Encore Entrepreneur Inspiration: Independent Financial Professional Luna Jaffe

Financial planning and money coaching as a small business

Luna Jaffe, 55, Lunaria Financial, Ltd.

Luna Jaffe, Wild Money Owner

Luna Jaffe, Author of Wild Money

Financial planning, investment management, and money coaching is Luna’s business.  As an independent financial professional, Luna is the award-winning author of Wild Money: a Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom, “the world’s first beautiful book about money.”  Luna writes, “my life’s work is to inspire a transformation in the way we think about and relate to money – so that money and wealth building become tools of person and social change.”

Luna created an innovative financial planning firm by drawing on her life experiences,  skills, education gathered over three decades.  She earned a degree in Bilingual Education. She traveled the world in a sailboat.  At 23 started silk painting, running a business called LunaSilks for over a decade.  She then earned a degree in Jungian psychotherapy and had a private practice in her early thirties.  Laid off after 9/11 at age 41, she went from selling security systems, and after that became a financial advisor selling securities.  Now, she successfully brings it all together, creatively advising clients though their own unique financial wilderness.

“The truth of the matter,” Luna says, “is that I had no clue where I was going when I was 41.”  She had been laid off of the first time in her life, and had a two year old.  She wanted a career that would allow her to be entrepreneurial and stable.  Not knowing what to look for, she made a list of what mattered most: make over $100k, use all the skills and experiences of the past two decades, work close to home so her child could know what she did for a living, and have the freedom of working for herself (although she was open to working for a company).

Luna was recruited by Edward Jones.  Another financial advisor convinced her that “you can learn the money stuff!”  Putting all of her creative projects aside, she devoted herself to learning the foreign language of stocks, bonds, and financial planning.  Her approach to advising was always rooted in her creativity, and her background as a psychotherapist served her well.

She grew her business by teaching finance in creative ways; won numerous awards and traveled the world a a result of trips won from exceeding sales expectations.  She mentored new financial advisors, and was a frequent speaker at sales events.  But after seven years with Edward Jones, she began to feel limited by their brand, and wanted to be the brand.  She also had more books to write.

At 51 years old, she started Lunaria Financial, a company deeply rooted in her creative approach to being an independent financial planner.  It was not easy.  “If I had known how hard it would be, I might not have done it.”  Luna adds, “I was determined that the book I wanted to write wasn’t going to be shaped by some compliance department.”

For Luna, Encore Entrepreneurship is about owning who she truly is an deciding what she wants to put out into the world.  This is how Wild Money came about.  Luna’s pearls of wisdom:

  1. The key to a successful encore is looking at your entire body of work – experiences, mistakes, adventures, relationships.  They may all look different but look for patterns, which can inform your next act.
  2. Recognize the education you need to be a business owner is equal to the training you needed to acquire whatever skill you’ll be going into business to do, whatever it is.  You need to know how to create systems, how to be repeatable, how to scale your sills.  Get those skills now and “see if it lights you up,” as Luna puts it.
  3. Think about the risk.  How much risk can you tolerate?  Do you have the personality type to be entrepreneurial?  Get to know yourself, but don’t let yourself get scared off by the challenge.  “Just because you’ve never identified has an entrepreneur before doesn’t mean you can’t start now!”
  4. Don’t underestimate the value of helpful people! Engaging with others can make or break your business.
  5. Study what things cost and what’s appropriate to spend.  Practice making money in the beginning. DON’T invest in a web site or marketing program.  Focus on cash flow and building cash reserves.
  6. Your home life will inform your business life and vice versa.  Get your home life in order first.  Hire an independent financial professional.  People loose track of their personal finances when they start a business.
  7. Remember that success is a moving target.  Our definition of success shifts as we reach milestones.  We need to celebrate when we achieve goals, no matter how small.