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Personal Finance Mentoring - Integrating the practical and emotional elements of your money.

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Simple + Sweet Gift Giving

Megan deBoer

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Tis the season of giving gifts, no matter your tradition.  I am not sure if it is just my own evolution, or if there is a collective shift towards simplifying this aspect of the holiday season. I do know that it is refreshing.

Spending money on gifts made me extremely anxious years ago, in part because we didn't have much to spend, but more importantly because there was no plan and it felt out of control - for years now we have approached things from a completely different perspective.  I am relaxed, intentional, and enjoy giving gifts like this little boy in this ad from the UK.

You see, a little goes a really long way.  It is the spirit of the gift, more than the amount spent.

I love giving gifts that are some combination of utility + luxury. The everyday essentials kicked up a few notches - a daily reminder to enjoy the little things just a bit more, to find beauty in daily living.  This is an experience of wealth that can come well before you have millions in the bank.

Here are two excellent gift guides.  One for small children.  One for adults.  The focus is on simplicity, as well as affordability.  

If you are interested in more thoughts, here are some other posts I have written for this time of year:

Exploring Enough - How to manage the desperate panic right before the big day
Multiples - The easiest and most important math to memorize right now
Mindful Giving - How to give a gift that hits the mark (for you + them)

Giving is a delight - may you find sweet and simple gifts that are as fun to give as they are to receive!

The 'Spending' Part of your Holiday

Megan deBoer

This time of year we are often pulled by our emotions and veer off our intended course.  Having a solid spending plan makes all the difference - and prevents a spending hang-over, or a credit card bill from surprising you in January.  

What is a spending plan?  Well - it is a map and a guide.  You make one before you set out so you don't get lost.

Your PLAN could have the following categories:

Decorations - Tree, Candles, Wreaths, Lights, etc.
Holiday Meals & Entertainment - pay particular attention if you are hosting, or attending lots of parties where you will bring wine or gifts for the host

Gifts - Write down the names of the people you give gifts to
Wrapping Supplies
Santa (if it applies)
Pet Gifts (I know... but for some people this adds up :-)
Charitable Giving
End of Year Tips (housecleaner, hairdresser, doorman, etc.)

Next to these categories you will put an amount you plan to spend.  The hardest part, and the part we often resist, is adding this up.  But it is so incredibly valuable, particularly if you haven't done it before.  You can course correct.  You can make choices that won't leave you with regret in January.  It just takes a little proactive planning.  

If you find your funds not quite stretching to cover as much as you want to cover, consider ALL the possibilities!  The possibilities could include: exploring creative solutions as well as lowering your expectations. As Erin Boyle states on her blog, "there’s no admission price to the holidays".  

You can be in the spirit of giving without sacrificing your own financial wellbeing.

Perhaps this is the best gift you can give anyone you love: your financial wellbeing.

From Motherhood to Livelihood - Shaping your life to shine both ways...

Megan deBoer

I chose to have my children at the 'young' age of 24. It was motherhood that called to me before a career.  I was fortunate to be able to follow my desire to stay at home with my growing babies - and we made many financial sacrifices to make this a priority.  Yet I wasn't done growing and expanding myself.  I felt myself become restless within my mothering role, yet also experienced a very real inner conflict and tension about what that would mean for my family.  I was just as committed to my role of being a mother.

Along the path to this work I am currently engaged in, I struggled with the tension, the questioning, the doubt, the fear, and especially the financial pressure as I tried to 'figure it out!'  It felt lonely and overwhelming.  It was a common issue among my peers, but there was little guidance or the kind of support I was craving.  

Perhaps you - or someone close to you - have a different experience balancing motherhood and your work in the world.  None of our experiences are exactly the same, but they are similar and deserve the space and support to realize something that works in all ways.

We feel called to provide space for this evolution - with the guidance, support and healing that it deserves...Join us for a talk on May 2nd and a workshop series June 15th, 22nd, and 29th - (details here)


I am honored, and delighted, to be creating this supportive space  with Barb Robitaille.  She has a brilliance in helping you reconnect with your own wisdom, your own trust, and the truths that were too buried to know were even there.  She helps to heal the disconnect, and re-align you with your own heart.

I have supported many of my clients through their own version of this conflict from an earning perspective.  I know the triggers.  I know how this tension is reflected in your financial life.  I can spot and help guide you to the shortcuts - the ones I wish I had had - to find that heart centered balance of being both a mother and fulfilling the other parts of you that are ready to be expressed.

If this is speaking to you, honor that voice and that nudge.  This may be the next step that accelerates your journey to finding wealth - in all its forms.  If you know someone who may be interested, please feel free to share this with them.

Registration details can be found here on my website. 

