Archive | Financially Authentic RSS feed for this section

3 Steps to Eliminate and Steer Clear of Debt

The energy of debt can be overwhelming, and it can be smothering. Many of my clients say to me “I don’t understand how this happened. How did it get this bad? I have no idea how to fix this.” I hear it all the time.

Feeling this way can often lead to a disastrous next step – sticking your head in the sand and trying to hide from your debt. Understanding where you are now is the only way I know to help you plan your way out of that crappy and suffocating feeling.

Look, I completely get it. As a business owner, for the first time in my adult life I have credit card debt which essentially represents investments I’ve made in the business and in myself. While I know that the investments I’ve made are very much worth it and are intended to fuel the growth of my business, debt can still feel very yucky (a very technical term, of course).

When you have large amounts of consumer debt (i.e. credit cards, car loans, and using home equity lines to finance personal endeavors) it’s like riding a roller coaster. You’re energetically all over the place – up, down, up, down, sideways – never really knowing how to get off the ride that you never intended to stay on permanently. Somewhere along the ride you lost track of the debt and you’re afraid to acknowledge what could be a scary number.

So my question for you is this – are you brave enough to ride the debt roller coaster to the end and get off the ride once and for all? If the answer is yes, keep reading for 3 key steps to eliminating debt forever.

Step #1: Write it all down – Yup, that’s right. The first step is the hardest when it comes to debt. It’s time to write down all of your debt balances so that you can acknowledge your truth. A lot of times people feel sick to their stomachs at the thought of doing this, however in the end it’s often not as bad as people thought it would be. Without acknowledging where things stand currently, it will be very difficult to find a way out…you might end up digging a hole to China when you wanted to dig a hole to Russia instead (metaphorically speaking, of course!).

When you’re writing things down, make sure you include all of the debt details. You’ll want current balances, interest rates, due dates (of monthly payments), and minimum payments required for each piece of debt. A best practice would be to to write down all of your debt just to be able to see it all in one place (i.e. including longer term debt like your mortgage and student loans), however for purposes of getting rid of debt with draining energy we’re primarily going to focus on how to eliminate consumer debt (i.e. credit cards, car loans, home equity lines used for personal purposes, etc.)

Step #2: Assess your savings – You might be saying to yourself, “what does my savings balance have to do with debt anyway?” The answer? EVERYTHING. A healthy savings account is the key to getting out of debt and stepping off of the debt roller coaster once and for all. Let me explain.

Life happens, and unexpected expenses pop up. It can’t be avoided. Therefore, when you’re prepared (with a savings account) you can absorb them easily. Without a savings account, you’ll pay down your debt for a while until the next unexpected expense arises and you’re stuck to put it on a credit card again which increases your balance that you’ve been diligently working to pay down. And you feel defeated…UGH.

How do you avoid this feeling? If you don’t have savings or if you have only a small amount of savings, target saving at least one month’s worth of expenses. This may feel counterintuitive to save while you have debt to pay down (that is likely costing you money via interest), but trust me – I’ve seen it work time and time again and having a savings account helps you to absorb future unexpected expenses so you can stay the course with paying down your debt.

Step #3: Plan your way out of debt – This last and final step is critical in getting out of debt. Without a good plan, most people just throw money after their debt haphazardly much like you would throw wet spaghetti against the wall and it would stick anywhere it felt like it (on the kitchen cabinet, on the floor, perhaps even on someone standing nearby)! It would be completely random where it landed, instead of it being strategically stuck (or in the case of debt, applied to a random balance).

Ask yourself these key questions: 1) how much extra money beyond the minimum payments can you afford to dedicate toward paying down debt? and 2) what are the priority pieces of debt to pay down first? In terms of what pieces of debt to consider as “priority” consider the following:

  • Are there smaller debt balances where you would feel accomplished if they were paid off?
  • What are the interest rates – is there one piece of debt that is costing you a lot more?
  • Which piece(s) of debt is causing you the most angst and you would feel a sense of relief if it was eliminated (i.e. debt to family, debt from an emotional/triggering event, etc.)?

After you’ve answered these 2 key questions for yourself, make a conscious decision as to which one piece of debt you’ll apply the extra funds to, and pay the minimums on all the rest until you eliminate the first piece of debt. Then, go through the process again until all debt has been paid off.

