I’m excited to have Diana Crabtree Green on the show! Diana is a CPA with more than twenty years of experience in personal finance and taxes. She’s also the creator of Buck the Budget™. Clients come to Diana with many of the same concerns: they don’t know where their money goes and they need help getting ahead. In her personal life, she has long prioritized building wealth quickly while also streamlining her own record-keeping. (Diana says, “accountants don’t actually want to track their expenditures either”).
Buck the Budget™ is a culmination of her simple techniques which have allowed herself and others to efficiently accumulate wealth and more easily manage money.
Her platform is an easy three-step money management program that gives users clarity of their cash flows, freedom from daily tracking, & a monthly money tune-up. Buck the Budget™ was created to help their users get ahead… finally!
Below are some insights from Diana Crabtree Green. Enjoy!
What is your personal definition of success?
Simply? Financial independence and financial freedom. Having this opens doors for SO MUCH more in life – options to operate as you want to. I have a pretty good handle on this personally, and it’s my mission to help others succeed in the same way.
But to this end, I value progress and getting ahead in all areas of life, not just financially. I’m talking about forward progress with the things I do. This includes running, which is an easy example of “getting ahead”. But also rock climbing, raising a teenager, launching a business, working through tax season.
With all of this in mind, I define success as each and every accomplishment along the path to getting ahead.
Delivering a speech = SUCCESS!
Saving and buying my first car when I was 16 = SUCCESS!
Making a contribution to your 401(k) or Roth IRA = SUCCESS!
Completing a tax return = SUCCESS!
Making progress to a new high point on a route I’m trying to climb = SUCCESS!
Can you share the steps you take daily to improve?
To start, I make my bed first thing every day. SUCCESS! 🙂 It seems silly, but it’s a good start to accomplish something right out of the gate.
I’m a stickler for checklists. I set out each day with what I want to accomplish and in order of priority. I prefer to get the bigger more critical tasks done first, so that I may reward myself later with easier sometimes personal tasks, or even free time! All of this allows me to push forward and get the necessary work done each day. This work, especially when spent growing a business which is where most of my work lately is spent, all leads to improvement.
What is your advice for someone making an important decision?
Consult with your most important advisor groups:
- Your trusted inner circle – the people who believe in you and truly have your best interests at heart, and
- Your values – Are you making a decision that will benefit you NOW or LATER? Are you satisfying a need for immediacy, and at what cost (security)? Is this a want or a need?
- Your body – your gut, heart, and head will all have opinions, often conflicting, about what to do. Listen to them all, but remember that your head is always the wisest one of the group.
Tell me about a specific moment that set you on the path you’re on now?
I met a new client many years back who was (and still is) much my junior – she’s more than ten years younger than me. When we met, I had already dropped to working part-time and seasonally – work for tax accountants is concentrated in the Feb-Apr time period. In talking with her about my (really great!) life balance and work as a CPA – she looked at me starry-eyed and asked: “will you be my financial planner?” With that, she was the first financial plan I worked up. From this I’ve grown my financial advising practice and most recently launched Buck the Budget – my personal money management program.
As for HER? She is kicking a** and taking names – financially and otherwise.
If you could recommend one book for our audience, what would it be?
AAAAHHH! There are SO many! Let’s go with finance: The Richest Man in Babylon. It’s a lovely read of stories/parables around money. It addresses money values points us in the right direction with money habits and beliefs. It’s an easy and fun read, too.
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Which character traits do you value most?
Persistence. Keeping at in. Placing one foot in front of the other and making forward motion.
How do you push through tough times?
One foot in front of the other. Small measures and accomplishments. Revel in the successes I mentioned earlier. Go make more of them! They accumulate.
Also, surround yourself with “ya-sayers” and keep the “na-sayers” at arm’s (or further) length away. We all have both in our lives – but it’s our choice who to tune in to and what we choose to believe.
What inspires you?
A bumper sticker I saw which reads “Live the life you love.” What better encouragement or inspiration is there than that? It’s so simple and true – it’s our responsibility to choose the life we live. Yes, we’re given adversity but how we respond and live our lives is our CHOICE.
I believe this SO much that I have a tattoo of it, although like a conservative accountant it’s along my rib cage where nearly no one can see it 🙂
How do you manage and prioritize opportunities?
I align opportunities with the priorities in my life. I prioritize climbing, but the top priority now is building my business and seeing teenaged niece through her last year with us. Understanding where my priorities are right now (and of course these change over time) allows me to manage my decision making and to make the best choices for me. Part of this is understanding which opportunities are unique and precious – therefore to be taken really seriously – vs. the ones that can simply be postponed. Like an opportunity to travel to Europe…not the best time for it, Europe will be there later.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Max out your 401(k) immediately! I started doing that pretty early on, but not as early as I could have. I calculate that this error I made in the first few years of my career (over – ahem – twenty years ago) is worth about $200K today. Don’t think of 401(k)s and IRAs as retirement accounts – 18 year-olds can’t relate to retirement. Think of them as wealth accelerators! Freedom makers! Wiggle room providers!
For God’s sake – stop laying out in the sun and start wearing sunscreen!
AND dump that chump that you’re dating right now! There are so many more fish in the sea.
(HA! This is such a great question. Thanks for asking it and please let me know when you get that time machine in place for all of us.)