A Money Coach in Canada

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Some thoughts on my CBC column on planning for your funeral, writing a will, and leaving a legacy.

  • The basics on writing a will in Canada
  • Options if you cannot afford a lawyer to do a will  (check out  this DIY Will site – not an endorsement!  But worth knowing about.)
  • How to begin thinking about your will
  • Various ways to think about your legacy
  • And if you find it all too overwhelming, here’s a simple thing you can do now to create a legacy.



As always, thanks to Loren and Joanne at CBC’s The Trailbreaker, who make it easy to be on the radio even at 7:45am.

And thanks, Kit Logan, for your beautiful photos on Flickr and for using the Creative Commons License!

And as always, if you need a little help getting a handle on your day-to-day money management, my $25 online money program will do the trick.

This is so weird. Twice now this year, I’ve gone to a church as a visitor and the topic was … being wise with money.

Anyway, when I was recently in Vancouver, I went to my radical and wonderful home parish in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the priest on deck for the homily, Jessica (yes, a woman priest, YAY and because it’s a High Anglican church it’s “Mother” Jessica), gave the homily, and I have to say it challenged this money coach.

It challenged me to make tithing a central aspect of my finances rather than a one-more-aspect. By that, I mean I want it to become my new barometer of my financial health. This is part of my re-invigorated money-coach-heal-thyself programme to which I committed.

Previous barometers were:

  • ability to meet my monthly obligations
  • building up a nest egg
  • buying a home
  • able to live a more luxurious lifestyle
  • having savings for nice things

But I want a new barometer.   I want my new barometer of financial success to be:  Am I managing my finances in such a way that I can give 10% of it away?  To organizations that feed the hungry?  To organizations that advocate for structural change, social justice, so that folks aren’t hungry in the first place?  To initiatives that will help the planet?  And of course, to my parish which has been such a rich blessing to me over the years?

I don’t do that right now.  I give a certain amount on a regular basis, and beyond that, on one-offs throughout the year.  But I can, and desire to, make it a central aspect of my money management to give 10% away on a regular basis.   If you want to listen to the homily – it’s about 6 minutes – it’s below.  If you want just the key points, here they are:

1. Tithing is in response to a great vision, not a commandment

2. Occam’s Razor – the simplest model is probably the best one  (10%)

3. Tithing can offer freedom from anxiety

4. It can invite God’s healing into our relationship with money

5. It’s a practice of gratitude

Mother Jessica’s Top 5 Reasons to Tithe from St. James' Anglican Church on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: More Good Foundation

Women, I’m agitated.

A g i t a t e d.

And my bottom line, which I’ll get to, is: It’s really, really, really important that we, as part of our definition of being self-possessed women, have our collective financial acts together.

What happened was this.

For lack of an iPad or magazines, I watched Dr. Phil on the flight down to Vancouver and my stomach has been quietly churning ever since. It featured a young woman, now 23, who had videotaped her father, a Judge, whipping her with a belt under the guise of “discipline” when she had been 16.

This was in 2004.
Not 1955, 1765 or 1800.

It was a barbaric, violent act against a woman to begin with, but two further aspects have me nearly choking down vomit.

1. The first was the mom, who later was clearly remorseful, but at the time, do you know what she said to her daughter? What she said was: Lie on your stomach and take it like a grown woman.



WTF TAKE IT LIKE A GROWN WOMAN? What’s that supposed to mean? What?

2. The second thing that sent me over the edge is that a sizeable portion of the online commenters not only thought it was ok, “kids these days need discipline”, but thought she was in the wrong for posting this and shaming her father. I know, I know, I know that online commenters tend to be the oddballs of society with time on their hands — or so we should hope, anyway, judging by the quality of most online comments. But still!

So in 2004 we have judges who think it’s ok to whip their teenage girls and mothers who think women should lie on their stomachs and take it, and a whole lot of folks who think that it’s justified to use height, weight, strength, belts against 16 year old girls. In North America.

I’m obviously not ok with it, and I’m hoping to hell you’re not ok with it either. Not at all ok with it. I hope society steps up, and with due process, seriously sanctions the father, the judge. I hope society overwhelmingly condemns this act.

But I doubt it will.

I doubt it will, because women are still not equal, or perceived as equal, or perceived as powerful. If we were, would a man dare to treat a woman like that?

Which brings us back to us women and money.

Being organized with your money isn’t about that great holiday. It’s not about feeling good about yourself. It’s sure not about buying Fluevogs (which is not to say I don’t!)


Our place in the world – such as it is, and after engaging in this episode I’m wondering if we’ve come that far after all – has been, and will be, hard-won. It’s been won by women courageously facing scorn and criticism and derision (not unlike that heaped on #occupy folks) who persevered in insisting women should vote, even at the cost of being brutalized in jail. It’s been won by women who wore themselves out being both moms and career women. It’s been won by women who endured harassment and quietly continued to do good work despite a hostile environment.

We’ve come this far. Let’s not fuck it up by complacency! And since money is power (witness who drives public policy), all I can say is that we women need to get very serious about our money, get serious about being savvy, and get serious about using our money to shape our society. Until we do, it will still be ok to whip young, vulnerable girls with impunity.

Forgive me in advance for how uncharacteristically direct I’m about to be below. Here goes:

1. If you’re not spending time to effectively manage your day-to-day money, your priorities are out of whack, and you’ll soon be out of the game if you’re not already.

2. If you think money is not important, or something you are too good for, you are kidding yourself. Money is a powerful energy and if you’re not in control of it, it’s probably in control of you.

3. If you think managing your money is about “creating the life you want”, your vision is too small.

Last, a confession. I’ve grown complacent myself. Over the past couple years, having significantly more than enough for my needs, I’ve been lax on my active management. Oh, I’ve set up auto-donations to causes, I seek out fair-trade/organic, a blend of truly worthy and feel-good, but I’ve lost sight of the Mammon aspect – that money is power. And I can wield it. And I’d damn well better.

And I will. Over the coming weeks, I’ll post (amongst others) what I am personally doing to make my own finances even more robust and, God willing, effect social change.

Photo Credit: European Parliament

Party On, Dudes! Join us in a toast to personal financial freedom and security and, not incidentally, the official launch of YourMoneyByDesign‘s new online money management program.

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us today!

Live streaming by Ustream

Here’s Nancy on location in beautiful Yellowknife, livecoaching a newly-single woman on personal money management in this challenging situation. Enjoy.

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