Future You Is Counting On Today You

Future You Is Counting On Today You

Your future self is counting on you. 

We have a weird relationship with time. We don’t think the future is real. We haven’t experienced it yet. We don’t know exactly what it will be like. We don’t know what we will be like. It’s imaginary. It’s in the future.

Our lack of connection to our future self is a big problem when it comes to our financial well-being. It is part of our common human experience to discount the future and preference reward in the present over reward in the future.

This is not just you. It’s all of us. 

The problem is that, when it comes to money, the future is everything. What we do today profoundly decides what we will experience in the future. And, what we will experience is either more freedom, more options, more of our time under our control, or less of all of these things – all depending on our financial choices today.

Your future self is out there. Waiting for you to become her. She is REALLY hoping that you are going to make good choices so she can enjoy her present. 

Invitation: pick a time in the future (could be next month, year, or decade). Write out a little about who you are, how old you are, and what your life is like. Answer the question from the pov of your future self: What do you want to see when you look back at your financial choices? What has today you created for future you? How do you feel about that?

Want to take a deeper dive?

Join me in my FREE Class:

The 3 Principles of Intuitive Budgeting for Women+

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness…Or Does It?

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness…Or Does It?

 There’s a saying that “money doesn’t buy happiness.”

But, I call B.S.

Things don’t make us happy. This is true. We buy something and it elevates our mood and outlook for a time, but then that wears off, and we need to buy something else new to recapture that good feeling.

However, using money to buy things is not the only way to use our money. When we use our money to increase our time and our options, we increase our access to happiness and fulfillment.

In this way, money absolutely buys happiness.

We can use our money in this way by focusing on different money management practices depending on our goals and situation.

If money is tight, we can increase our access to choices by starting to create a small savings fund. Saving a little at a time adds up over time.

If we have more flexibility in our financial situation, using our discretionary funds to buy services (increasing control over our time) and experiences (rather than things) will increase our satisfaction. Ensuring that we are always contributing to savings protects our ability to make choices, so always prioritize savings.

Money, used well, does buy happiness.

How can you create more control over your time and expand your choices?

Want to take a deeper dive?

Join me in my FREE Class:

The 3 Principles of Intuitive Budgeting for Women+!

This might be controversial, but…

This might be controversial, but…

How many times have you decided to listen to someone about managing money, only to feel guilt and shame for how you spend money, how you think about money, and what you don’t know about money? So many personal finance educators, advisors, and thought leaders win views and follows with a tough-love approach, but I’m not convinced that it works for most people. If it did, wouldn’t we all be doing what they say and riding off into financial abundance?

 As more and more of my clients have brought financial stressors into the therapy space, I’ve come to see money management as a wellness behavior in need of wellness behavior strategies to heal our financial lives. This means that we can shift how see and relate to money, from something practical and scary, to something that is a process and a practice.

 Money is like water. Water and money flow through our lives, maybe in a torrent or maybe in a trickle. What we do is direct that flow with how we bring money into our lives and where we direct it through and out of our lives and into someone else’s.

Directing the flow of our money is a practice. We are all practicing it, all the time. But the ways in which we are directing our financial flow is, for most people, inefficient and haphazard rather than by intention.

 This isn’t your fault. Americans are woefully under-educated about money, yet, it feels like everyone (especially judging family members) expect us to intuitively just know how to effectively manage our money. THEN, much of the advice we are given does not align with how we actually live. So, we find ourselves living with our old, inefficient practices and we put off change for another day.

 It doesn’t have to be this way.

  • When we come into relationship with our financial flow, we can begin to unwind the stuck places and become empowered in our financial lives.
  •  We begin to step out from under financial guilt and shame and into financial confidence.
  •  We practice having our money work for us, rather than us working for it.
  •  We no longer feel “less than” our money. We run the show.
  •  We release the all-or-nothing pressures we place on ourselves and begin to move with financial flexibility.
  •  We create automatic money flows that direct our money in alignment with our true values and goals. These money flows efficiently build our financial freedom.

 To learn more, register for my free class, Empowered Peace: Women+’s 4-Step Path to Financial Freedom.

 Inside, I share with you

  •  The 4 steps I take women+ through to practice intentional financial wellness
  • Plus, learn 6 myths that keep women+ from pursuing Financial Wellness
  • Why almost every financial situation IS fixable with the right strategy in place
  • How to make lasting financial changes and sustain Financial Wellness over time
5 Hacks to Shop Less and Be Fulfilled More

5 Hacks to Shop Less and Be Fulfilled More

Honestly, I love shopping.

