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

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Filtering by Category: True Wealth + Prosperity

Why Wasn't there a class about money in school??

Megan deBoer

I have Virgo in my chart, so this time of year always feels like a refreshing return to Order & Routine - aka, a giant sigh of relief pour moi! The back to school supplies definitely add to my mood - sharpened pencils, fresh notebooks - a fresh start that all of us (in this country, anyway) have in our bones, like it or not.

But when you think of allllllll the classes you attended over alllllll the school years, was even ONE of them about money??? About the practical nuts and bolts? (if you were lucky you learned how to balance a checkbook). How about addressing the emotional aspects of money?? I would like to think that there is at least *one* person somewhere who was lucky enough to receive guidance about the emotional side of money in school, but I know there probably isn't a single one.

We teach sex education (poorly in most cases, but at least it is taught), so why not personal finance? Why is this? Why has this virtually disappeared from the curriculum, when the ONE thing we all have to deal with is money? I have some long answers to that question - but will save that for another time.

The fact that we 'never learned this in school', yet we are still 'supposed to know' leaves far too many people stuck in shame or unable to move forward because there is a real fear of looking or feeling stupid.

If I could shout from the rooftops and call everyone who feels this way out of their homes, the streets would become a party - truly! 

Financial education is STILL a subject that we 'assume' will be covered at home, but more often than not, it isn't. 

If, as a parent, YOU feel unsure, or insecure, about money it can be really hard to bring up the subject with your kids. Inadvertently, a void is created, and from that void in communication some unconscious patterns can develop for the person watching. 

This means that for most of us, our financial education came predominately by witnessing: our parent's mood when the bills were paid (or not paid). The mood before - and then just after - Payday. Our mood when we wanted something that was a little expensive and we knew not to even ask. When one of our parents spent money in secret. Or told us not to tell. Our little minds tried to make sense of these experiences. Learning ways to respond to money in our future.

We all have layers - most are unconscious, and they may or may not be influencing our current reality. Also! Our parents did their best, after all, they were "taught" by their parents (your grandparents), and so the cycle goes.

But here's the good news. If YOU missed this fundamental 'Life Class' about money, there is no reason that you cannot start learning now! 

And...You don't have to be an expert to teach your kids. However, it always helps to be honest. Tell them in a simple, age appropriate way, that you are still learning (why yes, it is ok to not know 'everything'). Tell them that you would make different choices if you could make them again (we ALL have made some mistakes with money, acknowledging this is healthy for you - and them). Tell them that you want to support them in learning so they can make better choices throughout their lives. They will make mistakes, but you can talk about these mistakes and help support them through the learning.

Even if you don't have kids, you can use this same approach with yourself - imagining that you are your own parent, talking to your younger self. Engage in this dialogue (see below). You will simultaneously heal any void that may exist and take the reins of your financial life.

Someday I hope there will be an enlightened class in schools that cover all the financial literacy topics as well as healing some of the dysfunction that has been passed from generation to generation. Until then, we can take the reins ourselves.

Did you have a class about money in school? If you didn't, what do you wish you had learned? 

And...Are you talking to your kids about money? If not, what makes it hard for you?

 

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Design Your Life, One Spending Plan at a time

Megan deBoer

Spending Plans

Are you turned off by the idea of a 'budget'? I know I am... and I know most of my clients are too. It may sound like the same medicine, just wrapped up in a fancy bottle, but a Spending Plan is philosophically very different. Let me explain...

Money touches every aspect of our lives. It is usually involved, to some degree, in helping us create a life that is meaningful. Being intentional - and conscious - about where your money WILL be spent becomes a powerful exercise in reclaiming some say.

Too often - and despite our very best intentions - we find ourselves at the end of the month (or year!) wondering: where did all that money go? (a worthy question, but one that can also keep you stuck in shame, blame, frustration, and guilt).

Instead, try a new approach. It is the 1st the month, a perfect time for a fresh start! 

Sit with your calendar and a piece of paper. After you pay your bills and address all the static expenses, look beyond to what will be happening AND what you would like to happen: happy hour with your girlfriends, a birthday party, gas & picnic money for a weekend hike, supplies for your house project, & perhaps some fall sweaters...

The things on the list may or may not have any spending associated with them (and I always, always encourage looking for creative low/no cost alternatives). BUT, if they do require money - and you forget to plan for them - the outcome could be one of two things: You do it, even if you don't have the money (it goes on a credit card or just feels crappy) OR you don't do it and you feel disappointment and frustration because this ALWAYS happens.

