money matters, rho thomas, rho thomas financial coach, dina cataldo, be a better lawyer podcast, how to manage money,

#225: Money Matters with Rho Thomas

What's your relationship with money?

Like any good relationship, it takes connecting on a deep level.

Most people do not have a deep connection to money because we've never talked about it.

In today's episode of Be a Better Lawyer Podcast, I've invited Rho Thomas to share her incredible story with you to inspire you to take action on bettering your relationship with money.

You'll hear the:

  • money stories that we needed to overcome to leave our law jobs
  • mindset blocks that prevent lawyers from making more money
  • shifts you can make right now to change your relationship with money

Rho shares specific examples that will help you change the way you think about money.

Listen in and change your relationship with money for good.



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Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

Be a Better Lawyer, Apple Podcasts, Dina Cataldo
spotify, be a better lawyer podcast, Dina Cataldo

Dina Cataldo: 00:32

What's your relationship with money?

Hello, my friend. How are you today? Today? I have a very special guest. Rob Thomas. I'm bringing you a conversation that we had about money, and this is a topic that so many lawyers reach out to me about that I touch on in my client calls. And today I can't wait to bring you this conversation. We cover so much. Roe is a former lawyer, turned financial coach, and we covered so much in this episode. We're gonna tell you about our biggest personal money struggles. And we're gonna talk about how to change your habits at the very end of this podcast.

So it's really important that you listened to it all the way through. I asked her a question that I want you to consider because the answer is probably something different than you have ever heard before. Now we mentioned quite a few resources for you in this episode, and you can get all of those resources in the show notes at

Dina Cataldo: 01:40

Calendar Masterclass for Lawyers

You're gonna find everything there. And before we dive into this amazing episode, I wanna invite you to my new calendar masterclass. It is going to be something that you have never experienced before, because we're gonna be talking about things that you may never have considered have to do with time management or calendar management. It's called bye bye burnout, how to create boundaries and procrastination and release perfectionism to make your life easier.

We are gonna be covering all of the topics that you may not even dive into when you're considering where your time goes. And of course, we're gonna be talking about the mechanics of calendar management. So you don't have to worry about that. All of that is covered, but it's so important that we look at every aspect of how our behaviors impact our calendar, because you can make so much time for yourself when you do, you can go to to sign up. That's Or of course you can go to the show notes. All right.

Let's dive into this conversation. I can't wait for you to meet Rho.

Dina Cataldo: 02:56 Hello, Roe. How are you today?

Rho Thomas: 02:59 Doing well. How are you?

Dina Cataldo: 03:00 I'm great. Thanks. Thank you so much for being here on the podcast.

Rho Thomas: 03:03 Yes. Thank you for having me. It's always a pleasure to talk with you.

Dina Cataldo: 03:06 Well, I definitely wanted to make sure my listeners had a chance to, to hear you speak about money, because one of the things that people come to me with are there money stories. And I hear about them in consults. I hear about them in my coaching sessions and I've had them myself, and I know you have them have had them too. And I wanna normalize conversations about money. I think we don't talk about money enough in our culture. We think that there's something wrong with it. And I think this is a great opportunity.

Rho Thomas: 03:37 Yeah, I completely agree. And I think normalizing the conversation helps people to have the conversation and learn what they need to learn, because if it's always this secret thing that we don't talk about, then how do we learn how to be better? Like, how do we learn what to do if we can't talk about it?

Dina Cataldo: 03:55 Yeah. And I'm going into this podcast with the mindset that I just wanna help people make more powerful decisions for themselves, whether it's money or anything else. And I think this conversation is perfect for that.

Rho Thomas: 04:08 Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: 04:09 So can you tell everyone a little bit about you, how you became a lawyer, all of that good stuff?

Rho Thomas: 04:16 Yes. So hello everyone.

My name is Rho Thomas and I actually wanted to be a lawyer from the time I was seven years old. So I went straight through kindergarten to law school. I practiced trademark law up until last year, and I didn't know a whole lot about the law before getting into law school, aside from what I saw on TV. So I thought it was gonna be like, you know, the stuff you see Law and Order or Matlock. You know, I watched those shows with like my, my grandmother and my parents and stuff growing up. But when I got into law school, I learned about all of the different areas of law, one of which was intellectual property in trademark law specifically. And so I had joined the American bar association as a student member and I joined a few different sections.

Rho Thomas: 05:03 They had, you know, a discounted student rate and one of those sections was the intellectual property section. And I got their magazine and I was reading the time that I was in law school. There was this huge case between Eve St. Laurent and Christian Lebouton. And so that was my first taste of trademark lot. And I'm like, “oh, this is what trademark law is. Like, I like fashion, we can do this.” And so I learned, you know, about trademark law from that publication. And then just learning about that case, other cases, things like that, and then had the opportunity to practice trademark law during my summer program. And I loved it in practice. I was like, yes, this is it for me. And then I became a trademark lawyer and that's what I did my entire career up until I left last year.

Dina Cataldo: 05:47 That's so fun. I don't, yeah, I didn't really know I wanted to be a lawyer until I was like 21 years old. And I'm like, yeah, I think I see a lot of people involved in foreign policy be lawyers. So maybe I'll just go to law school. Yeah. I love hearing from people who are like, I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in preschool. <Laugh> I think that's fabulous. <Laugh>

What influenced Rho and I to become lawyers

Rho Thomas: 06:07 Yeah.

