Episode 18:

Cristina Livadary & Stephanie Bucko

Wealth Planning & Biz Building

August 26, 2019

In this episode of the show, we look at wealth planning, investing, entrepreneurship and business building with a fast-growing financial duo.

Episode in a Nutshell:


Liz welcomes to the podcast business partners and friends, Cristina Livadary and Stephanie Bucko. Cristina and Stephanie are the co-founders of Mana Financial Life Design, a financial planning firm that aims to build deep client relationships, change attitudes towards spending, and democratize financial advice. Cristina, Stephanie and Liz talk about the current state of the financial services industry, why they started Mana Financial and how it’s grown over the past year, and how they work with the Zen Money concept in their company. Finally, Cristina and Stephanie speak to the importance of having fun while serving clients to the best of their ability.

In detail, we covered:

  • 00:58 – Introducing today’s guests, Cristina Livadary and Stephanie Bucko
  • 02:37 – Cristina’s money story
  • 06:04 – Stephanie’s money story
  • 11:05 – Cristina and Stephanie share their thoughts on the current financial services industry
  • 13:35 – The value Cristina and Stephanie place on educating their clients
  • 17:08 – Wealth management
  • 20:35 – The shift from big business to small business
  • 25:05 – The importance of having fun
  • 30:26 – Cristina and Stephanie speak to the three phases on onboarding clients
  • 35:40 – What Zen Money means to Cristina and Stephanie
  • 37:23 – Where listeners can connect with Cristina and Stephanie

Sound Bites:

  • “The ‘Aha Moment’ came to me when a dear friend lost her mom and came to me and said, ‘I know you work with so many financial advisors in Southern California. Who do you recommend you would trust with your parents’ money?’ And, unfortunately I drew a blank.” (04:44)
  • “About five years ago I started managing money for people, and that’s when I really fell in love with the industry because it was able to take a lot of the complicated topics that I had been learning and actually apply them to our everyday lives.” (08:00)
  • “We wanted to start a business based on compassionate finance, with the understanding that women are earning as much as men.” (12:16)
  • “When we talk about finance, we’re all about educating.” (13:35)
  • “It’s really amazing to have a business partner that you can trust and lean on, too. So I think that is one of the greatest gifts that we’ve recognized is that when I’m down, Stephanie is up. When she’s down, I’m up. We lift each other up.” (26:36)
  • “For me Zen, as a practitioner of meditation, means balance. And so, it’s something we strive to create in our lives every day, as well as in the lives of our clients by not putting too much focus on any one thing.” (36:10)
  • “It’s [Zen Money] is making your life fun and enjoyable and, ya know, don’t stress the small stuff. Money is a way to propel you to do things that you want to do.” (36:43)

About Cristina & Stephanie

Cristina is a Certified Financial Planner® and Registered Life Planner®. Formerly she led sales and consulting efforts as a Regional Director for Russell Investments, one of the world’s largest institutional investment consultants. In this role she worked for the Advisor and Intermediary Services division in both Southern California and Hawaiian markets. Cristina has consulted for 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. Cristina designed her own life plan and has transitioned to her dream career as a financial life planner who does everything in her power to positively impact the lives of her clients. When she’s not hard at work, you can find Cristina in the great outdoors. She is passionate about surfing and adventuring around the world.


Stephanie is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst®. She audited hedge funds in New York City with PricewaterhouseCoopers during the 2008 financial crisis. Following this challenging work, Stephanie joined Man Group, the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund as a risk manager for six years, handling $15 billion in hedge funds. After years of serving banks, pensions and endowments, Stephanie became interested in bringing institutional quality services to a broader population. In 2016, she left New York City to pursue a career in individual money management where she managed $200 million in assets across equities, bonds, and alternative investments. Stephanie recognized that investment management was only a small piece of the service that individuals truly need in a financial advisor. She decided that clients needed more from their advisors in order to succeed. Through this realization, she partnered with Cristina to bring Mana's vision to life. When Stephanie isn't devouring books on economics and markets, you can find her outside. Her favorite days are spent on the ski slopes or the golf course.


You can connect with Cristina & Stephanie directly at Mana Financial Life Design, by emailing them at hello@manafld.com, or checking in with them online here: Facebook and Instagram.

Join the Zen Money Conversation!

My favorite part of recording a live show every week is the conversation we get to have on social media, with comments posted here, and messages I get from listeners.


This week's question is:


Have you spent any time building your "life plan" when it comes to your investment & financial strategies?


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Fun Free Stuff

Check out these resources we discussed in this episode:


#ZenMoneyMap: www.zenmoneymap.com/moneystyle - Learn your Zen Money Financial Archetype and start levering your unique money style to your advantage with quick wins today!

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Hosted by:

Liz Lajoie, Zen Money Strategist & CFO

Liz Lajoie, the “Zen Money CFO”, helps entrepreneurs master their finances and grow thriving businesses that support their passions and advance their big missions.

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