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)

Women - Get Your Money House In Order

Money is power and women are taught to be nice, not powerful. Really. Think about that. From the time we're little girls we're taught to think about others and to override our own feelings for the sake of someone else's. Boys are taught to win and compete and they feel very comfortable with that. Personally, I believe we women can be powerful AND nice.

In order to get your Money House in Order first identify one or two mistakes you've been making with money. Here are a few to pick from. Try to be objective and don't blame yourself. The powerful stance is to take responsibility, learn from our mistakes and make new decisions to take new action this coming year.

Mistakes Women Make with Money:

1) Spend Unconsciously: Piddle money away on things like Starbucks, another pair of shoes, fast food.

Money House in Order Power Tip:  Get a small notebook or on a SmartPhone use the Note function and track every single expenditure over the next 30 days. Eye-opening. 

2) Take Care of Others Before Take Care of Self Financially: How many times have you (to be nice) given money to your adult children, boyfriends, partners, parents, people in need rather than save more of it for your future?  

Money House in Order Power TipConsider that most women don't have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, especially single women. Give, but give consciously and sometimes giving to adult children is financial enabling and hurts rather than truly helps.  

3) Overspend or Overshop to Cope with Anxiety, Stress or Just Because:  Women waste so much money on things they don't need. "A need is replacing something that's worn out. A want is everything else." ( Peggy Gardiner, Professional Organizer)  It's fun to shop. I get it. But, stay conscious of the immediate pleasure vs. how your money needs to work for you over the long term.

Money House in Order Power TipIf you tend to shop when feeling anxious or stressed take a PAUSE to think rather than shop out of habit. During this pause take 10 breaths.  Ask yourself - what do I really need? Time, relaxation, listening to, fun, pleasure?  What are other ways I can satisfiy this? How much can I really afford to spend? What's the most powerful thing I can do with this money?  

Here's to you getting your money house in order and as a result feeling and being more powerful with your financial choices.  Remember, you can be nice and powerful.  

Big Girl ACTION: 

1)  For fun, take the Money Type Quiz to find out whether you’re a Warrior Money Type – focused and disciplined or possibly a Fool – happy-go-lucky, not necessarily good at paying the bills.  Lynn offers a FREE 15 minute results phone consult. 

Overspending and Overeating – Can You Ever Get Enough?

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Overspending and Overeating: Can you ever get enough? No, not to "make you happy, except temporarily." Did you overspend or overeat during the Holidays? More than usual? Are you not surprised to learn that these two behaviors often go together in the same female? “Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and lonelineness during the December holiday season.”(Professor Ruth Engs, RN, EdD, Indiana University)

We may laugh at the term Shopoholics, and it was treated lightly in the movie by the same name. But overspending, like overeating, can be as serious a problem as any of the “isms” such as alcoholism. How much is enough when it comes to spending and eating and what exactly are we trying to accomplish with our indulgences? Pick your answer: To be social, to have fun, to avoid or distract ourselves from uncomfortable feelings, to feel better? The first two choices can be guilt free, the third one gets us in trouble because it works only temporarily. Then? We compulsively repeat the behavior, hoping to feel better, or to get high, to avoid all those uncomfortable feelings that come up in life.

Gently ask yourself these questions. They’re meant to help you understand more about your eating and spending:

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Did you throw all rules for how much to eat or a spending budget out the window and really overindulge? If so, are you feeling guilt or remorse? Or wondering how to get back on track? Do you have other ways to soothe uncomfortable feelings that don’t have a downside – such as exercise, talking to a friend who’ll tell you the truth, journaling, yoga, a coach or counselor?

Overeating and overspending are behaviors that often go together. Here are suggestions to start the New Year off right, get back on track and have a more conscious Holiday season in 2012:

1)    Gently take responsibility for the overindulgences: Tally up the weight gain and amount of money owed.

2)    Make a realistic plan – A) How much weight am I going to lose by what date? 1 pound a week is realistic – avoid drastic diet loss programs – they don’t work long term. B) What amount of money can I put toward paying off my credit cards each month? C) How will I hold myself accountable? For weight – have an accountability partner, join Weight Watchers or Food Addicts Anonymous? For debt – take a financial awareness course like Dave Ramsey, or speak with a money coach (like myself). 

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3)    Understand that the drivers of compulsivity are often feelings. Feelings of anxiety, depression, STRESS that are normal parts of life. Learn to go into those feelings safely, preferably daily. An easy to use guide is TARA (Touch, Accept, Release, Action) available as a FREE download at www.coachingmodesto.com on right side of page. (from Intentional JOY: How to Turn Stress, Fear & Addiction into Freedom 2009)  

Stop Holiday Overspending Stress

The Holidays can be loads of fun and terrifically stressful. For women, it's all the extra work to do; shopping, wrapping, parties to plan, cooking and family to be around that may trigger old feelings.
To cope with stressful feelings, some women shop more, spend more and eat more. (Yes, women also overeat to cope with stress.)
Do you love to shop and buy? Are the Holidays a great excuse to do so? Notice if you can relate to these questions and please don't beat yourself up if you do.1) Do you overspend or overshop frequently? 2) Overspend though you can't afford to? 3) Do you shop, buy or overspend as the major way to deal with negative feelings like anxiety, anger, lonliness?  Remember this, you're not alone.
According to experts on you may be suffering from Compulsive Buying Disorder*. Though only a small percentage of the population has the actual disorder and I view addictive behaviors on a continuum (imagine a straight  line across the page) with one end of the continuum those that have no compulsive spending or addictive shopping issues and the other end those whose lives are unmanageable. If you're at the extreme end you're experiencing things like relationship problems (because of debt or money behaviors), money problems, or work issues.  You probably also feel a lot of guilt, but don't know how to stop the behavior. For those that fit here, take a breath, and please deal with the problem, because it's not going to go away. There are therapists online, online support groups and therapists in your area. Use google or ask friends.
For those of you in the middle of the continuum that relate to overspending due to stress or the pressures of the holidays here are a couple things you can do.  1)  Look at money available in your checking or savings account. 2) Make a list of who you're going to buy for and use only the budgeted amount. 3) Stick to the list and take it with you when you go shopping. 4) Try to shop early in the day when your energy is good. 5) If you need to, take a friend with you that knows you're trying to stick to a budget. And, remember, changing behavior requires practice.  Happy Holidays and you can email me at lynntelfordsahl@gmail.com to let me know how you do.

 

*Uncontrolled Spending: A Clinician’s Guide to Compulsive Buying Ronald J. Faber, University of Minnesota 

Women: Are You a Compulsive Spender?

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.

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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