like, Wait, what? And then they’re like, Oh, yeah, I’m your friend. And I’m, I’m like insulting your friend, because it’s myself. And like, my husband recently said that to me, like don’t talk about my wife like that. And I was like, Hi, you’re using this against me. I love Thank you. And so that is a good way to kind of re frame that Punishment piece because you wouldn’t want someone you love to be punished or punishing themselves in the same way. So why should it? Why shouldn’t that apply to you as well?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 30:09
Right? And sometimes like this is kind of convoluted, but it’s a sneaky way of us keeping ourselves stuck. Because like you mentioned, change can be scary, maybe worse. We think money’s greedy. We’re scared of having more money. Maybe we, I don’t know. There’s a lot of reasons why we’d self sabotage and so it’s almost like a win to ourselves to continue punishing and keeping ourselves stuck because then we don’t have to do anything. We have to take responsibilities. So also look out for that. Like are you sneakily being mean to yourself and punishing yourself so you don’t have to take care of this?

Maggie Germano 30:44
Oh, yeah, that’s a real one. And I relate to that a lot. Especially with like, I mean, I used to relate to that with like relationships and dating because it was like, much easier and more familiar to just like, date these kind of guys that like wasn’t going to that lead to anything because real relationships are scary. And I didn’t want to have to, like, learn how to do that. And, you know, with business as well as like, you have to push through your comfort zone to actually grow and end up where you want to be. And it’s the same kind of thing with improving your finances where it’s like, if you want to get out of debt, if you want to build up savings, if you want to earn more, you’re gonna have to get out of your comfort zone and try things that are different. And even if you hate your current situation, it can be really hard to move out of that comfort zone.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 31:32
Yes. 100%.

Maggie Germano 31:35
Right. But so you It sounds like you believe that it is possible to change that mindset and that, you know, even as ingrained as that can be. It’s possible to change.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 31:48
Yes, 100% I’ve seen it millions, if not millions, probably thousands of times, little exaggeration, but no 100% very possible. And what’s really cool is it’s powerful. The mindset shifts are possible immediately, right? It’s like, if we are committed to it, we try to change how we think about it, we see it a different way. If hopefully something that we’re talking about right now resonates and clicks, there’s a mindset shift. And of course, we can always grow and get a better money mindset. And, you know, I’m like a personal development, money development junkie. So I’m always looking for like the next level of growth. But once we started that trajectory, and see how that affects our behavior, how that affects how the ease in which we interact with our money, then it’s kind of like you get hooked and want to keep growing.

Maggie Germano 32:37
Yeah, I’ve seen that too. And, and I think you’re right that like as long as you’re getting over that first hump of having that clarity, putting all the numbers in front of you and just admitting to yourself kind of where you’re starting from. I have often seen that that can be the hardest part of just, you know, admitting to yourself where you’re starting from, and then everything else comes much easier. You’ve already done the hardest part, which is facing the facts.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 33:03
Yes. And if it for example, like, I have a debt tracker tool, and so if someone downloads it, they would put in all of the information about their debt. And that can be really like debt in particular is really hard to face. So we don’t have to, I think we can make it as easy as possible on ourselves. So if that sounds so daunting, start with just writing the names of the debt. And then get that when you know, I think we often think that our, our progress is going to be linear. So if I take a teeny step today, then I’m just going to make teeny steps in my financial life, but really, it becomes exponential because those little steps lead us to take bigger steps and get excited and and it grows and snowballs from there. So if it takes breaking down a step into many small steps to have you feel like you’re ready to take that step forward, I think, do it we just want to be I think action is probably the most powerful thing that we can do to improve our financial And like you said, it’s the mindset is helpful in learning, but it’s when we pair it with the numbers, the mindset stuff happens faster because it calls it out.

Maggie Germano 34:13
Oh, yeah. And then the more action you’re taking, the more confident you’re going to feel in yourself like, Oh, I am capable of doing this thing. I already faced my fears with this one step. So why not do the next one and like you said, it just like builds on top of itself,

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 34:28
right? It’s become self fulfilling in the good way rather than in the other way. Exactly.

Maggie Germano 34:33
I love that. And I love what you were saying about breaking the steps down into smaller steps too, because I’ve definitely seen people where it’s like, Okay, my goal is to pay off $15,000 in credit card debt. It’s like, okay, that’s a big goal. And that’s gonna feel really daunting and it’s probably going to take a while. So you’re going to be less likely to feel motivated to actually work towards that because it’s going to feel like Too much. But if you’re breaking it down into, I’m going to, you know, pay a certain amount like setting a monthly payment goal for that debt or deciding to you know, do a balance transfer or somehow reduce, you know, the interest or something, but like breaking it down into those steps that is actually going to take, and even just finding out how long it might take so that you have that awareness and you know, what time period you’re actually looking at so that you don’t have to get too discouraged too quickly. I think that those little steps make it so much easier, because you can’t just go from like baby steps to a giant leap across, you know, a valley or something

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 35:44
right. And when we fall flat on our face, we feel way worse. And if we took got those wins, I really think we ignored too often our motivation, and that’s like, a way big part of this is keeping ourselves motivated and excited and moving forward rather than Not being able to connect with such a huge like, I feel like the same about retirement. When someone starts off, they’re like, let me know like, what’s my number? You know? And then it’s like, oh, I need millions of dollars to retire like why even start?

Maggie Germano 36:14
Yeah, yeah, I know. And that can be really overwhelming. And I said just don’t even bother. So yeah, keep keeping connected to that motivation. I also have found it helpful to connect to like, why you want to do a thing so that you know what it’s all for. It’s not just about someone like me or someone like you telling them to from the internet.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 36:37

Maggie Germano 36:38
Well, yeah, yeah. And it’s more about like, this is why this is important to me.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 36:44
Yes. We don’t listen, when people tell us what to do.