A lot of times I would bet for other people, this is definitely the case for me. I think it comes from family telling, oh, you like to argue, so you should go to law school or like, oh, you're always trying to prove a point. Like that was a big thing in my family. And then, you know, seeing the lawyers or what I thought lawyers did on TV, I was like, oh yeah, that looks fun. I could do that. And so I decided at seven that's what I was gonna do.

Dina Cataldo: 06:29

You know, it's so funny. You mentioned that I apparently my dad knew that I was stubborn from the beginning. And so he never told me those things because he was afraid if he said those things that then I wouldn't be a lawyer <laugh> I found out after I graduated from law school that he actually thought all of those things and he intentionally did not say any of those things because he knew I would rebel and not be a lawyer. And I'm like, I love that seriously, you know, human nature too well <laugh> but that's so fascinating to me. So you left the lock. Yes. Like me, I left at the, at the beginning of this year. So tell me now what you do.

Who is Rho Thomas?

Rho Thomas: 07:07 Yeah. So I am a financial coach for lawyers. And a lot of that stems from like, we talked about the money story. Right. All of the things that came up for me financially while I was a lawyer and my journey to improve my finances and then talking with other lawyers about their finances. And it's like, I think I can help people. Like, I think I can help people do this. And so I started helping people on kind of a hobby basis. Maybe like four years ago, like 2018, I would just do, you know, little sessions with people, help them create their budget or help them create a debt PA a debt payment plan or things like that. And then in 2020 is when I actually launched as a business. Part of that was like a kind of a pull, you know, a, an inkling that I wanted to do something more at the end of 2019, but I wasn't quite sure what that was.

Rho Thomas: 08:03 And then 2020 hitting just, it really hit me because that was the first time for me that I had lived through a full decade and it didn't feel like a decade had passed you, and so it was like, man, 10 years flies by like, how has it been 10 years? I remember what I was doing in 2010. And now here we are in 2020. And I was thinking about how many people I come across or, you know, we'll just hear people just around. Who've talk about like, oh yeah, I'm gonna do this thing. Oh, I'm starting this thing one day, I'm gonna do this thing. And it's like three years later and they're still talking about this thing that they're gonna get started. And it's like, I didn't want to look up another 10 years and be like, oh, I think I could help people, but I haven't helped anyone in the last 10 years. So that was kind of the, the impetus to get started.

What if you feel like you're called to do more?

Dina Cataldo: 08:55 We have to stop there for a second because that's what I talk about. Everybody listening, like, listen up, come in, tune in. I talk a lot to the people who have an inkling who are like, there's something more that I need to be doing. And they're not following that inkling because, and we're gonna talk about this today. All right. So just like, you keep, keep posted here. We're gonna talk about this. They, they think that they can't do it right now. It's not a good time. What was it for you when you had that inkling, that feeling something was happening there that you said, okay, this is it like, there's no way I'm not doing this. I'm not going all in on myself. What was happening for you?

Rho Thomas: 09:38 So I actually had that moment a couple of times. So there was the initial, I'm actually going to take steps and try to help people and start this business. And that was, so I mentioned that 2020 was like, you know, it hit me because it was that first time where it was like, oh man, how has 10 years passed so quickly? But it still wasn't until July when I actually started the business. Right. <laugh> and so I, I had been thinking about it. I've been, you know, putting little plans together, all that I, I joined a coaching program that helps you, like kind of take this idea and build a platform so that you can share your message with people. And so I did that, I think in March it was like right around the time that COVID hit and everyone, you know, stay, stay home.

What inspired Rho to start her business

Rho Thomas: 10:18 You know, we don't know what's happening, all of that, but it was July when I actually like started the business. And part of that for me was like I said, the 10 years passing so quickly. But then the other piece was this thing happened, like life changed overnight. Like there are so many people who I left on. It was a normal Friday afternoon. I left the office, see a G you know, see you Monday have a great weekend. And I haven't seen 'em in almost three years. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, you know, like it, it just happened so quickly. So that, and then, you know, all of the lives that were lost, all of the people who were like their lives were just changed forever. Like all of that was like, okay, if I'm gonna do it, let's do it, you know, now, or never let's go ahead and do it because there's never a right time.

There's never a right time

Rho Thomas: 11:06 Yes. Like we talk about like the right time. It's like, all of the circumstances said that this was the wrong time. Right. We're in a pandemic, you know, I'm practicing law, I'm home with a three year old and one year old. But I had this really strong feeling that I was supposed to help. And it's something that I had been sitting on for, at that point almost a year. Cuz like I said, it was like the end of 2019 when I first started thinking like, oh I could help people on a broader scale. You know, maybe I could help lawyers specifically because at that point I was just helping, you know, family and friends and colleagues at work and all of that. But the colleagues at work and my friends from law school all had a lot of the same things going on where it was like, I can help them.

Going all in on yourself

Rho Thomas: 11:48 Yeah. And so that was that first piece. And then the second time where it was like, okay, I'm gonna go all in on myself, was leaving the law to go all in on the business. And at that point it was okay, I'm sitting here, I've got this business that really lights me up and I've got this practice that I really enjoy. But there, you know, it feels like there's something missing. There are pieces that I felt like I had been tolerating and a lot of it was like the administrative stuff, all the meetings. Like I know we've talked about the meeting to discuss the meeting and then we got a debrief after the meeting and I'm like, oh my goodness. Like all of that clash. So spectacularly with my family life when we came home because of COVID. And so like I have been kind of juggling all of those things for, you know, over a year, a year and a half, something like that at that point.

