Diana Yanez wants to see people live vibrantly instead of turning gray when they think about their finances. It’s one of the driving forces behind her company, All the Colors.
“All the Colors is a phrase a friend and I would say to each other,” she explained. “I went to visit her one weekend when she was going through a difficult time, and I told her she looked gray. After shopping, dancing, eating, talking, crying and laughing together for a few days, at the end, she was vibrant again — she had all her colors back!”
Yanez arrived at a career in the financial services industry after a 10-year journey. She worked in social services at a nonprofit, performed population projections at a government-contracted agency, and did business analysis at a manufacturing company before becoming a Certified Financial Planner. Her compassion, background as a Quaker, and urge to make the world a better place then influenced and altered her journey once more.
After working for three years as a registered investment advisor. Yanez realized that the business was structured primarily to serve those who had the means and not those — often minorities — who did not.
Somehow, that wasn’t enough for Yanez.
“I loved my clients,” she said, “but my bigger end goal was to help people who are not being served.” With that in mind, Diana took up the path of entrepreneur and founded All the Colors.
She said her target audience for All the Colors is “people who have anxiety about their finances, are not sure how to establish their own financial plan, and who may have tried — and failed — to get on the right financial track.” People who previously turned gray when they thought about monetary issues.
“I tell clients that all of their money ‘stuff’ is welcome when they’re at All the Colors — from their fear of never having enough to shame about feeling greedy, despair at capitalism’s extractive nature, joy at being able to care for themselves, generosity when sharing with others, surprise with bills or surprise income,” she said. “In short, all of their feelings and experiences with money are welcome. I also like that the name All the Colors is very inclusive.”
The organization offers a six-month financial empowerment program called Bosque Money to help people who don’t fit the typical client model for a financial advisor. The program offers a “community to cultivate the skills, knowledge and practices you need for an empowered money life.”
Yanez is giving herself three years to get the program off the ground and make it self-supporting. In addition to being a CFP, Yanez is also a speaker and workshop facilitator and has a limited number of one-to-one coaching engagements. “I also work 12 to 15 hours a week with Strategy Squad as a financial planner,” she said.
Creating a life her way
Born and raised in California, Yanez currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico. “I moved to Mexico to give All the Colors financial space to flourish and because I love living in Latin America,” she said. “The time zone is perfect to continue working with U.S. clients. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and now I have created a life where it’s possible for me to do so.”
Bosque Money provides group coaching over six months to help participants work toward their financial and life goals. By providing this service in a group setting, participants learn from other’s experiences in a supportive environment.
Many of those who would benefit from this group setting may have tried to improve their financial knowledge previously, but “they went through it alone and failed. Or they just know that they won’t do it alone,” she said.
“Teaching people one-on-one can be very helpful, and there is a place for that,” she said. “Community coaching creates a different environment. For a lot of people, money choices are really just habits. One of the easiest and fastest ways to upgrade your habits is to join a group of people who are also learning to do the thing you want to do.”
With the organization just getting off the ground, how Yanez will attract a steady stream of group participants for All the Colors is still under consideration.
“Client acquisition is really where I’m learning a lot right now,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot of social media. I talk with other financial advisors. I let them know ‘Here’s the service that I provide. If someone doesn’t fit your categories, send them my way.’”
Yanez said that someone who is educated and comfortable with their finances after participating in her program “will be a better fit as a client for a financial advisor.”
She offered an example. “When you have a client who has a lot of anxiety, it can be really hard to give them advice because they’re not in a place where they’re ready to implement it,” she said. “Once you have gone through the program with me, you’re going to be more educated and able to understand what the financial advisor suggests.”
To refine her group process, Yanez started with a pilot group for her Bosque Money program. Bosque, she explained, means “forest” in Spanish. Among her teaching techniques, Yanez uses monetary archetypes based on trees.
“I created five different archetypes to represent how people interact with money, using different types of trees,” she said. “Trees are neutral and often associated with calm, positive feelings.
Also, nature can inspire. Using these archetypes is one way to take the anxiety out of discussing financial topics.
