Teaching women powerful money skills
so you can lead an independent, confident life and thrive Financially for the long-term
“I'm going to end-up completely broke.”
At least that's how it felt in 2007, when I separated from my husband, leaving my home with 10 paper bags of clothes for an expensive and sketchy warehouse sublet where there were no locks on the doors, and my groceries kept disappearing.
This difficult moment was made more complicated because I was in the middle of getting my masters degree in painting, and had no obvious career path going forward. I became fixated on the question, “how am I going to make this new life work financially?” It was something I asked of every professor, advisor, and mentor and was never able to get a straight answer, and I realized they were just as clueless as I was.
Eventually, I decided it was my job to find the answer — so I started reading books and taking professional finance classes and I began to see a clear picture of how things worked.
"I learned how rich people handle money... and was shocked at what most of us are missing."
I sat through 100’s of hours of insurance, investing, retirement planning and tax lectures — all under the umbrella of wealth management, because there weren't classes called How to thrive while barely scraping by... To learn about money I needed to study the rich.
Each week in class I'd feel like an accidental spy who had found their way into the wrong meeting, coming out with what seemed like secrets, dying to call my friends and tell them, “We're doing things the hard way!”
Over the past decade, I've gone down every rabbit hole you can think of to understand how money works.
Tax strategies, retirement savings, portfolio design, and what the heck are annuities? — I just wanted to know.
I was understanding the structure and complexity of money, but also plainly seeing a financial industry that exploits people's lack of knowledge and and lack of confidence. I was talking to people who were genuinely trying to make the right moves — but were instead being sold deceivingly expensive financial products that were unnecessary. And it lit a fire under me.
“There's one thing the wealthy take for granted that I had never really considered.”
If no one has ever sat you down and explained this, it might not have occurred to you either. The main difference between people who have excessive wealth, and people who don't is not what you make — it's what you keep. Duh - that's obvious, but I challenge you to really think about it — if you're not living below your means you'll be working for every dollar you have, and what do you think is harder: working or letting your money work for you?
The not-so-obvious part of this is that it doesn't matter how much money you make. Your income could be a million dollars a year, and but if you're spending it all then you'll be just as broke as everyone else (ask MC Hammer). The flip side is that you could be making very little, but if you're strategic, and develop habits and smart strategies to find a few dollars to save and invest, you're setting yourself up to allow your money to start doing some of the heavy lifting.
All of a Sudden I had a new mission
While this was going on I was working as an artist, along side other women artists, figuring out how everything I'd learned could be applied to us. I now had the formula to grow assets at any income level, and I wanted to share it with my community and help other women create their own independent assets so they could feel safe and secure on their own.
And that is what the INSIGHT MONEY MASTERCLASS is all about: giving you an easy-to-follow 4-week course that explores the same strategies used in high-cost wealth management, but efficiently and inexpensively applied to regular people like you and I.
In other words, you're no longer going to need to wonder who you can trust to tell you what to do — you'll know.
Is this you?
In all the time I have been talking to other women about their money, I've seen that many of us are dealing with the same issues …
- I thought I'd have had time to figure this out by now, but it just hasn't happened, and I feel like I'm too late.
- I thought I would have a partner to do this with — it seems like it would be easier with a partner, shouldn't I wait?
- I want to be growing my money, but I don't know where to start.
- I need to go see an expert — I just don't know who.
- I never learned anything about money when I was growing up, and now it feels really scary.
- I don't have time to do all the research into companies or track the market everyday, shouldn't I just stay out of it?
We're going to address all of this along side the nuts and bolts education. If you're feeling some anxiety about this topic — that's natural. We're going to talk all about riskThis class is different from any other, because it was developed by two business-savvy artists who have each been running their creative careers for over a decade.
**We're not going to tell you to get over your mental blocks,
and the money will magically manifest**
There's no hocus pocus in this class. Instead, I'm going to fact in a clear, and down-to-earth manner, as well as open up our business playbook so you'll be getting your financial and creative business house in order. We understand money, business, and art — and we want to share our secret sauce with you!