While these 3 steps may not be easy, if you take one step at a time you can significantly alter the dampened energy that you may be feeling about your debt. Handling your debt will allow you to step powerfully into a role as a financially authentic individual and be in charge of your financial life…one step at a time!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Comments { 0 }

Why it Matters: Living a Financially Authentic Life

Why it Matters: Living a Financially Authentic Life

One thing that intrigues many people that I meet is how I came up with the name of my company, Financially Authentic.  It’s not exactly a common term, so I find myself having to explain it often.  It’s an interesting story on how it came to me, and in a way it was divinely given to me in a “thought flash” early one morning (and the website domain just happened to be available too…how convenient!).  As background, one of my lessons in life has been to find my way back to a place where I can be all of who I am meant to be, and I call this my journey to authenticity.  It’s been a long journey (and it’s still ongoing) and it hasn’t always been easy, however it has always been worth it in the end.  So my company name is a blend of my love for finances and my own personal journey of becoming more authentic.

Now that you know the personal story behind how I came up with my company name, would you like to know how I define it in the context of my work with others?  As I started on this journey and before I started my own business, I found that when I used my money in a way that mattered to me (i.e. experiences, things, etc.) that the energy money had in my life decreased significantly – things felt lighter and more simplified.  When I share what it means to be financially authentic, I explain that when you use your money in a way that is aligned with what is really important to you in your life that you can then use money as a tool to live your life with more confidence, ease, and grace.  Essentially, building a stable financial foundation filled with clarity on what you want in your life is the beginning to bigger things.

So why does being financially authentic even matter, you might ask?

Well, it has to do with those “bigger things” I just mentioned.  When you are financially authentic in your life and have gained financial clarity and stability, this then leads to space to be able to think, breathe and reflect because you’re not stressed about money.  As you have time to think, you can consciously decide who you want to be and what you want to do…you get to have choice.   With choice comes the ability to live in a more conscious way which usually leads to the question of “what am I here to really contribute?”  And when everyone in this world is really making a powerful contribution, then this world will become a much more connected place.  Because if you haven’t noticed lately, we’re in a bit of a dark place with a lot of negativity surrounding us and it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can have clarity, choice, contribution, and connectedness….if you’re willing to be brave.

Ok, wow – that felt like a lot to get out all at once.  It’s all part of my bigger mission beyond spreadsheets for cash flow and net worth – to help people make a bigger impact with their lives and contribute and connect.  I’m not 100% sure how it’s all going to work, but it feels right…so I’m moving ahead and have faith that it will all work out!

Beth, this is all great, but how do I get started with being financially authentic – HELP?!?

This is a great question and don’t you worry…I wouldn’t leave you hanging without some practical tips to get started!  Here are 3 key ways you can get started on your own journey to financial authenticity so that YOU can have more clarity, choice, contribution and connectedness:

Step #1: Know Your Numbers  – It’s very difficult to be financially authentic if you have your head lodged firmly in the sand about your financial situation.  It can be very painful and stressful to feel like you’re not in control of your money.  There’s blame, shame, guilt and embarrassment that you don’t know how to handle your money as well as you would like to.  STOP IT.  Stop the blame, shame and guilt, and instead know that you’re not alone – almost 70% of people live paycheck to paycheck these days, and that includes really successful people too.  Personal finance simply isn’t taught in our society, and it needs to be as a critical life skill.  Be kind to yourself, be willing to look your financial situation in the eye, and ask for help.  There are many compassionate and non-judgmental professionals out there willing to help.

Step #2: Consciously Decide How to Spend Your Money – In our fast-paced world where we’re always on the go, and we’re constantly bombarded by online advertising and social media, it’s hard to control the urge to buy and satisfy the desire to immediately reward ourselves with something for working hard.  In my experience, it’s only when you consciously decide in advance how to use your money that the unconscious spending stops.  I’m convinced from what I’ve seen in my own life and with my clients that when you take responsibility for how you use your money that you’ll be happier and that you’ll actually attract more money into your life as a result.  (PS – this is that “financial alignment” I referred to earlier…decide to use money in ways that matter to you!)

Step #3: Always Be in the Financial Flow – Always being aware of your financial situation takes some routine and discipline, so I recommend to everyone to just start with a weekly money date.  A weekly money date is like going to the financial gym, if you will. Once a week, sit down to pay your bills and handle any other financial matters that need to be addressed (i.e. follow-up phone calls, etc.).  Having a plan to use your money intentionally and purposefully is important, however life is always changing and so our financial plans have to adapt with those changes as well.