Even if this doesn't personally relate to your life circumstance, I do think it is something that we as a culture can hold in conversation providing a supportive space for all the mothers (and fathers) finding their way in this new cultural era.

Preparing Your Taxes? Practice Grounding!

Megan deBoer

It is the final stretch before our tax deadline... this may cause all kinds of reactions.  In my world, it is an opportunity to respond to whatever the result may be from a grounded stance.

What does a 'grounded' response to taxes look like?  Glad you asked!  Check out my suggestions below.  I actually think this can be helpful in many situations, not just with taxes.  As the unexpected bill, or windfall, can often trigger impulsive actions that look like a crazy ball bounced in a small room.

To your thoughtful relationship with money - taxes included!

-Megan

 

Staying Grounded - Responding Mindfully to a Tax Bill or Tax Refund
(written with the extremes in mind, but helpful for a 'tax event' of any size)


 

The very first step is to plant your feet and find centering with your breath.  

After a few inhales, and exhales, notice your level of activation - this can be excitement or anxiety - but give it a number on a scale of zero to five.

Next, notice and name the emotion that you are experiencing: fear, overwhelm, shame, excitement?

What sensations are in your body?  Where are you experiencing the anxiety?  The excitement?

What thoughts are running through your mind?  What are you telling yourself?  Write these down.

Breathe, allowing your breath to bring you closer and closer to neutral.


Writing down the thoughts in your mind can be overwhelming - but it helps to get them on paper.  It provides an outlet, and also a slight perspective shift.

Write down the amount you owe.  This feels negative, but what is the positive about this number?  I will give you a hint... you earned enough money (perhaps more than you ever have) and this tax bill represents a portion of that earning.  Another - slightly less rosy - hint is that it is serving as a clear signal to do things differently going forward, cause this is not something you want to repeat!  Without solving the 'how', allow this shift in perspective help neutralize.  From this state you are able to access solutions that may have been blocked before.

Write down the amount of your refund. Write down all the ways you want to spend it, without censoring.  Then look at the list and add amounts if possible.  Maybe order it according to desire, to responsibility, or some other scale.  Pretend you are your 5 years older self, your 30 years older self, your 1 year older self...How does each of your future selves wish you would spend that money?  Listen to your future "selves".  Listen to your current self.  Is there a way to satisfy both?

This experience, like the hundreds we are given each day, is really just another opportunity to respond thoughtfully, consciously, and proactively, within our relationship with money.  The more you work this muscle, the stronger and more financially agile you will be.

In Honor of Women & Jack Pine Seeds

Megan deBoer

It is International Women's Day...

We have been taught, as women, that if we give, we will receive in return.  If we provide for our family, our family will take care of us – love us, and support us.  If I do this for you, you will do that for me. 
 
In this contract there is an inherent assumption of reciprocity.  But too often in our culture, this natural balance is interrupted – disrespected – forgotten. 
 
Women have traditionally been in roles of giving – mothering, caring for the elderly, the sick, and even the poor.  Cooking, cleaning, nurturing, birthing, rearing, volunteering and teaching have made up the work of our days. All are unpaid - or low paid - but expected and culturally relied upon nonetheless.
 
In the very first schools our country formed, it was decided that women would both be more suited for the role AND that they could be paid far less than a male – it was economically strategic.  Our valuation of this crucial profession began with this assumption, and has persisted through today. 
 
The valuation of womens' work has extended beyond the teaching profession and spread throughout our economy.  Statistically, for every dollar a man earns, a white woman will earn .76, an African American .63, and a Latina woman .53.  We have a long way to go to rectify our current reality of inequality.
 
It is a complex combination – it is a mix of our internal beliefs about ourselves, mirrored and formed by the deeply rooted beliefs of our external culture and the institutions that perpetuate them.
 
There is a collective female uprising happening in our country – a demand for recognition of our myriad roles as modern women.  It is also a personal revolution, occurring within the very intimate chambers of our own selves, our own histories, our own homes, and our own families.  It is causing tension, conflict, disruption and very often…anger. 
 

Perched on a Jack Pine tree branch are pinecones that rest for years before they open – glued tightly shut with resin.  It is only the tremendous heat of a forest fire that melts the resin, allowing the cones to open and release its seed to begin a new life.

 
The current energy being fueled culturally and politically is not unlike a forest fire.  It is tumultuous, chaotic, destructive, and disorienting – and necessary.  It holds old unresolved conflict, unacknowledged hurt, an imbalance of power, and pent up anger. 
 
But its presence is opening up possibility – the seeds that have been held tightly, silently, invisibly, in patience – waiting for their own existence, are emerging.
 

I can’t help but notice the metaphoric connection between the Jack Pine and the women who are discovering what has lain dormant within them.  It is a conversation arising with my clients, with my friends, and my colleagues.
 
