“I’m Mad As Hell – About The Price of College”

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” is the famous quote from the 1976 movie "Network" starring Peter Finch. That phrase incited audiences to take action! Boy, do we need action now!!

Here's my question: What is it going to take for people to get angry enough to keep the pressure on our legislators about the ever increasing and inflationary price of college?

The New York Times had an article last weekend about college grads who have over $100,000 of debt, can’t find a job in their field and are working for $8.00 an hour with payments of $800.00 a month.  Do you know how long it will take that young person to pay off $100,000 debt? Right - basically forever.

And, of course, unlike working adults who get into too much debt, student loans can’t be defaulted on without serious consequences. So the trap has been set.  Are we as a nation deliberately handicapping our college students with overwhelming debt just like their parents were set up by credit card companies? We see how well the super consumerism backed of the 90s created bankruptcies in the millions, homes lost, savings devastated and lifestyles changed irrevocably. And, yes, being a Certified Money Coach and a therapist, I think personal responsibility is a must, but there's a responsibility that needs to be borne by the banking and financial institutions as well!

In order to maintain a middle class we have to keep public education available at reasonable rates. Pay particular attention to the privatizing of colleges which have astromonically escalated the cost of a college education!!  Enough – Get Angry and Take Constructive Action for your children and grandchildren now!! I'm curious what you think - how is the rising cost of a college education affecting your ability to send your children to college?

Women - Put Your Big Girl Money Pants On!

Do you stick your head in the sand when it comes to your money problems? It's a common tendency. We think we can make something go away if we don't think about it. This is magical thinking which is how children operate. It's sad to say that sometimes we grown ups are so afraid of our financial circumstanceswe treat our money like a child would.  I get it - I have been there done that. But, it's time to put your big girl money pants on and look at exactly what's happening with your financial situation.

First, face the fact that your money problems will not get any better until you start dealing with them. Second, look at exactly what your bills are and your income. Then define your options. For example, a woman I spoke with this week has overwhelming credit card debt - not unusual these days.  I advised her to see a bankruptcy attorney to get advice about whether filing is in her best interest.  Another women I spoke with is just barely putting food on the table and she has teenagers that want new clothes. Understandable, but.... Teenagers can be part of their own solution. Don't give them all the gory financial details but let them know there isn't money for extras and if they want new clothes they can babysit, (I printed out flyers and distributed them in my neighborhood when I was 15), or yes, even work at a fast food restaurant. 

Women are smart, creative and full of incredible potential. If you know of a woman that's really good with her money, ask her to give you some mentoring help or support. Read to increase your awareness about how you feel about money, what your behavior patterns and beliefs are that support or limit you, and to know how to manage your money. Books I recommend include Suze Orman's Women & Money, Lynne Twist's, The Soul of Money, Deborah Price's Money Magic and Chellie Campbell's The Wealthy Spirit.  We women have got to take care of ourselves and taking control of our money is an important way to put those big girl pants on!!

Unfinished Money Business: If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

If you struggle with money problems you're not alone. Don't just blame yourself, your spouse or your parents though, do something proactive. Because if you don't, you'll find yourself in the same place in a year or 5 or 10. If you're having the same issues with money you've been having for years it's time to look within. What do I mean by that? "Inner work" consists of taking the time to be introspective, ask yourself questions and listen for the answers. The old saying, "All the answers lie inside you," means that in order to access your inner wisdom you'll need  to give yourself time to explore. There is no right or wrong way to do so. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Unfinished money business are the patterns, habits and convictions that get in the way of our financial health and well-being. We all want to have financial peace of mind, but we don't necessarily know how to get there. As a therapist and Certified Money Coach who struggled with money for years with my own money issues I love sharing what's helped me to develop a healthier relationship with money.

"The Apple Tree Exercise"  (From Mind Over Matter by Brad & Ted Klontz). Bring to mind an image of your mother or most important mother figure. On a piece of paper list 3 or more adjectives that describe your mother's behaviors around money: generous, impulsive, stingy, for example. Then list 3 or more things you can remember hearing her say about money and how it worked: "Nothing's too good for you," It's only money," etc. Write any beliefs she had about money. As you think about her background and money beliefs see if you can pull out the "money scripts" she lived by. For example:  "Money can be used to show love and to exert control." "Money's less important than having fun and enjoying life."  Do the same for your father or father figures.

Then go back to the adjectives that describe your mother/father and circle any words or phrases you believe are true about you. If you're up for it, ask someone that knows you well to check the lists and words circled for feedback.  As you can imagine, this "Apple Tree" exercise is designed to help you see how your money beliefs, patterns or habits didn't necessarily fall far from the parental tree. As you gain true inner awareness of your relationship with money when you make changes such as starting a retirement account, developing an emergency savings account, these behavior changes will "stick" better

Guilt About Too Much Money?

I know it seems bizarre, but there are people who have a lot of money and feel GUILTY about it. According to Brad & Ted Klontz, Mind Over Money, "financial rejection" is a fairly common money problem. I know what they're talking about. I had a friend who received a large inheritance and within 3 years it was all gone. Why? She didn't feel she deserved it or had earned it. Having money rather than "working" and struggling for it was out of her comfort zone. There were issues with her parents tied up in the guilt she felt, but she didn't know how to access that unfinished business.
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