Money Stress!

There is no stress like money stress. The anxiety, fear, or dread that you feel when your money world is out-of-whack is the most uncomfortable and frightening feeling! It connects deeply to our survival instinct and our need to feel safe. But it also taps into our social fears: what would others think? I must keep up with the family, friends, or self-perceptions of success. Then there are the constant stream of “should’s,” “must’s,” “need to’s,” and “should have’s” that haunt our thoughts and disturb our dreams.

Very few people are perfectly comfortable in their money world. There are some, of course, and if you are one of those folks, I applaud you and want to be you when I grow up. If you aren’t one of those people and money stress is a reality in your world now, hang with me, and let’s create a plan to cope with that stress today.

  • Face the truth
    1. Write down what you have and what you owe and when you owe it,
    2. Come clean with your spouse about anything that needs to come out of the closet,
    3. Forgive the past and take positive action today.
  • Identify and define clearly where you want to be: debt-free, have savings of $X, earn $Y, etc.
    1. Be very specific about one thing – just one thing. It might be one credit card bill, one expense that you can eliminate, or one savings transaction.
    2. Write it down! Put it where you can see it, reflect on it, and absorb it.
  • Make a plan to get there.
    1. For example, if you have a savings or debt-reduction goal, you have to identify a specific way to make that goal happen. “I will only take out $40/week in cash rather than $60 and I will transfer that $20/week to my savings account/credit card.” That is doable; that is action.
    2. List all the things that have to happen – change the amount of the ATM withdrawal, transfer the money (when? Weekly? Monthly? How do you do it? Online? At the ATM?)
    3. The more specific you are, the more real it becomes and the easier it is to do it.
  • Take small actions every day to execute the plan
    1. We want the grand “fix” but that isn’t usually possible – many small steps will take you anywhere you want to go!
    2. “5 buck” your way to success – put down the 5 buck item and put 5 bucks in your savings account. Little amounts add up to big amounts when repeated frequently. It happens at the grocery store and it can happen to your savings account.

 

Knowledge is power so face the truth and get clear on where you are. Knowing the ideal creates a vision; it creates hope – what is more powerful and uplifting than hope? Clarity on what steps need to be taken creates feelings of power and competence. And best of all, action kills fear. The action of getting knowledge, envisioning the ideal, identifying the steps, and taking action combine to start a transformation. Continuing to take a step, any step, in the direction of your vision increases your confidence and feelings of competence and eliminates feelings of fear and stress. It is that simple and that hard.

Truth * Vision * Plan * Action

Financial Feelings

We often don’t make the connection between our feelings and our finances but emotion is what is driving most of our actions around money. “I want” and “I need” drive spending and those desires come from our feelings. Sometimes it is a feeling of emptiness, sometimes it is a feeling of lack or inadequacy, sometimes guilt around our relationships (mommy’s been really busy, let’s go shopping!) and the list goes on and on.

Close your eyes and think about the following words. Pay attention to the feeling in your belly as that is the truest indicator of what emotions you are storing:

  • Money
  • Bills
  • Job
  • Savings
  • Credit cards
  • Retirement
  • Debt
  • Salary
  • Income

If your thoughts of these words feel the same way when you think “baked potato” or “chair,” then you probably aren’t carrying around a lot of negative feelings around your finances and you are more neutral. If you feel pride, happiness, security, or comfort, then you have positive feelings around your finances – rock on! If you have feelings of discomfort, avoidance, fear, anxiety, shame or guilt, join me and  WOYN for this FREE webinar: Cupcakes and Credit Cards- Our Quest to be Rich & Thin in a Fat Broke World . Read Your Money Story Shapes Your Money Reality and do some exploration around those feelings and how they may be impacting your money reality.

Do You Want to be More Organized? Start With Your Finances.