“For example, one archetype is a saguaro cactus,” she said, “Saguaros grow up in an environment where it’s very dry. They tend to store a lot of water because you never know when it’s going to rain again.” The saguaro represents the type of person who may be good at saving but also can tend to overanalyze, she explained. “It can take a saguaro 70 years before it sprouts its first branch. That’s a long time before it tries out something new. I’m sure we all have clients who analyze something to the nth degree before making a decision.”
The pilot group has been a great learning process, said Yanez. The group will have 11 sessions that run over a six-month period.
The group experience is empowering, she said, because “when you see people around you who are also hesitant around money start to implement changes, that shows you that it’s possible.”
All the Colors groups are conducted via Zoom. While all Yanez’s clients are located in the U.S., her base of operations is in Mexico. “I plan to be in Latin America for the foreseeable future,” she said. “All my clients are U.S.-based. It’s the system I know the best. It’s just where I feel most comfortable working, especially as a Certified Financial Planner.”
The ideal size of the working groups is between eight and 12 people, she said.
“With at least eight people, if I ask a question, not everyone has to respond. When it’s only three people, you can feel that you’re being put on the spot. If you have more than 12 people, it’s hard to build intimate or strong connections. Especially because we are talking about money. It’s one of the biggest taboos.
Setting up a safe space
“As a facilitator, I probably only talk a third of the time,” Yanez said. “During the 90-minute session, my goal is to set up a safe space to share experiences and do different exercises. Then I send them off into breakout sessions to talk together.
“I introduce all of the areas they have to look at with their money, including risk management, what their values are, budgeting, their earnings,” she said. “From there, we look at what they need to have in place by the time the six-month program is over to know they’re on track financially.”
In her “Where Do I Start?” workshop, for example, participants learn how to measure their current financial health. To build more confidence in monetary decisions, participants learn how to plan for the future and to increase the time horizon for that plan. Having sufficient time to plan can help reduce anxiety, she said.
With a solid plan and time to implement it, “you are confident that you have systems in place to get to where you want to go,” she said. Other topics covered in the sessions include:
» Key investing concepts.
» Teaching your kids about money.
» Planning for retirement as an entrepreneur.
» Negotiating for a raise as an employee.
» Setting your pricing as an entrepreneur.
» Risk management, or how to make sure you and your loved ones are protected in case of an emergency.
The “Creating Peace With Cash Flow” workshop helps create systems that keep the individual on track, even when their income fluctuates.
“I separate out the more technical aspects of financial education from the group sessions,” she explained. “I provide that through evergreen content on an online platform. All the technical information is there when they need it.
“In the group sessions, what I really focus on is mindset,” Yanez said. “I focus a lot on their money history and on establishing resilience. I ask: ‘Where have you had difficult money situations or difficult life situations? What inner resources do you have to move through those difficult situations?’”
Points of joy
Yanez says previous bad experiences with finances may have colored participants’ concepts of money, so she tries to link finances to points of joy.
“Let’s say, for example, negotiating your salary is not a point of joy,” she said. “It feels really difficult to go and talk about how much you’re earning. On the other hand, being able to be generous is a source of joy. Given that, if your income is where it needs to be, you can be generous. Those are linked.”
One group participant, Yanez said, was anxious around money. “She just wanted nothing to do with it. She didn’t want to earn it. She didn’t want to spend it. It was completely her partner’s work.”
Several weeks into the group meetings, the participant had a conversation with her partner in preparation for filing taxes. “That was the first time, after a decade of their being together, that she didn’t walk away crying” after talking about money, Yanez said.
Yanez said she is giving herself three years to build All the Colors into a self-sustaining business. She would like to eventually build to having two or three concurrent groups running three or four times a year. She’s hoping that the group experience will also spur some participants to become trained as future group facilitators.
“My hope is that someone who’s gone through it will want to start teaching it,” she said. “I’m very much in the process of creating something that can be replicated without me.
“I’ll give it everything I have, and then we’ll see what happens next. When you plant something, you just have to trust that it’s sprouting.”