A Money Coach in Canada

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Freebie #1:  Seth Godin’s “Tribes” is available to download from audible.com.   I’m an audible subscriber – have been for a couple years now – and give them two big thumbs up (in other words, you can feel comfortable downloading – they’re legit).  You may need to register with them.  I doubt they’ll annoy you with e-mails, but maybe use your yahoo address.

Freebie #2:   Free Concerts

a.  Pacific Baroque Orchestra:  Bach, Mozart & Friends (a kid-friendly event).   Friday, 19 Dec., 7:30pm.  St. James Anglican Church (Gore & Cordova)

b. Vancouver Cantata Singers:  A Christmas Reprise.  Sunday, 21 Dec., 2pm.  St. James Anglican Church (see above).

Nearly Freebie #3:  Women’s Diesel Jeans $50 across the board

oldbook.jpgI’m a history major.    BComm students and well-meaning (perhaps) working people pooh-pooh’d this course selection.

What use is it in the real world?  they’d inquire, implying I’d never make a go of it unless I joined the MBA crowd. 

 Fifteen years out of university, with experience as an entrepreneur, as an employee in small business, and in a large corporation, I can pretty much kick any MBA’s ass (no offense)

(photo credit: Zevotron

While we may not have mastered the corporate lexicon (learnings.preferred outcomes.KPI’s) and PowerPoint is usually our enemy, here are skills any history major worth her degree brings to the table:

  1. The ability to read – lots – fast, and extract the critical information that will make a difference to the business.
  2. Predicting trends – both by reading broadly (see above) and by good analysis of stats.
  3. Asking smart questions, and connecting the dots.  Studying history isn’t really about memorizing dates and locations and events.  It’s about asking questions:  What is the meaning of this event?  How does X event connect to not just the obvious Y but even to Z?  Or:  If we make X change in our business,  it will affect Y like this, and will likely affect Z this way – perhaps as an unintended consequence.
  4. Challenging convention and making new discoveries as a result.  Revisionist history is chiefly concerned with challenging the assumptions, interpretation and questions asked of historical events, leading to new, often radically new, understandings of the event.  Innovation, anyone?
  5. Seeing beneath the surface, and making thoughtful, grounded decisions.   Our current economic woes reveal how easy it is for businesses to make short-sighted decisions, sometimes without knowing all the facts.  History majors know that what seems evident may in fact be obscuring other information that, when considered, changes the whole story.  History majors, while perfectly capable (admittedly, not universally) of being decisive, are not prone to shallow decision making processes.   They know how to weigh opinions, to note what is not said as well as what is said, to consider the context and make decisions based on thorough research. 

AND.  If all that isn’t enough, how ’bout this:   We’re careful to give credit wherever credit is due.  Wouldn’t that make a history major a refreshing colleague? 

So there you have it:  my case for liberal arts majors (with a special nod to history) as essential to good business.

Readers: Have at ‘er!   Are you a liberal arts major?  Do you think it served you well?  Why do you think liberal arts majors seem to get short shrift?

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 PhotoCredit: Joannao

It doesn’t happen often, but from time to time my clients come to me not because they spend too much, but because they absolutely can’t bear to spend a dime, and it’s driving them nuts (and likely those around them!).   This expresses itself in at least 3 different ways:

1.  Some clients find they are having to be secretive about their finances (and I mean more than the normal-kind-of-secretive) and they are starting to fatigue of the effort.  Family, friends, always these clients keep their guard up just in case people figure out they have money.

2. Another symptom clients experience is spending hours and hours researching the value of an item, and ensuring they are getting the best possible deal that can be expected.  This is not a fun experience for them, but anxiety-ridden.   And to top it all off, there is not a deep sense of satisfaction over getting the deal, but a disappointed sense in having had to spend the money at all.

3.  And then there are those we call “cheap”.  Frankly, I haven’t had a single person come to me because they thought it was a problem … but their partners have, and do!  You know the type:  Stingy on tipping.  Stingy on gift-giving.  And stingy with their partners.  Partners over time grow resentful, and feel they’re carrying the load of creating a nice life experience (dinners out, trips, a nice home).

Very often, these clients are in fact well off, or better than your average canadian bear, but this misses the point.  They are serving money as much as anyone paying crazy interest on their debt load.  Rather than life and relationships being fulsome and easy, their tension around spending spills over into tension in general.

Do you recognize yourself in this?  If so, this may be a great season for some reflection on the issue.  Here are some starter questions:

  1. What are some of the origins of this approach to your money?
  2. Can you think of recent examples of spending that caused you anxiety?  At what point did you move from simple, technical  involvement in the process of spending, into anxiety?  If you can identify the point, does that give you any clues about the underlying concerns?
  3. What would happen if you loosened your grip, just a little, on your cash, while at the same time ensuring your priorities are indeed accounted for? Is it possible that the experience may feel a bit better than you imagine?

Readers:  almost all of us experience some degree of hating to part with our money.  For me, it’s easy to spend on the little things, but dropping $2K on a piece of good furniture, for example, stresses me out (temporarily).  How ’bout you?

Had coffee this am with a new twitterpal and blogger, Mike.  As a former financial-industry-insider, like me, he had some things to say about our current affairs.   He made this provocative comment:   Capitalism as we know it is something that knows it’s dying, so it threw itself under a bus – and now we’re trying to resuscitate it for $700etcBillion. (pardon me, Mike, if I didn’t quite get the quote right).

Like me, he doesn’t simply want a re-jigging of the system.  He hopes we find a completely new and different way of structuring our economics.

Capitalism, he points out, is was based on enlightened self-interest, aka, greed.  Try as we might to mitigate the natural trajectory of capitalism (ie. complete self-centredness) by legislation and regulation, capitalism ran its course and self-imploded.

What he and I hope for is a new model, based not on self-interest, but – Radical Alert!  -a system based on Other, rather than Self.  I am with him on this, entirely.  As I’ve written before, I’m fatigued of messages shrilly telling me that I can, and should have the life I want yada yada yada (oops- does anyone say that anymore?  I’m old.)  The life I want includes a planet that is able to replenish, rather than depleted.   The life I want includes kids thriving, well-nourished, and free of abuse.  The life I want includes a world without AIDS.

We can do it.

Readers: any recommendations of social-enterprises from whom we can both purchase for our needs and contribute to others?  (and I don’t mean just in the “gives xyz% of our profits, but businesses that inherently contribute to others)

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