A Money Coach in Canada

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I can list the money books I wholeheartedly endorse on one hand.   A new one just got added to the list, and I’ve got one copy to give away to a reader, or someone you care about, who would benefit from some thinking about money.

The Secret Language of Money is not The Secret redux, its title notwithstanding.  Rather, it is a grounded, thoughtful invitation to explore our relationship with money – the ways we give money meaning that it doesn’t really have, and how that plays out in our lives.

If you’re tempted to believe you and I are rational about money, consider this experiment at Harvard, replicated 600 times:

Groups of economists and financial specialists were set in an auction environment and shown a $20 US Dollar Bill up for auction.  In over 600 “auctions”, not once did that $20 sell for less than $20.  HUH?  Exactly.   Presumably this happened because the prize ceased to be about $20, and became about winning.

That may seem a bit far from our every day money realities.  The book brings it all a lot closer to home.  See if some of these don’t ring true:

  • After a setback or disappointment, do you spend a bit of money to feel better?
  • “I’ve already spent more than I planned to.  I might as well go ahead an buy XYZ too, since I’ve blown my budget anyway.”
  • “I lost money in the stock market, so I won’t invest in the stock market anymore!”

Between my work in my life as a money coach (currently on sabbatical, btw) and my own self-discovery about my relationship with money, I have concluded that unpacking our hidden money drivers is imperative if we want any hope of managing our money effectively.

This book will help you – or a friend – do that.  It could be one of the most helpful Christmas gifts you provide someone.

Interested in a free copy?

Leave a comment describing one example of irrational thinking about money you’ve either engaged in personally, or have observed, and your name will go in the draw!   The draw will be next Sunday, Dec. 13th so the book might even arrive in time for Christmas (if you observe it).

UPDATE: Congrats to Nola who was selected by the Random Generator to win the book. Thanks all for your comments — they could form a blog post in themselves! Nola, I’ve e-mailed you. If you didn’t receive it, pls check your junk box just in case. If still nothing, leave me another comment.
ALSO: Thanks to McGraw Hill for donating the books!

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

18 Comments

  1. To me, playing the lottery is irrational. My father has been playing the lottery for decades, despite the fact that he knows how terrible the odds of winning are (e.g., You have about a 1 in 14 million chance of winning Lotto 649) – think of how much money he’d have if he’d saved/invested that $2, or $10 or $20 he spends on the lottery each week!
    .-= Beth´s last blog .. =-.

    [Reply]

    Dec 05, 2009
  2. Cyndi in BC

    more money = more happiness

    [Reply]

    Dec 05, 2009
  3. Kate

    I think this is a common one, and when I catch myself doing it, I make myself consider it rationally. Thankfully I don’t do it often. “I have worked really hard, and I deserve [insert expensive thing here], I don’t care if I can’t afford it.”

    [Reply]

    Dec 05, 2009
  4. Marita Hollo

    A single 61-year old friend lives paychecque to paycheque, which varies month to month, depending on PT ESL teaching, & editing & proofreading jobs. She also rents out a room to international students. Minimal income – not sure how much.
    When I stayed with her & her pay came, she rushed out to get her hair highlighted & got a pedicure & new shoes. I commented on the cost – as opposed to food, household necessities, etc. She told me it made her feel good to take care of herself.

    [Reply]

    Dec 05, 2009
  5. Clearly a ton of women think nothing of dropping a load on handbags. I only recently bought my first actual leather handbag for $70, which I though was an outrageous sum of money. My co-worker was appalled as she would not spend under $300 on a handbag and updates them annually. But it’s not just women who suffer from the aquisition bug. My husband is addicted to tools. He scours the flyers and as soon as there’s a hint of a sale, he’s there and it’s here. We have 4 different types of saws, which is probably like having 4 expensive handbags.

    One thing I’m trying to do is to donate the money I hold back on spending – so If I walk away from a $20 purchase, I donate it to the foodbank, and so on (within reason).
    .-= harrietglynn´s last blog ..A Little Snow for the Holidays =-.

    [Reply]

    Dec 05, 2009
  6. Mark

    Yeah, I do thing where, I already blown my budget -oh what the hell!
    Very though provoking. Something we should spend a little more time thinking about.

    [Reply]

    Dec 06, 2009
  7. I can confirm the anecdote about auctioning off the $20 — I’ve done it. Not my idea — I read about it online somewhere — but it worked really well. I auctioned off a $20 at a charity fundraiser last year and got $40 for it. We didn’t do quite as well as in your example above but it still proves the point…..

    [Reply]

    Dec 06, 2009
  8. Nola

    My MIL is a proponent of the “if I don’t think about it, it will go away” school of thought. That led her to not doing her taxes, which led to the loss of her GIS pension. Magical thinking and money don’t mix well.

    [Reply]

    Dec 06, 2009
  9. Kathleen

    In the past, before I started thinking a bit more critically about money, I would always go shopping if I had a bad day. I ended up with so many things I didn’t need. Now, I’m starting to think about what is actually making me feel bad, and a more constructive way to cheer myself up … most of the time, anyways.