Maggie Germano 36:48
Exactly, because it has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with them.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 36:52
We have to decide for ourselves. That’s why I think coaching is so helpful.

Maggie Germano 36:57
Oh, I agree. And I often tell my clients and some Sometimes they get frustrated because I’m like, I’m not here to tell you what to do. Like, I’m just here to help get you there. And they’re like, but can you just tell me like what’s right or wrong here? I’m like, Well, I, I can’t make that decision because I’m not you. Like when it’s very cut and dry with certain numbers. Of course, I can give specific information on that. But if it’s, you know, a matter of, should I be saving for this? Or should I be saving for this? It’s like, I don’t know what matters most to you.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 37:26
Right? 100%? Yeah.

Maggie Germano 37:29
So you talked about how getting clarity is one of the first steps to starting to change your mindset and starting to shape change your behavior, what are some other steps people can take to start shifting their money mindset?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 37:43
Yes. Okay. So action is the key thing. I would challenge everyone listening to take one action within the next 48 hours. So it can be around something that we talked about. It can be something that you’ve had on your list for years that you’ve been meaning to do. I have a seven day jumpstart that I’ll share with you that if you download it read the seven steps, they’re all very manageable, but choose one. And so again back to this idea of choosing one. But I think how the progression looks how I think it looks is like the first is the clarity. Then there’s the conscious. So once we know what’s happening, we can decide to reallocate, rearrange based on what we want and what our goals are. But if an action around being conscious resonates with you more and gets you more excited to get started, do that if you’re the clarity piece gets you excited to get started. Do that.

Maggie Germano 38:40
Awesome. I love that. And again, this starting small so that you’re not getting too overwhelmed.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 38:45
yes, exactly. Even if like for example, for those of us who think of money journal sounds horrible. That probably means that it’s going to be really helpful for my experience, but like we don’t have to commit to doing it for 30 days commit for the first Today, that seems a lot less daunting, I’m just going to write down what I spend for a day. And if I forget, I’m just going to write what I forgot. And that’s it. So, again, just breaking it down. And being realistic with ourselves. Maybe you are in a place where like, I am pumped to do this for 30 days, and I’m going to do that, or I’m ready to do a whole debt inventory, and I’m going to do that. But if you know that, that’s gonna keep you from getting started. chunk that down.

Maggie Germano 39:27
I think that’s great. And just generally trying to take things day by day, especially if you know if if you know that you’re the type of person who is like very resistant to this kind of activity and habit and start taking it day by day because then you don’t have to get so frustrated with yourself if you kind of fall off in the beginning. Exactly, yes. Great. So is there anything else you’d like to make sure that listeners take away today?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 39:54
Oh, that’s a great question. So I think the biggest thing that I would drive home. I know I’m like a broken record is to take that action. Another idea for action is to take note of the things that you’re saying to yourself about money. So it could be like a money, thoughts journal instead of actual expenses themselves. If you want to focus more on the mindset of finance part of the money journal, once we’re feeling comfortable keeping it is just to write down our experience before and after we purchase something to see like, what was my mood? Like? Did I just buy that because I was bored at work and walking around, or is it something did I regret it after? some interesting things to take a step back and look at?

Maggie Germano 40:39
That’s great. I think that’s wonderful advice, because I think a lot of people, at least that I know they sometimes go into like a fugue state when they’re shopping and spending money because they’ve had a bad day or they’re bored or they’re happy or you know, any of those feelings. And then they’re like, oh, man, like, I shouldn’t have bought that and then they feel bad about themselves. So it didn’t even do the thing that they wanted it to do in the first place.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 41:05
Yes, so often doesn’t and if it does, it’s like pretty quick.

Maggie Germano 41:08
Yeah, exactly. So having that awareness is really important, because then you can catch yourself later on as that inclination is starting to come on,

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 41:18
right and start to notice the pattern and remind ourselves of like what I felt after that last time, because sometimes what we think we feel is not what we actually did. So it’s almost the awareness of what did that achieve? Is it going to help me get that feeling again?

Maggie Germano 41:35
Yeah, exactly. That’s great. And is there anything going on with your business that you would like to promote to listeners?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 41:44
Oh, I like that. That’s a great question. So I mentioned earlier, I have a weekly money, I’m using newsletter. There’s a money move, because you know, I’m all about action. There’s a money move each week. So I can share the link for that. That goes out every Wednesday. I caught like a textbooks worth of knowledge in two minutes. And then we are launching end next month a private free slack community for women to share all things money. So a place to get the accountability buddy is to get resources, ask questions. So I’m very excited about that. So I can share the link to get basically we have a waitlist until the it launches next month. So if you join the waitlist, and I’ll send out a link that you can hop in.

Maggie Germano 42:30
That’s great. And I’ll share all of that in the show notes as well. And I’ll link to your website and the book and all those things so that people have easy access to it. I’m really saying thank you. You’re welcome and how can folks get in touch with you?

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 42:45
So they can find me through the website that you’re going to be sharing thefiscal and then on all social @thefiscalfemme.

Maggie Germano 42:54
Great, perfect, that’s easy. So thanks again for being here. I really enjoyed this conversation. I think for both of us the money mindset conversation is very close to our hearts and important to us. So I appreciate you coming to talk more about it.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley 43:08
Of course. Thank you for having me. Yes, money mindset feminism. It’s just like the perfect conversation.

Maggie Germano 43:16
Great. Well, thanks so much.

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 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 to hearing from you. Bye bye