Feel Like a Money Victim: Here's What To Do About It

Feel Like a Money Victim: Here's What To Do About It

Deborah Price, International Money Coach and author of Money Magic, says too many people feel like money victims right now. A victim is characterized by powerlessness, hopelessness, and blame which is often the result of a great loss. Americans have good reason to feel victimized - from job loss and downsizing to fear of losing a job if they don’t work unreasonable hours, to short sales and foreclosures - there’s a lot of economic pain to spread around. And, the emphasis is on fear, which is not a good place from which to problem solve.

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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) 

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)