Martha Lawton is a financial coach, educator, and speaker who has been helping people understand and use money better for over 15 years. She has facilitated hundreds of workshops on day-to-day money management as well as running awareness raising campaigns and other financial wellbeing projects.
She now focuses on one-to-one money coaching, group financial wellbeing training and consulting on creating effective learning interventions for improving adult financial wellbeing. She especially enjoys working with clients who, like her, have ADHD.
Martha’s loves talking about people’s emotional and psychological responses to money on her podcast, Squanderlust. Find Martha at www.marthalawton.com.
How would you summarise your passions, both in and out of work?
I love it when I can nourish those around me, both metaphorically and literally.
People often come into meetings with a coach hungry for something, whether it’s knowledge and insight or to be told they are worthy of striving for their dreams. Helping them find the right practical tools, set up supportive systems and processes, and access their own internal resources to sustain them in their next steps is immensely satisfying to me.
In my personal life, my passions are cooking, especially anything spicy, and our garden, which was a wilderness when we moved in a year ago. I am gradually transforming it into a restful haven.
What’s your happiest memory?
It’s corny, but my wedding day. My husband is one of the wisest, funniest, most thoughtful people I know. I still can’t quite believe he married me, even all these years later.
We had an intimate, meaningful ceremony followed by an informal reception where everyone relaxed, ate well, danced lots and had a good time. It was just what we wanted.
What one thing do you wish you’d been told about finance when you were 15?
It’s not actually that complicated unless you want it to be. You don’t have to read the financial pages religiously and be able to discuss the implications of commodity price changes in Azerbaijan in order to invest successfully.
It’s ok to be good enough with money.
What made you want to become a money coach?
While I love training, there are limits to what can be accomplished in that setting.
I wanted to work more deeply with individuals to help them unpick the mental knots that were keeping them tied to unhelpful money habits.
Going deep with individuals and seeing them transform is incredibly rewarding.
What prompted you to join the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing?
I had found my people. I was delighted to find a group of planners and coaches who were dedicated to personal finance being more than money for money’s sake.
What drew you to financial wellbeing in the first place?
My financial education background showed me how powerful it can be when someone makes even small changes to their money management.
When you help someone get unstuck around money, they transform their lives. It’s a virtuous cycle, when you can help someone contextualise their finances in the rest of their life goals and values, then they become so much more motivated and it’s amazing what they can achieve.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about financial wellbeing since joining?
All the ways that financial planners are supporting their clients financial wellbeing. It’s very heartening to see how the industry has developed since I left advising all those years ago.
How has the way you work with clients changed since you joined?
Seeing the great work others are doing is an opportunity for ongoing learning and an incentive to up my own game.
Who or what is your favourite wellbeing guru, podcast or book?
I love Ten Percent Happier by Dan Harris (book, app and podcast). Dan’s journey from uptight, grouchy, anxious news anchor to open-minded, self-aware meditator is one I’ve followed for years. I loved his book, which tells the first part of this story. In particular, I love that he has been sceptical about or otherwise resisted his own personal growth so much of the way. It’s a story of a man dragging himself towards better, kicking and screaming, and I can relate.
What are you doing to advance your own financial wellbeing?
Right now, I’m working on letting go of some early messaging about deserving money. I ask myself often, how would I feel about a close friend being in the position I am in? What would I say to someone I loved who felt the way I do?
It’s about learning to treat myself as well as I treat others.
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