A Money Coach in Canada

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Last night at 18:30, I heard 7 shots. The last time I heard that sound was 2am on a Sunday morning.  I went back to sleep, thinking I’d been dreaming, and later discovered an innocent 19 year old woman had been shot while trying to stop a fight outside the nightclub a half-block away from me.

So I knew what I was hearing last night.

I flipped off all the lights, and crept onto my balcony to see what was going on. Just like we hear about in the news, people simply kept walking by. I don’t think it’s because they were horrible people, but rather, innocent, and it didn’t occur to them that those ‘pow pow pow’s’ really were gunshots.

Within 8 minutes, cop cars were everywhere. I mean: Everywhere.

I threw on a coat and ran outside.

Just down the street the police were setting up police tape – I got there soon enough that I was inside the tape, but I hung far back from the scene.

The scene:

Very nice looking beige van, parked.

Passenger door wide open.

Man (middle aged? caucasian? slightly overweight?) lying dead, face up, on the sidewalk, feet by the passenger door. Blood soaked all over the right side of his chest.

Women with blood on her coat too, weeping.

It was a ‘targetted’ killing. Presumably, he owed drug money.

I ‘get’ why people become addicts, and how that would totally trash a life.

But I don’t really ‘get’ why people become drug dealers — most of the dealers barely earn minimum wage. Then as you survive it for a while and maybe move up — you can buy a van, I guess, and maybe a reasonably nice home? But the price of participating in the ‘industry’ must be so apparent: chronically hiding from the law, the complexity of laundering the money, and the constant fear for your life.

Christ once asked the piercing question: What does it profit you, if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul?

I just wonder. Why did that man get into the business? Did he get caught into it? Or was he attracted by … by what?

j0313819.jpgWe all know that loving money isn’t generally a good thing (did anyone else watch cbc’s JPOD episode featuring the woman on the bed… with loads of money…?) but:

Do you LIKE your money?

Here are 3 hot tips to enhance your relationship with your money.

1. Let go of the past. Whatever has gone on for you ’til now no longer matters. Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made, forgive your money for not being there for you (said mostly tongue in cheek, but also, sometimes we really do need to forgive life for letting us down) and start your relationship afresh. Believe it can be better for you. Trust yourself again.

2. See your money with fresh eyes. What do you think of money? For years, I ignored it as a necessary evil. Then I begrudgingly acknowledged that money was amoral. Now, I see it this way: money is a powerful energy with which I can nourish myself and the people I love, and bless the world around me. See how that would alter how I behave with my money?

3. Spend time together. Not spending it (although there’s a time to let spending thrill you, for sure), but getting acquainted with it:

  • what turns your money on? what makes it work?
  • does size matter? how much do you have? how much do you want? how much do you need?
  • is it staying home with you, or going places you don’t really know?

Get intimate with your money! After all, you’re in it for life together.

Happy Valentine’s to you, and if you have secrets about a happy, healthy relationship with money, leave a comment for us!

It’s ash wednesday, in my particular faith tradition, and I had a whimsical thought: I will return to dust, but some of my loonies and toonies will outlast me! kinda erie, now, looking at my coin jar.

And on a more serious note, I was struck by how money-and-power/politics related the liturgical prayers for ash wednesday were:

We confess….

our self-indulgent ways, and our exploitation of other people

our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves

our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts [ed note: that would be me]

Accept our repentence…

for our blindness to human need and suffering

for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us

for our waste and pollution of creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us.

Ouch! Hit a little close to home…

Last November, PF Blogger “Clawing our way to financial health” and I issued an eat-at-home-month challenge. A number of us committed to eating at home for the month, thus resurrecting long lost skills (in my case), rediscovering our kitchens and saving money. Each week we would post about it.

This month of Feb 08, it’s a new, wonderful, “Share the Love” challenge!

The idea is for bloggers, particularly PF bloggers, to donate above and beyond what we regularly give to charity, during February. Westcoast Willie’s charity of choice is sos-children’s villages. You can go to her site, read her comments about the charity and donate via the button.

What am I going to do? Two things.

Next week I’m going to forego Starbucks, and give the $25 savings to sos-children’s village per above.

But I’m also going to do something more. It sounds kinda dumb, but I’m doing it.

I’m going to ensure I have spare change on me, and make a point, every day, of giving away at least a loonie, to someone who asks for my spare change. And I’m going to try (operative word) to discipline myself to do it with an entirely open mind and heart. No judgment. In fact, ideally, an openness to what the other person has to offer. To the Christ within them, to use incarnational-theology language. Who knows who I’ll meet.

Spare some Change?

“So what’s it like, living with all the bums?” a colleague asked me, upon discovering I live in gastown/downtown eastside, Vancouver (Canada’s poorest postal code). Caught off guard, I didn’t know how to reply.

One thing for sure:  rare is the day when I am not subject to multiple requests for my ‘spare change’.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things that influence my response.

Consider this.  Do you ever experience a /Feed Me Now! / sugar low? Or live with someone who does?  If so, you will know that getting something, anything to eat, fast, is imperative.  Nothing else matters and god help the person who suggests otherwise.

Now, throw this in the mix:  Have you ever had a hair-pulling, frustrating experience with some system – a bank, say, or one of those phone loops from hell? The kind of frustration that leaves you helpless and enraged?   Now imagine those together: you’re in a /Feed Me Now!/ mode while trying to reach a live human being at the CRA.

The ‘bums’ experience this as a lifestyle – and often fly off the handle with those who maybe, just maybe could help.  If they could be reached.

Here’s an experiment.  Take off your watch for a week.  Discover what it is never to know exactly what the time is.  Really.  Try it.  Imagine no reliable clocks in your home or computer.  Yet if you want supper, you must be at the food line at the exact right hour, or you miss it.  So let’s hope you wake up in time for breakfast.

Water.  Most of the ‘bums’ are dehydrated.  Where would you get water throughout the day, as you panhandle?

Speaking of water, you know that grim, squishy feeling you get when your shoes are sopping wet?  And for that matter your socks?  Imagine that as a lifestyle, day in, day out.

Oh, and teeth.  I bet a few readers have known the misery of a toothache, or the ragged edges of a broken filling.  How long would you be polite?

Spare change.

Spare change?

Do I have some spare change?

I’m a money coach.  Most of my thinking and commentary about money is on an different scale and sifting through entirely different matters.

But sometimes, it comes down to the simple question:

Do I have any spare change?

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