It is common for women to wait to be given permission.  To wait for approval before feeling they are worthy of a raise.  To feed everyone before nourishing themselves.  To tolerate being taken for granted.  To give and give, and then give even more, waiting to receive fair compensation, often left feeling depleted – financially, energetically, emotionally, or spiritually.

We, as a culture, have it backwards. 
 
If we look to nature, the female must first receive before giving.  She must receive nurturing – nutrients, water, and sun – before bearing fruit - or new life.
 
Rather than giving first, and waiting to receive, we must receive first – SO THAT WE CAN GIVE...
 
What does this mean to you, as a woman, or a man supporting women?

This means respecting that you must first receive. 

This is where WE hold power to shift this old cultural tide.
 
It is about identifying, honoring, and giving yourself permission to be a top priority: that your physical, emotional, spiritual needs matter.  Satiating these needs yourself, or allowing others to help you meet them.  It means asking for what you need.  Clearly.  Consistently.
 
It is about upholding healthy boundaries – so that what you receive from others aligns with what feels right to you, so that you can trust yourself to not allow anything to pass through you that will not support you fully.
 
It is about putting yourself first – letting go of the assumption that this is somehow selfish… indeed it is selfless.  In trusting your ability to meet your own needs, you release yourself and others from the complexity of being dependent on others to fulfill you.
 
It is about receiving with gratitude, celebration, and an unquestioning recognition of your worthiness – to exist, to be powerful, to allow wealth, energy, health, and abundance in all its forms to flow into your life and support more growth.

Today is International Women’s Day - but tomorrow, tell me what tomorrow holds for you? 

The seeds have been released… they are finding their way to new ground.  Let them land in nurturing soil – receiving all they need to bear fruit. 
 
Imagine what you can gift to the world from a deeply nourished self...  

Don’t settle for less – we will all delight in the fruit that will drip lovingly from your branches...

Exploring "Enough"....

Megan deBoer

It is mid-December.  We are entering the the very height and frenzy of the season - shopping, errands, parties, performances, and celebrations (oh my!).  

"More" and "extra" - more food (and eating...), more shopping (and buying), more running around (less downtime), more, more, and more becomes the constant mood and reality we find ourselves in.

"Finding your center" is something I discuss often with my clients.  Because without tethering to our own anchor, we are easily - and readily - swept into the swirl.  

In this swirl we are particularly susceptible to doubt - "Are there enough presents to give the kids?" "Do we have enough money?" "Do we have enough time to fit in .... (fill in the blank)?" 

It is particularly daunting for parents. The line between what it means to love and be generous gets blurry.  There is an overwhelming emotional desire to create a magical holiday - no matter the cost.  Often there is an unconscious pressure to to keep up with the kids next door - or the friends at school, or the sad memories we project onto our future adult children - which fracture all the best laid plans.  

58% of families who create a holiday budget will not stick to it.  25% of holiday shoppers will withdraw money from their 401k plans to pay for their holiday (if you could have SEEN my response while reading this statistic...)  The rest will use a year end bonus, a payday loan, credit cards (that will take months to pay off), or draw on their 'emergency' savings (the holidays are not a surprise...nor an emergency).  A few will have saved money for this annual expense, and have a very clear budget of exactly how it will be spent - this is something my clients and I spend a lot of time mastering (in addition to many other expenses).  

So what is happening to us during this holiday?  I will argue that we have lost touch with what feels like 'enough'.  "There is never enough" feels much more accurate to our experience than "enough".  We have a way of comparing our reality to everyone else's.  So much of this is unconscious, and happens in a split second.  One of the biggest influences is the commercials we see, or the movies we have watched.  Collectively they mold the image of what a holiday 'should' look like, and despite our financial ability - or our true desire - we will do just about anything to mirror that image.  

I want to encourage you to question this image - to sink into what is most meaningful to you, and to ensure that you create this experience creatively, without doing financial harm.

So what can you do?  Spend some preventative time with the following exercises to explore a new way forward. Here are 5 tips to creating a holiday that satiates...and is ENOUGH... without compromising you financially.

1 - Plan Your Remaining Holiday Spending -  

Pen and paper will work just fine - but you can get as fancy as you wish.  Be specific about what gifts you have left to purchase, who they are for, and what they will cost.  Be even more specific about where that money is coming from. Make adjustments - be creative - when these two don't match up.  Also, check out my blog post (scroll down a ways) about a Mindful Gift.

2 - Determine a Limit - 

A limit of money you will spend, or the date that you will be finished shopping - no exceptions. Boundaries get very blurry at this time of year - ask yourself if 'not enough' is creeping in to your decision making...question this in the following exercises.  What can you say "no" to?  What would this be like?