Rho Thomas: 12:38 But I was looking at what I wanted to do with my life. My husband and I were about to finish paying off our student loans, which we can get into. And I'm like, okay, I really like this piece of what I'm doing. I really like the business of helping people with their personal finances and seeing the relief on my client's faces and you know, the, their ability to manage their finances. And I think I wanna do it. The only thing that would stop me from doing it is my fear about, oh, what happens when I'm not a lawyer anymore? And the prestige of being a lawyer and you know, all of that. But at the end of the day, I decided that I'm going to do this because the worst case scenario is it doesn't work. And I have to go get another job I'm already in a job. Right. Like I'm already,

Dina Cataldo: 13:30 There's so much there's to unpack here, hold on. Okay. This is so great because you know this right. Everybody thinks it's your actions like, okay, well I just need to have a game plan and have the actions lined up and then it'll happen. I'll leave my job. I'll create a financial plan, whatever it is. But it all comes, came down to the belief you had in yourself. Okay.

Rho Thomas: 13:53 Absolutely.

How Rho Built the belief in herself to leave the law

Dina Cataldo: 13:54 How did you build that belief in yourself that you could leave the law? What were, what were like, what comes to mind?

Rho Thomas: 14:02 Well, like I said, the, the biggest thing for me was, okay, I'm doing this, it's working. Right. Like I, I was already doing the business. I was taking those steps even before I really knew that it was going to work. Right. But

Dina Cataldo: 14:16 Even before you were doing that, you had to have some kind of belief to even make an offering to the people around. Yeah.

Rho Thomas: 14:23 And my biggest belief, like the belief that fueled all of that was that I could help them. Mm. Right. Like I know that I could help them. And I also thought about how many people are praying for this type of solution. Right. How many people are praying to be able to manage their finances better? Yeah. Like people are literally crying because they don't know how to manage their finances or they're feeling overwhelmed. And I know this thing that can help them. And so that is what fueled me to make the initial offers.

Dina Cataldo: 14:53 Yes. Okay. Everybody listen up because she's dropping some amazing bombs here for you. Okay.

It's not the belief in yourself. It's your belief that you can help people.

Right? Like there's a part of it that's believing in yourself, but really your mind is on the other people. Yeah. You're thinking about what they would not get. If you weren't just to put yourself out there mm-hmm <affirmative> and to offer to help them. And if you have a practice that you're trying to grow, but you're hesitating on it or you're hesitating on following that business idea, remind yourself of the people who are going to be deprived of your expertise of your ability. And they are not going to get the help that they need because you are letting your fear stop you. Yes. And if you focus on helping other people, it takes the attention off of your fear and it helps you feed your dream.

Rho Thomas: 15:50 Oh, 100% and something that I will share too. Cuz one thing that stood out to me was you were talking about the expertise. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> I didn't feel like an expert when I was getting started, but I mentioned that I was working with a coach initially in what, March, 2020. And one thing that she said that has always stuck with me is she was like, you don't have to be a 10 out of 10 to help somebody who's at level one level two. Yeah. Right.

Like if you think you're a five or a six out of 10, in terms of like your expertise, like there are people who are 1, 2, 3, 4 who wanna get to level five level six and you can help them. You don't have to be the foremost expert in your field. You just have to know something more than someone else or you can help them to get to where you are. And so that gave me so much freedom because you know, as a lawyer, I think we tend to think, I have to know all the things and I have to be all the things. And so like that helped me to release some of that where it's like, I don't have to be the foremost personal finance expert. I know what I've done and I can help you do what I've done.

Dina Cataldo: 16:51 Absolutely. And I always like to think about like how one in California, so we call it Caljic or CalCrim, but all the jury instructions are like an expert is just somebody who knows just a little bit more than the average person. Yeah. Just a little bit more. So if you know, just a little bit more, you are the expert and that's a great way to get into expert energy. Agreed. Alright. So I'm really curious, we talked about this just before we went on, we were talking about the thoughts that we had about money and some of the money shame that we had. And so I'm curious, what kind of beliefs did you struggle with with money before you started helping people or maybe even while you were helping people?

Rho's money story

Rho Thomas: 17:32 Yeah. So let me take it back to my money story. I mentioned that I had my own journey there while I was a lawyer. Back in 2016, I had my first child. And in doing that, I was, you know, looking to go back to work after my, my maternity leave. But the firm that I was working with offered this reduced hours, kind of part-time policy where I could do a percentage of the billable hour requirement for the corresponding percentage of my salary.

So if I wanted to do say 80% of the hours, I get 80% of my salary. And so I was talking with my husband about, you know, I'm interested in doing this, this program, but when we looked at our finances, we had over $670,000 of debt and a negative $342,000 net worth. And when I tell you like that was a complete surprise to me, like I knew, you know, we knew that we had debt, but we had kind of compartmentalized it.

Rho Thomas: 18:27 So like, oh yeah, I had about a hundred thousand and he had about 300 and you know, like we had looked at it kind of individually, but adding it up like that, it was like, whoa. And so we ended up not taking advantage of that policy at that time because we felt that we could not afford to manage that pay cut. But when I tell you, I had so much shame around the fact that I'm a lawyer, like, how am I, how am I here?

You know, I thought that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing with my finances. My husband is a physician. So he's also highly educated. I don't think that he had the same shame as I did, but like I felt like we, like, how are we here? You know, we are both educated. How are we in this position?

