Tag Archives | Financial Foundation

Designing Your Circle of Life

14 months ago I stepped into a training room on February 27, 2014 and my life changed forever (and definitely for the better!).

I began my journey with Gratitude Training in Florida, and started to identify the things that were holding me back from being everything that I could be and learning how to be more of who I am really meant to be.

As I moved through Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the trainings from February through June 2014, I could feel the terrible unfulfilled feeling I’d started the trainings with begin to leave my body while joy and excitement for my life ahead invigorated my soul.

By all pretenses, before I started the training I had a “good life”. And most people might’ve even labeled me as “successful.” Yet I wasn’t happy – I was stuck going through the motions of life, achieving everywhere I could at warp speed and yet that unfulfilled feeling stayed with me. I had no idea what was wrong.

Until I began to explore what Gratitude Training refers to as the “circle of life.” In a nutshell, the circle includes 6 areas of your life to consider in terms of how you would rank it on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being “really bad” and 10 being “awesome”):

  • Health/Body/Fitness
  • Business/Career/Finance
  • Family/Personal Relationships
  • Spiritual/Personal Growth
  • Leisure/Recreation
  • Community/Service

As I spent time during the trainings evaluating each area on a scale of 1-10 in my own life it became pretty clear why I was so unhappy. I’d spent so much time focused on one domain (Business/Career/Finance) that I’d allowed pretty much every other domain to dwindle. Was I having much fun? No. Did I feel healthy (or at least as healthy as I wanted to be)? No. Were my relationships with my family and friends the best that they could be? Ouch – definitely not. And while I had been focused on my spirituality and some community service in the previous few years, I knew there was a much higher level of personal growth and contribution of which I was capable.

So while I teach about building, creating, and strengthening your financial foundation and using money as a tool to support your dream life, it is only one piece of the puzzle in creating an abundant and fulfilled life of your dreams. I’m learning more and more every day how to play in each of these areas of the circle of life, and while it’s not always easy to grow it is always worth it!

And for today I’ll leave you with this question for you to consider:

Are you playing at 100% in all areas of your life?

Many people I talk to have dreams and aspirations to make a major difference in the world. Are you one of the change agents that the world desperately needs to shift from war, hatred, and scarcity to peace, love, and abundance? Is it your time to grab for the brass ring of life and finally go for it?

Please don’t let one more minute of precious and amazing life pass you by. Go for it all, and leave it all on the floor and enjoy the hell out of the ride while you’re at it!

I’ll see you on the ride if you decide to join me. 🙂

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The Connection between Financial Health and Abundance

There’s an amazing conversation going on in our world about how to attract and invite abundance into our lives – have you heard about it yet?

Sadly, my experience tells me that most people want amazing amounts of abundance in their lives, yet they are not in the place financially speaking to powerfully attract abundance in the most optimal way.

What I see is this – there’s a financial energy spectrum that spans from scarcity, to sufficiency (as the mid-point of the spectrum), to abundance. At the scarcity point of the continuum, the financial energy is hectic and chaotic which tends to come from feelings of “not enough,” people feeling overwhelmed by money, and a general sense of disorganization when it comes to finances. At the sufficiency point, the energy is more stable, with a sense of ease about having enough money and other resources to live life peacefully with what you need and a healthy level of financial knowledge. And at the abundance point, you’re attracting amazing things into your life as you’re standing on a strong financial foundation.

In order to powerfully attract abundance, however, most people first get to focus on shifting from scarcity to sufficiency. I’ve found that creating abundance is much easier when you can stand on a strong financial foundation that demonstrates your ability to steward your money well. When you come from this place of power, the Universe recognizes that you can be trusted with money and resources, and the abundance (financial and otherwise) begins to show up.

Unfortunately, for the majority of people (70%) who live paycheck-to-paycheck, they end up more toward the scarcity point of the continuum as they are often worried about getting by on a day-to-day basis. So what can you do if you’re one of the many people who want to make a conscious energetic shift out of scarcity and toward sufficiency so that at some point in the near future you can powerfully invite abundance into your life?

The answer: focus on your financial health. Understand what financial health means to you and who the professionals are that can support you in understanding financial health. Begin to learn about money management and best practices when it comes to your finances, and complete a self-assessment of your own financial health.

As I’ve shared before in other articles, “The Financial Health Spectrum™” (which includes the 3 phases of Build, Protect, and Grow your financial assets) reflects different levels of financial health and is a good place for you to start assessing where you are and what the next best steps are for you to improve your financial health. You can use this spectrum to identify which financial expert can help you with your goals and to learn the next set of financial skills that will best support you.

Improving along the spectrum is a longer-term process since strengthening your financial foundation and building financial independence is often a multi-step journey that takes place over time and with attention to progress (and not perfection). It is also important to note that it is possible to be in more than one phase at the same time (i.e. saving for retirement (Grow) while looking to more proactively manage your monthly cash flow (Build) and put the proper legal paperwork in place (Protect)).

