A Money Coach in Canada

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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.

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Photo Credit:  SpiritMama

Margaret Visser  has done it again –  taken something as ordinary as saying Thank You and found fascinating things to say about it in a new book, discussed on cbc’s Tapestry  this morning.  Fascinating things like:

1. If someone gives a gift, it’s polite to not immediately reciprocate.  Why?  It stops wars.  Seriously.

Think way back to tribal days.  Fight, fight, fight … then one day someone in a tribe, let’s call him Joe,  offers a freshly killed deer (or whatever) to someone in the other tribe (let’s call him Jim).  Well now.  Jim has a dilemma.   Why would he go fight deer-giving Joe?

So he holds off and ponders what to do.  And as long as he’s pondering, Joe is safe.  Eventually, Jim responds by killing a goat, and brings it to Joe.  Back atcha. But enough time has elapsed that rather than a pure exchange, Joe now faces the dilemma Jim had faced.  Why would he go fight Jim?  So he holds off and ponders what to do.  And as long as he’s pondering, Jim is safe.

Etc.  Etc. Etc.!  And thus is war averted.

2. Learning to express Thanks is more complex than we realize.   Your two-year-old pretty quickly figures out: Hey, the lady’s waving.  That’s my cue to say “bye-bye” and then everyone around me will ooo and ahh.    Your three-year-old pretty quickly figures out:  If I say “please” I’ll get that ice-cream.   But figuring out to say Thanks?  That’s more complex.  What are the cues?  What is the motivation?  Finally of course, all decent kids figure out:  under circumstance A, if someone gives me something, I should say Thanks, although under circumstance B, it’s perhaps not necessary.   And saying Thanks doesn’t provide any immediate reward, it’s just something I do to avoid annoying the giver.

A sign of maturity is when saying Thanks isn’t simply a technical social convention, but something we feel inside ie., gratitude.

3. Gratitude gets us in touch with the transcendant.  For once, for blessed once, we are not self-focussed, but focussed on the giver.   And this teaches us to be human.

As Martin Buber points out:  The truth of being human is gratitude;  what is required is appreciation, a sense of awe and wonder. This indeed is the secret … a sense of awe and wonder, even amazement, that springs from our encounter with the world in which we live.

In short, saying Thanks even in the briefest of encounters, acknowledges the deeply comforting truth:  We are not alone.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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   photo credit: DavidCrow

There’s office politics, and then there’s office politics.

I suppose because most of my career has been spent in the education sector, which tends to attract people with an altruistic streak in them, I have managed to escape truly nasty work situations, with one notable exception.

In addition, having several years of entrepreurial income has given me a real sense of possibility, ie.,  not being locked into something because of a paycheque.

Some people are not so lucky.   Workplace mobbing by coworkers,  bullying bosses, and corporate cultures who haven’t yet created their “No Asshole Rule”  (if Harvard Business Review can publish the word, I’ll use it just once on my blog).

Women and men, competent, caring and fundamentally decent human beings, stay in work situations that destroy their morale, take sometimes tremendous tolls on their health and spill into their private lives.

Readers:  have you experienced a job situation from hell?  Did you stay, or leave?  Why do you think people put up with these situations for so long instead of moving somewhere where they can contribute and thrive?

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Photo Credit: Roland

I had a splash of cold water dumped on my head this weekend.

It’s not that I hadn’t intellectually grasped the fact that being on the payroll would diminish my credibility as a genuine fan of Citizens Bank of Canada.

But neither had I realized the extent to which any kind of marketing (even though I don’t consider myself a “marketer”; I’m an “evangelist”) job is instantly suspect.

Here’s the thing.

  1. Most people who know me, get pretty fast that I’m straight-shooting and straight-up.  This is one of my most deeply held personal values.  It was/is critical to my success as a money coach:  If a client is going to trust me with conversations about their money, they need to be sure that I’m not going to engage in so much as a hint of duplicity or judgment, not to mention anything unscupulous.
  2. With the exception of a brief stint here or there, every one of my jobs have had personal meaning to me.  Life for the paycheque is no life at all.

But there I was at BarBank Camp BC (an unconference with mega brain power and creativity applied to discussions about banking/credit unions) and the question came up:  Is it possible for people to actually love their f.i.?

I think it is, because I love mine.

But here’s where things got perplexing.

I love mine enough…that I’ve chosen to work there.   Before I worked there, I told others about it.  Lots and lots.  Now, I do the same thing except even more, and yes, I get a paycheque (NOT commission!) for it.

But when I posed the question to the group, I got a resounding response that simply by being on payroll, my authenticity diminished (one person even suggested, diminished by 90%).

I’ve never encountered this before:

When I was VP of a hotel college  no one questioned whether I was sincerely being a VP.

When I delivered financial literacy seminars for FSGV no one questioned whether I was a sincere facilitator.

When I  worked as an employment counsellor years ago for HRSDC no one questioned whether I truly wanted clients to find a great job.

So why is it that now that I (once again) get paid to do what I love – give lots of shoutouts for a kick-ass bank, suddenly my motives are suspect?  I don’t get it.

Readers:  What do you think?  Are we soooo cynical that anyone with so much as a whiff of marketing to them gets tossed to the bottom of the heap of credibility?

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