Money shame

Rho Thomas: 19:14 And I felt a lot of shame about it, but I also started looking at like, how do you, you know, get out of debt? How do you manage your finances? That kind of thing. I'd already done a little bit of work around just the day to day financial management piece. And so I was like, I knew to like, not, you know, overspend on my credit card or like those types of things. Like I was cuz I also have stories about that from <laugh> when I used to draw my checking account down to like a dollar and then have to wait until payday to get paid and then be able to spend again.

But I knew some of the basic money management things, but I didn't know what I didn't know. And so one of the things coming back to your story about some of the beliefs that I had in terms of like getting my money together was seeing other people, doing things like paying off their student loans early or you know, saving some large amount of money on a certain salary.

Rho Thomas: 20:17 Seeing those examples made me believe that it was possible for me too. Hmm. And so that was the first step to improving our finance. It's just believing that it was possible because I had no idea that people paid off loans before the, you know, the designated time period that the bank gives you. It was just like, oh yeah, you get a loan and you pay this amount and you just pay that until it's gone.

Like the idea of paying something off early or paying extra on it was foreign to me because I didn't learn about money growing up. And so like just those new types of ideas, like being exposed to a different way of doing something and seeing other people having success in that way made me believe it was possible for me too.

Being inspired to change

Dina Cataldo: 21:00 I love that. That's a lot of the reason I do anything that I do really is I see somebody else who's done it. I'm like, oh yeah, that's possible for me too. Yeah. when I was growing up my parents, they had a lot of stress and worry around money. Like there was never enough money. Right. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> like, that was always the worry. And I grew up with this belief. I don't even know how I picked this up. That I was just bad with money that I didn't know what to do with it. And so I would avoid looking at it. You know, when I got my student loan deposits, it would just be like, oh, there's money in my bank. It's meant to be spent. You know, there was no thought process about where the money's going, how much I'm gonna have. It's just, it's just there.

Are you really bad with money?

Dina Cataldo: 21:42 And I never actually had evidence that I was bad with money mm-hmm <affirmative> it was something I just picked up from the water around me that I was swimming in. And I, it, it prevented me from creating a budget. It prevented me from looking at the numbers. And so if there's anybody else who's listening to this know that they, that they're, it sounds so horrible to tell people like, it's just your thoughts, but literally I had to practice that over and over again and say, okay, is it true that I'm bad with my money? No, I mean, I bought a house. I mean, am I all, am I perfect with my money?

No, but that doesn't mean you're bad with your money. If you can look at the money that you have and just say, okay, well I have some money I'm, I'm managing to pay my bills every month. That shows me I'm good with money. I'm managing to save money, to buy a house. That means I'm good with money versus just blanketly making statements like I did for myself. <Laugh> which was I'm bad with money. You have more power than you think. And I'm really curious when clients come to you, when lawyers come to you, what kind of thoughts do they come to you with?

Rho Thomas: 22:59 Yeah, that one is the biggest one for sure. And I love that you gave the example of like going through and asking yourself how it's not true, that you're not good with money and the things that you've done that are evidence to the contrary, because that's something that I teach my clients a lot of times there's one client in particular. I remember he, you know, he was talking about how he's so bad with money. He's like, I'm making, you know, more than I ever have. And I'm just so bad with money.

And then we get to our like first call. He's like, so here's my spreadsheets. Like, here's the, you know, you've got like this, you know, he's got a budget. It wasn't like a, a very like in depth budget, but he knew exactly what he spent on his fixed expenses at least. And he was tracking his net worth on some frequency. And I'm like, you think you're bad with money. Right.

Dina Cataldo: 23:49 Right. Like that's exactly like things that I I've done. And I'm like, and I have the same thought. It's so funny that like our brains are wow.

How perfectionism impairs our beliefs

Rho Thomas: 23:57 Yes. I mean, I think it's like the default for people who are high achieving, it's like, I'm not 100% a plus. Perfect. So that means I'm bad. Yeah. Right. And so I think it's showing yourself the evidence like you did of, well, I was able to buy a house. I was able to save, I, you know, all of these things or, you know, with that client, it's like, oh, I know how much I spend on my fixed expenses. And I know, you know, what my net worth is on average and all of that. And so it's just, there are little tweaks that I could make to improve my finances, but I'm not bad with money. There are just some things that I want to learn to improve.

Dina Cataldo: 24:33 Yeah. And I think it's so important to take that perspective into anything that we're doing. It's that we don't have to be perfect, especially cuz everyone listening is a high achieving lawyer right now. <Laugh> I mean, there might be some non-lawyers who are high achieving listening, but this is so important because we are such perfectionists mm-hmm <affirmative> that we hinder ourselves from recognizing how good we are in so many different aspects of our lives. And if we just take a time out and give ourselves that perspective, it's going to create an instant impact. Not only in how we feel, but then in the actions that we take. Yes. When we start recognizing like, oh, I just, there's just some things I wanna learn.

Rho Thomas: 25:15 Exactly. And I think so I'm bad with money is by far the number one, but the second one that's also very common is something in the realm of money is complicated or money is hard or money is scary or you know, something about like money being this like bad thing or this hard thing, you know, because those, especially if you got both of those coupled together, you're never gonna look at your finances. If you think that you're bad with money and you think that money is hard, then you're like, I don't wanna deal with it.

