Libby MacKenzie

Swapped a directionless relationship with her finances for more control, the freedom to travel without financial headaches, and more money for the things she values most. 

Libby is a consultant living in San Francisco. 

Before Financially Happy, I felt as though I had the right concepts around finance, but hadn’t yet figured out how to get to where I was going effectively. 

Being a lover of outdoor experiences, I’d see influencers in this space with all the new gear, always on another trip, which created some pressure to have all the right things and the latest kit.  Trying to keep up with the latest technology and get adventures on the calendar, I worried that I’d never be able to realize the things I really wanted. I got anxious believing that everyone was outpacing me and that I may not be able to reach some of life’s big milestones in a way that suited me. 

I was also challenged with the expectations society places on you to tick all the boxes – like getting married or having kids – and if you’re out of sync with the ‘acceptable’ timeline, you can feel like you’re behind.

The Financially Happy program was responsible for a big mindset shift. 

I no longer judge my progress by comparing my life with others’ social highlights. I’ve realized that you don’t know how much debt these people are actually in to be able to showcase the things they do. That’s the problem with social media – you don’t see behind the scenes and you never know if people are really living this way. You don’t know if it’s just for show, or if their adventures are backed by a group of sponsors or partners.

Now I’m more focused on my own Intentional Path – and I’ve organized my finances to help me create it. 

I make better decisions about what to do with my money. 

Before Financially Happy, I had an ok structure for my finances but found my spending (given my money story coming from a privileged upbringing) outpaced my savings. I’d put a few things here and there on my credit card, but often those expenses weren’t strongly aligned with my values or long-term goals. 

After taking the Financially Happy course, I have full control over my money. I no longer have my head in the sand and I’m building that awareness muscle. I used to be scared about opening my bank account on my phone but not anymore because I always know what’s there and I’ve created a new habit of checking all my balances.

I have a better system for money management in place too. Financially Happy helped me allocate my monthly income in optimum ways to ensure I have money to cover everything that actually matters to me. 

Instead of managing everything from one single account, I have multiple accounts – each with a clear purpose and intention – all linked to my cash hub. I feel so much more comfortable knowing what my money is doing and where it’s going. 

I’ve been building up my Get Out Of Jail account too. It feels great to have emergency money on standby – just in case I need it. 

My spending habits are making me wealthier

I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more analytical now with what I want to spend my money on. For example, in the past, I’d think nothing about getting takeout with friends. Now I’m more conscious of the cost and I appreciate there are other ways to socialize in a way that is better for my finances. 

Because I’m more intentional with my spending I’ve noticed my spending patterns have changed and I’m spending less. You really can get by on less without compromising your quality of life! Being in the Financially Happy cohort also helped me get a gage on what a sensible amount of weekly expenditure was between groceries, rideshares, new outdoor gear, and fun.

I’ve become a lot more mindful of cash flow timing and a lot less reliant on credit cards. I don’t really use a credit card anymore because I prefer to spend in real-time with a debit card as this helps me stay on top of where I am. In the past, there was less in my weekly expenses account and more on my credit card – not anymore. 

Another tool I use to manage my spending is my Amazon wishlist. I add things like to the list, and only when it’s not going to hurt or when I actually need something do I actually click ‘Buy’ –  instead of just when it comes to mind or when I want it! 

I created a more comfortable relationship with money.

Money is now a front of mind conversation. I have a stronger vocabulary, which means finances no longer feel like a foreign topic to discuss. I’ve normalized money as a topic for discussion and I think that’s really important. 

We all have to deal with money and by talking about it, finances stop feeling like this scary thing. Since Financially Happy, I can talk about money as easily as I talk about outdoor adventures and travel! It’s an important shift…  money is a tool to do the things we want in the world. I love feeling liberated around money. There’s no longer anything to hide or be ashamed of. Now I can have open conversations about money – whether that’s with my partner, my friends, my housemate (who’s a financial analyst!) or my colleagues. I know that maybe we can learn something from each other and that I have knowledge to share around where friends might want to prioritize their spending or saving.

I have money to do the things I love

It’s been super helpful to explore what I value and what’s most important to me, then align my money appropriately. 

Thanks to my monthly cash flow allocation, I know I have enough money to fund all my trips. I love to travel and Financially Happy has helped me identify how I prefer to travel [which involves being active and outdoors with people I love] and doing it in a way that aligns with the funds I’ve allocated. 

This is a significant shift in how I plan for trips, which made travelling a lot more fun and comfortable because there’s never any financial headache when I get home – something I used to have almost every time. 

In the past, I’d tell myself that I’d be able to sort out the money later. It was super stressful dealing with that kind of stuff on the other end and I always felt like I was playing catch-up. Now I can travel guilt-free because when I get back from vacation, things are just normal.

I love that Financially Happy has empowered me to plan more things in the pipeline – especially more travel. For sure my plans have changed because of COVID-19. I’m more conservative right now, so I’m doing lots of backpacking in Northern California. I’m also taking a trip with my family to go cycling a few hours from home, and then driving out to Jackson Hole with my quarantine pod for a week of enjoying the Autumn colors and hiking later in the year. 

What I’d say to people considering the Financially Happy Program

If you’re thinking about taking the Financially Happy Program I’d say just do it! 

It will give you a solid foundation for your cash flow and help you get clear on the things you actually want to spend your money on – separate from what society says you should do. 

I really enjoyed being part of a cohort too because we all supported each other. You don’t have to do the financial transformation by yourself, and it gives you a more realistic sense of what “normal” people are doing with their money. There’s support out there which makes the entire experience all the more enjoyable.

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