3 - Ground Yourself -

Breathe deeply, get quiet, and find your center.  Often.  Before shopping, in the checkout line, before an event.  Being present is an incredible gift to yourself and to your loved ones.  You open up space for experiencing the moment and simultaneously reduce impulsive reactivity.

4- "Pre-Remember"

Imagine yourself on the other side of the holiday.  How do you feel?  How do your loved ones feel?  What contributed to this feeling?  Was it the traditions?  The gifts? Or both? Was there anything missing?  Would you do anything differently?  Then continue on to #5...

This is an interesting exercise and helps you become clear on what is truly important - and what might be easier to let go of (the last round of shopping... the tradition that everyone hates anyway...).  

5 - Explore "Enough"

Imagine that you spent twice as much. Does this change anything about the holiday that just passed?

Now imagine that you spend half as much.  Does this change anything about the holiday you celebrated?  Are your fears worthy?  

What did you notice?  What does "Enough" feel like?  What specifically will help you achieve this feeling?

........

Any insights?  Any surprises? These are exercises to reclaim your center and ensure that you are in alignment with your intention and your spending.

I want to wish you an emotionally fulfilling, satiating, and joyful holiday that feels like more than 'enough' while also preserving your financial reserves! 

-Megan 

 

A replenishing vacation...

Megan deBoer

It has been a full summer - a wedding, a family reunion, guests, house projects completed, and the running of my business in the midst of summer break with two teenage girls.  I hit my limit - and recognized that there would be some emotional casualties if I wasn't careful to take care of myself.

It can be so easy to just keep going, to keep DOING, to suppress our own needs in the face of others.  This has been a long pattern of mine, one that is thankfully beginning to recede into the past. The longer needs are suppressed the harder it is to even know that you have them, or what they really are anyway.

At the heart of this financial work that I do is the question, "what are your needs?"  The question recognizes the obvious financial needs, but invites the exploration of our emotional needs.  Sometimes these are so buried that they take years to surface.  Or we may think it is one thing, but when we meet the need we are left a little confused... nope, that wasn't quite it... and the search continues.  

Last month we went on an adventure around Central Oregon.  We visited places I hadn't even heard of, despite having been born and raised in this state.  It was hot.  It was wildly beautiful.  It was expansive - visually and figuratively.  I found myself stopping to breathe as deeply as I possibly could because the smells were intoxicating, and even then I couldn't get quite enough.  I found myself falling in love with the desert, a landscape that I have always rejected to a certain degree as being lifeless.  

The reason I am sharing this is that it was an incredible trip because I have learned to crystalize, and realize, what it is I need for replenishment: being outside, being in (relative) solitude, surrounded by nature and a visually expansive landscape, eating good food, taking naps, and being with my family without any pull of the fast paced world. I have never needed a break more. 

We camped because that is honestly how I prefer to be on vacation in the summer.  We watched the sunrise from a natural hot spring, we watched the sunsets in awe, we gazed at a big full moon and a starlit sky.  It was an experience of satiating both a deep need - and desire - that left me feeling truly nourished.  

This is the art of exploring your own unique emotional needs, your own very personal desires.  Finding this authenticity, learning to honor it and ensuring that I provide it for myself is my definition of liberation - and if I dare say, true financial freedom.  So often our view of what we need or desire is clouded, masked, and dictated by others - and we collectively spend millions trying to satiate a hunger that we cannot articulate.  Discovering what this is for us - as individuals - is the secret to true fulfillment, and part of what creates financial stability. 

Your need or desire for replenishment is probably not camping in the desert in August - and that is absolutely fabulous.  Perhaps it is being surrounded by the lights of the city and the luxury of a downtown hotel.  But know what it is you need, why you need it, and commit to satiating that need in a financially honorable way.  When we take care of these deep needs it allows the wasteful spending to cease, and true fulfillment to be realized.

Here is to you finding joy in exploring, articulating, and experiencing the fulfillment of your needs - and desires.

 

Grocery Shopping - An experiment

Megan deBoer

The "Grocery Budget"...everyone seems to wonder how their spending compares to everyone else.  "Is how much we spend normal"? "I should really clip coupons, (shop at ....., never eat again!)".  It fascinates me - particularly this one category. Because it is the one category that we all share - we all have to eat. And so, inside this category lies some interesting psychology.

Spending on food can be justified, excused, celebrated, or induce shame, or guilt ("there are people who go without food - regularly!").  Extravagance - even essentials - can create different emotional responses.

Sometimes a few extras slip into this category (a magazine, a candle, a $7 snack for the kids to keep them quiet while you shop after school, more low nutrient food than you would care to really add up, produce that eventually gets composted from neglect). No one but you will ever know...

