A Money Coach in Canada

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From time to time I have clients who just.can’t.do it.   They can’t pull their head out of the sand.  Or sometimes they do, for the briefest while, and then dive right back into the comfort zone of Not Knowing.

One of my roles is to help clients reduce their anxiety about managing their money.   There are myriad ostensible reasons people prefer to avoid taking a good look at their money, but the underlying reason is usually a fear of inadequacy.

The fear could be …

  • inadequate income for their spending levels (I knew it!  I knew it! Now what??)
  • inadequate time/organizing skills to keep up with money management (I won’t be able to do it for the long haul anyway, so why bother trying now?)
  • inadequate confidence to see themselves as effective money managers (I’ve never been good with money)

Resolving these tensions takes time, and sometimes a few starts, stops and re-starts, before they fade.  In all cases, the most effective method to overcome the fears is by diving in and starting the practice of managing money.   With rare exception, clients discover that things are not as bad as they may have feared, but even more important is the sense of dignity, that’s right, dignity, of putting themselves in the driver’s seat.

queen.jpg

Will you be wanting fries with that?

In these days of financial tension, even the most spendthrift types among us are becoming more conservative with spending.

Life can still feel good.  Here are some five ways to get back in touch with what we already have, and enjoy.

  1.  Squawkfox, who writes clearly and intelligently about stocks, bonds, and inverse ETFs, also includes posts about food (accompanied by drool-inducing photos).   If you’ve got kids, and you’re thinking about hallowe’en, you’ll want to check out her post about gross, scary food you can make.
  2. We all know it feels good, but we rarely do it:  Pare Down.  Sometimes we spend in order to distract ourselves from the clutter in our lives – we are not comfortable in our own home so we go out; our closets are so over-stuffed that we forget our pieces that still fit and feel wonderful; our once bright, shiny toys are dusty and tangled with wires.   Paring down can bring back zen and contentment… without spending a dime.
  3. Apartment Therapy is featuring a series called “Something for nothing: Decorating with CraigsList’s free section”.   Someone in Chicago turned a workshop table into a kitchen island, for example.   Anyone with a toolkit and some creativity out there?
  4. Do you have dogs?  Then you may, like me, have forgotten part of the reason you got them in the first place:  To have fun!  This is a good time of year to play some games with your canine kids.
  5. And then you can always scheme how you, too, can enjoy a 4-hour work week.

Clients come to me for all kinds of reasons.   Many times it’s because the debt level has hit the “panic” threshold.  Many times it’s a general fear of concluding life as a bag lady.   Also:  General frustration with what their finances allow, or don’t allow;  wanting to provide a better future for their kids;  generalized guilt about not managing money;  feeling lack of control;  couples who wish they were more connected about money; chronically not earning up to their potential; sensing their spending doesn’t match their values; just a Yuck factor about money, period ….  it’s nearly as varied as the clients themselves.

And I’m no stranger to many of these sensations myself:   I’m not a money coach because I’m naturally wonderful with money; I’m a money coach because I’m naturally lousy, and lazy, and I’ve managed to learn a few things about how to overcome this.

I’ve also figured out what my real job is both for myself, and for my clients.

It’s to remind myself, and my clients at an individual level, of a fundamental truth about money that’s all to easy to forget.

Jesus gently pointed it out.

Obama’s got it figured out  (5th from the top)

and not surprisingly, I now discover Seth Godin’s got it all sorted too (best bit comes at the end)

ps:  even the Beatles  sang about it here.

Thanks for catching this one, Chris!

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