Interview with Holly P. Thomas

Describe your desk
As a fee-only financial planner who focuses on the psychology of money, I have to have a distraction-free desk. I own a lot of charts, but I rarely use them. In the beginning of a client relationship, being a good listener is more important than spouting off numbers. This means clients are greeted with completely open space. As the picture of their financial future begins to take shape, we can call on only the tools we need, most of which are on my laptop.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A lot of writers are also voracious readers. I grew up in Brandon, Florida, a suburbs of Tampa. My mother was an English teacher, so I learned to read at an early age. In fact, the private school I attended for kindergarten recommended skipping me to 1st grade at age 4, which my parents debated about, but then agreed to. In 3rd grade I begged to go to public school with the rest of the neighborhood kids, and they agreed to that, too. I graduated from high school at age 16 and college at 20. Throughout school, college, and through today, I received accolades about my writing. My 6th grade teacher, Sandra Bauer, was the most encouraging in my formative years.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is a pure e-book, "How Does Your Money Flow?" It is an excerpt from my original book, The Mindful Money Mentality: How To Find Balance In Your Financial Future. One of the recurring compliments I receive from financial professionals on The Mindful Money Mentality is on the Self-Assessment exercises. "How Does Your Money Flow?" takes the most introspective self-assessments and compiles them for those who want to focus on that part.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have been writing my own e-letter, "The View From the Porch," since 2007. At first I thought I would simply compile my e-letter editions into a book, but the more I worked on it, the more new material I wanted to add. After reading books by Dan Poynter on self-publishing, and talking with fellow self-published authors, I realized I already had a following with the e-letter, and that I could get the book published more quickly if I went the independent route.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is the continual challenge of taking complex concepts in the worlds of finance and psychology and making them simple to understand. One of my clients said I should name my business, "Straight Talk," for my ability to communicate both candidly and succinctly. I pride myself on this trait, and believe it is how I can be of the most help to others.
What do your fans mean to you?
Without my fans, I would not have turned my e-letter from quarterly into a monthly, nor started to write the book. It's the feedback from fans that gives me ideas for new material, and also helps me understand where I can improve. Without them, I would be writing in a vacuum, which wouldn't be much fun at all.
What are you working on next?
An e-book for financial professionals on talking about money at the end of life. When we think about the psychology of money and how it affects our clients' family relationships, an advanced illness can bring some harsh realities into focus. Financial professionals have trouble navigating these emotions alongside clients sometimes. They can easily get emotional themselves, and forget or fall short on the technical aspects of what needs to happen. Many of them are searching for tools, checklists, and a way to shift their mindset so they can remember what needs to be done, but also how to do it with tenderness and tact.
Who are your favorite authors?
Any of the behavioral economics experts - Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely, Jason Zweig, and Nassim Taleb, to name a few. Then there are the psychology experts - for example, Ken Donaldson, Ed Jacobson, and Ted and Brad Klontz. Fellow financial professionals who bring both worlds together include Rick Kahler, Ken Robinson, Susan Bradley, and Lew Walker.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
For work - speaking and presenting on the psychology of money, and serving clients of my fee-only financial planning practice. For fun - walking on the beach near my home and birding.
Published 2015-12-16.
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Books by This Author

How Does Your Money Flow? A Mindful E-Guide To Common Saving, Spending, and Sharing Decisions
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 10,270. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / budgeting, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / retirement planning
Planning for your financial future can seem like a drab numbers game. How Does Your Money Flow? takes readers on a journey to discover how much is really enough. With self-assessment exercises, the book uncovers the true meaning of home, health, charity, and how money impacts our relationships. With needs, wants, and wishes uniquely defined, you will feel far more prepared to make money decisions.