Why do we make our financial life so difficult when it doesn’t have to be? One reason is that we want to feel better right now and our consumer culture loves to prime the “I work so hard, I deserve something” pump. Feeling stressed, unhappy, dissatisfied? Buy something – that’ll make everything better - temporarily... Except that after the initial glow wears off – usually by the time you get home – remorse or guilt set in, along with the now monthly payment that goes on and on. Yow.Read More
Isn’t financial fitness just as important for health and happiness? Did you know that food and money are both master teachers because they bring up emotions such as insecurity or comparisons with others who seem to have more or look thinner.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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)
When does the "gotta have it- want it now" lizard brain run over the rational, logical neocortex when it comes to how much money is enough? When the drug of "more is better" is fed over and over again with repetition. Dr. Peter C. Whybrow, author of "When More Is Not Enough," and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), connects the dots between the world economic meltdown and the ancient lizard brain that hoards for a rainy day. He states that even when there is an abundance of food and goods, the reptilian brain still acts as though there is deprivation. Michael Lewis, author of Boomerang, in a recent Vanity Fair article points to an interesting piece of trivia: overlay a color-coded map that highlights American personal credit over the Center for Disease Control’s map for obesity and you get a similar pattern. No big surprise there - overindulgence in one area of our life slips over into other areas.*(from http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/339566/lizard-brains-and-financial-crises).
As an addiction specialist what I know from 20+ years in the addiction field, hundreds of clients and research for Intentional JOY: How to Turn Stress, Fear & Addiction into Freedom, is that whatever we repetively do trains the brain, either positively or negatively. As Dr. Whybrow says, "If you follow the path of self-indulgence often enough, eventually you will lose the ability to self-regulate, (which is) a higher brain function."
In simple language that means that in times of plenty the reptilian or lizard brain doesn't know how to adjust it's hoarding instincts. Addiction anyone? I look at addiction as a continuum. At one end of the continuum are those of us in American culture that have no addictions and the other end are those whose lives are completely unmanageable with their addictions. These are the folks who have major financial, relational or health problems because of their addictions. Most of us lie somewhere in between and we still have choice.
I think the world financial crisis has the potential to awaken us to not only the mistakes we've made with money but to change the addictive beliefs that MORE will make us happy. Research shows that's an illusion and that once basic needs are met, more does not increase lasting happiness. Instead, to get the reactive lizard brain under control we need to face our fears, figure out how much is enough, and practice the discipline of daily right action.
Are You a Compulsive Spender?
Take this short quiz to see if you are a compulsive spender:
1) Do you shop, (in stores or on the net) to escape feeling stressed**, bored, lonely, empty, defeated, angry or scared?
2) After a setback or disappointment, does it feel like spending money will help you feel better? (It does, temporarily.)
3) Does your shopping or spending create conflicts for you, or between you and others?
4) When you shop or buy something, does your mood change?
5) Are you unable to enjoy your purchases because you feel guilty or bad?
If you answered YES to any of these you may be using money or shopping as a way to regulate your feelings or self-esteem.
First of all, good for you for taking time to get honest. Have you tried any of these to change your behavior? Promised to never overspend again to a spouse or yourself? Cut up your credit cards? One woman froze hers. That’s a pretty good in-between strategy and works similarly to not keeping sweets in the house when dieting. This slows down or creates a pause for that impulsive feeling of "gotta have it" and I mean right now!
But creating superficial limitations are bandaids on spending problems. The real solution comes from dealing with the feelings that are driving the behavior and by being willing to explore your relationship with money.
Try this: Next time you want to shop put the PAUSE BUTTON** into effect and check in with yourself before you go shopping. Ask: Am I stressed, bored, or anxious? If so, about what? Notice where the feelings are – belly, head, heart? Then take 10 deep breaths and with each exhale imagine breathing out the uncomfortable feelings, and decide if you want to shop or not, and try to stay conscious of how much your budget allows. Next Step: Learn how your early money story helps to create your money mindset with a Free chapter from my eCourse: Prosperity Power and Peace Click Here
Could they do any worse? Most of us are rather clueless about what really happened to bring about the crash of 2008, but one thing is clear, while we are all in this mess together, we didn’t all put us in this jeopardy. Greed is the real problem. Yes, individual Americans have a part in creating this calamity. They borrowed more money than they should have. Credit was so easy to get and banks were so happy to push it. But, the real story is more disheartening than just the lack of individual responsibility.
This current economic roller coaster started with the deregulation of the banks in 1999 under President Clinton. This did two things. It unleashed the easy credit frenzy and banks could once again offer stocks for sale. In 1999 the Financial Services Modernization Act was passed which deregulated the old Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. That law was passed after the crash of 1929 to protect the public from banks. With deregulation, banks were freed to unleash their greediness once again (hmm…. what we don’t learn from our past we are doomed to repeat). Deregulating the banks was like putting the wolf in charge of the chicken coop and expecting them to behave themselves.
The other greed factor and a “hidden cause of the current global financial crisis is that the people who saw it coming had more to gain from it by taking short positions (or by buying credit default insurance- in other words betting against America) than they did by trying to publicize the problem.” (Michael Lewis: Boomerang, 2011)
Here’s my question: If more women were in decision-making roles in Congress, banking institutions and large corporations, would this folly have happened? One Icelandic woman, Halla Tomasdottir, noticed the financial crisis that was building in her country and quit her high-level position as the CEO for Kaupthing Bank in 2006. She didn’t like the way things were going. She started her own financial services business totally run by women. Her company is one of the few profitable financial businesses left in Iceland today. And, Bloomberg reported that while women make up only 3 % of hedge fund managers, their portfolios profited 55% more than men’s from 2000-2009. (Can Feminine Values Fix Finance? http://www.cnbc.com/id/44860469)
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!!