Fifty Shades of Green – Attn: Women in Business

Fifty Shades of Green – Attn: Women in Business

If you’re a woman you’ve probably read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and have been talking about it with your friends. But I bet you haven’t talked about Fifty Shades of Green – a more important (but less lustful) topic to your bottom line than the characters of Christian Grey or Anastasia Steele could ever be. 

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What Money Secrets Do You Keep from Your Spouse?

What Money Secrets Do You Keep from Your Spouse?

Shh.... Did you tell your spouse or partner how much you really spent for Christmas or shopping trips or even vacations? What would they say if they knew? What other money secrets do you keep? 

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Money Stress: #1 Source of Stress for 75% of Americans

Money Stress:  #1 Source of Stress for 75% of Americans?  

True, according to the American Psychological Association. I talk to people every week in the Central Valley of California that are losing their  homes, are upside down with their mortgages, have been "downsized," lost their jobs, filed bankruptcy and are in desperate financial struggle. Many are blaming themselves for their financial problems and feel guilty and ashamed as if it's all their fault.  That's not the whole picture.  (Footnote:  Originally written in 2009 and the home market is improving, but there are still many homeowners holding on to homes and struggling financially, or trying to modify homeloans and financial stress is still #1)


While it's true we are ultimately responsible for the good and bad choices we make about money, it's also true that it's hard to make good decisions about money when we get bad information or are poorly trained in money matters.  We Americans should be paying attention to the fact that the financial institutions have made a LOT of money in the last couple of years. We need to hold ourselves AND these institutions accountable.

2 Keys to Create a Healthier Relationshio with Money:

1) Raise Your Money Consciousness and assess where you're at by asking these questions:

* Do you avoid the topic of $ or obsess about it or alternate between the two extremes?

* Can you talk about $ with your partner?  If not, what's uncomfortable?

* What's your greatest fear about money?

2) Finish Your Unfinished $ Business:

When I was a girl I asked my Dad something about my parents finances and he told me it was none of my "blankety, blank business."  That told me money was a scary subject and better left alone.  It took me a long time to discover that memory and to realize that avoiding the topic of money made things worse.

Think about and journal:  What's my earliest money memory? What's my greatest money fear? How do these positive or negative memories show themselves in my life today?

As we individually work to heal our relationship with money, hold ourselves and our financial institutions accountable, we will shift from being so STRESSED about money and be more confident with our $ decisions.

Is The Middle Class Going, Going, Gone?

Is the middle class of old going, going, gone? Yes and the sooner we take our heads out of the sand of denial, the sooner we can strategize and create positive job solutions.

Here are economic facts of the last 40 years:

In previous recessions (2001, 1990-1991, 1981-1982, 1973-1975) mid pay jobs rebounded each time, but the net effect was still lost midpay jobs with each recovery.

In the recovery of 2001 there was a 5% net loss of midpay jobs, in 1990-91 a 20% netloss of midpay jobs, in 1981 32% net loss. In other words with each recession the recovery of midpay jobs has declined. The net effect is that the middle class has lost ground with each recession and recovery period. “Half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the recession were in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging form $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2% of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended July 2009 are in midpay industries.* Mid-wage jobs were 60% of recession losses but only 22% of recovery growth.

What about the poor? How do two working adults make enough money for rent, food and basic necessities on a $7.25 an hour minimum wage? They don’t. In California, the miniminum wage is $8.50 an hour.  If the minimum wage was pegged to inflation over the past 40 years, the federal standard would be $10.58 an hour.*  Still not much to build a better life on.

Who or what is to blame? It's more complex than this answer, but technology is the major culprit, though of course the housing market and banking excesses share the blame. Though we love our technology, it is the main problem in terms of recapturing lost mid wage jobs because robots, software and newer and better apps do jobs faster, cheaper and more productively than humans can. Companies understandably go for increased productivity and earnings and cheap, effecient labor. 

