A Money Coach in Canada

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I’m more than a little choked at the reasons both NPA and the media are surmising I – and 67,598 of my fellow vancouverites – voted for Gregor/Vision/COPE.

The reasons cited by NPA and the media are precisely illustrative of the fact that They Don’t Get It and seem genuinely at a loss as to why the NPA might be swept out.

1.  They Dissed Us: Ladner himself, on SHAW TV live coverage, commented to the effect that those of us (67,599 of us) voted on superficialities … implying at one point, as superficially as Robertson’s good looks.  Similarly De Genova commented:  “Gregor Roberson? Nice guy, looks good, speaks well. Has zero experience, zero knowledge to find his way around town,” De Genova said.   Last, Mayencourt dissed all of us by a comment on camera to the effect that the NPA would start work the next morning so that next election we’d elect a decent (or a word to that effect) council – implying our newly elected one is not decent.

This kind of naive, narcissistic incredulity that they could possibly, possibly be voted out of office – so much so that they accuse the electorate of voting based on superficialities – is precisely the attitude that got them the boot.

2.  Media think it’s about the scandal.  I’ve seen plenty of media speculation that the scandal played a role in the outcome.   It certainly wasn’t in my case:  It simply confirmed my opinion of the NPA – surreptitiously, egotistically, making back-room deals with big-business, possibly at the long-term expense of the average-joe-taxpayer (of which I’m one).

Here’s why I voted Vision, pure and simple:  they seem to give a damn about us citizens, in a way that the NPA just.plain.doesn’t.   Full stop.  

Readers:  If you voted for Vision, did the scandal play a role?  And do you think you voted for a similar reason as I did?

2447825721_4376799b80_m.jpgGregor:  Best wishes, congrats, and keep giving a damn.

Photo Credit:  Blackbird

2400813685_104605aeb6_m.jpgMy bro and his family have pretty much everything they want, and more, and they know it.  Their son, my gorgeous nephew, is thoroughly indulged and adored by his grandparents and similarly has everything he could want, and more.

So a couple years back, my brother put the halt on excessive gift-giving at Christmas.  Actually, not just a halt on excessive gift-giving, but on gift-giving period.

I haven’t fully observed my brother’s edict (and I don’t mean to overstate it, either – he’s just saying, “Look, we have enough.  Christmas doesn’t have to be about boxes and boxes and boxes) but it creates a challenge.  I’m one of the dying breed who truly enjoys both searching for, giving, and receiving gifts at Christmas.  I also think that, despite its excesses, having a holiday about giving is counter-cultural and good for us!

What to do?  What to do?

Last year, I gave some chickens and hens to a needy family, via World Vision.

This year, I’m giving and asking-to-receive only Used Gifts.  I’m looking forward to this, actually – spending a couple days in antique shops on Main Street, sifting through those weird little shops crammed with curios, and of course browsing UsedVancouver.

My own wish list includes books from Abe (online used bookstore), or used jewellry.

The trick is to find the hidden gems – items still in good condition, that will (I hope) delight the recipient and deserve to be reclaimed rather than landfill.

Readers:  any suggestions of particularly good used-anything?  And frankly speaking, if you were a friend of mine and received a used gift, would you think that was cool, or would you be secretly dismayed?

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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