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? 

Read More

Taxes & Stress: 5 Steps to Simplify and Soothe

Taxes & Stress: 5 Steps to Simplify and Soothe

Taxes and stress go together like death and taxes. No wonder we get stressed and put off the pain as long as possible. Stress amps up our fight/flight alarm system. Breathing – even 5 or 6 breaths stimulates the relaxation response and both systems can’t be active at the same time.

Read More

2 Steps to Shift from Money Fear & Stress to Gratitude

How do you shift from stressing about money to gratitude, JOY and freedom? That may sound impossible, but it's not. It just takes time, energy and of course: FOCUS.

If you're feeling unhappy about your money situation and there may be very good reason - a job loss, divorce, downsizing, overwhelming debt, finally let your house go into foreclosure, it may sound impossible to feel you'll ever be ok again.

But, you can be and the answer is part perspiration and part inspiration.

Step 1:  Let's tackle the fear first:  

1) Write down all the money fears you have on a piece of paper that you'll throw away. Go on - do it and do it now.

2) Feel the fear - I know this ain't fun, but "feel it to heal it" is a truism and it only lasts a minute. Notice where you most feel the energy of the fear in your body. Rate the fear on a scale of 0-10 with 10 the worst. Breathe into your body for a few minutes feeling it with the in breath and releasing the fear with the exhale. Rerate the charge of the anxiety on a scale of 0-10 again.  Better? Little shift? Repeat until the number down enough to feel relief.

3) Now, if you're ready, ask - what's the blessing of this situation or money fear that I'm having? As soon as we gain perspective because we're not so caught up in the emotion, we can THINK better and be aware of any blessings. When we're deeply IN the emotion we can't think.

4) If you can't go there yet, it's ok.  Think about and FIND at least 3 things in your life you can be grateful for right now - List them, feel the gratitude and imagine you have a REMOTE control in your hand that you can dial the number up to increase the FEELING of gratitude in your body and mind.  Raise the number as much as you'd like. Repeat this process until you feel complete - may take a few days to weeks. We're all different in terms of how willing we are to let go of the past. When you're ready go back to Step 3 and find the blessing of the money challenge.

Step 2:  You know how you read in Oprah Magazine and many other places, about how important it is to be GRATEFUL? Do you know why? Fear and stress lower our energy, depress us and disempower our ability to focus on what we want to create in our lives. Gratitude, love, happiness increase our energy state and therefore increase our ability to see possibilities, focus on what we'd like to have more of in our lives and very important - REFOCUS when we lose our momentum and or stuff happens - and we all know stuff happens to all of us.  

A very simple formula is to write down 3 different things you're grateful for every day. I like to do so at the end of the day. Writing it down cements it into your subconscious and then you take those positive feelings into sleep where your subconscious works with it to help you create more of what you want.

If you get stuck on the fear and this is like any CHANGE process - it takes time to RETRAIN the brain (our most powerful instrument) say the words out loud:  CANCEL  CANCEL and then think about the opposite of the problem you were thinking about.  For example:  I don't know how I'll make payroll.  CANCEL CANCEL and think or say:  I know I'll find a way to make the rent.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Your subconscious will start looking for solutions.  

Resources about this subject:  FREE Monthly Webinar: December's 3 Keys to Turn Holiday Stress into Peace/3-keys-to-holiday-peace  Lynn's Money Coaching Programs, Wayne Dyer:  Wishes Fulfilled, (CD with James Twyman excellent meditation), Esther Hicks material, Jack Canfield or Mark Victor Hanson.  

Shopping & Loneliness: A Perfect Match

Shopping and loneliness go together like a perfectly matched pair of shoes. I was having lunch with two business women friends yesterday and I asked them what they saw as money challenges women face. "When I'm stressed I shop. It makes me happy, sort of." My other friend said, "I eat and it's comforting, but then I feel guilty." Shopping, food - Bingo. Quick Relief - then guilt!
Read More

More Money Will Make You Happier?

More Money Will Make You How Much Happier?  There is so much pressure in our society to always go after MORE, more, more money. Addictive, anyone?  

But, research shows that after someone’s earning $75,000 a year, more money, even a lot more, doesn’t make them any happier. Well, a little bit happier – about 9% happier.

So, if it’s not true that MORE money will make you happier, what is the truth? According to Happy Money authors Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton, (two Harvard professors), there are 3 keys to being happier with your money: 

1) Buy experiences vs. stuff. When students were asked to think about 4 material purchases and 4 experiential purchases and to draw circles and place those circles around a larger circle called SELF - depending on how closely linked each purchase was to their sense of self, the experiential purchases won hands down as being more important.

2)  Make it a treat & SAVE money. If you go to Starbucks every day and spend $5.00 it’s expensive and it’s less of a treat than 1x a week. Try this:  Try limiting your visits to 3x a week or 1x a week for that special latte. and drink regular coffee the other days.  I tell my 5 year old granddaughter Shelby that she can have 2 Hershey kisses after her nap – she looks forward to those and enjoys them thoroughly and rarely asks for more.  Treats have Value. Bonus: How much $$ can you SAVE a week with just that simple adjustment?

3) Buy Time:  One stressed, over-working mother of two children, hamsters and hubby bought a Roomba to help with housework. The $300.00 purchase saved this household time in cleaning and stress. 

