A Money Coach in Canada

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You online bank, right? Or have digital assets that require a password?

Yesterday I sat in on a lecture given by a lawyer who gave some quick, good reminders about passwords.

First – little known fact: technically, your password is comprised of both your user name and your password. For the first time it occurred to me that choosing a clever user name would also contribute to online security.

Now, to the worst kinds of passwords:

  • A word. Choosing just a word is low-level security. More on this below.
  • Names of pets
  • Your own name (d’oh)
  • The actual word Password (again, d’oh!)
  • Your date of birth

Want to super-duper make a nearly unbreakable password?

  • Include #s. That means the attacker now has to contend not only with 26 letters of the alphabet (and all the ways they can be combined) but also with 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 which could be just 1 or 10000000000+.
  • Use a nonsense word. That way no dictionaries can provide the word to the attacker.
  • Best of all, the super-duper part, include symbols, like $ or ^ or * – any of the ones on this list should work.
  • There are 26 letters of the alphabet, 10 numeric digits and 128 pretty much universally recognized symbols with which to form your password. By the time you include some symbols, there is a Power-to-the-Nth (remember that? – no! nothing to do with E. Tolle!) factor that makes your password very, very difficult to break.

    And that, my friends, is your simple money coaching tip for this month.
    Have at ‘er.

    Photo Credit: Elsamuko

Produce way up where I live is expensive enough without the extra premium of organic. That’s not to say I won’t pay it; I do. But if I can get reasonably clean produce without paying that premium, I’d prefer to use my money other ways.

According to the Environmental Working Group in the States (a great resource for folks interested in the environment and everyday lifestyle choices), the following items are pretty clean of pesticides:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado (I’ve blown a month’s salary on this over the years!)
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Canteloupe
  12. Sweet potatoes (presumably as distinct from yams)
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

On the other hand, Kale and Green Beans are of special concern, so spend your money there.

It almost has a cult-like feel to it, but I don’t think it is one.

Maybe the fact that it feels a bit like one reflects how off-course our collective thinking has become. Sometimes we need to, nearly literally, re-wire our neural pathways. This is what Byron Katie helps folks do.

The rewiring ought to result in greater peace, energy and mental clarity – surely something we’d all do benefit from regarding our approach to our money!
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So here’s the pitch.

We can and should challenge each of our distressing thoughts about money (or anything else, for that matter) by asking the following 4 Questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

and the last challenge is to invert that thought and corroborate that inverted thought with examples.
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For example:

Thought: I might die a bag lady.

1. Is it true?
Well, of course, it might not happen. But it could. And that scares the hell out of me.

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Uhhh… no.

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
I panic inside. I feel discouraged, hopeless and don’t even want to think about money

4. Who would you be without that thought?
Hmmm. I would feel a lot more serene. I would be more confident and optimistic about my finances, and feel better about paying attention to them. I would no longer engage in self-destructive financial habits. I might even learn to invest and start to build myself a nice little nest egg!

And the turnaround inverts and corroborates the thought:

I am not going to die a bag lady.
Corroboration: I have a job and I actually could live a bit more simply and start building a nest egg. | I have relatives who will leave me an inheritance. It isn’t much, but that will supplement my Old Age Security, and it could supplement my own savings quite nicely. | I am addiction-free and mental-illness free and generally healthy. That does not fit the profile of bag ladies!

The last bit, the turnaround, is designed to open our mind to new ways of thinking which align just as fully as our original thought. It may feel unreal, or unlikely, because we are so accustomed to one way of thinking that these new ones are hard to believe. But over time, our neural pathways should rewire and open up in ways that reduce our anxiety and enable us to relax more about money.

Katie’s site gives tons of free resources. Go play with your brain for a while!

Anxious about money? Even paralyzed just thinking about it?

Over the next few days I’ll be posting various ideas and possible techniques to break free so that you have the mental and emotional energy you need to deal more effectively with your money.

Here’s one not-the-usual option. It’s called EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s a distant cousin of its more mainstream (and generally accepted by professional psychologists) technique called EMDR .

I recently tried it out on a non-money-related matter to good effect. Did it resolve everything? No way. But it certainly helped calm my anxiety and furthermore created some new possible ways of thinking about the issues.

I’ve embedded a video below that will lead you through the technique. You can find more details on this website here or via a google search. I also recommend a FB friend of mine, Sue Burness. I did a session with her resulting in a couple remarkable insights. You may also be happy to hear she has a pay-as-you-can policy.

PART 1

Yes, that Krystal may have done it but dammit, she’s the exception that proves the rule:   If you are hell-bent on getting rid of your debt NOW, you will fail.  Or most of you will.

I feel your stress level shoot up.  Hang in there.

First, some (begrudging) exceptions:

  • If you have a healthy income and a small-ish debt ($500 – $2000), go hard.
  • If you are young or youthful, unhindered by kids, dogs, violin lessons, boyfriends,  with quantum energy to work multiple jobs go crazy.
  • If Frugaliciously You live well and truly below your means, have been for a while, and you’re good like that, go for it too.

But for the rest of you:  those of you who have hit some kind of panicky pissy pain point that makes you think This feels awful and I want this debt of my back NOW, for those of you, listen closely.

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If you are serious about eliminating your debt, it requires a long-haul strategy.   A long-haul, day after day after day after day after day after tomorrow and the day after that and the day after and the day after and the DAY AFTER THAT strategy.

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So.  What can you do to get started on a serious journey, not a loop-de-loop in debt | workworkworkwork | making good progress | DAMN NOW I’M BACK IN DEBT  journey?

Here are three starters:

  1. Decide on three small, really small, changes that you can make in your lifestyle that you won’t feel.  Think of things like a subscription for a magazine you don’t read anymore; eliminating your land-line and using your cel and skype instead;  switching to public transit to save on parking fees at work (but only if you can really handle it).   That money you saved?  That specific amount (yes, get your calculator and get specific) now goes to your debt every month.
  2. Move your debt to a lower interest debt. Credit cards can be moved to a lower interest card; lower interest card balances can be moved to lines of credit; lines of credit can sometimes be rolled into your mortgage if you have one.  The money you will save in interest? That specific amount (what.  you put your calculator away?  silly you) now goes to your debt every month.
  3. Snowball it.  The money saved in #1 and #2 goes to your smallest debt.  Once that is paid off, combine the money saved in #1 and #2 plus whatever you had been paying originally for that smallest debt and start applying that to the next smallest debt.

Come back Saturday for PART 2.

oh, and if you’re burning to eliminate your debt and take control of your money right now, time for you (shameless plug alert) to take my program.

update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here

Photo Credit:  Firepile

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