I had a client years ago who would berate herself monthly for how much she spent - but from what I see, it was actually very frugal. I asked her why it bothered her so much. After a few moments she remembered that her mother's grocery budget was X.  Her grocery budget was also X.  The only problem was that over 20 years had passed, and that number was no longer realistic!  In her mind it "should be" possible to fit within that amount, and each month she "failed". She hadn't realized she had internalized a ceiling on what was "ok" to spend, and it was fixed in stone.  (if it isn't groceries for you, it may be another category... I have one for pants, which is hilarious and I keep trying to re-adjust my comfort level to normal inflation! What is yours?)

You see...when we compare ourselves to another person's normal (or another era's normal), we will always fall short - of our own "expectations" or our true needs. A better practice is to examine, realistically -

"what are my needs, my values, and can my money sustainably support this spending?"  

When you examine it from this angle you are much more likely to reach an answer that is in alignment with your true needs.  

I see single people spending more than families of 4.  I see clients value where food comes from, their health and the health of the planet, who prioritize food over all other spending. I see clients who spend nearly nothing on groceries, but they eat out all the time. 

So, comparison... it really can only do one of two things: make you feel better about yourself, or make you feel worse about yourself (there will always be people who spend more, or less, than you on groceries, give your ego a rest!). Sure it is interesting, but it isn't necessarily realistic. You may base your budget on someone else's who cooks absolutely everything from scratch - but you work 55 hours each week.

Whether it is groceries or something else, we are more served if we find our own yardstick and measure our progress to it.  Can you spend less and be more mindful at the grocery store? Absolutely! Will your spending look like your neighbors? Probably not.

For a week, try this experiment: keep all your grocery store receipts. No judgments allowed, just keep them in a pile.  At the end of the week circle anything that you know wasn't entirely necessary, was wasted, or wasn't enjoyed.  Total this up... how much does it come to?  Multiply this by 4. This is a potential money leak - where would you rather this money went? Or are you ok with this amount?

This is the best way to begin making any changes...which do you want to make? Do you want to save more? Be less anxious? Donate more to the local food bank? 

If you want to know your answer to the question "can my money sustainably support this spending?", consider taking my course: Equipped to Thrive! that starts next Wednesday, May 11th... I would love for you to join us! Sign up HERE

Financial Maturity -

Megan deBoer

In the safety of a conversation with a new or prospective client, the dream I hear most often is simple: "I want to feel like an adult with money".  Their goals also involve getting out of debt, saving more, feeling less ruled by spending impulses, and earning the money they know they could be earning.  Yet at the core, my clients have a deep desire to feel differently in the way they interact with money. To be conscious, clear, and action oriented. It has nothing to do with how "smart" they are - how young they are - how old they are.  It is simply an experience that they are craving.

I am passionate about supporting this growth - how you may have 'been' with money no longer needs to be a secret shame that is carried, coloring decisions, relationships, and opportunities with its dark oppressive cloud. 

You see - if we are not confident in how we are interacting with money, we may unconsciously block more from coming in.  We may hide from opportunity, repeat old patterns, and find ourselves in another cycle of fear - because, well, it is pretty familiar - and therefore safe - even if we want desperately for it to be different.

I am so EXCITED to open my new course designed to develop, strengthen and integrate a new way of being with money. I am going to take the participants on a journey that helps them develop this from the inside out - from inner financial clarity to outward aligned action. Both are critical, and both will be explored, practiced, and implemented over the span of the course.  

Perhaps you have turned away from your finances, or worried obsessively over them - you are so over financial things not shifting in a more positive direction!  

If this is resonating with you at all - I want to encourage you to check out the details of this course.  I would love for you to join us so that you receive the support you need.

I want nothing more than for you to feel Equipped to Thrive in your financial life - imagine the possibilities that will open up with a whole new way of interacting with money!

 

 

Out of the Shadows...

Megan deBoer

We get so good at living in the world of what we can see, what we choose to see.  From an early age we learn to ignore what might be under the bed, behind the door - we protect ourselves from our fears.  Our imaginations create a whole other reality - usually a terrifying one.

As an adult money is often still lurking in those scary shadows.  I hear ever day about how it their awareness about money is "a bit fuzzy", "completely neglected" and the thought of looking at it clearly makes their stomach turn in knots.  

The trouble is, when we let money live in the shadows we inadvertently leave possibility to live there as well.

It takes courage, bravery, and strength to actually confront the shadows.  But once we do, it really is no different than turning the lights on and seeing that no monster actually lives there.  In fact, it is a place that could be used in a different way.

So, here is an invitation to turn the lights on... to allow money and your awareness about it come out of the shadows and become a possibility.

