Posts made in November, 2009

Buyer Beware

Posted by on November 27, 2009 in Musings | 0 comments

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the average American plans to spend $682.74 on holiday-related shopping this year. If the recent past is any indication, the majority will put these purchases on credit cards, and almost half will take up to six months to pay them off.

To help keep this a season to be jolly and not a season for folly, before you do any shopping, do this …

Prepare a Spending Plan. Individually list each expense (such as “Gift for Mom” or “Decorations”) and assign each a dollar limit.

Track every dollar spent and be accountable to your Spending Plan.

Use a cash envelope system to help you stick to your Spending Plan.

Leave credit cards at home.

Research purchases in advance.

Shop only with an Accountability Partner (not a Shopping Buddy).

If you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired – HALT! These can trigger us to overspend or purchase impulsively.

(For more holiday tips, see Consider This.)

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The Secret Language of Money

Posted by on November 13, 2009 in Financial Therapy, Readings | 0 comments

I recently began reading “The Secret Language of Money” by Dr. David Krueger, a former practitioner and teacher of psychiatry and psychoanalysis who is now CEO of MentorPath, an executive coaching practice. David’s book draws from his experiences in more than three decades of practice and an expanding field of research. He has a gift with words and crafts powerful one liners, which artfully encapsulate the message and powerfully drive it home. Here are some of my favorites so far …

“If money were about math, none of us would be carrying any debt.”

“Money is a magnifier. Like adversity, it reveals and exaggerates character. … But it doesn’t simply magnify who we are; it also amplifies who we hope to be, fear we might have become, or regret that we may never be. It gives form to our fantasies and shape to our compulsions. We don’t simply earn, save, and spend money: we woo it, flirt with it, crave it and scorn it, punish and reward ourselves with it.”

“It is not wealth and possessions or even the chase after these that creates problems in our lives; it is when we lose ourselves in the chase. And when do we lose ourselves? When we imbue money with meaning it doesn’t really have, and then keep that meaning a secret even from ourselves – thus holding ourselves hostage to our own money story without even realizing we were the ones who made it up in the first place.”

… and this covers only the Introduction to the book! Stay tuned as I continue to share gems discovered in “The Secret Language of Money.”

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Like A Gardener and Her Tools

Posted by on November 1, 2009 in Musings | 0 comments

An online network to which I belong has recently been discussing how to define financial health. In thinking about how I’d define financial health, I considered that it’s a measure of our relationship with money, and I wondered what metaphor I’d use to describe my relationship with money.

It occurred to me that I’d like my relationship with money to be like that of a gardener and her tools.

I like this metaphor, because the tools are helpful, but they aren’t necessary. Actually, the gardener isn’t even necessary. There are beautiful natural fields, forest, and gardens all around the world that no human helped create. Seeds are spread by wind, animals, and water. The earth is watered by rain and snow. The sun rises and sets, even with no humans around. And the beauty is amazing.

Yet, still, I have the option to participate. To gather or purchase seeds or seedlings. To plant them, tend them, and watch them grow. Sometimes I use a spade, but in its absence I could get by with my hands. I supplement the rains with a sprinkler or watering can, but I could let them fend for themselves; let only the drought tolerant survive. I snip off dead flower heads, but I could leave the dried heads for the birds to dine on or to fall to the ground and become compost.

I like how a gardener’s tools compliment her work, but they aren’t necessary for it. They can make a project quicker or less of a chore, but they themselves aren’t a thing of beauty. They can accentuate and promote the wonder that’s inherently there and provide inspiration and enjoyment for others and myself, but they can’t make the seed sprout forth new growth. They can’t make a sunflower rise from an acorn. They can’t stop a maple from dropping its leaves in the fall. They can, however, help me to engage and celebrate the life that surrounds me. They let me co-create with the Creator.

How about you? What metaphor would you like to be descriptive of your relationship with money?

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