‘I’m an Anti-Capitalist Financial Planner, and This Is How I Coach Clients To Use Money and Debt as Tools for an Ideal Life’

Photo: Getty Images / juanma hache

River Nice is not a fan of capitalism. “I’m a financial planner who thinks that capitalism is bad for people and the planet,” they say. Nice is, however, a fan of helping people become more financially literate and healthy, which they do through their remote financial planning firm, Be Intentional Financial as well as sharing financial advice on TikTok.

Nice’s niche is helping people focus less on making more money for money’s sake, and more on figuring out how to use their personal capital to create a life they genuinely love—as well as consider how to leverage their assets to address issues created within white-supremacist, capitalistic societies and the socioeconomic disparities they create.

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  • River Nice, River Nice is an anti-capitalist financial planner and the founder of Be Intentional Financial.

“Depending on where you fall within that spectrum of privilege and oppression, we can talk about how much to give in reparations and mutual aid, versus how much to be building in generational wealth and safety,” they said in a recent TikTok post.

Nice says the key to feeling good about your finances from an anti-capitalistic POV is working out where your values and priorities lie and how you can align them with how you spend your money. “I help clients with their cash flow and their monthly budget while talking about what they need—not just for survival but also for joy,” they say.

For example, one of their clients is a child refugee who works for a major media company. “He’s put himself in a position where he makes a lot of money and has stock compensation and retirement savings—and hates his job and can’t sustainably do it for a long time,” says Nice who is working with him to build out his cash flow in order to be able to fund his life, help his family, and save for the future, while donating to organizations that help refugees.

“His investments are compromises,” Nice says, “but they are compromises according to his values instead of going entirely against his values.”

To help their clients figure out how to align their values with the spending habits, Nice has them do this visual exercise: “I have my clients imagine a perfect average Wednesday,” they say. “That’ll clue you in on those changes you can make to your day-to-day lifestyle to make your life better.”

Nice also gets her clients to envision the big moments in life they want to achieve and live for. Often, they ask clients to imagine themselves at 80. “What are you upset that you didn’t do?” they’ll ask. Those are the important life goals they get their clients to start saving up for now.

How to use money and debt as tools for an ideal life

Nice explains it starts with defining how you want to use your money. “I think of money as a tool to build your life because money can be used to buy property, clothes that make you feel good about yourself, travel, go to school, or have a hobby, or start a business,” they say.

Debt itself is similar in the sense that it can also be used as a tool for any of the above. At the end of the day, Nice says it's a mindset. “I tell my clients to think about money and debt as tools that they can intentionally use instead of this big, godlike force that dictates their life,” they say.

As for getting started, it all begins with what you’re bringing in and out—your cash flow. “Make sure you’re prioritizing what is important to you, you have an emergency savings fund and insurance protection, and then you get clear about your biggest priorities for your future goals and what you’re doing to make those possible,” says Nice. (If that feels overwhelming to do on your own, consider hiring a financial planner to help you iron out the details.

And as you’re reviewing your finances with a fine-tooth comb, the Nice encourages reexamining your budget and prioritizing where necessary. “Folks also find it helpful to draft imaginary budgets so they can compare their current life and what it would look like without a car or living in a different place with a roommate,” they advise. “That can help compare the trade-off of making those big life decisions.”

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