What's the solution?  First of all, letting go of the dream that things will go back to the way they were. Forget it. Let's move on. Then, we need our best, most creative economists, along with folks from the middle class and poor to brain storm short and long term solutions to job creation because, believe me, we are all in this economic soup together. If the middle class and poor continue to lose ground that affects all of our standard of living. We can create job solutions. We must start now and we can't leave that to Washington alone. (*“The Great Reset, Recession, technology kill middle-class jobs,” Modesto Bee January 27, 2013, ** Michelle Singletary, Mod Bee 1-27-2013) 

Winter Money Blues? Zip Right Out of Them!

Winter Money Blues? Zip Right Out of Them! Whether you're business women, or stay at home moms, it's the third dreary, cold, gray week of January. Christmas bills are coming in, the budget was blown, the spending high of December long forgotten and tax time is right around the corner. No wonder January is the longest month of the year.

Remember, we nearly always survive January anyway, but here's how to speed up the financial peace process.

1) Give yourself 1 hour or 1 day (depending on your needs) to REALLY feel the sadness, depression, angst of your situation. Moan, groan, complain, vent, cry, yell.  Go into it and when that allotted time is complete - move on.

2) Financially Assess where you're at:  Pull your ostrich head out of wherever it's been and take stock. Look at all the bills, count up the money owed, make a list of what's due, when.

3) Make decisions. You've got the list of money coming in and bills due. What's the loudest bill? What can you pay on it. Go down the list. Prioritize.

4) Send the payments. No matter how few or how small, actually sending the payments out feels good.  

5) Congratulate yourself - Ta-Dah. "I did it."  Call a friend and share. Feel good about the progress rather than always striving for perfection.  There now -  it's nearly February!

As a woman in business, who is also a Certified Money Coach, I know what it's like to struggle with money and how good it feels to take charge.  Financial peace and health come with focus, prioritizing and persistence. Here's to you!

Money & Happiness: Do You Deserve Both?

Do you suffer from “Happychondria*,” or the fear of being happy.  What about “moneychondria” or the fear of having  money?  I think it’s safe to say many of us have both of those fears though we would deny it’s so because those beliefs often sit below our conscious thoughts. However you’ll see the evidence of those fears if some of these conditions exist: 

(Circle all that apply for you) 

* You spend more than you make,

* You “debt,” or consistently run up credit card debt,

*  You under-earn or

*  Over-service clients (a condition that many self-employed do). 

*  You give your money away (to children and other “needy” folks and don’t keep enough for yourself) – a money mistake women often make

*  You’re not planning or saving for the future

*  You make plenty of money, but feel out of control because you don’t manage it

Let’s take a look at how much money it takes for Happiness.  Here’s a question I like to ask audience members when I give talks such as Power Up Your Money, Power UP your Life:

How much money does the average American say they need to be happy?

Pick one - Multiple Choice

1)    $100,000 annual income

2)    $50,000 annual income

3)    $1 million annual income

4)    $75,000 annual income

If you picked D you win the prize.  Research shows that $75,000 is the income most Americans currently feel is enough for a decent standard of living.

But, how much money is enough for you to be happy?  Not your parents, neighbors, siblings, friends?  But just you, my friend.

Write Down: 

1)    My current annual income is $________________.

2)    In order to insure happiness and contentment financially with no more money problems and worries, my annual income would need to be $______________________.  (*from David Krueger’s The Secret Language of Money.)

For most of you the 2nd number will be about twice the size of the first.  While we all want to have goals, what happens when we reach those goals?  Most people set a NEW number that is – yes – you guessed it – about twice the size of the previous.  When is what we’re making enough?  When do we decide to stop chasing MORE and be happy with what we have?  We all deserve to have enough money and happiness and when we become conscious of what's getting in the way we are able to create that for ourselves.

As a Certified Money Coach I offer a FREE 15 minute Strategy Session for any money situation you’re struggling with. Email me at lynntelfordsahl@gmail or call (209) 492-8745.  

(*from Happiness Now by Robert Holden, Ph.D - highly recommend this book)

Couples Money Talk: Why You React About Money & How to Stop

Fighting Couple.jpeg

Mini Money History of Lynn:

My husband Dave would try to talk to me about the bills, or credit card charges, or really ANYTHING to do with money and I had one of two reactions – I’d burst into tears or get angry. Neither reaction led to resolving the issue and left both of us frustrated, hurt and confused. If you’re in a relationship, I can bet reactions to money have happened in your household.

