A Money Coach in Canada

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This is so weird. Twice now this year, I’ve gone to a church as a visitor and the topic was … being wise with money.

Anyway, when I was recently in Vancouver, I went to my radical and wonderful home parish in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the priest on deck for the homily, Jessica (yes, a woman priest, YAY and because it’s a High Anglican church it’s “Mother” Jessica), gave the homily, and I have to say it challenged this money coach.

It challenged me to make tithing a central aspect of my finances rather than a one-more-aspect. By that, I mean I want it to become my new barometer of my financial health. This is part of my re-invigorated money-coach-heal-thyself programme to which I committed.

Previous barometers were:

  • ability to meet my monthly obligations
  • building up a nest egg
  • buying a home
  • able to live a more luxurious lifestyle
  • having savings for nice things

But I want a new barometer.   I want my new barometer of financial success to be:  Am I managing my finances in such a way that I can give 10% of it away?  To organizations that feed the hungry?  To organizations that advocate for structural change, social justice, so that folks aren’t hungry in the first place?  To initiatives that will help the planet?  And of course, to my parish which has been such a rich blessing to me over the years?

I don’t do that right now.  I give a certain amount on a regular basis, and beyond that, on one-offs throughout the year.  But I can, and desire to, make it a central aspect of my money management to give 10% away on a regular basis.   If you want to listen to the homily – it’s about 6 minutes – it’s below.  If you want just the key points, here they are:

1. Tithing is in response to a great vision, not a commandment

2. Occam’s Razor – the simplest model is probably the best one  (10%)

3. Tithing can offer freedom from anxiety

4. It can invite God’s healing into our relationship with money

5. It’s a practice of gratitude

Mother Jessica’s Top 5 Reasons to Tithe from St. James' Anglican Church on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: More Good Foundation

PART TWO (see Part One here)

Rack debt up again – frack!
Whittle debt back down.
Slowly rack debt up again.
Hack furiously at debt.
Outta debt!!! < happy dance >
OOOOOPS – forgot about the car repair payment due but no money ’cause it paid off the debt.
Back in debt.
Discouraged. Pissed off. Get outta town for the weekend on the credit card since it’s racked up anyways.
In more debt than ever.
Forgetaboutit. Just forgetaboutit.

You cannot get permanent results with temporary changes. (Liz said this first)

If pulling out your credit card because you don’t have the money for your purchase is a lifestyle, your lifestyle is out of whack with your income. It’s time to make some permanent adjustments. Will it be painful? Possibly, but not as painful as living with screwed up finances for the rest of your life. And probably not nearly as painful as you might think.

1. Start by getting a real handle on what you’re doing with your money.

2. Have a sober look at your lifestyle. I don’t mean the lattes.
I mean medium/big ticket things like:

  • your choice of transport
  • your choice of home
  • the extent to which you socialize and how you socialize
  • your choice of job (not enough income/location)
  • your bright-shiny-objects (lookin’ at you, fellow geeks).

Are there systemic aspects of your lifestyle that are slowly taking you under? Wednesday’s post asked you to identify some small changes you could make to your lifestyle. Today I ask you to think carefully about the bigger picture. Are there some fundamental changes you need to make, permanently? This is not a quick-fix thing; this is a long, hard look thing that will require serious discussion with other people in your life, identifying multiple options for yourself, selecting the one that is most workable, and the resolve to make a permanent shift.

Wbat’s peace of mind worth to you?  What’s that inner assurance that you are getting ahead worth to you?  The lifestyle changes above are the pricetag.   Over to you.

3. Find ways to increase your income. This is a whole topic in itself. It doesn’t have to mean a second job (but it could). You could start a small home-based business. You could ask for a raise. You could see if your investments could do better. You could actively seek higher-paying work. You could get your teen-age+ kids to contribute a bit to the family coffers.

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

Photo credit: Bill Luken

Hi, my name is Karen and I’ve been working with Nancy for several weeks now and am just starting Module 4. So far my biggest learnings have been 1) realizing that I am not far off in the estimates of my expenses and 2) looking at my finances isn’t quite as scary as it seemed when I started this process. Huge thanks to Nancy for making this process feel safe!

Karen in BC Sept. 2011

I don’t think Karen’s head was in the sand. But a lot of folks’ heads are, that’s for sure! Plenty of people can get away with it because their incomes, fortunately, exceed their intuitive lifestyle. But if anyone want to be strategic and intentional with their money, that’s not the way to go!

What often happens though is that just under the surface, things actually are NOT ok. Then a little (or big), unanticipated financial crisis occurs where the happy equilibrium to date gets busted. At that point, folks have a choice — hurriedly rectify the situation (if possible) and carry on as before, as step back, and start taking control of their money.

Is your own head in the sand about your finances? Are you blithely unaware and secretly scared of what you’ll find out? As the saying goes, There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself! Seriously: Again, again and again once my clients pull their heads out of the sand and start getting clear about their money they feel an enormous sense of relief. They know what they have to work with and can start building realistic plans. Would you want to have any other kind of plan? Or do you prefer no plan at all….?

If you’re ready to pull your head out of the sand and gain clarity, my online program will help. You will feel safe. Take the Tour to get started!