 

We all talk about getting more organized. But, typically our organization means getting our house in order, or our office, or our closet . (You get the picture, right?)  But, how many of  us have our finances in order? Organizing your finances means learning how to live within a budget, building good credit, controlling debt and excess spending, developing short and long-term financial goals, and learning to invest. Like organizing  your house, you have to do it a little bit at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed.  After all, if you’ve never taken time to organize your finances, it is not going to be an easy task to delve into. But  don’t worry, it’s never too late to get started.   Below is test to see just how organized you are or if you need to do some more tidying up.

Answer the questions and see how many are true. If get ten or more True answers, you are definitely on your way to getting  your finances in order.  If you are not quite there, work a little bit at a time to create the type of financial goals you want to have. Good luck!

  1. I can easily locate the paperwork and documents for all of my insurance policies, investments, and deeds for my car(s) and home(s).
  2. I know the total value of my net worth–including my savings, investments, home equity, etc.–updated on a quarterly basis.
  3. I know approximately how much I spend on utility bills and other staples each month, and am able to stay within a specific range.
  4. I have established a maximum amount I may spend of my discretionary income each month and stay strictly within that limit.
  5. I always have a target limit in mind of what I can afford to spend on a daily basis, such as when I shop at the supermarket, drug store, the mall, or go out for lunch or dinner.
  6. I have at least one utility registered in my name and at least one credit card under my name alone–not as a joint account.
  7. I check my credit rating at least once every three years and before every major purchase, such as a car or house.
  8. I have closed all credit card accounts that I do not regularly use.
  9. I have paid off all outstanding debts and any other blemishes on my credit report, and am current to date on my payments.
  10. I have consolidated the majority of my debt into just one or two payments a month with low interest rates.
  11. I have at least three to six months worth of living expenses saved in case of an emergency.
  12. I have a percentage of my salary deferred to a long-term retirement account each paycheck (either I do this myself or it is automatically deducted by my employer).
  13. I have established three short-term financial goals, such as saving for a car, vacation, or a holiday account.
  14. I have established three long-term financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a home, investing for my child’s college education, or retirement.

 

WOYN Tip:  The next time you take a look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself what would you see if you put a mirror up to your finances? Would it be a  pretty fiscal picture or a fiscal mess?

Time Wasters

We’ve all experienced them. — People who waste our time. Whether it is in our business or in our personal lives, we know who you are and YOU know who you are, too!
The question is why do you do it? – And most importantly, why do we allow it?
I’ve asked this question over and over again through the years to many colleagues and  surprisingly the answers differ:

  • I had hoped “this time” would be different…
  • You would think that I after they wasted my time the first time, they wouldn’t try it again!
  • “If” I can just convince them that I have the right product than I know they will sign the contract…
  • They just don’t have money in the budget right now…but next year, maybe…
  • I’ve sent them several proposals and follow up e-mails but….
  • I don’t understand it; they said this was a done deal…
  • I have no idea why this keeps dragging on…
  • I’ve been talking to them for three years and I think they are finally ready to sign…

And Finally…

  • But, they were in such a hurry to get a quote. I can’t believe they haven’t called yet.

STOP it! Save yourself and Move on! — Puleeze!
There is a lot more business out there. Don’t spend your time on time wasters. Spend your time with those who value your time. If you don’t value your time, than why should others?
Sometimes doing a proposal is a time waster. – Learn how to qualify as to whether or not it is worth your while. Do they have a budget? If so how much have they allotted for your services? If they don’t know their budget, politely tell them to let you know when they do. You don’t want to waste your time in not having clear parameters on what you will be working with.

Other Things to Think About

Multiple meetings can be time wasters – Put a limit on them. Make sure you can justify that you are going to get the “right” outcome from your meeting. What do you want from it? Is it an appointment to go to the next step ? If so, what do you want from the next step? Make sure you are in control and not wasting your own time!

If it seems to go to be true…it may or “may not” be! – Of course, miracles can and do happen every day. But, do your background work and trust your gut. Again, anything you can do to save your time from being wasted, do it!

WOYN TIP: If you know you are a time waster, consider how you  feel when someone does this to you. So, the next time you want to waste someone’s time, start wasting YOUR OWN TIME first and let us know us how YOU like it!