A Money Coach in Canada

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When’s the last time you’ve looked through your Employee Assistance Program? It’s worth the 15 minutes, truly. Case in point: I just received 30 minutes of legal counsel (about nothing bad! don’t worry!). It was free for me.
In a previous job, I had 5 sessions of nutritional counselling and 10 sessions of counselling-counselling. For free. Go re-read your pamphlet.

Any Gen-X or Gen Y readers among you? I’m personally glad to see attention being paid to the implications of our demographics – ie., baby boomer cohort retiring, living longer, with high expectations (esp. re: healthcare) and a shrinking workforce. Here’s an eye-popping article from the Financial Post on the topic.

Ever heard of the Grameen Bank, the “bank for the poor”? Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus who really gave lift-off to microcredit? I heard him speak once at UBC. *Amazing* to say the least (speaking of big dreams). Well on Tuesday, at age 70, he got ousted from the Bank he founded. This is utterly baffling!

Google is going to overhaul YouTube to the tune of $100M+ in response to more TV available via the net, and Netflix shares tumbled after they poured money into the rights to stream Mad Men.

Photo Credit: Ex-In Transit

I have a confession to make. For several months (and by that I mean 24+) I’d stopped hoping and dreaming. Having had a couple shattering experiences, I think life just got the best of me for a bit. Life got reduced to making tough decisions, putting one foot in front of the other and then a series of accomplishments. Not particularly joyous accomplishments mind, just, getting stuff done. Making a move up north. Navigating my way through an unexpectedly tumultuous employment experience (I’ll have had 7 managers in 26 months! – and only twice because of a change I made!). Adjusting to life in general in a very different environment. It has not been easy.

And in the mix, I’d stopped hoping or visioning or setting goals and making plans – activities that have characterized me for most of my life. My core values, my respect and appreciation of life and my compassion for this global village of ours remained intact but a lot about life became: Meh.

What about you? Do you aspire? Do you reach and strive for your desires? Do you know what you desire?

If money – and managing it well- is about creating security for ourselves (inasmuch as is possible) and about doing right by the planet and people by donating or thoughtful consumption, surely it is also about giving expression to our inner longings and cherished dreams.

In January I stepped outside my comfort zone and joined Jamie in her DreamBoard teleseminar. For three full hours I gave myself over to re-exploring what makes life lovely for me. It was water on dry ground and I need much more.

But friends, I moved forward on my discovery. I re-jigged some of my finances, I re-prioritized, and by next week this time I should be able to show you one result.

So my invitation to you is this: in this month of April, join me in letting the genie out of the bottle. Join me in dreaming and hoping and planning on good things for ourselves, and in managing our money effectively in part to that end. Wednesday and Weekend posts will give tips, ideas and with any luck a measure of inspiration to do just that.

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want; Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.” -rumi

Photo Credit: Our Enchanted Garden

It’s a grim time of year where I live, I’ll tell ‘ya, GRIM. The snow is melting away which is not as romantic as it sounds: The accumulated dirt and gravel spread on the streets over the winter is now exposed and worse, gets blown around by the still cold wind. I always feel gritty. There won’t be new spring growth for a number of weeks yet, so it’s mostly grays and browns wherever I look. The melted snow pools into icy puddles everywhere then freezes overnight. Told ya. Grim.Grim.Grim.

It’s not an easy time of year to be … content.

Ah, but for the radio. Or more specifically, but for This American Life, a nifty radio show / podcast out of Chicago. It’s a recent discovery and Saturday night, fatigued from a long week, I thought I’d pull the drapes, and settle into the sofa with my trusty daschunds in 1940s style to give it a listen.

Listening to radio was wonderful! I wondered if my mind would wander off (no visuals?) and it did a wee bit but on the whole the show was entirely engrossing. Paradoxically, although this week’s topic matter was highly galvanizing, I felt myself unwind in a way that I don’t unwind when I’m watching a show.

In our era of zillion channels digital TV and downloading what we want when we want and surfing the web, something about settling in and just *listening* was blissful.

Have you ever tried it?

I have about 5 weeks to go yet before I’ll want to be outside so if you have any radio shows you can recommend, I’d love to know!

photo credit: Unhindered by Talent

April’s here! And I hear Yellowknife’s not the only place experiencing a snowy spring (oxymoron, much?)

Never fear, climate change hasn’t permanently eradicated Spring yet. It shall come. It shall come.

That in mind, I thought April would be a lovely month to blog on the theme of money and our hopes and dreams.

Watch for the first “serious” post on the topic on Wednesday. But for now, I think a lot of us (in Canada, anyway) could do with a bit of escapism so my we-can-all-dream-can’t-we Question, should you choose to answer it, is WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WON $1,000,000?

This money coach is not advocating gambling, and in fact is utterly perplexed by the Vegas phenomenon, but when my co-worker invited me to pitch in $25 in exchange for an entire year of lottery tickets with my colleagues I *ahem* did not turn it down.

I know exactly what I would do if I won $1,000,000.00

I would …

1. Quit my day job, with reasonable notice.

2. Do something extravagant as a one-off, like two months in Argentina, and likely include one or two super-close friends/family.

3. Donate an equal amount to #2 above to a not-for-profit.

3. Freeze the remaining (less living expenses) funds in some kind of secure investment for a full three months while I carefully reflected on how to proceed.

4. Purchase a simple home outright that cost $100K or less, perhaps in Detroit where lots of super-interesting stuff is going on and houses are still dirt cheap.

5. Divide the balance (about $900,000.00) evenly between investments and investing in my own business.

OK Readers, over to you. You win $1M. What do you do?

Photo Credit: Buzz Bishop (Hi Buzz!)