A Money Coach in Canada

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ps.  a couple weeks ago I decided to try losing 20 lbs again, motivated in part by my growing politics, ie., it’s nuts for me to carry extra me around, when there’s a lineup of men every 7am for the soup kitchen across the street from me.  I’m taking a slow approach and have lost a couple lbs in the last two weeks.  More importantly, I’m eating much better food, thanks to You on a Diet and have truly experienced a stabilized metabolism (ie, eliminated the tired, cranky and hungry moments).

Factoid:  our ‘gut’ is actually an organ called ‘Omentum’ and its purpose is to collect fat from our stomachs.  Is that disgusting, or wonderful? you decide (all I know is I need less of an omentum!)

looniepps: And regarding Share the Love Feb,  I’ve been successful at avoiding cafes for 3 days straight (don’t mock me.  it’s an accomplishment, in my books!).   Now I need to start carrying loonies around (I’m usually cashless) to keep my commitment to give away a loonie each day.

I have an earthy question. What etiquette should we follow when we donating our clothes to charitable organizations?

My professional organizing friend, Linda Chu, spent Saturday with me informing me that 75% of my wardrobe needed to go. (I think about money. I think about politics. Fashion and clothing? not so much). Thank goodness for Linda, who tossed and sorted with me for two hours. Then I packed up the piles we’d put on my bed labelled “Be Gone!” but it raised some issues for me.

  1. If it’s no longer ‘good enough’ for me, why is it ‘good enough’ for someone of lower economic status? They were quality pieces, to be sure, but a little outdated (or as Linda pointed out, “ummmm…look at how droopy those pockets are getting, Nancy.” Droopy pockets? Droopy pockets? I never thought to consider such a thing.) The truly awful (the ones even I could recognize were bad) went in the garbage. But still. Even if it is Ann Klein, should someone else be the recipient of droopy pockets or last year’s fashion?
  2. And drycleaning. A lot of the pieces could have used a trip to the drycleaners … but it would have cost about $200 if I’d done them all. They weren’t thaaaaat bad, and I’m assuming (?) that the thrift store will give all their outfits a once-over? Anyone know? What’s the etiquette on this?

pile of clothes

This week I spent some time with clients who are facing their finances straight on. While they are very courageous and ultimately will experience good results, they – like many clients – are experiencing significant anxiety and grasping for solutions.

Seeing the clear picture and experiencing a high level of anxiety can lead to drastic thoughts like:

  • I must sell my house
  • I must move back in with my family
  • I must withdraw from my retirement funds (if they exist)

Feeling like we must do something usually only heightens the intensity and negative emotions about the situation. It squelches our ability to come up with workable solutions.

A much more productive and appropriate response is to ground ourselves in the certainty that we have options.

Then, we need to flesh out what those options are.

There is always a spectrum of possible responses to any given situation. What are the various points on the spectrum and which ones could we live with?

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.

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! 

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