About Us

Our Story

The Money Conversation was born from the realization that it is impossible to effect changes in behavior without understanding our emotional biases.

Early in her career, while working in the health care information technology business, Marlis observed that having more information did not correlate to more effective decision making.  People needed to feel safe.  They needed to feel heard.

Finances are no different.  We have an emotional context for every financial decision we make whether or not we are aware of it.  What if we could become aware of our emotional inner workings around money?

The Money Conversation aims to help clients access this awareness, so they can ultimately derive more freedom and power in their lives.

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Marlis Jansen, MA, FBS
Founder and CEO

Marlis Jansen founded The Money Conversation with a desire to help people increase their emotional awareness and agility with respect to their finances.

Growing up in a culture where money talk is often taboo and realizing that emotion controls the human decision making process, Marlis saw an opportunity to address a need that is rarely met in traditional financial planning.

Marlis’ background running a private philanthropic foundation and as a member of a multigenerational family gave her valuable insight into how people relate to money.  This spans the gamut from multigenerational family dynamics to portfolio management.

Marlis is skilled at guiding clients toward a clear understanding of their current financial identity and then offering them tools to update any aspect of that financial identity that they no longer wish to carry.

Marlis Jansen, Founder of The Money Conversation

Marlis’ Professional Portfolio:

  • Founder, The Money Conversation, August 2016 – Present
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Intern, 2015 – Present
  • Vice President, The Springcreek Foundation, 2009 – Present
  • Director, Business Development, Best Self, Inc.
  • Director, Product Development, Consensus Health, Inc.
  • Manager, Product Development, Access Health

Marlis’ Education and Affiliations:

  • Graduate Certificate in Financial Psychology and Behavioral Finance, Creighton Business School
  • MA Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies
  • BA Anthropology, Harvard University
  • Active member of the Financial Psychology Institute
  • Active member of the Financial Therapy Association
  • Board Member, The Stone Age Institute
  • Certified 2164 Trainer
  • Member of the Purposeful Planning Institute

Kjartan Jansen, MA, CFA®

Kjartan is a seasoned investment and finance professional who believes that financial literacy is a life skill that needs a new teaching paradigm. The vast majority of Americans do not receive adequate financial literacy education. This leaves them ill-equipped to meet the demands of adult life. With a passion for teaching, Kjartan’s goal is to help families address this knowledge gap.

Growing up in Norway during the 80’s, financial literacy was not discussed or taught, and financial success was frowned upon. A desire to understand these cultural trends and the relationship between individual behavior and the economy led to an academic pursuit and career in economics and finance. Kjartan immigrated to the United States in 1997.

Kjartan Janse, CFO

Kjartan’s Professional Portfolio:

  • Director at Springcreek Advisors, a multi-client wealth management firm
  • CFO at Cleary Bikes, a manufacturer of real Kids Bikes
  • Principal at Expansion Capital Partners, a Venture Capital firm
  • Equity Research Associate at Piper Jaffray, an investment bank
  • Business Analyst at Scient, a Technology Consulting firm

Kjartan’s Education and Affiliations:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst®
  • MA in Applied Economics from the University of Michigan
  • BA in Economics from the University of Bergen, Norway

Debbie Alstad
Chief Marketing Strategist

Debbie Alstad’s career has spanned the fields of teaching, retail, non-profits, health care technology and real estate.

Partnering with Marlis at The Money Conversation, Debbie can fulfill her passion for helping people commit to successfully manage their financial futures. Debbie has a lifelong track record in generating success and fulfillment around money in the lives of others.

From the onset of her working life to the present day, she has been actively involved with helping women in particular secure promotions, negotiate raises and manage the economic rewards of their work.

Debbie’s work with people from all walks of life has fine-tuned her abilities as a teacher and keen observer of human nature. She is skilled at honing in on strategies which build people’s confidence and abilities in charting financial success.

Debbie Alstad - Chief Marketing Strategist

Debbie’s Professional Portfolio:

  • Marketing content writer, 2014 – Present
  • Sales consultant for large scale art projects, 2014 – Present
  • Personal historian and biographical author, 2011 – Present
  • Real estate developer, 2009 – 2015
  • Consultant for non-profit start ups, 2003 – 2009
  • Marketing and sales consultant in health care technology, 1998 – 2003
  • Senior marketing and sales management in managed health care, 1985-1998
  • Senior buyer for major retail chain, 1983-1985

Debbie’s Education and Affiliations:

  • MS Applied Economics, candidate, 1 year completed, Rutgers University
  • BS Environmental Science, Rutgers University
  • Past President, Employee Benefits Council
  • Past Board Member, Habitat for Humanity San Francisco
  • Member, Financial Therapy Association
  • Member, International Mensa

Paul Murk
Chief Programming Strategist

Paul Murk, CFP® is a practicing financial advisor with 30+ years of experience serving individual clients through financial consulting and investment management, and serving other financial professionals with training, coaching, supervision and support.

Paul has a deep interest in the human experience of money and personal finance, which has led him to advanced study in psychology and coaching with the intention of supporting others in their inner relationships with money and abundance/success.

A former university instructor, corporate trainer, and public speaker, Paul enjoys sharing experiential learning opportunities with people who are seeking deeper awareness, possibility and happiness in their life with money.

Paul Murk - Chief Programming Strategist

Paul’s Professional Portfolio:

  • Owner & Managing Member, Sequoia Planning & Investments LLC, 1998 – Present
  • Certified Financial Planner, AEFA, 1996 – 1998
  • District Manager, AEFA, 1989 – 1996
  • Pacific Region Director Financial Planning, AEFA, 1987 – 1989
  • Financial Planner, AEFA, 1984 – 1987
  • National Manager of Education & Tech Services, NFSA, 1983 – 1984
  • University Instructor, Purdue University, 1978 – 1983

Paul’s Education and Affiliations:

  • MA Spiritual Psychology, University of Santa Monica 2014
  • MS Agronomy, Purdue University, 1983
  • BS Soil Science, California Polytechnic State University, 1978

Schedule an Introductory Meeting

The Money Conversation is happy to meet in person or on the phone. To schedule, or learn more, please get in touch using the form below.

Our mission is to identify and disrupt the relational drivers that get in the way of your financial freedom.

35 Miller Ave. #319
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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