A Money Coach in Canada

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photo credit: Hafids

90831475_12d2e94978 Photo Credit:  wpwend42 Creative Commons.

Mostly when I was a kid, I was doing what kids do – piano lessons, school, learning to skate, reading, discovering boys, makeup and Farah Fawcett.

But in the background there were certain events that shaped my subconscious sense of the world:

  • A continuous, vague terror that the world would be blown up by nukes
  • Fear of the USSR and fear of China
  • Mulroney as PM; Reagan as president
  • Crazy inflation (oh yes, I remember! chocolate bars jumped from ¢10 to ¢25 in a year!)
  • Advent of McDonalds and McJobs
  • Discovering their were no decent jobs for my cohort when we graduated
  • Graduating with depressing student debt loads
  • NAFTA
  • AIDS
  • Growing up when adults were hippies and seeing them morph to yuppies
  • Women and the glass ceiling;   women backing off from feminism
  • St. Elmo’s Fire, Thirty-Something, LA Law
  • The movie Wall Street and its legendary Greed is Good speech

In short, it seemed like there was always a promise … a golden promise …that was just out of reach.   Just ahead of us were people with great jobs, advancing their careers and building their stock portfolios.

For me?   I worked like a madwoman – competent, educated, dedicated –  and yet always felt one step behind, somehow, until I started my own business as a money coach.

I took this personally, until I found out that it was sheer demographics:  The tail-end boomers got the remaining good jobs, the market maxed out, and my peers and I were left stranded.   Sucks to be Gen X!

But there’s good news coming.  The world will be our oyster within five years.   Or it would be, if those baby boomers would hurry up and retire, already.  And the probability of that just took a nose-dive, since retirement portfolios are no longer so attractive.

But I’m not bitter.  Yet.

I do recognize myself, shockingly so, in this National Post summary of Gen X, by Ray Williams.  He writes of Gen X:

They question authority, seek bigger meaning in life and work, are technologically savvy, live in the present, are skeptical, see career as a key to happiness, are open to multi-careers, consider challenge and variety as being more important than job security and constantly aim to achieve work-life balance….the Generation X manager is typically mature beyond their years, very adaptable and flexible, and team oriented. They have high expectations of employees and don’t buy into power structures. Generation X managers need positive validation for their work or they will not hesitate to quit their jobs. They hate being micro-managed and want independence in their work, which may explain why so many of this generation have turned to entrepreneurship.

That’s a characterization I can live with.   And with any luck, my peers and I will indeed discover our unique strengths as more senior management roles finally, finally open up to us.   Just don’t expect me to cheer lead any strategies to retain our aging workforce, ok?

Readers, any of you Gen Xers?  Does this resonate for you?

smiley-kid.jpgToday’s guest post is from someone who spent time in my hometown, Yellowknife! It’s a belated post (mea culpa) but with fall routine really settling in, the timing is perfect for a post on how a babysitting coop can work, saving you money, and creating a very warm environment for your kids.
It’s June 8, which means my daughter turns 24 today. It’s made me
a bit nostalgic, and I’ve been wallowing in some memories of her
childhood. She was born when I was living in Yellowknife, NWT, far from
family, and although Yellowknife was a small and isolated “city” (pop.
8,500 in those days), we worked together in a caring way, with lots of
laughter and regular pot luck dinners and cross-country ski weekend
events. One of the Yellowknife gifts that came into my life during
Emily’s first year was a babysitting co-op. It was started by a woman who
wanted to ensure her child was left in a safe and caring environment
whenever she needed childcare. It worked so well that I wanted to share
it with your website readers.

It’s a simple idea: a group of parents get together and work out a system
of childcare that is free. Now it’s been more than 23 years since I was a
member but here’s what I remember about the main guidelines.

Our group in Yellowknife had 20 families in it, brought together by
several women who each contacted several friends and then we had
an early evening gathering of all the interested mothers and their
children. (It was all mothers in those days, though not all of them were
stay-at-home moms; we also felt it was important that everyone got a
chance to meet the children too as they were as much a part of the
babysitting mix as the mothers.)

We worked out the specifics during that first meeting: 1 point for each 30
minutes of babysitting, which meant you were always in either a credit or
debit situation; we’d meet once a month just to visit and not only get to
know each other better but to also let our children know all the adults in
a relaxed social setting (not just when their mother was leaving them),
and to check in with each other for a point overview to make sure no-one
was in either credit or debt overload. We put together a master list of
each woman’s availability, for example some women only wanted to babysit
during the daytime, others only on weekends, some only specific week
nights. (Email wasn’t an option in those days but now it would be easy to
have an email contact list.) We also talked about what would happen when
someone moved away or left the group – should they have to “clear” their
babysitting debt before they went? We put together a contact list, made
copies, and proceeded to have a very positive experience.

There are some great reference websites (just Google “babysitting co-ops”
and you’ll suddenly have about 34,000 sites to work your way through)
along with a variety of books, including Julee Huy’s “Smart Mom’s
Baby-Sitting Co-op Handbook,” which I haven’t read but which gets great
reviews. (editor’s note: it’s available at Abebooks.com
for about $7)

If you’re part of a babysitting co-op, your children will feel like they
are going over to a friend’s house to play, or that friends are coming
over to play with them. And as a parent, you can leave your child(ren)
with family’s you and they know and trust. It’s a win-win situation for
everyone.

