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[VIDEO] Mindful Money Talks: Meet John Madden

Money is powerful. While this is true, many of us do not like to talk about it. However, it is imperative to know your finances and get help when needed. Today, we are talking with vice president John Madden from Mindful Money, who explains the importance of being aware of your financial situation, not fantasizing about money, and leading a disciplined lifestyle.

This is part three of the Mindful Money Talks series. Get to know the Mindful Money Team and learn more about how to be mindful with your money.


Andreina Villegas: Hello Mindful Money planners and happiness seekers. We are sitting down with John Madden, who is the Vice President at Mindful Money. He joined the team in May of 2008 as a wealth advisor and is now the head of the planning team. Welcome, John.

John Madden: Thank you.

Andreina Villegas: How are you doing?

John Madden: Doing well today.

Andreina Villegas: Excellent! We are here to talk about John’s experience and his work at Mindful Money. But, before we do that we want to get to know you a bit better. Let’s start with some ice breaker questions. So tell us a bit more about yourself.

John Madden: Let’s see, my wife, baby daughter, and I moved here to Berkeley in 1993. There was a job change for me and we moved here from the Boston area. Then we had our second daughter, she is Berkeley born and raised, but now both of them are on the East Coast. The older one, Sarah, is in NYC and the younger one, Leah, is in Burlington, Vermont. They have left the warm environment of California and headed back East to where my wife and I are from. That’s a little bit about me. My wife is a real estate agent in Berkeley and we like living here very much.

Andreina Villegas: Great! I lived a year in Boston and I really loved it. Beautiful city.

John Madden: It’s a great city. Lots of history and it’s near a lot of great things throughout New England.

Andreina Villegas: Definitely! Very historic and beautiful. What three words describe you the best?

John Madden: Well, around work, leadership. I try to be a unifier, I try to prioritize things for the firm. Outside of here, I like to have fun. The pandemic has put a crimp in our social lives, but we have a lot of friends in the area and we like to get together with them on the weekends.

Andreina Villegas: That sounds fun! I like the term unifier. What is something that everyone else loves, but that you don’t understand why they like it?

John Madden: We are not really TV watchers, but I know a lot of things on TV that a lot of people talk about. On Netflix, there are series that people get into, that goes on for weeks on end. I’m not into that, I guess I’m in the minority.

Wisdom and Experience

Andreina Villegas: That’s probably true, there are a lot of Netflix lovers. So, what is one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?

John Madden: Well, I have had several careers actually. I started working right out of college in 1978. The one thing I wish I had known was that it is more important to find something that you really want to do, instead of taking a job for the money.

Andreina Villegas: That’s really good advice. What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career similar to yours?

John Madden: I think they should research it, read about it, and maybe even go out and have an informational interview with a firm or company in their area. Sit down and talk to some people after the pandemic is over, but for now, by Zoom, or by phone.

Andreina Villegas: Perfect. And what is the thing that you like the most about your job?

John Madden: I love the people that we work with here and our clients. I’m always learning something from them and their experiences. It is a great combination between the team that we have here and the clients that we work with.

Andreina Villegas: Tell me a story that has touched your heart and how that changed your work.

John Madden: I have been at Mindful Money going on 13 years. In a sense that’s a long time and in a sense it really isn’t. We have had clients come and go, we have had some clients pass away that is something to think about when that happens. It’s part of the job, it’s part of the business, but it is sad when it happens.

Andreina Villegas: What advice would you give to someone who is starting to plan their finances?

John Madden: Well if they are planning, that’s a step in the right direction. They should read Jonathon DeYoe’s book, Mindful Money. That would help!

Andreina Villegas: Are there any specific roadblocks to watch for during 2021?

John Madden: I don’t really think about roadblocks. There are opportunities out there. Yes, things can get in your way, whether it be in your personal life or in the economy of the USA or global economy, but you just have to learn to pivot and get around it. I remember when I was out of college and the interest rates were incredibly high. My first car loan was at 15% and mortgages were high. I thought this was what the future was going to be like, but I still needed a new car even though it was 15% interest and I bought the car. It is all relative, depending on your point of time. Look at interest rates now, incredibly low.