 

The "Wealthy" in Politics... on this Super Tuesday

Megan deBoer

We have a fascinating display of opposites in the political arena at the moment.  Without getting into THAT discussion, I am noticing how easy it can be to portray wealth in black and white terms.

In such a climate it is easy to to forget that it is the PEOPLE - their actions, their values - who define and choose what is done with it, not the wealth itself.  Why does this distinction matter?  Because it influences your personal relationship with money.  Rather than being introspective, we are at risk of unconsciously making the decision to lump all millionaires & billionaires into a single bucket - a bucket that is portrayed (currently) as being filled with greed, lies, questionable actions, and hate.  

You will not become what you despise - you may unconsciously reject money because it is guilty by association.

What we need to remember is this: when we choose to all rise by sharing in collective wealth and prosperity, we can achieve incredible things and experience the expansion of joy and fulfillment together.  Clearly there is an imbalance in our country, one that desperately needs to be addressed.  It is real and tangible and needs to be wrestled with at every level: within the government, within organizations, businesses, and most importantly within our individual selves.

The challenge we face is the attachment to the (false) myth: "if YOU have some there will be less (or none) for ME".  That is the real enemy.  There is a lot of fear based language, and it is seductive.  We are wired to survive.  We have an incredibly adaptive brain when it comes to making sure we get the last piece of the "pie", or hate the one who does.  These adaptive techniques involve the subconscious, which by its very nature is out of our awareness.

I find it important to explore the the quieter stories,  the stories of the helpers who are trying to create more balance.  I want to collect them so that we counteract the images we see about wealth.  It doesn't solve the bigger issues we face, but it is important to stretch our imaginations so that we can rise above the myth of scarcity (for more on this, I highly recommend reading The Soul of Money by, Lynne Twist).

Take a look at this man's generous gift....

We have important work to do, and money can be an ingredient in helping to make that work happen.  Be mindful about your beliefs on wealth (the judgments that arise, all the little thoughts)... there are messages coming at us from a million directions at the moment.  Find your center.  Explore the character traits and the values that you most want to emulate.  True wealth includes money, but is not exclusively defined by it.

So, imagine: what "recipe" you would make if you had an abundance of a certain financial ingredient? 

 

 

 

 

Powerball, A Follow Up -

Megan deBoer

Last Tuesday evening I received a call from our local TV station wanting to interview me for their 11pm news - they were doing a piece on the historic Powerball and wanted to balance the hype with the reality.  10 minutes after I hung up the phone, they arrived at my doorstep with a camera and mic.

I was happy to provide my perspective, knowing that sometimes winning can bring unforeseen challenges.  My husband and I stayed up to see it.  The few short clips, and the resulting brief web based transcript, portrayed a very negative reaction to the idea of winning the lottery.  For the record, I did not say that winning the lottery would be detrimental to your health!  I actually believe it is an incredible opportunity, if it is received with conscious awareness.  

Ah, local TV... TV in general.  I appreciate their desire to tell the story as they need to tell it.  They took elements that would support their story, but left out the other aspects that would have given the complete conversation a different tone.  

Here is the other part of the conversation that was edited out of the 15 second clip...

Winning the lottery is an incredible life changing event.  Everything changes, and nothing changes.  What was hard yesterday may be harder today.  What was wonderful yesterday may indeed be more wonderful today.  Latent fears, anxieties and insecurities can expand with this infusion of wealth.  So can joy, love, happiness, and freedom.  

The secret to receiving this incredible amount of money is to find support in navigating the transition from what you have known to the vision of what you want to create.  It is an incredible opportunity, as well as a responsibility.  Some can get overwhelmed, confused, and feel burdened.  That is natural, yet it is a stage, not the end of the road.  The hard truth is that none of us knows how we will react...

Slowly integrating this shift is the best path to a life that is emotionally and financially successful.  

We, as humans, often have a great challenge adjusting to radical and dramatic change.  In the case of an infusion of wealth, we can unconsciously spend our way back to what is familiar - what is comfortable - what is known - what is safe.  This is why many "blow through" their lottery winnings, high earnings, or inheritances very quickly.  It is simply too uncomfortable, and our unconscious actions lead us right back to "safety".  

My work is about exploring how we, on a very deep and personal level, relate to wealth and what it means - for us.  Lottery winner or not, there is so much to explore in this relationship.  I invite you to explore this relationship on your own, or with someone you trust.  You have nothing to lose in preparing yourself to receive more - perhaps a lot more - wealth over your life.  How would you receive more?

Thank you for reading the other half of the conversation - and thank you local news for giving this topic your attention (and including me in on the conversation)!
 

 

 

Lottery Play ...

Megan deBoer

I was in the check out line.  To the left of me was a long line of people waiting for a chance of winning the giant lottery.