A 'Spending Plan' helps you see what is important to you in advance  - what's happening this month that deserves or requires your financial attention. It is also flexible... unlike our connotations of a strict 'BUDGET', this is your money and YOU can change your mind!

Where will you guide your money this month??

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A week of endings & graduations & the importance of spending Plans

Megan deBoer

You know when time feels surreal? When you wake up in the day you have anticipated for so long - perhaps with excitement, sadness, or dread. And then there it is. The Day.

Today I woke up and took my oldest daughter to school for the last day of her senior year. I have been preparing myself on many levels - but when it finally arrived, preparation seemed irrelevant. I found myself choking on tears as I turned the corner. I know logically it isn't any real end... she is still living with us, she will still come home this fall, and we leave for a 3 week trip to Europe together in just a couple weeks. But it is an ending.

I took her out for breakfast - something we rarely do. We talked about college, how she wants to approach it, what inspires her. It was dreamy in every way. The me of 10 years ago would have been anxious to spend money this way - fearing it would mean we couldn't buy a tank of gas. It is why I recently added a category in my own spending plan for 'one on one time with the girls'.

That may seem excessively detailed to you - but for me it is what this work is ultimately about: aligning your spending with your highest intention - and ensuring you have the money to spend without any harm. This isn't about being extravagant. It is about being intentional. Consciously guiding your money to what is most important to you.

It is these moments that remind me to stay present. To simply be. We hurry through so much. We worry about so much. I am getting that harsh reminder today - life is short. The time we spend with our loved ones is fleeting. What are you NOT doing today that you will regret a year from now? I am reminding myself to do it. Today. Not next month, not next year. But today. 

Your spending plan holds your intentions in physical form. It is powerful. What is held in your spending plan?

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How to be in Congruence with Prosperity

Megan deBoer

How to be in Congruence with Prosperity

 

Have you ever found yourself in a room filled with people who seem to have more money than you? You learn that the person you are talking to just moved into a new house (or insert any desired thing), while you feel stuck paying off your credit cards - though the balances are where they were last year. You feel a tidal wave of shame take over, followed by some pretty harsh self talk. 

What about the friend - or public figure - who talks about how making money is so fun and easy! You find yourself collapsing inside, wondering why it is so incredibly hard for you to just make ends meet! You have been stuck in the same place for years, and your envy of them is growing into an unflattering form of resentment.

Or the conversations where you feel superior - even if you may not want to admit it - because you are a better person than 'those people' who are making, or spending, a 'ridiculous' amount of money. You, at least, are on moral high ground (even if not financial high ground).

I have been in many versions of these conversations - on one side or the other. I have heard these conversations recited from hundreds of my clients. I see them play out in movies. We are all wrestling with our own internal conflicts about money. They are normal, but that doesn't make them desirable.

Because there is no peace with any of these states. 

We forget that true prosperity requires a congruent state - just like fear and love can't co-exist, prosperity can't exist when the following states are dominant:

When shame overtakes you - when you feel unworthy, incapable, not-enough, undeserving - there is nowhere for prosperity to co-exist.

When envy colors your perception, even subtly, a part of you has already given up - determining that you are powerless to experience this kind of ease and prosperity for yourself. So...you won't experience prosperity.

When you judge others for their prosperity, the hard truth is that you are judging a part of you that you don't want to see. Until there is acceptance of those same parts that you judge within yourself, prosperity won't rest in you.


If any of this resonates with you, I would encourage you to simply bring awareness to your interactions and reactions...

To when you feel agitated, shamed, envious, judge-y. See what is underneath them. See what they are telling you - about yourself. We all have these responses - and I believe they help us to grow, if we allow them to.

Then see if you can explore the other side: Being worthy, deserving, capable, enoughBeing powerful in your ability to create your realityBeing like all other humans who walk the earth - filled with choices that have us act in strange ways. How do you really feel about all of your choices? 

I'm not saying that the ball is exclusively in our court - there are very real external factors making the path exponentially harder, particularly for some. But there are pieces of this game that we can claim ownership - even mastery - of. It doesn't always require a financial investment - it is often a shift in perception that is the most significant. But sometimes a more deliberate decision to have support is necessary.

One option is to consider enrolling in my online course, Equipped to Thrive or to attend an upcoming Yoga & Prosperity Retreat.

This lovely Springtime weather is a wonderful opportunity to explore and experience the abundance and prosperity all around you - flowers emerging, blossoms bursting - it is a wonderful time to sink into the feelings of it all.

Happy (almost) Spring!

Master the 7 Principles

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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 

 

Master the 7 Principles

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