Take some time today to understand where you are in terms of your financial health – and ask yourself, are you ready to do what it takes to shift your financial energy and begin to create the abundant life of your dreams?

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How to Assess and Improve Your Level of Financial Health

When I first started working as a financial coach, many people would mistake me for a financial advisor or financial planner. They thought I was someone who would help them learn how to invest their money for retirement.

And while financial advisors and financial planners are dear colleagues of mine and are very talented professionals, my work is very clearly in a different space where I’m helping people with their budgeting and money management skills so that they can focus on getting out of debt and saving money with the hope of building a financial plan to support their goals.

So in order to help people better understand what I did (and what I didn’t do), I created what I like to call “The Financial Health SpectrumTM” which includes the 3 phases of Build, Protect, and Grow your financial assets. These 3 phases simply reflect different levels of financial health, and while none of the phases are “bad” there is an increasing level of financial health as you move from the “Build” phase through to the “Grow” phase. In helping people to understand what type of financial support they need, I encourage people to take a few minutes to assess where they fall on this spectrum so that they can properly identify which financial expert can help them with their goals and with improving their level of financial health.

In order to help you determine where you might fall on the Financial Health Spectrum™, let me explain each phase a bit further along with the respective professionals that you might want to connect with:

  1. Build phase — This phase is typically where the 70% of people living paycheck to paycheck who are feeling out of control when it comes to their finances will land. When building your financial assets, you’ll be looking to do such things as establish a budget (or what I like to call a “savings and spending plan” because budget is such a restrictive word), develop more proactive money management skills, get out of debt, and save more money. To me, this phase is about improving your financial stability and strengthening and repairing your financial foundation so that in the future you can grow your financial assets. In this phase, you might look to work with someone who can help you increase your income, decrease your expenses, or perhaps do both! This is the phase where I work with my clients, and some other colleagues who can help you in this phase include CPAs, money mindset coaches (to help you understand if you have money beliefs that are holding you back in some way), and salary negotiation coaches (so that you can maximize your earnings).
  2. Protect phase — This phase is generally exemplified by wanting to either insure assets (property and casualty insurance, life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance) or planning to have your wishes known about what to do with your assets in case anything happens to you. Experts in this phase include licensed insurance professionals who can help you determine the right type and amount of insurance that you need and estate planning attorneys who can help you with drafting all necessary legal documents such as wills, trusts, family planning/guardianship paperwork, health care directives and proxies, and also Medicare/Medicaid paperwork.
  3. Grow phase — At the end of the spectrum, once you’ve strengthened your financial foundation and protected the financial assets that you do have, you’ll also want to think about putting your money to work for you and growing it through investments and other financial vehicles (i.e. annuities, etc.). The financial professional you’ll want to consider in this phase is a financial advisor or financial planner who will take the time to understand your future financial objectives and design a plan customized just for you to grow your money over time to achieve your goals.

As mentioned before, there is no “right” or “wrong” phase to be in, these phases are simply an opportunity for you to recognize where you’re at right now and determine the next steps that you’d like to take for yourselves to improve your financial health. I also encourage people to think about moving along the spectrum as a longer-term process since strengthening your financial foundation and building financial independence is often a multi-faceted journey that takes place over time and with attention to progress (and not perfection). It is also important to note that you may be in more than one phase at the same time (i.e. saving for retirement while looking to more proactively manage your monthly cash flow and put the proper legal paperwork in place).

Taking the time to understand where you are on the The Financial Health SpectrumTM may well be one of the most productive things you can do to stop and assess your level of financial health. What is your next step to strengthen your financial foundation? Is there a financial task you’ve wanted to handle for a while and haven’t yet taken care of…perhaps because you don’t know the next step to take? Do you know which financial professional would serve you best to take that next step forward?

If you’re ready for a solid resource to support you on assessing your financial health, The Financial Health Telesummit may well be the answer — and the best news is that for a limited time, I’m sharing this valuable information with you for an investment of just $97! CLICK HERE to learn more about how some of my favorite colleagues and financial experts can help you decide on the next steps to take in improving your financial health and to determine whether this resource supports you in powerfully paving your path to financial freedom.

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How to Inspire Honest & Authentic Money Conversations in Your Relationship

As I concluded a program recently with an amazing couple, it reminded me just how much can be at stake when you’ve got 2 people (and sometimes more if children are involved) in a money conversation.

Most people aren’t necessarily familiar with what it is that gets in the way of having effective money conversations in a relationship (click here for prior post on this topic), let alone how to proactively build a mutual foundation for authenticity, honesty, and trust.

In working with couples, there is always the initial space that we create where they get to hear each other out. We get to understand how each partner grew up around money and how that impacts them, and the “baggage” that they bring into the relationship without even realizing it. There’s also an appreciation gained of each other’s “money type” and how that plays out in their lives (both individually and together as a couple).