Time Affluence: Everyone feels overly busy and you may be shocked, as I was, to hear this bit of research, but the time crunch is due in good part to financial prosperity. In general America is wealthier now than 50 years ago. “Wealthier individuals spend more of their time on higher stress activities shopping, working and commuting." 

”TIME SCARCITY”: increases the value of what’s perceived as scarce: As incomes rise, time seems more valuable!!

The authors recommend not using money to get more time, but to value happier time as an end in itself. Switch the focus from making more money to having more time. Ah...feel better?

 

Financial Struggle Can Become Desperation: How to Help

Financial struggle can become desperation and did with a friend of mine. About a month ago, on a Tuesday morning I got the kind of call you never want to get. A woman friend had ended her life over the weekend. I was shocked and the news hit me hard. While Deb and I hadn’t been living in the same area for years she always lived in my heart. Because of the economy the last few years, we knew Deb had, like so many others been struggling financially.  

Laid off from one job she had a great deal of trouble finding another. She was skilled, but over 50 and if you think ageism isn't happening, you're wrong.  Rumor was she may not have always had enough to eat or been able to pay her bills. Then she found another job and things seemed better – until she was fired the Friday before taking her life. I can only imagine the fear, perhaps embarrassment,  and hopelessness Deb was feeling at that moment. And, then she made a decision many make in the moment of desperation. 

But, Deb is not the only woman (or man – perhaps even harder for men to reach out to get help) suffering financially and suffering with the guilt, shame or blame of believing it’s their fault.

Over 24 million women were living below the poverty line in 2009

27.5 % of black women live under poverty line

13.5% of white women in 2009

In Nov 2013 in the State of California food stamp and welfare money was cut. One of my clients lost $100.00 a month from her disability and about $30 a month from food stamps.  That's a BIG net loss for someone barely scraping by.

35% of households headed by single moms were “food insecure”

13% of women over 75 were poor compared to 5% of men over 75

Only 40% of women retire with enough money to live on. More women by far retire in poverty than men.

A working wage based on the minimum wage of 8.50 an hour = 17,000 a year – that’s considered below the poverty line.

2010 31.6 % of single women households were poor compared to 15.8 of households headed by single men

How we do help someone who may be in Deb's position? We reach out and past their embarassment or shame with kindness and gentleness by not asking, but just bringing food over for a get together, leaving an envelope with cash for bills, and letting them know we're there for them until they get on their feet again. One person can't solve every problem but a group of friends can make a big difference.  I don't think many knew Deb's suffering - she was very private. We ask our connections and friends about job possibilities and try to support the person through the aloneness of struggle. 

The larger question is how do we change financial struggle and poverty? Think about it and come up with your answers, but here are a few of mine:  

1) We must educate ourselves about money, (there are TONS of resources FREE on the web)

2) Vote our conscience with compassion for those less fortunate

3) Reach out to friends and family if we get the sense they’re struggling more than they are able to say.

4) Collectively: A simple thing we can do is vote for a higher minimum wage to help more people out of poverty. When people are living in poverty they can't spend money on consumer goods as they're able to when more secure.  

How I Saved $14,000 in One Day On Vacation

How did this Money Coach save $14,000 in one day while on vacation? Sound like a miracle? Well, it sorta was. My husband, Dave and I were on vacation in sunny Escondido at the Lawrence Welk Resort - yes, you heard that right. Lawrence Welk of 60s TV & bubble fame has built a money making resort about 40 minutes north of San Diego. Why did we drive 7 hours to stay there? Because it's child friendly and our grandchildren are joining us so that we can make good on our Christmas present to them - a trip to the San Diego Zoo.

But, let me get back to the big money we saved today. For two full day Zoo passes worth $88.00 we, in a moment of weakness, insanity, fill in the blank, decided it was worth it to attend a - you guessed it -a 90 minute TimeSHARE Presentation. Three hours later, though a bit financially stressed, we walked out as rich as when we met our lovely saleswoman Lynne, a therapist soul-sister, who did everything in her sweet power to convince us that it was "nothing" to add to our 2 timeshares, or trade them in on the NEW even better development of the Lawrence Welk resort - all for only $14,000.

By the time we'd been there nearly 3 hours, we almost caved - we were wearing out and wearing down and the last deal, the smallest deal, the best trading deal was starting to sound good.  (Our math also showed us that the 3 hours we'd sat patiently while Lynne very sweetly described all the glories of ownership was worth between $600.00 - 800.00 of our time by our hourly rates - somehow this helped direct us back to sanity.) As we began to weaken we thought if we just signed the deal we'd get out of there. Dave and I had a private conference and did the figures again and in our regained frugal sanity realized we can do a lot with the $14,000 it would have cost for a week a year timeshare - we can remodel our bathroom, we can upgrade to a larger unit when we go to Mexico and we go every year (of course we already have a TimeShare - doesn't everyone?) 

As Dave and I escaped from the Time Share building, we laughed in relief - we'd just saved $14,000 and we got those $88.00 Zoo Tickets. Here are quick rules on how to keep your money in your pocket if you attend one of these presentations:  Smile, nod, be polite, firmly grip your partners hand and give each other the NO, don't you dare say yes grip as needed, keep smiling and as they present their last option, say please give us a couple minutes and then a sweet, clear and firm NO when the sales person returns. Yes there is disappointment - I hate to say no to a sales person - but your money will be in tact. Enjoy!!

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) 

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)

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?