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......
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 really add up. A magazine, a candle, a $7 snack for the kids to keep them quiet while you shop after school, more low nutrient food, 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...
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.
There are financial costs to not getting our money house in order. There are also huge emotional costs.
We spend a tremendous amount of mental and emotional energy worrying. Regretting. Fearing. Projecting. Beating ourselves up - further depleting our confidence in this one area of our life.
You see...When you feel uncomfortable about the state of your finances, it may be hard to be present with your spouse, your family, or to get a good night’s sleep. Because as soon as you slow down, the shame creeps in.
In your mind there is often a voice that says: “you are not good with money, you should know better! Why can’t you get a handle on this?” Oh, that voice….
I know that voice.
I know intimately how high the tangible and intangible costs are because I paid them myself – for years. I spent many nights when my girls were little, clenching my teeth with financial anxiety.
It was at this...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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?