I get excited when I hear about anyone who decides to empower themselves around money. Imagine my excitement when I discovered one of my earlier bosses, who was a real role model to me when I was a kid in Yellowknife fresh out of college, had initiated a group of women in Victoria who are opening up the taboo money-topic with other women via lunches and workshops? And more than that — focussing explicitly on the ‘feminine’ aspects of money? Here’s how the group evolved, what they’re up to in Victoria, and some thoughts about feminine energy around money.

Million Dollar Women – Our Story

Back in September of 2005, we were all sitting together at the VI Women’s Business Network Let’s Do Lunch (we are all active members) at Spinnakers and were getting to know a new gal whose business is in the financial world. One thing led to another until we found ourselves chatting about the Rich Dad, Poor Dad board games. We thought there might be a need for an opportunity here especially for women. So it was decided to get together and play the games just to see.

We gathered in the way that women usually do, at the Queensleys’ home bringing pot luck and some wine for lunch. We have met weekly since then, always beginning with some lunch together and processing the previous week’s learning. The wine is now only occasional since we are all concerned over weight and getting something accomplished.

First we played the children’s game and moved up to Cash Flow 1 & 2. It was such fun to explore and learn together. In the early days we did a lot of brainstorming about the possibilities since we all have so much to offer, but we are not financial planners or analysts or millionaires. Through our own exploration and study, we discovered that everything to do with money is usually presented from a left brain, masculine perspective. How could we present this information from the right brain, feminine perspective? We went to work and The Joy of Money Program was developed.

We realized that we do a lot of feminine things really well, and we need only apply our own experiences and qualifications. After all, we are all adult educators, facilitators, coaches, writers, and consummate networkers. We are quite comfortable in our feminine skin and yet are also comfortable in the money world, having run our own businesses, raised families and live the law of attraction

Here’s what we have observed about our feminine process:
• Found a common interest
• Attracted by a business potential
• Came together over food – a pot luck (weekly)
• Share our experiences from the past
• Lots of listening & supporting
• Played the games
• Discussed our observations and learning
• Explored and acknowledged our personality types.
• Began developing our Business Charter
• Explored our Vision – what it would look like.
• Put together our program concept.
• Tried working together on a prototype (WBN)
• Agreed we each contribute what we are best at.
• Consensus decisions
• Equal contribution & investment.
• Lots of brainstorming.
• Exploration of the masculine & feminine.
• First session followed by processing what worked & didn’t.
• No competition – we don’t grab opportunities to plug our own businesses
• We honour each other’s weaknesses
• We share our own business materials willingly

You can learn more about the Million Dollar Women and The Joy of Money Program at www.themilliondollarwomen.blogspot.com

This is a powerful post by an amazing young hip-hop feminist dj who I met at Ladyfest Vancouver. Lina is a Scandinavian world-travelling dj (Soulflower),who has a no-holds-barred take on art, music, money and feminism. I love how her turns of phrase (English not being her native language) serve to highlight ideas that perhaps our ears have tuned out when heard in American-style English. Virginia Wolfe stated that it takes a room of one’s own and some money for a woman to write fiction. Lina asks, what would it take for women’s interests to be accomplished in the political -small and large – arena? Her thoughts challenged me personally — to what extent does my business, Your Money by Design, simply serve to help people achieve their individual money goals, versus help us become strategic citizens with our money? Here’s her post:

It must be funny in the rich man’s world?

What do women really spend their money on and to whom do they give their money away?
Can women create a better world for themselves just by selecting different products/services to lift up other women entrepreneurs? If women start only to choose/select and support women-made products, women owned businesses/projects then will women get more women into powerful positions all around the world, and will the women’s status increase and women’s voice and interests therefore, in different political debates and discussions, be stronger and be taken more seriously?

In the future, women might not even have to discuss (demonstrate or beg) for their interests to get attention. Women might have the economy to just go in and run it (like health care, sport & music events, media channels) themselves for themselves.

Is this a healthy and long term sustainable way to enlighten and value women’s intelligence, time, wills, skills, bodies, creativities, interests, herstory and whole existence? To open up for young and other women to see, learn and increase self-esteem to develop their life for themselves?

The picture of women’s complexity will be more accepted which will shadow over worldwide stereotypes and prejudices against women. Like an explosion of development – on women’s terms! and other women in the future can enjoy a more diverse and a dynamic culture. And it goes without saying that it will be as common for women as for the guys to get together to do whatever without explaining why. Is it a way to prevent the attitude of take women for granted and captivate women from knowledge? That more women can quit “stand it”, “wait”, “hope for next time” or “live in a box” and instead be able to choose and to have a selection to choose from?

Women’s money into other women’s pockets will develop other women’s life. More women can then start to spend money on ideas, science, products and services they are interested in, need and value. New, other and less seen perspectives will be noticed at working places, museums, stores, in media, theatres, cinemas, roads, concerts, festivals, cities, in your home and in nature. Will a “feminist economy” also result in a positive and friendly developed environment for us all, perhaps a healthier world?

It needs your consciousness though, and might be difficult to implement in everyday life. It might also take time and energy to figure out where to live, eat, travel, work, shop, what to read, wear, drive, speak about, listen to and see in different geographical areas. Suddenly you realize, again, the domain and scope of the rich man’s world.

Lina – DJ Soulflower
DJ Soulflower