That's just a lot. I've already got a lot on my plate. I'm not gonna worry about it. And then you end up doing things like not looking at your finances, maybe overspending, overdrafting, your account, things like that. And then you're like, oh see like I'm just bad with money. See, you know, money's hard. I can't be on top of it. Right. And so like, you're you start seeing all of these things as evidence of that original thought of being bad with money or money being hard or complicated versus like you said, directing yourself to all of the reasons why the opposite might be true.

Dina Cataldo: 26:20 Yeah. And you know, I, I think about the model and I think about our thoughts, create our feelings, our feelings generate our actions, our actions generate our results and our results are always gonna reflect the thought that we're having. It's there's always going to be a if we're having a thought that is telling us that we're bad with money, we're gonna create some more, more evidence that we're bad with money mm-hmm <affirmative> and we're not going to look for consciously the science that that's not true.

It's gonna feel so true in our bodies that we're not even gonna bother looking. So it's really important that we get curious and ask ourselves is that never don't ask if it's true, cuz your brain's gonna say, yeah, that's true. But just like, is, is there any other evidence to the contrary, anything like a scrap of evidence and then you can prove it.

Rho Thomas: 27:10 Like how am I good with money?

Dina Cataldo: 27:12 Yes.

Rho Thomas: 27:13 Yeah. Because you're so used to telling yourself that you're bad with money. How am I good with money and asking that question is like, oh, well I've saved to buy a house that that's not too bad. Yeah. Oh I've got X in my savings account. That's pretty good. Yeah. You know, like you'll start to see these things that you've kind of overlooked to this point because you've been believing that you're bad with money.

Dina Cataldo: 27:35 Yeah.

Your brain's going to search for whatever it is you ask it.

Rho Thomas: 27:39 Exactly.

Dina Cataldo: 27:40 Okay. So another thing that I hear from people and this was something I said too, right. Was I can't leave my law job. I can't do anything different. I can't add a new branch. Like this is what I hear from some clients. I can't add a new branch to my law practice. I can't switch practices. I can't go out on my own. Because it's the golden handcuffs. I mean, what do you have to say to listeners who might be thinking that right now?

Golden handcuffs

Rho Thomas: 28:05 Well, so I will say sometimes we do put golden handcuffs on ourselves, right? Because we've got X income coming in and we're spending X out or we're spending X plus something going out. And so if that's you, if you're in that place where you think you've got golden handcuffs, I would say, look at where you're actually spending your money and see if you like it.

Because that's one of the first exercises that I do with my clients is like, let's look at where your money is going currently. And let's look at, if you even care about some of these things, if you like that you're spending this amount, if you like that, you know, whatever it is because from there, then you can make a plan for how you wanna use your money going forward and you can start to decrease or maybe loosen the golden handcuffs, right?

Rho Thomas: 28:53 So that you're not spending all of the money that you make or even more than what you make. You've got that amount, that kind of buffer between the amount that you're bringing in and the amount that you're spending out so that you are not so reliant on a particular income. When you have that buffer, then you can use that money to build up your savings, to pay off debt, to, you know, whatever it is you wanna do that will help you to get those the circumstances, your finances, to the place that you want them to be, to be able to make the move that you wanna make. Like that was my story with, you know, we had like I said, almost half, I don't think I said this.

We had 670,000, but almost half a million of it was student loan debt mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so the minimum payment on our student loans up until last year was almost $3,500. And so it's like, yeah, that's, that's kind of a lot of money that's going out. Right. And so being able to pay that off, allowed us to like have enough rumor. It's like, okay, that's $3,500 less that we need each month to cover our baseline expenses. And so when you can get yourself to the position that you're not spending everything that you make, you provide that room for yourself to be able to pivot, to do other things.

Taking control of your money

Dina Cataldo: 30:11 Yeah. I love how you said putting golden handcuffs on yourself. Because I think that so many of us look at the firm as if we're the victims mm-hmm <affirmative> of how much they're paying us and it's not true guys. <Laugh> like, we have more power when we, when we say, oh, well we have golden handcuffs. We're just kind of like at the mercy of whoever is paying us versus like, if I'm putting golden handcuffs on myself, then I'm going to look at myself and my behaviors and take responsibility in a nonjudgmental way. And just let's look at the facts. Let's just look at the numbers and see what they say. Because if you really sit down with numbers, they're not gonna lie to you.

Rho Thomas: 30:58 Exactly.

Dina Cataldo: 30:59 Yeah. Okay.

Rho Thomas: 31:01 Before we move on, from that point, I was gonna say, I think the point that you just made is so key there that we get to make decisions when we take the responsibility, right.

If it's something outside of us, if it's like, oh, the, the money or it's the firm or whatever it is, if it's something outside of you, then you don't have any control over it. Versus if it's me and decisions that I've made choices that I've made, then I can choose to do something different if I want to see different results. Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: 31:30 I love this. This is such a great conversation. Okay. This was something else that I see come up with lawyers who have their own practices and they make money, but their brain tells them that it's a fluke. Have you seen this come up in your, with your clients?

Rho Thomas: 31:49 I haven't. I haven't. I've I don't work a whole lot with lawyers who have their own practices. I think people who are drawn to me tend to be employees because I speak from my experiences as an employee. But I have seen this in like my circle of like entrepreneur friends, so I can relate on, on some level.

Money isn't a fluke

Dina Cataldo: 32:10 Yeah. And I don't know if you've had this experience or not. I have certainly experienced this and have had to do what we were talking about earlier, which is ask our, ask myself, how am I consciously creating money in my business. Yes. Right. Have you had to do that in your business? Yes.