And once we clear through the past, we’re ready to get started on building an amazing financial future – as a couple! In order to do that, I recommend 3 key steps to get started on building a strong, joint financial foundation:

  1. Approach money with a spirit of partnership – One of the biggest mistakes I see couples making is that one or the other of them is right about how to handle money. For the couples I work with who thrive, they make a concerted effort to explore what each of them has to offer regarding managing money, and each of them gets to be heard and contribute. As a couple, it’s a team game – and while not all team players are created with equal strengths and abilities, each player deserves to be part of the team and contribute to the financial partnership. So allow yourself to be friendly, fun, curious and inquisitive when it comes to how your partner interacts with money…not only is money a divine tool to support you in your life, it’s also an excellent teaching tool for you to learn about your loved ones and why they say and do what they do!
  2. Appreciate other dynamics at play in your relationship – While money is indeed its own unique entity, there are very often other social dynamics at play when it comes to building an authentic and honest financial partnership. While this may not apply to all couples (and in some couples it can be reversed, which is ok too), very often men are wired as “providers” and women are wired as “hunters/gatherers.” What does this mean exactly? In a nutshell and as it relates to money, men are generally wired to “bring home the bacon” and provide for their families. In today’s day and age, many women are often wired this way as they are committed to their careers and professional excellence. Unfortunately, while women’s liberation has been an incredibly important shift, sometimes it can lead to confusion as to who the provider is in a relationship (the man or the woman?). This confusion can then seep into who is accountable for the different aspects of managing the finances – who is the primary earner (or are both key earners for the household)? Who gets to manage the day-to-day finances – the primary earner or the one who works less hours or stays at home? Is one partner responsible for planning for the longer-term future (i.e. retirement)? Understanding up front the financial roles that each partner will accept responsibility for in the relationship is a key component to building a financially peaceful life as a couple.
  3. Align and plan how you will use your money with what matters to you both – Now that you’ve created a space of partnership and taken some time to determine the roles each of you will play in your financial lives, it’s time to put “pen to paper” as they say and develop a financial plan. Your mutual situation may require a plan that involves handling the day-to-day expenditures while getting out of debt and saving money. The key to any financial plan that supports a couple is that there is room in the plan for the unique needs and wants of both parties. And yes, this means that if your significant other spends money on something you just cannot understand, you may get to be quiet about it (provided that it’s not putting you in a place of financial hardship)! An effective financial plan will use money in a way that’s first and foremost aligned with the mutual goals of the couple (i.e. saving for a house, a new baby, college funds for children) while also incorporating a solid balance of fun and self-care for each partner.

With a spirit of partnership and mutual respect, designing a mutually beneficial financial future is an amazingly creative and loving process that can set a couple up for incredible success. Simply remember to be curious and inquisitive whenever your partner does something with money that you don’t understand – you’ll often be surprised what you can learn about your partner and they may have important input to contribute to an even more solid financial foundation for the both of you!

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Distinguishing Net Worth from Self-Worth

You are NOT the balance in your bank account.
You are NOT how much money you earn.
You are NOT your debt balances.

On a regular basis, I work with clients to support them in learning a scientific approach to money management which includes systemizing their use of cash flow to maximize the amount of freedom and choice that they have in their lives. As part of that process, we review what they earn, what they spend, and their account balances (i.e. bank accounts, credit cards, etc.).

And it always amazes me how often when I’m reviewing income, expenses, and balances (both bank accounts and debt), how often the client will feel such tremendous guilt and shame if they happen to be in a situation where they aren’t doing as well as they would like to be. It’s as if they take the information we’ve compiled and interpret it as a direct reflection of themselves.

So let me let you in on a little secret…your net worth is not your self-worth. So don’t confuse the two.

Your net worth is simply a calculation of what you own (assets) minus what you owe (liabilities). That’s it. It’s intended to be a benchmark at a point of time to evaluate your financial health. Think of it like a scorecard, if you will. Once you have your initial benchmark, the name of the game is to increase your net worth over time, primarily by saving money (increasing assets) and getting out of debt (decreasing liabilities). At any given time, your net worth is simply a data point that you can use to make future decisions about how to use your money.

Money is a tool to be used to support your life, not as a representation of your value in this world. You were born whole, perfect, and complete and even if your financial life isn’t going as well as you would like it to be, you are still that whole, perfect, and complete person. Yet money is indeed an emotional topic, and it’s very much one of the final “taboo” topics of our time…because as my client told me just this morning, “I felt this hole inside of me before because I was embarrassed about my financial situation. Now I know that I am not my money and my money is not me – it’s just a tool that I can use to support my goals and dreams!”

Building a strong financial foundation starts with understanding that you are separate from money. Money is simply a means of exchange used in today’s society. When you take the time to understand how your money can support you, you are able to empower yourself in your life!

So if today your financial situation isn’t quite what you’d like it to be – perhaps you’ve got more debt than you’d like or you don’t have much in savings – remind yourself that you are not your financial results, and that where you stand right now is simply information that may allow you to begin to more proactively strengthen and build a financial foundation fit to support you in your amazing future!

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