The checker was telling the couple ahead of me that he "would not tell anyone else" if he were to win.  I heard under these words a deep fear of people taking it, or people taking advantage of him.

I heard an interview with a previous lottery winner who shared his advice to "buy as many tickets as you can afford" as the only real last minute strategy to have any chance at all. (Please.  Please. Please do refrain from this)

I also heard that you would be 25x more likely to be elected president of the United States this coming November than to win this lottery.  So if you think at this very moment you have a shot at the white house, you will have even less of a chance of winning this lottery.

This billion + lottery brings a fascinating range of reactions to the idea of wealth.  There is as much fantasy as there is fear.  Perhaps it is because the odds are so low that so many people play (and have an even lower chance of actually winning) - because they might not really want to win.  

Fear about how you will be taken advantage of.  Of how things might change.  Of making bad decisions and losing everything. Of losing touch with those you love.  Yet we also want to win. To never have to 'worry' about money again.  It is this tension that I find fascinating.  The fantasy of having wealth and the simultaneous fear of loosing everything else.  

The lottery ticket gives us a moment to come close to the idea of the possibility of it being us - and for a moment we can enter into that land of "what if...".

So, I invite you to explore this from the luxury of your current state.  Who would you be if a windfall landed in your lap?  What do you imagine this would stir up in you?  What do you fear it would stir up in your life?  Do you trust yourself with more money?

Because until we start resolving our own inner conflict with having - or not having - money, we will be uncomfortable being confronted with life being different than it is today.  A substantial raise, an inheritance, a windfall, a lottery winning... Imagine yourself in a different financial situation.  Imagine the best vision of yourself with more... who are you?  This is the most intriguing and beautiful question... and maybe the best return on that $2 investment in this fantasy game.

Multiples

Megan deBoer

Some of us are better at multiplication than others.  There are some equations that have been etched in my mind (6x6=36) and many more that I still need to calculate.  

Small purchases at this time of year add up... the $5 purchases don't feel like much, until they add up to more than you were expecting to pay.

Here are some good numbers to etch (or re-etch) into your brain.

$15 x 4 = $60

$35 x 5 = $175 ($35 - $40 is a common price point for gifts)

$9 x 4 = $36

Having these multiples in your mind helps you make conscious choices in the moment - so there are no surprises at the register.

 

 

Black Friday

Megan deBoer

Have you noticed the trend that is happening this year with large retailers closing their doors?  In Oregon our state parks are waiving their entrance fees on Black Friday.  I am wondering if there is a deeper shift occurring.

If this holiday became less about consumerism, what would be gained?  What would be lost?

I will be posting throughout December about a more thoughtful approach to this holiday season.  Until then, take a moment to explore what comes up when you consider what this cultural shift might mean for you, personally? 

Giving Thanks

Megan deBoer

Like many of you, our family will be celebrating a day of giving thanks with (most of) our family and enjoying a bounty of delicious food.

With the swirl of global events I am reminded of the luxury that this is - and how hard it can be to reconcile the plenty we enjoy with the want of so many.  It feels more critical than ever to express gratitude for all that we have, and to find ways to extend this gratitude to those we love, and those we "know" only through media channels.  It is a small way that we can balance all that is challenged: in ourselves and in our global community.  

We are encouraged to give thanks.  That deserves a moment of reflection... in it is a gift, even if we are only expressing our own gratitude.  Yet, how delightful is it when we are thanked?  It is a gift.

 

Love more.  What you appreciate, appreciates.  Find gratitude in all things, particularly the hard things. These are the areas I am choosing to focus my attention.

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Blogging...

Megan deBoer

If you scroll down this page you will likely take note of the LACK of posting here!  Part of me squirms and cringes when I see how very neglected this aspect has been (January was my last post... oh my!).  Another part of me has to acknowledge that it just hasn't been a focus - despite my desire for it to be.  I focus on my clients (and family) first, the 'business' aspect second, and the rest a distant third.  I would not be in integrity with my values if I wasn't gentle with myself about it.  But gentleness doesn't mean that there isn't a desire for new action, and I can feel a new routine emerging already.

I am delighted that this new site draws me to be more involved in it.  I look forward to finding my voice here, sharing tips and thoughts (because I do secretly crave a space to do that...).  

So, thank you for your patience...check back in, I hope that when you do there will be more here for you to read!

 

Fresh Perspectives

Greg deBoer

January…the days at the beginning of the year hold such optimism, possibility and excitement about the year ahead.  Towards the end of January, the reality of our daily lives return – the weather is grey and cold, the trees are bare and we wonder how we so quickly were swept back into old routines.  Our progress feels lethargic in relation to our recent ambitions.