How is it that two perfectly reasonable people can turn into screaming or crying messes when the subject of money comes up?  Hint – think about how your parents were with money. In my household, money was a constant source of fighting because there wasn’t enough and because my parents didn’t know HOW to talk, about their feelings and needs in a constructive way. They also didn’t know how to plan or budget their $$.

Here’s part of the answer: It’s the invisible mom and dad in our heads.

Let’s imagine the man in the couple had a father that worked really hard during the week and blew his pay-check on the weekend. Our husband marries a woman whose parents carefully managed every dollar, and were a little skimpy with their children’s wants. Now, this happily married young couple, after a few months of wedded bliss, start having money problems. He feels she’s too restrictive, she feels he’s not careful enough.And, they have no clue as to what’s driving those feelings, but it’s the hidden feelings that cause the reactions.

How to Stop Reacting and Start Communicating:  As a money coach I take couples through a process that allows them to safely talk about their specific money challenges, identify where the buttons were installed – it is our childhood or past relationships*– and have ground rules for how to talk about their feelings and needs

For example, in my relationship today, I can say to Dave, “Honey, I’m feeling anxious about our retirement needs. Can we sit down and go over exactly what savings we have and our projected expenses?”  (This is a question I could never have asked a few years ago!!) 

Feel assured that with coaching, guidelines and a safe environment it becomes exciting to talk about money as a couple and it brings closeness, understanding and proactive planning.  Request your FREE 15 Minute Money Strategy Session Today.

Money Stress: 3 Tips to Feel Better

What’s the top reason for divorce? Money problems. And, money stress, is the number 1 stressor for 80% of Americans. Symptoms include:

Headaches, depression, heart attacks, muscle tension and back pain and ulcers and digestive problems.  Notfun.

But what exactly is stressing you about your money situation? Pick your top stressor:  Debt, lack of income, not saving enough, fights with your partner, just not knowing where to begin?

Tip 1: Talk About Money

Especially for women, talking about what’s really going on lightens the load and makes you realize you’re not alone.  As I give presentations about money to women in business I hear over and over about the struggles with money. Until we talk about what’s going on we FEEL we’re the only one.  Find a friend or family member to confide in. If there isn’t one available, I offer a FREE 15 minute consult (LINK HERE209 492-8745 or email me lynntelfordsahl@gmail.com)

Stress Busting Breakthrough Tip:

Tip 2: BREATHE  I know, I know. Breathing won’t CHANGE your money situation, but when the body relaxes the mind relaxes and solutions become more clear. 

Here’s How:  Exhale first. Breathe in the to the count of 6, hold for a moment and exhale to the count of 6. Take 10 breaths at least 3 x a day.  I’ve taught breathing as stress reduction for over 20 years and it’s the #1 most effective tip. It’s FREE, can be done anytime, anywhere.

Tip 3:  Create a Plan:  You have to start somewhere. Get the bill folder out, the credit card slips. Tally up what you owe.  Now you know. It may not be pretty, but not knowing often creates more anxiety. Next step? Figure out what you can pay weekly or monthly – better to pay something than nothing.  LearnVest.com is a terrific website for financial help. Feel a little better?

How Much Money Is Enough for Peace?

A friend of mine has a saying, “If you want to know what you believe, look at what you’re experiencing.” So true. But many of us don’t want to look at what we believe or how we behave with money because we’re afraid of what we might find. And, we often don’t have a safe way of doing so. That’s where money coaching is helpful.

What we believe affects how much money we make, manage or or build for the future. For example, the overspender justifies her purchases with excuses - “Well, I’m not spending that much, I only shop at the dollar store.” The avoider doesn’t look at his bank account balance, or save for retirement because it’s too far away to feel real.

Our core money beliefs are ingrained deeply within. We have  we’ve stopped asking WHY we need to work so hard or acquire money.  But what money means to us is a key question to understand. Kansas State University and the Klontz Consulting Group show that How much money is enough for you? That’s a question I ask when giving presentations and the answer tends to be twice what they’re currently earning. When they reach that next goal? The new goal is – you see where we’re going here – twice again.