Rho Thomas: 32:26 Okay. It's like, how is this not a fluke? Like how is this exactly what should have happened?

Dina Cataldo: 32:31 Right. And, and I think that our brain wants to tell us it's an accident that we don't have control that because other people are purchasing from us that we have no control over their spending decisions. What are your thoughts on that?

Rho Thomas: 32:47 Yeah. I disagree. Like, of course we can't completely control another person. Right. But we can set things up, like help them to get to that decision. So the way that you show up in, let's say your confidence in what you offer, right. And the, the practice that you have, the services that you provide the way that you, or how often you get yourself out there and talk to people about what you do and put, you know, make those offers. Like there are so many variables that you do have control over. And so yes, it is true that you can't say like, oh, I'm going to get this person.

You know, I, I know that person is going to purchase from me, but when you set yourself up in the way that you are, or when you set yourself up for the things that you have control over and you take control of those things that you have control over, then you are going to consciously create the money in your business from whoever it is that's around. Even if it's not, even if I can't say Susie is the person, right. I know that by putting myself out there and continuing to offer my services to multiple people, then I can assure myself that there will, that will come back to me.

Showing up consistently and expanding the reach of your business

Dina Cataldo: 34:00 Yeah. And I, I think people underestimate the value of showing up consistently in their business. Yeah. Having a plan, whatever that plan is, putting it on a calendar and just committing to showing up imperfectly. And maybe you don't get everything done on the calendar, but you show up with a plan with the intent to follow through.

And even if you're not in like perfect belief, whatever that looks like, if you were showing up just wanting to help people and telling people what you do and making offers that's key. Cuz I actually wasn't making offers at the very beginning of my business. Turns out you need to make offers. Yeah. Right. It's like, oh no, I'm posting all the time. It's like, oh, but you have to make an offer. Yeah. and that's something our brain, if we are not watching it, it will prevent us from doing the uncomfortable things that help us make money and help us serve our clients powerfully.

Rho Thomas: 34:52 Yeah. And I'll say even to that point, I was posting a lot. I was very consistent posting. Like every day I wasn't making an offer. And I also was not like consciously meeting new people to tell new people what I do because I look at posting as a way to tell people, Hey, this is what I do. This is how I can help you. But if I'm saying the same thing to the same people over and over again, rather than, you know, bringing more people in to tell more people what I do, then it's gonna be very hard to grow my business. And so getting out and like meeting more people, it's like, oh, that's a great idea. Maybe I should do that.

Dina Cataldo: 35:31 Yeah. I, my brain for that kind of stuff, because yes, a hundred percent agree with you. And my brain likes to do the busy work because it feels like it's doing something, it

Rho Thomas: 35:42 Feels productive. Right.

Dina Cataldo: 35:43 Feels very productive. Right. It's a very false satisfaction, you know, of an urge. <Laugh> right.

Rho Thomas: 35:49 I heard someone call it productive procrastination. Oh. I was like, yes, I love that. That's so good.

Dina Cataldo: 35:55 Yeah. but I have to watch it because then I forget, like I have amazing people in my audience right now that want my service mm-hmm <affirmative> and so I'm one of the things that I remind myself of this is a belief I practice is like, there's 10 people right now who want to work with me and I'm talking directly to them.

Rho Thomas: 36:15 Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: 36:16 And there is other work to be done to expand my reach, but I never wanna discount the people already in my audience committed to opening my emails, committed to showing up on Instagram and reading my content. Like that's something that is really important to me that I remember that cuz my brain, it wants to do all the things and I have to reign it in and say, no, remember they're already there to just like keep showing up.

Rho Thomas: 36:47 Yeah, no, I completely agree with that. But I will share with you and with your audience, something that I heard recently from Grant Cardone, I read his book 10 X, which was really good. I highly recommend it. But one of the things he said, I don't remember if it was in his book or like on a video or something that I saw. But he said that the greatest issue that business owners have is not like he's like whatever the, the business experts say, like under capitalization and that kind he's like, it's not that it's obscurity.

Dina Cataldo: 37:19 Oh, I like that.

Meet more people

Rho Thomas: 37:20 And the way that, that resonated with me, because he's saying the same thing that coaches that I've worked with have said like, oh, you need to meet people, all of that. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but that word choice, like the issue with your business is obscurity. People don't know who you are and it's like, oh, and the, the way for people to know who you are is to meet more people. Yes. And so that really resonated with me. So he talked about wanting everyone on earth to know who he is and to know him as the expert in sales and marketing.

And I was like, what if my goal were for every lawyer to know that I'm the person to come to for personal finance. Oh like that. And that has fueled a lot of what I've been doing lately of, you know, meeting more people and you know, continuing to deliver that consistent value. Like you said, I wanna nurture my audience, but I also want to make sure that everybody knows that this is available because I don't want there to be lawyers who are suffering, who feel like they can't get a handle on their personal finances and are, you know, struggling when I'm here. And I

Dina Cataldo: 38:27 Think, oh my gosh, I love that thought. Okay, everybody, who's listening to this, come back, make sure you're not distracted. Come here please. Cause this is how to think about your clients and your business, whether you have your own solo practice or whether you are an employee for someone else so important to listen to that again, because the way that you show up and serve is going to be determinative of how you grow your practice. So if you're building your book of business, that's something that you definitely wanna take to heart. Okay. This is another thing that I wanted to talk about is how we talk about other people who have more money than us.