I find that taking small actions during these times to be extremely satisfying.  Here are a few nearly free ideas to create forward momentum and keep your spirits up on these winter days –

  • Treat your shoes to a little shoe polish – have you done this recently?  It is really quite amazing – your tired shoes will instantly have new life.  I had forgotten the magic of this little chore!
  • Wash your windows – really.  It is probably the single best activity you can do if you have the winter blues.  There is nothing like the winter sun streaming through clean windows.  No need to wait until the Spring, enjoy it now when you need it most!  If you were to only do one window, pick the one that you stand near most.
  • Reorganize one single drawer or cupboard.  Take everything out and put only what you absolutely love and need back.  It can be as simple as your silverware drawer but should definitely be one that you use daily.  Each time you open it during the day you will smile.

In time the days will pass and you will make strides in the direction of your new goals.  But for today, in the middle of winter, allow the smaller shifts in perspective to fuel positive momentum.

Mindful Giving

Greg deBoer

Even if you have planned, made lists, and started shopping for your loved ones already, there comes a moment during the whirlwind and heightened emotions of the holiday season when we find ourselves making impulsive, reactive, and unconscious spending choices. We are often swept up in the mood, and hectic pace, of the season and can easily loose our bearings.

To help ground you and ensure that you are making mindful choices, run the following assessment when considering the purchase of a gift. If the questions cannot be answered on the spot, it is important to pause, put the item on hold, possibly leave the store, and give yourself the time – and space – to come to a decision that feels right. You haven’t said no yet, you are simply exploring a new process of mindful spending!

Assessing a mindful GIFT

GENEROUS - Is this gift Generous in spirit? Thoughtful giving is a true art. The amount spent does not reflect your generosity by itself.

INTENTION -  What is my Intention in giving this gift?

  • Is this something I wish I could give myself instead, or something I always wanted but never received?
  • Is there something I am making up for in giving this gift? Is there something I am hoping to receive in giving this gift? Is there another way I could connect with the recipient?
  • Is it uncomfortable for me to compare my gift to what others will be giving? To what I have given in the past?
  • Am I afraid that what I have already gotten won’t be ‘enough’?
  • Will this gift satisfy a long awaited wish for the recipient?
  • Will this gift inspire the recipient and add joy to their life?

FAIR -  Is the cost of this gift Fair to myself/my resources and does it fit into my spending plan? If not, is there a creative way that I can give this gift (or an alternate) responsibly?

TIME - Will the recipient have the necessary Time ( and space ) to enjoy this gift?

We can justify most spending if we craft the right story to tell ourselves. But giving mindfully means we give generously, with clear intention, in a way that is fair to our resources, and honors the time and space the recipient must give in order to receive and enjoy the gift.

Our gifts have the amazing ability to become a symbol of our love in tangible form. Our gifts can also hold unintended and unconscious messages. Our unconscious spending does not serve us, or our loved ones, in the way we may hope.

This season, give mindfully and trust that your love is the purest gift – in tangible or intangible form. May you have a joyous holiday season, mindfully celebrating and sharing all the joy you have in your life!

Investments of Another Sort

Greg deBoer

Investing in stocks, bonds, 401ks, IRAs, and other avenues is extremely important for long term financial health.  When we contribute to these accounts we have assurance that our money will grow and be there to support us when we need it most.  It requires patience, and more importantly, foresight and intention when there are many immediate ways to spend our money.

I  had the incredible fortune of traveling to the Redwoods with my family this past month.  We hiked below these giant old growth trees and I was struck with gratitude for those who had the foresight to preserve what remained of those old growth trees so that we, and millions of others, could be surrounded in a wild and magical forest that could easily have disappeared years ago.

My children are rapidly growing.  There are many, many things pulling all of us in a myriad of directions: self-employment, friends, activities, school, commitments, and household upkeep.  It is a tremendous amount of work to go on vacation, particularly a 10 day camping adventure.  Each year we have so many other commitments to family and friends that going away as our own family feels taxing both financially and practically.  But this year we made the investment: of time, energy, and money.  It is an investment that has shown its returns already, and I know will continue to weave dividends into our family life forever.  I am realizing that our time as a family of four is very limited.  We need to consciously preserve what we have so that it continues to grow and is there to support us when we need it most.

I am grateful to a dear friend for reminding me to make a family trip a priority, the same way I remind my clients.  There is a very clear reason this financial approach distinguishes “Vacation” from “Vacation with Extended Family”.  There is a significant difference.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, though it certainly could be.  The key ingredient is that we were together, on an adventure, away from all that can pull our attention away from the present moment. There may have been arguments and frustrations.  There were certainly special relaxed moments of discovery, wonder, laughing, and silliness.  Something magical happens when we surrender to being present with those we love.  Whether you have a young family or not, take a moment to take stock of what may be important to invest in right now.

I am grateful to have made the investment.