Andreina Villegas: It’s crazy. How do you think disciplined behaviors can have a long-term impact on a person’s life?

John Madden: They have a long term impact on your health. If you get into a pattern of exercise, you are going to feel better about yourself, and hopefully, live longer. If you get into the habit of saving, you are going to build wealth. But it does require discipline and sometimes you need a coach.

Andreina Villegas: That is true, a little discipline can go a long way. What would be one thing that I should have asked you?

John Madden: You should have asked me if I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. Do you know what that is?

Andreina Villegas: Yeah, of course!

John Madden: Well, I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. The teams really didn’t interest me. I took a pass.

Andreina Villegas: I only watch the halftime shows.

Working with Mindful Money

Andreina Villegas: Now, we are moving to our second topic of the day, working at Mindful Money. How did you become a part of the Mindful Money team?

John Madden: Through my wife. Jonathan and I crossed paths at another firm, he went his way and I went mine. Then, years later my wife, who is a real estate agent, joined a local business networking group, Jonathan was in that group. The last name sounded familiar to him, he asked if she was married to me. What is he doing now? He is working at another financial firm, and Jonathan wanted to connect and really needed help as his business was growing.  We got back together through that chance meeting of my wife being at the networking group with him, what was 13 years ago.

Andreina Villegas: What is your current role at Mindful Money?

John Madden: I do a little bit of everything. My title is Vice President, but I am a wealth advisor. I meet with clients, I do planning, I oversee operations and human resources. I work with everybody here, just trying to help everybody out.

Andreina Villegas: What does being mindful of your money or financial plan mean to you?

John Madden: For me it is reality, it is being aware of where you are right now and accept things as they truly are. And to not fantasize about money or wealth or planning, but doing it. The discipline.

Andreina Villegas: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to be more mindful of their finances? And how do you think these choices can lead to happiness as an outcome?

John Madden: Mindfulness can point you in the right direction. Working with someone like an advisor, kind of like a coach, that can help as well. For some people it is difficult for them to do it on their own, that is why there are firms like us. Some people do manage their own finances and investments, but the evidence is out there that you would probably do better with an advisor and a financial plan.

Andreina Villegas: What is the biggest challenge you have with your specific role right now and how are you going to overcome it?

John Madden: Technology changes. We want to keep up, so we are working on that, maybe making some changes going forward and we want everybody’s input during that process. I don’t want anyone to feel bad if we don’t go with their particular idea, their input is necessary and valid, so that is always a little bit of a challenge.

Andreina Villegas: How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things in your role?

John Madden: Continuing education, our team shares their knowledge. We are all big readers, we are always directing each other to a blog post or article about personal finance planning, investing, or global macroeconomics. We help each other a lot and we keep ahead of what is going on in our field.

Andreina Villegas: As you know, there is a lot going on in our world right now. What are you curious about and why?

John Madden: I’m curious about the next four years, under our new president. It’s definitely a change from the past four years and I’m curious to see where it leads. It’s a lot calmer.

Andreina Villegas: In your own words what does the phrase “mindfulness is a doorway to more rational choices” mean?

John Madden: It’s based on reality. If you make a plan that is going to help you get where you want to go, you have to understand yourself first. That’s your starting point.

Andreina Villegas: And with that, we end our round of questions. Thank you John for joining us.

John Madden: You’re very welcome!

Andreina Villegas: We hope to see you soon so you can meet our next guest. And remember to stop predicting, start planning, and stay mindful.


John emphasizes being aware of one’s financial situation and accepting the situation without fantasizing about wealth. Mindfulness allows us to understand that we can reach out to firms like Mindful Money if it is difficult to manage our finances and that with a financial advisor and plan, you can reap many benefits.

Ready to learn more about being mindful with your money? Contact us here to get started!

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