Sabadoodle sailboat

While we each travel in our own direction, we’re all sailing the vast unknown of the sea.

– Scott Barry Kaufman

Sabadoodle is a new breed of financial wellness because it helps veterinary professionals understand and be understood when it comes to their personal money story.

Sabadoodle Our Story Photo

The most empowering money stories or ‘scripts’ take shape over time and are about more than dollar bills and dead presidents.

In fact, Sabadoodle’s pedigree dates back forty years ago to a story I tell myself that money comes and goes. However, genuine connection with pets and people is an inexhaustible asset that can neither be bought or borrowed.

I was nine-years old and vacationing with my family on a barrier island in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The sixteen-foot Tequila Sunrise appeared on a flatbed in our driveway one sweltering summer afternoon. For the next six Julys, my father and I spent most days huddled together on the catamaran’s deck as the twin pontoons beneath us glided through the offshore current.

I tried navigating solo after his death in 1987 but I was terrified to be alone on the ocean without my father. I gave up sailing and sold the Tequila for a semester’s worth of beer money before heading off to college.

I moved to New York City after graduation and worked as a financial analyst for the next 15 years. Dad’s annual month-long holiday seemed behind the times in a world of suites and seventy-hour work weeks. Money was present in all places at all times from my Wall Street vantage point. Success, in this context, meant that my net worth was the default measure of my self-worth as a young adult.

I was a husband, father of two toddlers and a jumbo mortgage borrower by my fortieth birthday. By then, sorting needs from wants and monthly budgets felt kind of like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Our financial survival was at stake as my wife and I steamed at full throttle toward the money iceberg called modern parenthood.

We needed a change of direction, so I turned to a money coach for guidance.

The coach didn’t have ‘the answer,’ but he did listen with empathy and compassion and finally said,

About Michael Sabatino, Financial Advisor
“Whenever you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

Everything changed from that moment forward. The coach helped me implement a structure to ‘tell’ my money where to go, rather than wonder where it went.

Once I ‘knew my numbers,’ I looked beyond the next paycheck and saw new possibilities.

At first, the story of the Tequila Sunrise was mostly about my father buying an awesome, new sailboat that I sold years later for pennies on the dollar. But then, I realized that all the moments huddled together on deck were part of a missing chapter to a powerful money script I needed to share with others.

I began to consider the millions of professionals struggling with money that could benefit from my experience and wisdom. Who was teaching them how to navigate the vast unknown of the sea?

I searched for opportunities to make a difference and was chosen by McGraw-Hill Education in 2012 to build a money coaching program for the company’s 4,000 U.S. employees. Over a period of seven years, hundreds of textbook editors, learning technology specialists and executives shared with me their personal history with money.

My financial wellness approach integrates stories of their resilience with insight from my own money script.

Veterinary professionals tell themselves stories about money too. These stories, when left unedited, are the root cause of destructive financial behaviors that threaten the productivity of clinics and the sustainability of careers.

In 2019, I began collaborating with a growth minded veterinary practice eager to expand into more communities but struggling with burnout and staff turnover. Over the past two-years, I’ve dug deep into the financial stress hampering growth and guided the owner, practice manager and staff toward financial security and wellbeing.

I now see the opportunity to help more veterinary professionals build sustainable careers around their passion through a new breed of financial wellness I call Sabadoodle.

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