What you'll learn
Real finance tailored for artists and creative entrepreneurs
- CRAFTING CLEAR GOALS: You'll start by defining what you want to achieve in your financial life, which means describing the details, assigning costs, and designating a timeline for what matters most. With a clear outline, all of a sudden you're no longer just day dreaming, but moving forward towards clear, quantifiable priorities. Got a bucket list — bring it!
- SELF ASSESSMENT: Next you'll take an unclouded picture of where you're at right now. This can be exciting or sobering, but in either case you'll be planting a flag at your starting point so that you can move forward with measured progress. For some, this is the most difficult part of the course, but soon you'll see starting Money Bootcamp as the beginning of a new phase of positive progress.
- DUMPING DEBT: You'll be learning efficient strategies for ditching bad debt, chipping away at it from multiple angles so you can clear the straightest path towards your goals.
- GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: First and foremost we are entrepreneurs, and see creative business as an artist's edge in finance. We'll share our playbook for creating multiple streams of income from a creative toolbox, so that you can use your well honed skills to smooth out the volatility of an artist's fluctuating income.
- IMPECCABLE SAVINGS STRATEGIES: We've perfected the art of saving, and will show you our tested method to build long-term assets using simple and productive money habits.
- ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: With 8 weeks of live classes, this course includes a lot of face time with your expert instructors. Between them, Christina and Mati have more than 24 years of creative business and entrepreneurship experience and are ready for your toughest questions. As a Fiduciary and a CFP® professional Christina can get to the bottom of every money mystery, and loves to share her infectious enthusiasm for mechanics of finance. Her goal is always to empowering you with real information, pulling back the curtain on the financial industry to show you what's really happening.
√ Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about a Roth IRA? Christina's going tell you all about it.
√ Have you ever tried decide whether you should pay off debt or save for retirement? We're going to make that decision crystal clear.
√ Do you ever feel like you're starting too late? Don't worry, now is the perfect time to engage with your money.
Who are our students?
- Artists, Illustrators, Designers, Crafters, Makers, Doers, and others who are seriously invested in their creative practices.
- Folks who don't necessarily fit into the box of a 9 to 5 job.
- Creative entrepreneurs with their own unique vision for their work and life.
- People who feel alienated from the financial services industry and want a trustworthy source of information.
- Individuals that want a financial mentor who gets why they do what they do.
- And, people who crave the understanding and confidence to make their own well-informed decisions about their money.
Just imagine how your life would change if you could cut out nagging stress of not knowing what you're doing with your money, and replace it with the peace and confidence of feeling in control.
Smartly Academy was built to serve creative people, who have decided to create a clear and productive relationship with their money. Artists who want to go beyond magical thinking and craft practical financial habits that will move you forward towards real and definable goals.
We have been amazed at what our students have accomplished:
- Outcome 1.
- Outcome 2.
- Outcome 3.
OMG since embarking on my Money Bootcamp class with Christina Empedocles of Smartly, Art + Personal Finance I'm now saving $1059 a month by making some small and big financial hacks! That's 12, 708 a year!!! I'm biased of course, but this class is definitely worth every penny.
What happens if you wait?
A lot of us are waiting — waiting for the right person to come across our website, waiting for the right opportunity for our work, waiting to be discovered... And I don't doubt that all of that will happen, but in the meantime we could also be making progress with our money, so that either way we'll be good.
What I see frequently are people who spend so much time waiting, that they dig a financial hole that is so hard to climb out. Then one small thing goes wrong, and their world are thrown into chaos — I don't want that for you.
Built around a community
Most of us feel alone and in the dark about money — but after teaching this material for years we've found that many of us are struggling the same issues.
Because we keep quiet, we're not able to learn from each other, which is why in Money Bootcamp we meet every week live through video conference, and talk through anything that people are struggling with. Even through we may be across the country, or across the world from each other, it feels like we're in the same room, and all of a sudden none of us are alone anymore. We share strategies, provide support and celebrate each other's small and big wins.
Created for Women
And after having hundreds of conversations with women about their money, I know what hurts the most — and I’ve made it my mission to find solutions.
Yes, I’ve been there! I’ve made my own mistakes, learned from them, and built this class to be a non-judgmental, supportive community.
Over the years I've developed strategies to deal with the uncertainty of life. I've tested strategies and refined them, and now we have a set of well-honed tools to share with you.
Meet your instructor:
"I've learned how rich people handle money...and now realize what most of us are missing."