In the end, be sure to remind yourself of this often (I know I need to)…financial authenticity is a journey, not necessarily a destination.  So hop on the train wherever you’re at, and enjoy the ride to a more meaningful and impactful life, ok?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Comments { 1 }

3 Steps to Financial Gratitude in Your Life

When I mention the topic of financial gratitude to people, sometimes I get the blank stare like “Huh? What the heck is that?”

To me, financial gratitude is when you’re grateful for the resources that you already have, instead of always focusing on what you don’t have. If you’re always focused on what you don’t have, you’re focusing on the negative instead of being appreciative of what you already do have.

Let me offer an example. If a loved one heard you complaining about what you didn’t get for Christmas when they just gave you a beautiful scarf that they took time to pick out specifically just for you, how do you think they would feel about getting you something next year? Probably not very good, right? They might not put much effort into it next year. It works like this in a universal sense as well – if you focus on what you’re not getting, you’re sending out bad energy and you block positive things from showing up in your life.

I’m going to get real here for a minute about my own life. One year ago I took the brave step to open my own business, and let me tell you building a business is challenging sometimes. There’s no guaranteed paycheck, and I’ve been investing in myself and my business heavily. I have less money in my accounts now than when I started, and I have some additional debt now too from some business investments that I’ve made. Yet despite the decrease in my financial net worth, my personal self worth has increased exponentially and I’m grateful to know I’m on the right path and living my purpose. I choose each and every day to focus on the many resources I do have. I have supportive family, friends, colleagues, and a life that I love – can you ask for much more than that really?

At this point, you may be saying “Well Beth, how do you find financial gratitude, especially during the challenging moments?” I’m glad that you asked.

Step #1 – Reflect more on what’s working, and less on what’s not working!

When was the last time you complained about something? I know several years ago that I complained….sadly I did it a LOT. I was miserable at work and in my life, and I whined to others about it. My friends were unhappy too – it was like a big old complaint-fest and we fed off each other’s energy about how crappy we felt (yuck). And if I’m being really raw here, I was jealous of other people who were happy. (Sorry, it’s ugly but it’s true.)

Then I learned to focus more on what was working and the resources that I did have instead of whining and complaining. Slowly but surely I felt a shift start to happen…more good things and good people showed up in my life.

Try for yourself and schedule some time to reflect on what’s working. If you’re having trouble with getting the complaining under control, check out this great resource I learned about a few years ago –

Step #2 – Write down what’s working

Once you’ve found some positive resources in your life, it’s time to write them down (i.e. journal, gratitude jar, etc.). Because when we’re trying to shift our habits, sometimes we forget the positive things in the harder moments. Shifting takes time, so it’s always good to have something written down to refer back to when you’re struggling and having a tough day.

Step #3 – ASK for what you need

During Step #1, inevitably things that you need and don’t yet have will come up. We can’t help it, we’re human.

Select one item from the list of what you need to ask for help with. What specifically do you need help with (details are important)? Who can help you? How will you ask for help?

Don’t be afraid to simply ask. It’s an often forgotten art form, especially for us women. Be brave and ask as you may just be surprised how positively others respond to your request. When the resource that you need appears, you can be grateful for it and reflect on what you have (and thus, the circle begins again).

3 simple steps to begin building financial gratitude in your own life – it’s that simple to get started. And for a bonus step (because some of you are over-achievers like me), if you want to take it up a notch you can ask the loved ones in your life how you can help them. You may just spark something in them to help spread a ripple effect of financial gratitude!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Comments { 0 }

Kicking Financial Clutter to the Curb

Every year when we turn the page of the calendar for the New Year to start I am struck with an overwhelming “urge to purge” any clutter in my life and organize.  I’m happy to say that I’ve already tackled my closet and also some of my kitchen drawers (where I found about 1,000 random pens, pencils and paper clips strewn about amongst other random things!).

But what about financial clutter? How do you start to de-clutter your financial life?

Simply decide to start somewhere.  Yup, that’s it – just decide and start doing things little bit by little bit.

Here are a few questions that I ask my clients to help them start to decrease the amount of financial clutter in their lives:

Do you have financial clutter in your mind?