Take the Quiz by clicking on this link and find out if the beliefs that run your money bus are: Money Worship, Money Vigilance, Money Avoidance, or Money Status and you’ll find there are recommended steps to deal with each type.  Then call or email me and we’ll talk about the results in a 15 minute complimentary conversation. 

 

Poor Money Attitudes: How to Retrain Your Money Brain

My Money Attitude for much of my adult life was avoidance. Except for paying the bills and talking to our financial advisor once a year, I didn’t think about money much. I worked as an addiction specialist for over 20 years and was more focused on helping than how much money was coming in. Then I started a coaching practice, my husband will be retiring, and last year I became Certified as a Money Coach. Now, I’m VERY interested to know more about money and how I and others, think about, manage and especially mismanage their money. 

Here's a Quick Money Assessment:

Is your current attitude about your money more based on fear or peaceful?

Fear  ___ Peaceful  ___

Do you feel in control of your money? Y  N

Or out of control, overwhelmed?  Y N 

Do you actively manage your money on a daily or frequent basis  ? Y N

Do you avoid checking your balance? Y N  

If you’re 35 or older, are you actively saving towards retirement?  Y N

What I hear when I talk with clients is that our attitudes about money are all over the board – from total avoidance to obsessive worry.  Neither effective strategies for feeling good about our money or helping it grow.

I also notice that people are rather clueless about how to manage the money available. I was and who can blame us? What money management practices did your parents teach you? There are folks may look really good from the outside – nice house, car, pretty clothes, upscale lifestyle. But because I’m a Money Coach I see what goes on behind their financial doors – not so functional.  No judgment or blame – they’re doing what they believe they need to do to feel good about themselves.

Steve Repak’s new book: “Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money,” suggests that retraining the mind is essential to changing your money habits and that it’s never too late. First he says you have to commit to wanting things to change, to be different.  So true, as the addiction author Ernie Larsen said, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” Repak suggests starting with small changes –  instead of going out to lunch every day (can save 150.00 a month easy there) pack a lunch. Commit to reducing debt one card at a time. (Nothing new there.) And, this is my encouragement – stay focused on your financial goals, which means you need to have some to begin with. A good first step is to know where you’re at – income, expenses, bills, needs and wants.

Widow Alert: A Man Is Not a Retirement Plan & Social Security is No Savior!

My coach and mentor Deborah Price of The Money Coaching Institute in Petaluma, CA says that most widows are out of money within 5 years. Whew!! Frightening. She also says: "A Man is not a retirement plan." As a Money Coach I talk to women every day who avoid the topic of retirement, or the subject of money in general. I understand, I used to be one of those women!!

But life can provide rude awakenings so please read on and I'll share a true story with you:  I was at a party and got to talking to a woman about money because she asked me what I do. Glenda (name changed) told me that she’s now 75. When she was 59 her husband died unexpectedly at 66. She called Social Security to find out about her benefits as she assumed she would receive 70% of his monthly amount and was shocked to find out that for each month she was NOT 65 Social Security deducted ½% of his total. She ended up receiving 40%, a very different amount than she had planned on or needed to live the comfortable lifestyle they had together. (Note: I've since talked to a really sharp financial advisor and she's investigating whether it's possible for her to now change and take her own SS benefits over her husbands).

I have a friend who just lost her husband, again unexpectedly. He was 72 and she’s 47. They have no children so she will only receive a $250.00 death benefit and has no right to any of his social security. I know he thought she’d be fine when he went. But, she no longer has his income which amounted to most of their monthly income.

The moral of these stories?  Know what Social Security will and will not provide, make sure you have life insurance, (my 47 year old friends husband did not) and have a financial advisor calculate out the amount of money you will need per month to maintain at least 75% of your income. Start an automatic savings program and find a good financial advisor in your area. Ask around and if you're a woman in business try to find a good female adviser. Losing a husband is a huge loss and financial problems complicate everything. Start thinking about and planning not only the IDEAL retirement, but for the worse-case scenarios and you'll be ok financially.

Is Shopping Till You Drop a Problem?

Ever shopped because you're stressed or anxious? To distract yourself from problems or after a fight with your spouse? Because you're bored, lonely? Do you shop every day? What would happened if you didn't? What do you imagine you're really going for when you shop? (What feeling are you trying to deal with, deny or fill?)
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