A Money Coach in Canada

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When is the last time you had a meaty conversation about the meaning of life? Or attempted to think through (much less articulate) what living a good life means to you?

It’s been years for me, frankly. Sure, I know what kind of things deeply please me: downloading a good sci-fi flick (finally discovered Doctor Who!) on my hd 40″ flat-screen TV; a well-crafted, made-in-the-USA weekender bag; a sumptuous supper with good wine at France & Doug’s place (who grow all their own produce and use solar panels for energy and pump in their own water from the lake by which they live).

No doubt you have your own list of good things.

These lists of ours are where we allocate our dollars (just ask Oprah).

While lovely and worthwhile, the sum of those lists don’t necessarily equate to a good life. And there’s no guarantee that at any moment a whole lot of those won’t be removed from us by illness, job loss, or a stock market crash. (Canada’s 2011 election results indicate most of us instinctively understand that, and so we voted in the guy who promised to protect us against the possibility).

A recent HBR article re-challenged me to do some hard thinking about all this. The author writes:
[In contrast to consumerism, there’s] an alternate vision, one I call eudaimonic prosperity, and it’s about living meaningfully well. Its purpose is not merely passive, slack-jawed “consuming” but living: doing, achieving, fulfilling, becoming, inspiring, transcending, creating, accomplishing — all the stuff that matters the most. See the difference? Opulence is Donald Trump. Eudaimonia is the Declaration of Independence.

Figuring out what “living meaningfully well” means to each of us requires quietude and deliberation. It is not about going from pleasurable episode (fun Doctor Who flick) to pleasurable episode (lovely dinner with friends) to pleasurable episode (vacation in England) but an over-arching, continuing, life-long narrative into which the episodes fit, or don’t. On a personal note, I’ve dusted mine off from years ago and mine is simply this: to be and become the most Nancy I can, in this one life (to my knowledge) that I’ve been given.

As we work through these very.big.questions, we will discover we can extricate ourselves from our culture of consumption in favour of living into our very own, unique lives well lived.

Photo Credit: elkit

If there’s one passion fueling me in my work as a money coach, it’s this:

I believe our culture has gone wildly astray in our relentless pursuit of More Stuff, I believe that our planet and our we ourselves are increasingly damaged by it, and I believe it does not have to be this way if we learn to take a pause, collect ourselves, and re-imagine money and meaning.

My ultimate hope for my clients is that as they get a handle on their finances, and grow in confidence about their money, they will use the power of their dollars to make change in the world, possibly in a way that even governments and politicians won’t.

Posts in June on Wednesdays and weekends will hone in on this. Some posts will be how-to’s, while others will be more theoretical. My hope is that you will join me, and also teach me in your comments, in learning to re-imagine money and meaning.

photo credit: CyboRoZ

I do believe I screwed up last Saturday when I said the first step in achieving your hopes and dreams is to write them down.

I think there are actually two steps prior to writing anything.

The first, in polite Steven Covey terms, is to begin with the end in mind.

In other words: Consider Your Death. You are going to die. Obviously so am I.

Forgive me for being so blunt in April of all times; death has been on my mind. A man of great influence on me personally died last week. I listened to this interview of Nuala O’faolain, a famous Irish author in which she talks frankly and weepingly of her impending death. And most directly relevant, I watched “Really achieving your childhood dreams” a video by a Carnegie Mellon professor who knew this would be his last ever lecture.

It’s worth taking time to think about it, at least a little, before landing on and pursuing our hopes and dreams: When we are on our death-beds, will they seem trivial, or worth the days we had? Will they be lasting and of some kind of substance, or the equivalent of soap bubbles?

Before we put a money towards our dreams, it’s worth being convinced of their death-bed value.

Sorry, Secret fans, but I think a lot of The Secret is a form of distorted thinking called Personalization. Personalization is the tendency to relate all events around you back to yourself, taking excessive responsibility for those events. There is a lot of messaging out there that our thoughts can create events. While I’m all for decluttering beliefs that limit us or hold us back, and I’m all for embedding hope and vision and self-confidence into the core of our being, I’m also all for a realistic acknowledgement of our context and its ability to have its way with us from time to time.

Here’s an incisive (and somewhat humourous in a dark sort of way) vid that says it so much better than I can. And I hope I haven’t driven half my readership away.

photo credit: Gee01

LEEDM.N.1970.34.1 obv

Are you a slave to your money? Or is your money your slave?

I was one of those people brought up with injunctions like “you cannot serve both God and money”.
The way it played out for me was that I didn’t really concern myself at all with money. And I certainly wasn’t about to make it an objective to – God forbid – accumulate wealth (and for that matter, I didn’t really make it an objective to have basic savings, either).

And then it struck me like lightning: having to scramble and not having enough for unexpected things and having to fret about how to pay the bills and not having savings and having a growing fear of growing old without RRSPs and sleepless anxious nights—- all that was an indicator that I was serving money after all.

It still took a number of years to reprogram my core beliefs about money esp. vis-a-vis my spirituality. But somewhere along the way it became so very obvious that actively managing my finances, ensuring I have savings for things ranging from emergency vet visits to my annual holidays, and yes, building a nest egg (accumulating wealth) means money is in service to me, not vice versa.

How ’bout you? Are you enslaved by money? Or is money serving you?

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