Rho Thomas: 39:12 Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: 39:13 Yeah. Because I have heard this myself and I know I've experienced this myself where you hear somebody talking about money. And at first, when I first first heard somebody talking about how much money they had, it was like in the multiple millions, whatever it was. And I was like, oh, little uncomfortable. Like, oh. And then I started to get intrigued over time. I was like, oh, How much money are they making? Wait, what are they doing? And like, I would hear people talk about money and I'd start to get really curious.

Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that's when I started to shift my beliefs about not just having money, but having lots and lots and lots of money. Yeah. Like I started to think like, yeah, like that sounds good to me. And so I was curious about your experiences. Maybe having heard people talk about money or your clients talk about money and maybe some of the judgements that might have shown up in your experience.

Resistance to building wealth

Rho Thomas: 40:11 Yeah. So immediately a client came to mind when you were talking about that. One of my clients felt resistant to building wealth, to building her net worth because of course the inevitable result of managing your money, better, not spending out everything that you're making of keeping money for yourself, investing it is you're going to grow wealth. Right. She had this kind of resistance to that because of the homeless population in her city. So she was like, she felt wrong to have money or even to buy nice things. When there are so many people who are unhoused or who have food insecurity or whatever the, the issues may be.

And one thing I told her was you having less doesn't mean they have more. Mm right. And if this population is a population that you wanna help, what puts you in the best position to help them? Yeah. And she, you know, realized like, oh, if I have money, then I can donate to organizations that help this population or things like that. And so it's like more money in the hands of people who want to do good is never a bad thing. Mm. The issue I think, is in our society, rich people are bad. Rich people are greedy.

Rho Thomas: 41:31 We don't think about the fact that there are so many people who have a lot of money. Like I think about Oprah, for example, you know, a lot of money and doing a lot of good in the world. Yeah. There are lots of people like that. We might not see them, but there are lots of people who have a lot of money and do a lot of good. And so if there's any resistance for you in having money or having a lot of money, even you might wanna think about that, right. Like money will only amplify who you already are. Yeah.

And so if you are a good person who wants to help people and you know, all of that, then more money gives you more opportunity to do that. Yeah. and then the other thing is when we have that thought, like we adopt the belief that rich people are bad, rich people are greedy, you know, all of the negative associations that many of us have about rich people. Well then you're never gonna want to be rich. And so then subconsciously,

Dina Cataldo: 42:28 Well, wait a minute, Rho. Yes. Because I hear lots of people, like, no, I wanna make equity partner. I wanna make lots and lots of money and they have the same thoughts.

Subconscious money thoughts

Rho Thomas: 42:37 Yeah. Well, and that gets to my point that subconsciously or consciously, then you're gonna do things yeah. To get rid of the money as it comes in, because you don't want to be rich. Yeah. Even if you you're telling yourself that you do, right. If you believe that rich people, you know, neglect their families or rich people, whatever negative thoughts that you might have, you're not going to want to become that person because you associate that person with those negative things. Yeah. And so I think it goes back to what we were talking about earlier with asking yourself how, you know, how is becoming rich a good thing, or how, you know, something that helps you to associate the wealth with positive. Because I think there are positives and negatives on both ends of the spectrum, right? Like there are people who have a lot of money who do a lot of good.

Rho Thomas: 43:25 There are people who have a lot of money who don't. There are people who don't have a lot of money who do a lot of good and people who don't have a lot of money who don't. So the, the status of their wealth does not have anything to do with the character of the person and whether they will be a good person or a bad person. And so just like we just talked about like, the money is only going to amplify who you already are. And so if you like the traits that you have, then the money is going to amplify them. If you don't, it's going to amplify those as well.

And that's something that I talk about, I guess, getting away from this particular segment of the conversation about rich people and all like having more money, isn't going to fix your money problems. So if you don't know how to manage your finances at the level that you are now, having more money is only going to amplify those issues that you have with managing your finances. Yeah. So it always amplifies it.

Dina Cataldo: 44:23 There's something. I learned several years ago, I loved the way this coach phrased it. It was take a look at your surroundings and that will tell you what you believe. So you can take a look at your bank account and it will tell you if you believe you're capable of making a lot of money, what you believe about money, you could see how you're spending money. It's gonna tell you what your thoughts are about money.

Rho Thomas: 44:47 Yeah. I like that.

Building a better relationship with money

Dina Cataldo: 44:49 Observing how you interact with money. Cuz we have a relationship with money. Just like anything else. I like to talk about how we have a relationship with our calendar, with time with our business. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> same thing with money. We have a relationship and if we're not kind to our money, our money is not going to be kind to us. Yes.

Rho Thomas: 45:09 Yeah, no, I completely agree with that. I just did a podcast episode talking about that same concept about the way that we think about our relationships with humans. It's the same way that we can think about our relationship with money. Mm. And so if you were to think about your money as a person, like how do you treat that person? Would you like make some changes in that relationship? If money were an actual person.

Where do you think money comes from?

Dina Cataldo: 45:33 I love that. I'm gonna link to that in the show notes, cuz I think that's important to listen to. Okay. I wanna, there's so much more that we could talk about. There's just a lot going on. There's one final question I wanna ask you before we wrap up here is if you were to explain to people where money comes from, what would you say?