Online. Not in stores. Today, I go to the mall only if I absolutely must (which isn’t a thing) and I hate every minute of it. My 90s gen x self rolls her eyes at this.

But, online shopping? Yes, please! Online shopping is the total experience for this introvert. I can search for what I want. No one asks if they can help me find anything. No one bumps into me. No bright lights. I can choose the brightness of my screen. I didn’t even have to get out of bed. (Gen x me nods seeing my point.) The best part, two-days-from-now-me gets to open a present, that I actually want, and I didn’t have to attend a party to get. It’s just complete.

I’m also aware that, for some irrational reason, online shopping feels like I’ve accomplished something, checked off a to-do. I click that purchase button and I feel, “phew! Glad that’s taken care of.” I have acquired something.

In her book, Loaded: Money, Psychology, and How to Get Ahead Without Leaving Your Values Behind, Dr. Sarah Newcomb writes that there is a “possession-self link.” the things we own feel like a part of our selves. It’s why we feel so violated when someone steals from us. Our “things” become part of our identity, so purchasing things can feel like increasing our sense of identity, especially if we are feeling down or our egos are bruised. We are wired to feel good when we buy stuff. It’s not a character flaw. It’s just being human.

So what’s a girl trying honor her commitment to her Financial Wellness to do? 
  1. Don’t shop when you feel down. When we do this, we reinforce shopping as a solution to this particular problem and it’s not. If we are thirsty, we don’t eat rocks. We get some water. Slow down and ask yourself what is really going on. What do these feelings need? A hug? To hear that you are loved, not alone? Offer these things to that feeling.
  2. When it is time to shop for something (groceries, clothes, household supplies, makeup), set a budget before you shop, and use cash if possible. By shopping with an amount you decided on when you were rational and connected to your commitment to your Financial Wellness, you are increasing your self-trust and the likelihood that you will do this again, and again.
  3. When you add something new to your closet or your home, let go of something you don’t need or use anymore. Donate these things or give them away in a “buy nothing” group. This is a great way to reuse and recycle.
  4. Create a go-to list of free feel-good things you can do instead of shop as a social or boredom-buster activity. As women, we can feel a lot of pressure from each other to shop as recreation and social connection. We may feel embarrassed about saying that we don’t have the money to spend that way (or we do, but we don’t want to). It may lead to both friends secretly not wanting to do the thing you are doing! Identify other ways of connecting or enjoying yourself. (Or, spend money, but do it on a shared experience rather than buying more stuff.)
  5. Remember to be fluid. Practicing Financial Wellness is not rigid. You can be mindlessly shopping, already made purchases, and stop. Maybe you return them, or maybe you just don’t buy the next thing. Any step toward Financial Wellness is a positive step and we can take that step at any moment of the day. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress!

Shopping IS fun. There will never be a time that I don’t enjoy the thrill of the purchase. However, we can give ourselves the chance to know the thrill of the rewards of delayed satisfaction and seeing our debt dwindle and our savings grow.

You’ve got this!
Financial Wellness Tip: 

Get to know what shopping does for you. I love the online shopping experience. You may love everything about going into a store. Whatever your poison, get out your journal and ask yourself the question: 

What do I get out of shopping? 

Write it all down. Once we know consciously what shopping does for us, we can then ask: 

What is shopping doing to me? 

Write it all down. Consciously making the link between the pleasure we get from shopping AND the pain that comes later is important.

Often these parts of ourselves don’t talk to each other, so in the moment, we don’t associate shopping with the pain of violating our own self-trust.

If we have decided that honoring our commitment to ourselves to practice Financial Wellness is our highest value, then we want to make sure our “shopping self” and our “honoring my commitment to myself self” can see and hear each other. Writing your answers to these questions is one way to do this.

Register for my free class, Empowered Peace: Women+’s 4-Step Path to Financial Freedom.

 Inside, I share with you

  •  The 4 steps I take women+ through to practice intentional financial wellness
  • Plus, learn 6 myths that keep women+ from pursuing Financial Wellness
  • Why almost every financial situation IS fixable with the right strategy in place
  • How to make lasting financial changes and sustain Financial Wellness over time
Understanding Financial Abuse in Relationships

Understanding Financial Abuse in Relationships

financial abuse
When we talk about intimate partner violence, and even toxic family relationships, we talk about physical and emotional abuse.

Often, the financial and economic aspects of this abuse is given as a side note, if at all. Yet, it is finances that often keep us tied to partners and family whom we’d otherwise like to leave.

