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Ask Robina - April 11, 2023

Robina Bennion
Posted by Robina Bennion on Apr 11, 2023 1:04:41 PM

Hi Robina!

I'm a CPA and mid-way through my career. I have been relatively successful but don’t feel my financial picture reflects it. It is embarrassing to admit my retirement account isn’t as far along as it should be and it keeps me up at night. What can I do?

Signed – Anxious Accountant

Hello Friend,

Whew!  How does it feel to get that out?  Carrying around these thoughts can be tiring and I applaud you for sharing something so personal.  If you have been reading this column you might know what I am going to say next.  Breathe…. Take a nice long deep breath and then do it three more times.  1 – 2- 3.  Feel Better?

Congratulations on building a successful career.  Committing to a life in public accounting isn’t easy and it can come with an extra dose of stress.  It can also come with a self-imposed expectation of having all the answers when it comes to money.  I have heard, more than once, “You must be great with money.”, and then silently wondered why someone thought that.  It wasn’t until I became a Certified Money Coach that I started to understand their comment and my reaction.

Let’s dispel some myths about money and accounting. (This applies to bookkeepers, EAs, tax providers, and anyone else in the accounting industry.)


MYTH #1:  Accountants are great with money.

Can we debunk this one now?  Not all accounting people are “great” with money.  But… they are better than they give themselves credit for.  In school, we take classes like audit, tax, marketing, management, or business statistics but nowhere in the discussions do we cover the topic of money.  More specifically, emotions around money.  While the education produces the ability to read a financial statement or do a tax return it doesn’t mean you know how to manage your finances.  

I know accountants and non-accountants who have saved for retirement since a teen, pay cash for everything so they don’t overspend, and have no debt.  I applaud them and ask who taught them.  The answers can vary from a parent or mentor advising them early on to a challenging childhood experience that motivates them.  Rarely do I meet a person who learned about saving, investments, and retirement in school.  What was the conversation in your home around money?  If it felt tense, rarely discussed, or a huge topic of conversation it could be directing your behavior today.  

Pat yourself on the back for all you have accomplished so far.

MYTH #2:  Accountants know all about investments.

Given the fact we don’t advise our clients on investments and rarely, if ever, discuss their portfolio why would it be expected that we know about investments?  

Maybe you are great at investing but haven’t done much of it yet.  There isn’t anything wrong with that. You may have some life events in the works that have taken priority.  If you follow Dave Ramsey investing comes after the emergency fund, debt elimination, 3 to 6 months of reserves, maxing out retirement, college fund, and paying off your home.  

Baby Steps.. Take baby steps into investing and learning about it. If that calls to you. Release yourself from the expectation that you need to be an investment guru.  Accountants are expected to know so many different things about business and supporting our clients and this isn’t one of them. Take a little time each week to educate yourself.  The internet is full of first-time investor advice and it doesn’t hurt to make friends with a financial advisor and ask questions.

You can do it.

MYTH #3:  Accountants are set for retirement.

Maybe it isn’t investing that you need to do but focus on retirement.  I recall one of my first jobs in public accounting and going to a meeting where a guy in a suit talked about projections 20, 30, or 40 years into the future.  I was 23 years old, making $22k/year (which was a fortune to me then), and didn’t understand anything we were talking about. Retirement and savings weren’t things we discussed in my home and I was skeptical about what I heard. Add to it that I am in my early 20s and figured there was plenty of time for retirement planning.  Slow forward a few decades and I am still learning.  It takes more than one or two phone calls with the financial advisor to decide but at least I am engaged in the conversation now.  

One of the #1 discussions I have with clients is their anxiety about not having enough. When I ask how much they have or how much enough is they don’t have an answer to either.  Not knowing the destination or how close one is to it can make anyone feel behind and it’s time to take charge of the financial wheel.

  • Have you sat down to figure out your long-term goals around life and retirement? 
  • Are you saving for a child’s education and not for yourself?
  • Are you enjoying the fruits of your labor and directing your money towards your car, home, and vacations?  

There isn’t a wrong answer but if you aren’t going in the direction you want it might be time for a change. Reach out to your dedicated advisor (any firm with a retirement plan has someone you can talk to regarding your portfolio) and take steps to secure your future.  If your firm matches your 401k contributions it is a great place to start.  


Don’t be afraid to debunk some myths in your money beliefs.  People can avoid these discussions because of guilt, shame, uncertainty, overwhelm, or because they are going to figure it out on their own first.  My advice is don’t wait to take the first step.  Feel free to use the Money Type Quiz on my website use it to start the conversation with a money coach.  

Imagine the impact on your relationships (personal and professional) if you felt confident about your finances.  It might open the door to asking your clients about savings, debt, and if they feel financially confident.  

Remember, you are capable of learning what you need to know. Now that you have the awareness that you want something to change what is one thing you are willing to do to create it?   If you start to ask that question once a day I have no doubt you will create massive change in your life and rediscover what it feels like to have the Freedom to Dream Again.

Please reach out with any questions or if you would like referrals to money coaches or financial advisors (I do not receive any compensation for referrals) who align with supporting the whole person.


With Gratitude,


Robina is a Certified Money Coach, and retired CPA.  She works as a guide for people to discover the freedom to dream again by transforming their relationship with money. If you want to know more about Robina, you can visit her at

Do you have questions about MONEY?  It may not feel like it but deciding what to do for your business, career, or on a personal level is often entangled with money.  So, let's make money a part of the conversation.  If you are facing an issue at work or company, you don't know how to solve and don't want to talk to anyone about. Ask it HERE.  

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