Rho Thomas: 45:53 So I love this question. I think money comes from value and it's providing value in the world. So if you work for a firm you're providing value to those clients, those clients pay you for that value, right? The same with, if you own your own firm, you're providing value to those clients that you serve. And those clients pay you for that value. People who create businesses, they're providing value, some sort of service, some sort of product to the world and the world is paying for that value. I heard a coach talk about the fact that that value comes from the quality of your thoughts. Yeah. Which gets back to what you were just talking about, like looking at your surroundings and it'll tell you what you believe about money and all of that. The same is true with, you know, the value of, or the quality of your thoughts about yourself, about your ability to earn money.

Rho Thomas: 46:47 You know, all of that because if you are not making a whole lot of money, like I cannot see, for example, someone who is a lawyer who has been working as a lawyer, going to making minimum wage. Right, right. You have this thought, this, you know, concept of yourself, of how much money you will make. And it's probably going to be more than minimum wage. Even if you leave the practice of law, you're probably not going to go to a job making minimum wage. Right. Because that is not that doesn't align with the thoughts that you have about yourself and your ability to make money. So I think money comes from the value that you provide to your clients, to the world. And then, then all of that comes back to the quality of your thoughts about yourself, about your ability to make money and all of that.

Dina Cataldo: 47:36 It's so funny, cuz I was thinking about this myself because I've been exposed to, you know, similar thoughts about how value really is like we put value into the world and that's how money comes back to us is because we're creating such a big contribution. I've been playing with this idea. It's like, yes, it's the quality of our thoughts. I think it's the powerful decision making abilities that we have. And I was thinking about it in this way because so many of us have already made powerful decisions to make money by going to law school. I mean what a powerful decision we had to make, we had to face fear of a six figure, you know, balance <laugh> three years out, you know, 30 years out, we really took a big chance on ourselves. We made a powerful decision to do that. And I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for those powerful decisions that influence the money that we've created for ourselves.

Dina Cataldo: 48:36 And so I've been playing with this idea. Yeah. <laugh> it's like, I was like, yeah, I think that, you know, money, it doesn't come from working hard and, and we're taught that it, it takes, we've gotta be grinding all the time. We've gotta stay up late. We've gotta, you know, grind out those billables. But think about it this way. If you're not serving your clients at the highest level, if you're not capable and you don't have the energy to make those powerful decisions on behalf of your clients, you are not going to be putting the value that you need into the world, into your clients. Yeah. Serving your clients. And then you are not going to receive that money in return. You're not going to receive as high equality of money in return.

Rho Thomas: 49:17 Yeah. Well, and I would say too, even going back to the decision to go to law school, there was some belief there in yourself that you would be able to make it work to make that investment worth it. Right. And so I think all of it kind of ties in together the like powerful decision making, but then the quality of your thoughts about yourself, believing in yourself, believing in your ability to like get a return on that investment.

Dina Cataldo: 49:44 I love this. This has been such a fun conversation.

Rho Thomas: 49:46 It has been.

Dina Cataldo: 49:48 Rho, Will you please tell everyone where they can find you? You have a great podcast. I definitely am gonna link to everything you mentioned in the show notes too.

Rho Thomas: 49:56 Well, thank you. Yes. The best place to find me is my website, which is And there you can find link to my podcast. Wealthyesque, and we can also connect on LinkedIn. You can find me there. Rho Thomas.

Dina Cataldo: 50:10 Awesome. Thank you so much. I'm also gonna link to a really helpful budget calculator that we talked about earlier. I wanna sure they get their hands on that.

Rho Thomas: 50:22 Yes. So I have the actual budget template for the budget that my husband and I use and it is available at rhothomas.Com/Budget. You can download that if you don't have one and go ahead and start getting your finances in order.

Dina Cataldo: 50:37 Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you showing up and giving us all your best stuff.

Rho Thomas: 50:43 Thank you for having me always a pleasure.

Dina Cataldo: 50:46 Wasn't that a fabulous conversation with Rho? I really enjoyed talking to her. I hope you enjoyed listening to our conversation together. And of course you can get all of those resources that we mentioned dinacataldo.Com/225.

Dina Cataldo: 51:01 Now you are familiar with this podcast. You've probably been listening for a while. And if you have, then you know that implementation of what we talk about on this podcast is everything. If you don't implement, of course, you're not going to see the changes that you want. Coaching helps with that implementation. What I do with my clients is I help them rewire their brains so that they can begin to think differently. And when we think differently, we do differently. If you wanna learn how coaching can help you go to there, I encourage you to book a call with me because on our call together, we're gonna have a consult.

Dina Cataldo: 51:45 And what we're gonna do is we're gonna break it down. Where are you right now? And where do you wanna go? I'm gonna ask you a series of questions to help you dive deeper into what you want. So if you have any confusion about what you want right now, because your brain is just like, I don't have time to even think about what I want this hour together is designated for you to think about those things. I'm actually gonna ask you questions to bring that out for you. And if you do know what you want, that's fantastic. Because then what we can do is we can begin to just build the bridge there wherever you are at right now, we are going to create a plan for you that we can implement step by step by step. I help my clients with this all the time.

Dina Cataldo: 52:31 I've done this myself. It is going to be very doable and you are going to have 100% input on this plan. And if you're not a hundred percent on board, then we don't do it. But what I wanna show you is that there is a way to create the life that you want. There is a path that can be created and we're gonna do that work in the hour that we have together. So go to, and we will get started. All right, my friend, I hope you have a fabulous day. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

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