Talking “Aha” Moments With a Money & Life Mentor

Hear about three people who used mentoring to make better money and life choices, and “aha” moments that could spark your own


If you’re like most people, you’ve got money on your mind. You may ask yourself: Do I have enough saved? Could I make better choices? Will I ever reach my goals? 

That’s where Money & Life Mentoring, part of the Money & Life Program at Capital One, comes in. It can help you see how money fits into your life so you can make healthier decisions. Here’s how three people used mentoring to define their goals and create a plan for going after them.

Helping People Examine Their Beliefs and Behaviors

Tammi Scott is a Money & Life Mentor at Capital One. Clients come to her with a variety of needs around finances and life—for example, looking for ways to pay off debt or finding time for the things that matter most to them. 

It’s Tammi’s job to help them examine their values and beliefs, make positive adjustments to their behaviors, and work toward their goals.

“I start by asking one question,” she says. “What do you really want for your life?”

Here’s how three clients worked with Tammi to answer that question—and the “aha” moments that resulted.

“Aha” Moment 1: Realizing There’s No “Right” Way to Manage Money

Tammi once had a client in her early 30s who came to mentoring for clarity around her money choices. 

The client was taking a practical approach to her money, living within her means and saving for unexpected expenses. But she worried that she wasn’t managing her money in the “right” way. 

Tammi helped her client realize there wasn’t an ideal way to use her money—just the way that worked for her. 

Then she helped her identify what was important in her life—security, fun and community. And they talked about how money could support the client in a life that aligned with her values.

Action Plan: Through mentoring, the client adjusted her life and budget based on the values she identified. 

The Money & Life Program helps clients consider how to use both money and time, which ideally work together. With that in mind, here’s how the client did it:

  • Security: She opened a savings account that she used as an “emergency fund” and continued to save toward retirement through her company-sponsored plan.
  • Fun: She added an “entertainment” category to her budget and found low-cost ways to enjoy herself like getting out in nature.
  • Community: She “gave back” by doing volunteer work with a local organization that had meaning for her.

“Aha” Moment 2: Changing Self-Defeating Money Behaviors

Another of Tammi’s clients—this one was also in his early 30s—needed help with choices around money. He was discouraged by his debt and particularly concerned about paying off student loans

The client had a habit of making online purchases, believing they weren’t really adding up. He also spent money when he felt down in order to experience a temporary lift in his mood, which often led to exceeding his means.

During mentoring sessions, the client identified short-, medium- and long-term goals. He made it his priority to focus on those in the short term (ideally accomplished in six months) and the medium term (ideally accomplished in one to two years). To stay on course meant asking himself questions like, “If I make this small purchase now, will it move me closer to my goals or further from them?”

Action Plan: The client took what he learned from mentoring and started working toward his short- and medium-term goals. 

These were his major action items: 

  • Track small purchases, since they can add up and make it harder to save while paying off debt.
  • Use practical money-management tips like setting up a budget to help reach his goals. 
  • Manage low moods by finding other ways to deal with uncomfortable feelings—for example, going for a walk or calling a friend.

“Aha” Moment 3: Balancing Living for Today With Planning for Tomorrow

Another client of Tammi’s signed up for mentoring to get some perspective on planning for the future. Specifically, she worried that she wasn’t saving enough for retirement.

But she also wanted balance. Since she was only in her 40s and more than 20 years from retirement, she wanted to enjoy life now while also planning for tomorrow.

Through mentoring, the client defined what it would look like to enjoy retirement based on her priorities. In her case, it meant having financial security that allowed her to live a full life.

The client also realized that she should combine what she learned in mentoring with advice from a certified financial planner. She needed the extra guidance to keep from wondering whether she was doing “enough”—which often led to a cycle of inaction and worry.

Action Plan: Through mentoring, the client found ways to live in the “now” while making retirement planning more tangible. 

Here are the action items that topped her list: 

  • Make more time for things that brought her joy—family, friends and travel.
  • Continue saving for retirement.
  • Meet with a certified financial planner to see the math and create a plan for reaching her retirement goals.

The Money & Life Program Offers Mentoring and More

A healthy relationship with money is important to everyone. That’s why the Money & Life Program is free for anyone, even if you’re not a Capital One customer.

And since people enjoy learning in different ways, the program gives you options—all virtual for now. You can choose the one that works best for you or try all three:

  • Money & Life Mentoring: Meet virtually one-on-one with a professional Money & Life Mentor, who’ll help you reflect on how money fits into your life. You’ll also examine how you can adapt your financial behaviors to better achieve your goals.
  • Money & Life Workshops: See how powerful things happen in group settings in a workshop run by a professional mentor. You’ll learn along with others, have new realizations about your own life and start creating a plan for financial well-being.
  • Money & Life Exercises: Take self-guided exercises that help you become more aware of the ways financial stress is showing up in your life. Once you understand the stress, you can start to manage it—instead of the other way around.

No matter which option you choose, the Money & Life Program helps you plan out your goals in life—and connect them with your financial behaviors. So you can reach for your dreams more comfortably and confidently.

After all, it’s your money, your life and your goals. And the power to reach them is within you. 


Learn more about Capital One’s response to COVID-19 and resources available to customers. For information about COVID-19, head over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

The Money & Life Program and Money & Life Mentors are not financial advisors, or accountants, or tax specialists. Materials have been prepared by Capital One for instructional and educational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to encourage any lifestyle or changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. Not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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