Financial and economic abuse is fundamentally about “Control the money, control the person.”

Financial abuse can appear obvious, like preventing access to credit and bank accounts or even withholding money needed for essentials like food or gas for the family.

However, preventing partners from engaging in employment, education, or opportunities for advancement that might lead to improved financial independence is a more insidious part of economic abuse.

Financial abuse can also look like a partner gambling away financial resources need for the family. It can look like subtle sabotage or failure to provide meaningfully for the family based on prior agreements.

The domino affect of financial abuse can impact lifetime earnings, savings, and future financial stability.

Finally, even if we leave, years of ongoing abuse can still occur, sustaining financial struggle, stress, mental health impacts, and health.

If this is happening, or has happened to you, you are not alone. Don’t let shame keep you from seeking help and resources.

Abusers seek to isolate their partners. If isolation is the key to abuse, community is the key to recovery.

First, if you can, find a good therapist to help you heal from the trauma and make a path to recovery.

Second, reach out to resources who can help you. Remember to see the situation holistically and know that you deserve holistic support (medical, financial, housing, childcare, job assistance, emotional, etc.).

Third, use your social media in positive ways to help your recovery. Make sure you are following creators who support your empowerment and have real solutions to share. Find online communities that are safe and well-moderated where you can get support and inspiration any time of day or night.

Fourth, don’t think that just because you don’t know a solution that means that there isn’t one. Start where you are and just begin. You can do this. It may be really hard, but you’ve done really hard. With help, you CAN do this.

 

Financial Wellness Tip:

For these reasons, and more, I encourage women to go into relationships with our financial eyes open.

We can always “hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Even in the healthiest of relationships, we can wisely prepare for a time when we may find ourselves needing to rely on ourselves.

“I’m Too Scared to Find Out What My Financial Situation Really Is!”

“I’m Too Scared to Find Out What My Financial Situation Really Is!”

It is completely normal to be afraid to see what’s in a box when you’re pretty sure it’s going to be a big, scary mess. 

Behind these fears is a belief that it will be so bad that it isn’t fixable. 

Or, that fixing it is going to be a long, arduous process that we won’t even begin to know how to accomplish. 

We may even hold beliefs that we do not deserve financial wellness and that financial stress and discomfort is, actually, our comfort zone. 

Finally, so many of us have been raised with all sorts of shame around money, that we are afraid we will feel worthless if we truly look at our finances.

Yet, we can’t fix what we can’t see.

Taking stock of our entire financial picture is the first, very critical step toward financial wellness. 

Instead of shame, consider that you are courageous for taking this step. You are loving yourself by taking this step. You are empowering yourself by taking this step.

Here are some steps to tackling taking the hard look a the truth of your financial situation: 
  1. Take the time to acknowledge to your fear and decide to treat yourself with compassion. This may mean working through some strategies you’ve had where you beat yourself up to try to make yourself change. This is shame-based, and it doesn’t work. Being kind and gentle creates a safe place where it can be more ok to look at the truth.
  2. Get support for this task from someone who sees you compassionately and will not shame you no matter what decisions you’ve made. This may be a friend, family member, or financial coach. Just make sure they understand the importance of compassion and encouragement over shame.
  3. Depending on your emotional needs, you may take the “rip the band-aid off” route, or a one-step-at-a-time route. This looks like diving in and getting it all done in a day or weekend. Or, making a list of tasks and only focusing on the one task in front of you, one day or one week at a time. It’s important to do what will be tolerable to you and not shut you down with overwhelm.
  4. Join a challenge or community of people who are doing the same thing. Reducing shame, increasing kind accountability, and seeing others succeed will help you make a plan and see it through.
  5. Be flexible. When we set up rigid goals and they don’t happen because life does, we are at risk for giving up and deciding we’ve fail. What we really need is a mindset and strategy that says, “of course I’m going to have good days and bad days, I’m human, and because of this, I just get back at it after getting off-track.” 

Removing the shame-factor around money by acknowledging that we’ve made decisions that may not have been in our best financial interest because, at the time, we held some other value, such as wanting to care for or please others, reward ourselves, or life happened and we felt we had no choice. 

When we truly look honestly at our financial lives, we see that they are quite complex, indeed, and that we can see ourselves and our decisions with kindness and compassion as we prepare to make change.

Financial Wellness Tip: 

Remember, whatever you do, time will continue to pass. Six months from now, we can have had six more months of not-knowing, or six months of planned action in the direction of our Financial Wellness!