Our Story

We are raising our modern family in San Francisco, the most expensive city in the US.

Jenni comes from a 15+ corporate career in tech and finance, while Lisa is a licensed social worker and behavioral therapist. 

By getting creative with a financial plan to support our vision for our best lives, we’ve been able to take a leap from salaried security, take our family around the world, and pursue dream ventures from filmmaking to bicycle rides.

Jenni and Lisa Varazze

But before we say more about us, let’s talk about you. We’re guessing we have a lot in common.

You wish you could afford more time to enjoy and be present to the people you love most.

You want the freedom to choose your work based on purpose over paycheck.

You have some big dreams, and you’re ready to take command of building your ideal life.

But maybe…

  • You are overwhelmed with all the financial advice out there, and you don’t know where to start.
  • You know you could be doing more with your money, but it’s always the first thing that falls off your to-do list.
  • You want to make some changes in your life, but you just can’t see how you’d make the money work.

 

No matter where you are with your finances, you can get more out of your money.

Let’s go deep for a minute. Here’s what we believe about money:

Instead of letting money determine our value, we have the opportunity to use money to express our values and enable a fulfilling and awesome life.

A thoughtful financial plan and money management system is THE ANSWER to turning that idea of an awesome life into reality.

If we’re honest, more money is nice. 

But what’s even nicer is knowing in your soul that you have enough, do enough, and are enough.

 

How this became our life:

As a business director in a Fortune 500 tech company, there was a lot that Jenni valued about her work. She had autonomy. She was good at what she did. Most importantly, she had colleagues that were smart, thoughtful, and collaborative.

However, the work came at a cost. Jenni lost 2-3 hours every day commuting. She traveled nights away regularly. She spent the day rushing from one meeting to the next, often barely managing to find time to use the bathroom. Jenni would come home each night exhausted, only to have to log back into work after putting the kids to bed.

Meanwhile, Lisa had chosen a career as a psychotherapist at San Francisco’s most prestigious hospital. But with student debt and an undervalued profession, she felt priced out of the city with limited career mobility. She came home with little emotional reserve to care for herself or her family.

We blamed ourselves, thinking we must just be doing a poor job of managing life. But then we came across an NYT article titled Stressed, Rushed, and Tired: Portrait of the Modern Family. That’s when we realized that our experience was the norm.

We needed to find another way. We began imagining a life where…

  • We could have the time to enjoy and be present to the people we love most.
  • We could design our work in a way that is energizing and fulfilling.
  • We could have the leisure to play, explore, and rest as our hearts desired. 
  • We could be free to pursue passion projects and dream ventures.
 

 

But of course, there was a big question: How would we make the money work?

That was when Jenni discovered the power of a financial plan. Not just a few tips and tricks thrown together after reading a money magazine. But a comprehensive financial plan and money management system that aligns your money with your deepest values and biggest goals.

We sat down and articulated what we wanted most for our family. We wrote it all down in a “Family Freedom Manifesto,” and we began developing a long-term financial plan to support our vision of an ideal life:

We looked at how we spent our money and cut out what wasn’t meeting a need or bringing us joy. 

We put an end to our flip-flopping investment approach and established a systematic investing plan.

We started to think out-of-the-box about what was possible as a wage-earning employee, taking a sabbatical to pursue a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world, then another and another to enjoy time with our children.

We moved internationally for a new job, in part for the adventure and in part for a cost of living adjustment that would boost earnings.

We found easy ways to earn a little side money here and there, which when added up, could afford a few pretty spectacular vacations a year.

Jenni recently negotiated an exit from her job with a payout that will fund our expenses for the next few years.

 

Where has that financial plan gotten us?

It’s allowing us to leave the security of a salaried job to experiment with entrepreneurial pursuits doing the things we love.

It’s enabling Lisa to stay at home as a full-time parent while our kids are still young.

It’s offering us the space to pursue passion projects like producing a film documentary that lead to this TED talk and launching the Asia Rainbow charity bike ride.

It’s freeing us to become location independent and go on family adventures around the world (though home will always be San Francisco).

It’s letting us afford the big things we want to provide for our family as well as the regular luxuries that bring us consistent happiness.

It’s enabling us to eventually go home and raise our family in the city that we love, despite how darn expensive that city happens to be.

It’s giving us the time and space to actually enjoy what we already have in our lives instead of needing to pursue more.

 

And now, we want to help you afford a life you want to live. 

In an age where the most educated and privileged Americans are working more hours than ever and financial security feels perilous even for high-earners, so many of us feel constrained by the need to “make a living.”

But what if it doesn’t need to be this way?

What if this financial fear is just a reaction out of a misguided survival instinct that is leading us to trade in our capacity to express our best gifts for the sake of safety, status and consumption?

What if there was a way to provide for our families and live in wealth while still having the freedom to choose how we work and spend our time?

The answer lies in getting extremely intentional with your money. For us, this was the key to developing the emotional and financial confidence to pursue a life that we want to live.

Now, we support others to do the same. Learn more about working with us here.

I want my money to fuel my dreams, not hinder them!

Notes:

1. Our beliefs on money are inspired by Lynne Twist’s ideas in her book “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life.”

2. Pareto’s rule states that 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes. Applied to personal finance, this means that only a sliver of the financial advice out there will really make a difference to your financial health. The key is figuring out which 20% matters.