A Money Coach in Canada

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POVERTY AMID PLENTY – Judy Graves from CCPA on Vimeo.

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

Can you hear the ducks in the pond?

How ’bout the lazy sound of bees, or the bugs on the water?

Or the airplane far off in the distance?

Can you feel the warmth of the northern, summer sun?

My 2 daschunds and I spent a glorious hour on a park bench and by the end I felt as tranquil and at ease with the world as a person can ever hope for.

Thank you, nature.

Huh. I’ve held onto one measly token share of Martha Stewart Living and after all these years, I just might see a return on my investment (or at least get my money back). Here’s an interesting fact: her magazines and TV shows all lose money, but is offset by all the licensing (ie. her brand name placed on products) they do. Just goes to show: personal brand IS everything!

A Toronto Condo sold for a record $28 Million. Guess Canada’s hit the world stage for reals now. (But I’m not sure I care for the lighting fixture, do you?)

The French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, announced she will be running for the top job in the IMF. (What is the IMF? More on that in the fall, but quick version: Essentially they keep an eye on economies around the world, lend money to countries who are floundering, and give advice).

And your daily cuppa will likely go up: Starbucks is paying a 17% increase for its bags of coffee.

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