    [Reply]

    Dec 06, 2009
  10. The book sounds great! In the career planning workshops I run, we discuss money and it’s meaning related to work. It’s amazing how many people have or would take a higher paying job just to satisfy a need for image or status or to feel they’re ‘making it’, rather than a lower paying job they’d really love. (I’ll definitely order this book for our resource room.)
    My best money decision was to start monthly automatic savings for annual expenses like car insurance and holidays. My worst decisions have been spending money on business ideas without a solid plan on what the ‘returns’ would be – because the idea sounded exciting.

    [Reply]

    Dec 06, 2009
  11. Nanci Murdock

    It took me years (decades?) to realize that the Universe will reward you for taking full responsibility for your own financial actions. As an example, I was out with a friend the other night at a restaurant and when we left she was filled with glee because the waitress had forgotten to add the last glass of wine to our bill. I remember when I too would have thought I’d, “gotten lucky”, but now I see it as just plain stealing. We order wine; we pay for wine. Anything less and you are sending a message to the Universe that you are willing to operate at this level. And trust me, it doesn’t feel so great when the shoe is on the other foot.

    It might sound crazy but when I started letting the clerks know that they had given me too much change back, returning back to the restaurant to say, “Excuse me, I think you forgot to add that last glass of wine to my bill”, and being aware of the messages I was sending to the Universe regarding money, my net worth first stabilized and then quite quickly started to grow.

    So yes, take responsibility and be completely honest with people you are having a financial relationship with (like waitresses and sales people). And if you find yourself spinning your wheels with money, ask yourself what messages you are sending to the Universe around your money beliefs.

    [Reply]

    Dec 07, 2009
  12. Sara Chi

    I’ve done it few time–I’ve earned the money so I can spend it, or this can make someone feel special which they don’t really need. The feelings of fulfillment or satisfaction can sometimes go wrong, I’d like to learn the secret of it and control it.

    [Reply]

    Dec 07, 2009
  13. I take the ostrich approach with ‘uncomfortable’ things to do with money. That is, I burry my head in the sand whenever there is a problem and think if I just hide for a bit and ignore the problem then it will magically disappear. For example, I will simply avoid checking my bank account to see how much is, or more aptly isn’t there. Yet I’ll continue to spend until the clerk says, “sorry their are insufficient funds in your account.” Sometimes I’ll stand with the debt machine in my hand anxiously awaiting for that little message that is sure to come any day now. The thing is, this has happened so often that I’m almost getting comfortable with it. Even when I have money in my account I get into trouble because I don’t pay my bills on time. I’ve had my gas disconnected twice in 2009 because I didn’t pay my gas bill. I just avoided it because managing my money and my bill payments makes me feel anxious and uncomfortable because maybe there won’t be any money in my account to pay for the bill and I don’t want to deal with that. The really stupid think is you have to pay close to $100 more to just have your gas reconnected, and talk about feeling uncomfortable when your house is freezing.

    [Reply]

    Dec 08, 2009
  14. aaah, yes, irrationality, one of my favourite topics.

    even though all in all i’m managing my money quite well, there are a few dark spots. one of them that has dotted my financial landscape for decades is the library. i take out lots of books, more than i can read, and then i don’t return them on time. when i found out that the fines do NOT go to the library but to the city that then cuts the library staff and hours, it only made a small difference for a short time. and, pray tell, what’s the difference between returning the books on a friday rather than on a monday? only a fine. do i learn? no.
    .-= isabella mori (@moritherapy)´s last blog ..motivation, marriage and work relationships =-.

    [Reply]

    Dec 08, 2009
  15. Kenny

    When I was younger, I used to play the lottery too in hopes of winning “the big one”. But I rarely won, and when I did win it was maybe $5 – $10. Over time, I realized that playing the lottery was a losing proposition: If I bought a ticket twice a week for one year but maybe won, say 3 or 4 times, I’d be spending around $200 just to gain $40. The chances were so low of winning anything that I’ve stopped years ago and invested what money I had in a nice index fund instead.

    [Reply]

    Dec 10, 2009
  16. Brian

    Something irrational that I’ve seen about money is how much people will pay for rare or prestigious items. Bottles of wine, designer jeans, food delicacies etc. People can pay a very high premium for these items but to the everyday person, the $25 bottle of wine and $40 pair of jeans will do.

    [Reply]

    Dec 13, 2009
  17. @moritherapy – I had *no* idea that library fines don’t go to the library! That’s how I’ve been justifying any time I pay at library fine – I think, “I’m too tired to go out and return this book, but it’s OK I’ll return it tomorrow and consider my fine a “donation” to the library!”
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..T minus 24 hours =-.

    [Reply]

    Dec 13, 2009
  18. Modulo8

    One time I was on the subway and these two on the subway kept talking about how stocks will keep going up and up and that they were borrowing money to invest because the returns were so lucrative. This was in 2007. Then in 2008 and 2009 the markets crashed and they’ve been silent since haha

    [Reply]

    Dec 13, 2009

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