Financial clutter isn’t just stuff that you can physically see.  It can also show up in how you think about money.  When it comes to money, what does your energy feel like? Is it full of upset, resentment, anger, guilt, fear or tightness or is it full of happiness, gratitude, positivity and abundance?  Most people I meet live a life where their energy and attitudes about money aren’t all that helpful (i.e. guilt, fear, etc.) instead of living a life where they have more positive attitudes about money.  The Law of Attraction essentially says that you’ll attract more of whatever you’re currently feeling – so if you’re feeling negatively about money you’ll get more of that and if you’re feeling positively about money you’ll get more of that.  Which would you rather feel right now? Decide to think (and act) positively regarding money and you’ll likely see improvements in your financial life pretty quickly.

Do you have financial clutter in your day-to-day living?

Day-to-day financial clutter takes many forms such as bills and receipt clutter, loose money or change, or my personal favorite “Ugly Wallet Syndrome.”  You know, where you can barely close your wallet there’s so much jammed in it?!?  If you’ve got financial receipts and change all over the place, how much respect are you showing your money?  Pick yourself up a clean new wallet or a small zip-top bag to keep your receipts organized, and you’re well on your way to cutting through this type of clutter.

Do you have financial clutter in your personal relationships?

Ask yourself, does anyone owe you money that you haven’t followed up on in a while?  Do you have any uncomfortable situations regarding someone else around money (hint: most people do)?  Many people are afraid to confront financial situations such as this because it has the potential to create conflict with loved ones.  However, if you don’t take the step to empower yourself and be proactive, you’re potentially sending the message that money doesn’t matter to you (even if it does).

These 3 areas of financial clutter are a great place to begin to determine where financial clutter might be holding you back.  With a few simple questions you can start kicking your financial clutter to the curb one step at a time.  As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day and clearing financial clutter takes time too!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Comments { 0 }

Welcome to Financially Authentic!

Hello, and welcome to the world of Financially Authentic!  I’m so glad that you’re here, and I’m really looking forward to sharing more about myself and my views on making finances friendly and fun (and quite frankly, less scary).  Too many people are living paycheck to paycheck (approximately 70 %!!) and people are suffering silently because people are too embarrassed to say they need help with their money (seriously, people would rather talk about politics, religion or sex….but ask them to talk about their money and it’s like you just uttered the newest five-letter swear word…..M-O-N-E-Y).  My stance is that people shouldn’t be embarrassed because unless I missed a class somewhere, we were never formally taught how to manage our money, were we?  I was very lucky to have parents that had been taught how money worked and they then taught me and my sister how to manage our own money.

So basically I’ve had enough with people being in financial pain – it’s time for me to get to helping people move from being financially stressed to financially successful!  You can check out the other pages on this site to learn more about me, my background, and my approach in working with women and couples to transition them out of financial overwhelm on to the path of financial independence.  I’m walking this same path of financial independence along with all of my clients, with the ultimate goal of increasing the amount of financial peace I have in my life so that I can ultimately be part of the solution to the financial crisis going on in our world.  I’m here to serve you and others that need my skills to solve your financial “puzzles.”

Some of you may be wondering why I named my company “Financially Authentic,” so let me answer that for you.  My company name was very purposefully chosen, and it is very personal to me.  I think that the “Financially” piece of the name is obvious, so I won’t elaborate much there 😉 however the “Authentic” piece might not be so obvious.  To make a long story short, I’ve spent countless hours in the last 3-4 years trying to find out who I wanted to be in the world and what I was really here to do.  Essentially, it was a journey to come back and find my “authentic” self, if you will…..and man, what an unbelievably transformational journey it was.  With respect to my clients, I see so many of them trying to keep up with the Joneses next door instead of consciously deciding for themselves what they want their lives to be like.  A quick newsflash for everyone – the Joneses are often my clients, and they’re not very happy so why are we trying to keep up with them?!?!?!?  Craziness!  In my humble opinion, it’s time for all of us (myself included) to take the time to understand what we truly want in our lives, and then use our financial resources as an opportunity to underwrite the life we want….both now and in the future.

When I work with my clients I want to help them learn how to make proactive and powerful financial decisions to support their desired lifestyle, even if their desired lifestyle requires some temporary adjustments to get things under control financially.  Let’s purposefully shift the financial dynamic that’s keeping people awake at night because they’re spending more than they make or they can’t figure out how to tackle their debt….it’s time to start a revolution of people who are financially powerful!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Comments { 1 }