A Money Coach in Canada

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My buddy Mark goes out for beer with some buddies each Friday and between them they figured out this:

If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

If you had purchased $1000 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have $49.00 left.

However, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer/wine one year ago, drank all the beer/wine, then turned in the cans/bottles for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

Now “You Decide” rightly scratched his head and took out a calculator when he read this. I’m not saying Mark’s buddies got their beer-blurred math right. I’m just saying…. well, I’m just just sayin’ sometimes it’s about the beer and the buddies, not the bucks. (ok, that was lame. I’m quitting this post and going back to my day job)


Many readers will know that being part of an investment club turned my finances – and my sense of competence – around.

One of the members, Clare Hodge, has recently produced a film which is opening this weekend in Vancouver and Toronto (I’m going Sat night, if anyone wants to join me. Bloggerbuddies: Netchick? Miss604? Monica? Isabella? David? ) Note – her post below doesn’t say that several CornerGas actors are in her film. I’ve seen the preview and it’s a fun, must see, imho.


Love and Other Dilemmas, my first feature film as a producer is opening in theatres in Vancouver and Toronto on February 1, 2008. It’s a great romantic comedy about a cursed and pregnant bride on her wedding day. Little did I know that when I fell in love with the character of Ginger Shapiro, the bride, and vowed to bring her to life that it would be a 6 year journey.

I also didn’t know that my personal choices along the way would determine if the film would ever get made. Producing a film is an incredibly complex – and sometimes very boring – process in which the development or scriptwriting, financing or looking for money, and the exploitation or theatrical release takes far longer than the fun part of filming the movie with the actors in front of a camera.

I worked very closely with the writer Deborah Peraya and the director Larry Di Stefano, and we consider ourselves very lucky to have made a feature film in Canada. I like to think that I’m a storyteller but, as a producer, when I say “made a feature film” I don’t immediately think of the characters or the setting; I think of money, risk, negotiations, contracts, clearances, legal haggling and the items we ultimately delivered to our distributor. We made the film in the usual way with the usual suspects: Canadian government soft money, distribution advance, support from broadcasters and, yes, deferrals or investments. What I didn’t expect was that the biggest personal decision I’ve ever made – to buy a condo in Vancouver – would be one of the best advantages in getting this film made.

If you’re a film fan, you’ve heard that Robert Rodriguez financed his first film “El Mariachi” by charging the costs to his credit cards. But what was the interest rate he paid? Instead, I think that having a good credit rating is one of the most important assets a producer can have. That, and an audience – come to see our film! www.LoveandOtherDilemmas.com


I’ll be there, Clare! Best wishes!

ps: here’s another public invitation – I’m part of a bloggers’ virtual ‘progressive dinner’ this Wednesday. Crash the party!

Money coaching is a nascent field, and we’re all kinda pioneering and figuring “it” out as we go along, but the money coaches I’ve met – Sheila, MillionDollarWomen to which a former mentor of mine, LA, belongs, and Steve share one thing, that’s for sure: we want to see people handle their money effectively in a way that leaves clients empowered and confident.

imgp4182.jpgAnd now I’ve met another! Her name is Michelle, and she practices out of NorthVancouver. She, like me, has a frugal streak (but don’t worry! I don’t think everyone has to frugal – and I’m sure not frugal when it comes to my daschunds), all to achieve the greater good, financially. Here’s a little introduction to her:

I was out for a run this gorgeous morning and was thinking about what, if anything, to write for this blog (having never written on one) and my mind quickly wandered off, as it does when I am running, to a whole stream of thoughts and much of them were to do with money.

I was thinking about book club last night and discussing Eat, Pray, Love and then moved on to an upcoming trip and then my mind meandered over to our trip two Junes ago to Italy. For some reason, instead of remembering the great times we had with friends eating and drinking and taking in all the sights, I was thinking about one of our friends on this trip who peppered me with comments throughout the two weeks about how “frugal” I was. He’d say things like, ” how many times are we going to see you in that shirt this trip?” or, with much sarcasm, “hey Michelle are you going to take that roll home with you and make a sandwich out of it for lunch?” It was all in good fun and didn’t bother me a bit (although it irked my husband after about the tenth jab).

Anyway, then I started thinking about yesterday morning, it was cold, and I was really feeling like a steaming cup of coffee at the coffee shop but I thought, no, I can go home and make myself one just the way I like it and drink it by the warm sunny window…ahh, heaven.

Then my mind went to Sunday night and I was meeting my business partner at a local coffee shop and I ordered a decaf coffee misto. As I sat at the table waiting for it, I heard two of the employees talking about how I had ordered a “poor man’s latte”. I laughed to myself.

What do all these thoughts mean? Well, I was really aware of how much “mental accounting” I do on an ongoing daily basis. And why I do it. That is the key question. For myself, travelling is of huge importance to me. It gives me great joy, satisfies my need for adventure, my curiousity about how others live, and adds spice to my life. It is a Big Goal that I am committed to making happen every two years.

imgp4201.jpgAnd how do I make that happen? By constantly doing mental accounting. I use my goal as the gauge and all my spending gets scrutinized in light of that goal. If I buy that “thing” then X dollars is now out of my + side and over into my – side. Is it worth it? Will it help me to get closer to what I really want? It is something I do almost unconsciously, like tying your shoes. It has become a habit and it seems to really work for me. I will be in France in June for two weeks taking in the sites and food and people.

Au revoir and thanks for reading my first blogging attempt!!

Welcome to the blogosphere, Michelle!

Michelle can be reached at 604-985-9391.

Check out her gorgeous website too!

Over to you, readers: Do you have any methods that help you reach your goals involving money?  We’d love to hear! 

saleIf you haven’t visited Bargainista, she’s a Must for all shopping-savvy people. With constant updates about the newest sales across canada, the following info is courtesy of her intel via Twitter:

Toys R Us – up to 50% off

Old Navy – up to 75% off

Birks Winter Sale

Roots – up to 50% off

and, AHEM, if now would be a great time to take charge of your money, try out my 7-day-free-trial of the e-program Putting your financial house in order.

homeless.jpgIt never ceases to amaze me: so many of us seem to live in fear that we don’t have/won’t have


When I probe my clients for more specifics, there is usually a lack of groundedness – not to mention, lack of concrete data with which to draw any conclusions about having, or not having enough.

Some of my clients earn over $100K, with or without assets to speak of.

Others earn in the $30-K range.

I personally, have managed to live reasonably well on … less even than that(!) over the past years as I’ve built my business – and yet, life has been incredibly meaningful, my work is absorbing, I have had countless rich times with friends and people I love, my intellect has been stretched in ways I haven’t experienced since my UBC history days (I still miss you, Prof. Straker , RIP; Your history/philosophy of science class blew my mind), and in the mix I had a number of wonderful getaways too. In short: life can be good and full on a lot smaller budget than we think! (although see my other post about Enough Already with living frugally.)

So the questions remain:

1. What creates our respective barometers of ‘what constitutes enough‘?

2. Why do so many of us feel like we don’t have it?

(Isabella, are there connections to our eating disorders here? Bargainista – I bet you’d thrive well regardless of your income. Krystal – do you ever struggle with a generalized sense of not having enough? or does mapping it out so clearly for yourself keep you grounded? David, I bet Pivot Legal has some thoughts on whether or not we have ‘enough’! And LA – does your midlife Millionaire’s group of women discuss/feel like they have ‘enough’?)

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