10 years ago, when I left my previous marriage, I began obsessing over a simple question: how will I make this new life work financially?
I wanted to work on my art full time, but still feel safe that I was taking care of my present and future self... I felt like I needed expert help, but I didn't have much to work with, I had no idea who to talk to — and just felt lost...
That's when I decided I would become my own expert, learn everything I could about investing, so that I could independently fund my life, create my own opportunities, and not have to ask permission from anyone ever again.
I started by reading books, taking classes, talking to other women, and ultimately going through the rigorous education, training and experience requirement to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a licensed Investment Advisor, so I could open up my own independent firm to serve other women.
I learned wealth management so I could educate my community, and show people in my situation what their missing, and how they could fix it. The answer? It's not about how much you have, but how well you leverage your time.
Many of us are thinking week to week, month to month with our money. But rich people? They think generations ahead.
I'm Christina Empedocles, CFP®, MFA, a licensed Investment Advisor and principle planner at Insight Personal Finance and most importantly, another woman who has your back... and I'll be your instructor!
Over the past decade I've talk to hundreds of women about their money searching for the answer. During this time
Over the next 4 weeks I'm going to show you all the secrets I've learned. The course will be tough and an emotional challenge...but it will be empowering! Over the past few years I've fixed the finances of 100's of artists. I know the challenges you're facing, what obstacles you need to overcome, and how to win.
Ready to give it a shot?
Mati Rose McDonough is a highly successful Bay Area-based artist, illustrator, teacher and author of “Daring Adventures in Paint” who believes it's possible to thrive as an artist and entrepreneur. Her creative business has spanned dozens of exhibitions; international teaching opportunities; commissions from top clients including Patagonia, University Games, and Pier 1; celebrated children’s books; as well as her own home decor line with Creative Coop and Signature Dress line with VIDA. As an Instructor for Smartly Academy she'll share her portfolio of business savvy practices with you.
"I don't want to know how bad it is..."
We know this might not be easy for you. Money is an emotional topic, and it can be a challenge to face what you may have spent a long time avoiding.
The fact of the matter is, most of us didn't learn productive financial habits from our parents, and we didn't learn anything about money in school — so lifting the lid on our money and taking a long look at what needs to be done can be scary.
But having taught hundreds of artists best practices with their money and businesses, we know the stumbling blocks, and are determined to see you through to the other side of success. Our students find the tough moments easier knowing they aren't alone, that they've got experts in their corner, and a supportive community to cheer them on.
I can describe Money Bootcamp in one word — wow! Christina has a gift for breaking down concepts into manageable, entertaining, and doable bites. The worksheets are actually fun and helped me gain a real-life perspective on the state of my finances. I cannot recommend this course highly enough — every cent it costs came back to me in dollars of control.
Outcomes you can expect:
- A defined set of long-term goals for your financial life.
- A creative business plan.
- A clear understand of your current level of financial risk, and a plan for how to balance it.
- The benefits of a rigorous and insightful spending audit, freeing up funds for debt, savings, or creative business.
- A realistic budget that is base on your actual spending.
- A step-by-step action plan for creating multiple streams of income.
- A new understanding of why debt is holding you back.
- An ‘Bad’ Debt pay-off plan.
- Strategies for crowdfunding student loans
- An ideal account set-up plan for building assets
- Tax strategies for creative business
- And understanding of which business structure is going to work best for your creative practice.
The financial industry wasn’t built to understand the weird, unpredictable, and sometimes counter-intuitive money issues that artists are dealing with
— but we do.
The Right Stuff
These materials we use in Money Bootcamp are beautifully designed, easy to follow, and laser-focused to help you put your plan into place. We wrote and crafted everything ourselves, so there’s nowhere else you’ll find them! In this latest launch we're excited to add a powerful, intuitive software package that will make it even easier for you to the work at ne extra cost.
We’re 100% confident that you’ll get your money’s worth and more!
Here’s our guarantee:
If you go through all the materials, do all the work, and don’t feel like you’ve made progress, we’ll jump on the phone with you, review your materials and pinpoint exactly what’s going wrong. If after that, you don’t feel like you got anything useful our of the class, we’ll refund your payment in full. Returns must be made within 15 days of the last live class.