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
What are 3 reasons it's expensive to be poor? I have to go back into time to explain this. When I was first working as an office worker in the Central Valley of California in the 70s, I made $10.00 - $12.00 per hour. That's about what starting office workers make today. Shocking? Thirty years have gone by and the cost of living? Well, you know. I wouldn’t have considered myself poor at that time, but today, at those wages I would be.Read More
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.Read More
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
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.
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 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.
"People love to give me money," is an affirmation I picked up from Chellie Campbell author of The Wealthy Spirit, that I LOVE saying whenever I get unexpected money. I just received a check for $120.00 as a refund through Obamacare.
How? Here's the scoop: Thank Obama for helping insurance companies be more accountable to us and the dollars they spend. The Affordable Care Act requires Blue Shield (& I imagine every other insurer) to spend at least 80% of the premiums it receives on health care services, not adminiatration or advertising. Since Blue Cross didn't, it refunded 2% of our premium which for me amounted to $120.00. Not a lot, but it went right in the bank for the vacation we just took to San Diego. Yes to vacations!!
"This 80/20 Rule of the Affordable Care Act is intended to ensure that consumers get value for their health care dollars. You can go to: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/costs/value-for-premium/index.html for more info.
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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!!