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

How much do you give to charity in any given year?

How do you compare to the average Canadian who gives?

How might it improve the way you handle money in general?

And find out about your brain on donations!  (not the same ring as the original slogan, but, whatev’s …)

 

I love digging into research for my CBC gigs — keeps me current plus I find out stuff I wasn’t necessarily looking for.

 

Photo Credit:  Mindful One

Just sayin’.

This money coach loves these guys. And you will too. Not to mention you’ll love being a Saver.

Madoff - what it means for you

Back in the day, and by that I mean when the Romans occupied Israel, there was fraud the likes of which would do Madoff proud. So Jesus, perhaps alluding to a current event, told this story which has baffled many good christians. It seemingly flies in the face of what Jesus stood for. It goes pretty much like this:

A man, let’s call him Jack The Fraudster, was in charge of a Wealthy Man’s possessions (somewhat like a financial planner, I suppose). He had climbed his way through the ranks of the household staff and over time paid certain staff favours in exchange for them turning a blind eye to various peculiarities. This really pissed off the honest staff who found themselves unable to climb the ranks unless they colluded with Jack. Finally a few were mad enough that they approached Labour Relations in HR who waffled for years because they didn’t have any real power and besides some of them were in on it … but eventually the rumours reached Wealthy Man who ordered an investigation. The findings were troubling to say the least.

So Wealthy Man hauls in Jack the Fraudster, whom he’d trusted with pretty much everything, and confronts him. Jack the Fraudster is nothing if not weaselly and manages not to get sent to prison on the spot, but he is sent packing. Because Wealthy Man didn’t heed HR’s sound advice, Jack the Fraudster was allowed to personally clean out his desk. He did so, taking along his stewards Seal.

Jack knew as soon as word got out he’d never find employment as a steward again. He also knew he had no other particularly useful skills. He was screwed for life. Unless…. unless …

Unless he committed one last grand act of fraud which would gain him serious favours with some up-and-coming people and at the same time might, just might, appease Wealthy Man enough to have him shut the you-know-what up about his bad behaviour.

This is what he did. He went tearing around to all the up-and-coming people who owed Wealthy Man things like hundreds of jugs of olive oil, or cattle, or exotic spices. And he offered them pretty much a receivership deal: If they would pay just half of what they owed, he’s stamp (with the Seal) the records as being Paid In Full.

This accomplished 2 things:
1. Up-and-coming people owed him, big time. He’d be welcome at their homes for extended couch-surfing stints.
2. Wealthy Man, who probably assumed he’d never recoup his losses, got at least half of what he was owed instead of having to write it all off.

Wealthy Man had to hand it to him. In fact he chuckled about it at many a dinner party. (By the way, you didn’t think Wealthy Man became Wealthy Man by playing clean, did you?)

Here’s where things go sideways. We all expect Jesus to say, “Don’t do that!” but instead, he says, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.”
Here’s my take. First, there’s just no way, no way, he is encouraging his followers to commit fraud. But I think he is acknowledging that Jack The Fraudster got one thing straight – he knew that finding himself a home was the #1 thing to be concerned about, and Jesus is acknowledging that it was really savvy to use all things at his disposal, things of much less personal significance (no kidding), to secure a future home for himself.

So for us, religious or not, the message could be something like: Get Clear on what’s of supreme importance to you. The things that make life worth living. Home. Family. Friends. People. and Get Clear on what is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Make sure what is inconsequential is serving the purpose of what is of supreme importance. A bit no-brainer, yet we always seem to need the reminder. I certainly do.

I’m no theologian. But that’s my take wearing my money-coaching lens.

Truth be told I feel pretty self-conscious every time my personal story of my 20-something misadventures with money get splashed in mainstream media, like it did today in the Toronto Star. The reason I drop my guard is simply this: If I could turn things around, anyone can, and that’s a message I believe a lot of Canadians need to hear. There is hope. And if you are in a bit of a money muddle – or in financial hell – you are not alone.

We live in such a pressured culture, don’t we. I think I’ve generally hit my stride in terms of being unapologetic for myself – my values, my beliefs, and my finances – but I sure know what it is to have felt I had to present a particular image, or spend what I didn’t have in order to fit in, or (and this is kinda sweet) to help someone else out ’cause I cared yet didn’t want to admit to them or myself that I, too, was in a bad way.

So yes, I’ve known the acute discomfort of more than one “pay up” phone call (and will *never* give American Express any business again! #wayunnecessarilyrude) and sleepless nights wondering how I’d manage the coming month. And yes, the worst ever was having my credit card cut up by some high-school kid behind the till of the Shopper’s Drugmart on Broadway Ave in Vancouver.

But I’ve also known the quiet inner confidence of choosing to take charge of the mess. Of putting one step in front of the other, and after withstanding setbacks, discovering I really did “arrive” at a much better place.

If you are in need of a safe place to take a look at your own finances, and if you would like to put some building blocks in place to help you move forward, I can help — but not quite yet! I’m on a sabbatical from money coaching until January 2011. At that point, my business Your Money by Design will be live and kicking again, and ready to help (at entirely affordable pricing). If you would like to be on the wait list, feel free to e-mail me personally at money coach canada (all one word) at gmail dot com. Helping folks who are going through what I went through is one of my greatest joys. And I promise you, with time and a bit of effort, you can have your own turnaround story.

With care and high hopes for us all,

Nancy