• Emlen Miles-Mattingly

Money Matters You Were Never Taught in School...

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Do you want your mind blown? 🤯

I sat down with two ladies who are more than capable of doing the job. They are both doing some awesome things in the financial services industry...

Wait, wait, wait... you might have missed the audio version of this show. That's okay. Let's get you over there now.

Let me introduce you to Christina:

She is a certified financial planner and registered life-planner. She formerly led sales and consulting efforts as a regional director for Russell investments, who is one of the largest institutional investment consulting firms in the world. She worked with advisors and the immediate intermediary services division in both Southern California and the Hawaiian markets.

Christina has consulted with and worked with over 10,000 financial advisors. After years of experience in the industry, she grew dissatisfied with the wide disparities in knowledge, empathy, and skill within the advisor population.

Today, she believes that even greater success can be achieved by solving issues holistically with individuals and their families.

Now, let’s introduce Stephanie:

Stephanie is a certified public accountant, and a Chartered Financial Analyst (a difficult achievement). She audited hedge funds in New York City, with Price Waterhouse Cooper during the financial crisis of 2008.

Stephanie joined the main group, which is the world's largest publicly traded hedge fund. She was a risk manager for six years (handling $15 billion in hedge funds.

After years of serving banks, pensions, and endowments she became interested in bringing institutional-quality service to a broader population in 2016.

She left New York and manage $200 million in assets across equities, bonds and alternative investments.

Stephanie recognized that investment management was just a small piece of the service that individuals truly need from a financial advisor.

She partnered with Christina, and they started Mana Vision.

Fun Fact

These ladies were best friends in college. They both attended Bucknell University. It turns out that Stephanie was Christina’s accounting tutor, even though she was two years younger than Christina.

Christina says that should give you some insight into their relationship!

Christina’s Journey

I’ll let Christina tell you about the journey she made to the career she has today.

I am an immigrant from the Philippines. My mother, my little sister and I escaped the Philippines amidst a coup in the early 1990s. We lived a very unstable childhood in the Bay Area. we lived out of my mom's van and out of cheap motels for a couple of years until my mom met her husband (my stepdad).

Our lives were a bit more of a stable during my teenage years. It was then that I discovered that I love water polo. I actually got a full scholarship for water polo at Bucknell University.

I played water polo for two years until I tore my rotator cuff. That’s when I lost my scholarship and had to take on $100,000 in student loan debt.

The decision to go into finance happened when I knew I needed to make enough money to support myself in New York City and pay off my student loan debt. I put my law school dreams on hold. I started working in asset management, and for the next 12 years, my job was working with financial advisors.

The pivotal moment started when I was 30. A dear friend lost her mom, and she wanted to know which advisor that I would recommend to my parents.

I drew a blank.

I've worked with a lot of advisors (Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley-- the big banks). I felt that their service level and their empathy levels were not enough.

The dream of launching a firm that changes financial advice began.


The journey of hosting a podcast is incredibly interesting.

I hear everybody's story and sometimes I find out new information about the people that I'm talking to on the podcast. I found a common theme with the minorities or people of color that become financial advisors.

The path to financial advising is so different when you come from a place of not having much. You’re thinking that it would have helped to have some basic financial knowledge.

Especially when you’ve overcome being homeless to building a business with your business partner, It's incredible that you want to go back and help people that are less fortunate.

Now, let’s hear about Stephanie’s path to success.

Stephanie’s Journey

What sparked Stephanie’s passion?

Let’s hear how her story evolved into the career she has today:

My days of tutoring started off when I was really young. In the eighth grade, I was being bused to the high school to take high school math. In ninth grade, I was tutoring seniors in math, and then it just kind of continued.

I've always loved to learn and I've always loved to educate. I ended up going to college with Christina, and I got an accounting degree. That was sort of my first entree into some of the things that we learned in financial planning.

I went to work PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and then also got my CSI. I was involved with math for a big portion of my life, ever since I was a little kid. You would have thought that I would be prepared for the personal finance side of things. However, it was quite to the contrary, until I actually sought it out and thought about the most important components of personal finance.

I really educated myself in this field specifically. I didn't learn any of it in school. It kind of came from a passion for learning.

To learn, help and share that knowledge is really what drives me.

Mana Money School

What is Mana Money school?

Stephanie and Christine agree that Mana Money School is a passion project for them. It's your online guide to all things money. They start from beginners budgeting to knocking on debt.

They’re working with online students in order to guide individuals into financial confidence. They want you to design the life of your dreams!

What does Mana mean?

Mana is an ancient Hawaiian word for power unrelated to wealth.

Stephanie and Christine state that the goal of Mana Money school is a way to change money from being an obstacle to something you can use as a tool in order to reach your goals.


As I cruised their website, I felt increasingly impressed.

There were high-quality videos and engaging content. I really liked that the information was in bite-sized pieces. I felt like that was a great fit for someone new to learning about their finances and designing their lives.

Nobody thinks about hiring someone to help them through the process of designing their lives in an intentional manner.

I let Stephanie tell me more about the content they chose:

We always tell people you should try to live the life that you want to live in today, not some distant time in the future.

It’s important to think about what is most important to you.

A lot of times that doesn't actually cost money. A lot of the messaging that comes through is the educational piece on how to build a budget, employee benefits, and how to establish good credit. That’s something that's so important for everybody to know.

There are lots of components that we talked about from a more technical level, but really the heart of the Mana Money school is about developing a growth mindset.

It’s about really leaning into a vision and a life that is yours because everyone's life is unique.


If someone comes to see you, as your financial advisor, it's so crazy how much they beat themselves up.

They don’t think they know anything about this or that.

They think they should be putting more money away for retirement.

That’s before you have even opened your mouth...


I think our industry has tailored that mindset in many ways. I remember working with these advisors whose minimum was a million dollars. You don't deserve to work with me unless you have a million dollars in assets. That was the biggest thing we wanted to dispel right away.

That's why we created the Mana Money school. For $99 you get four hours of content. That's designed for individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, to empower themselves. It doesn't take a million dollars to empower yourself around money and gain financial confidence.

It takes a little bit of work every single day.


How does mindset come into this?

I know you guys have a module about mindset, why is that so important?


I think it goes back to designing your own life.

We talked about a few different aspects of mindset. If you look at the most successful people in the world, think Oprah Winfrey...think Tony Robbins.

Think about those people that put themselves out there and are wealthy. They used visioning to get them to where they are.

Arianna Huffington writes a lot about this. For us mindset is essential in achieving what you want.

Stephanie and I are living and breathing versions of that.

It was that moment when I realized that there were no financial advisors that I would recommend to my parents was the moment I needed to start envisioning a different industry.

Then I brought the smartest friend I had along for the ride, and we created this awesome thing. We were able to quit our corporate jobs and run two companies that are versions of us living out our dream.

Hey, hey... thanks for checking out the blog and the show with Louis.

By now, I hope you know I'm here to support you on your journey of being on solid financial ground.

If you want or need to reach out to me, please visit:

my firm site at GenNext Wealth

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