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START TO QUESTION

3x3 Habits we learn from parents

You have probably heard this story before, but I wanted to share it again because it made such an impact on me.

It is easy to get caught up in the business of our lives and lose sight of what’s important and “WHY!”

A little boy started saving his allowance and any spare change he found, stashing it under his pillow.

One night, the little boy greeted his father at the door and asked, “How much money do you make?” The father was slightly offended and told his son it was none of his business.

Later, the father started feeling guilty and went back to his son and said, “Son, I make twenty dollars an hour.” The little boy’s face brightened and he asked his dad if he could borrow $12. Now his father blew up, “Why would I give you $12? You probably just want to spend it on junk toys and silly games!” He told his son to go to bed and angrily left the room.

As the father sat in the living room and his anger dissipated, he realized that his son very rarely asked for money. He had not given his child the opportunity to share why he needed the money. He went back to his son’s room and apologized, “I’m sorry I got angry. You rarely ask for money and I will give you the $12 you asked for. Why you are asking for extra money?”

With tears in his eyes, the young boy looked up and said, “I know you are very busy and have so much to do. I wanted to know how much you make so I could save enough money to buy an hour of your time. With the money you have given me, I have enough! Will you please come home earlier tomorrow night and have dinner with me?”

It has been said by many that no one regrets spending more time at the office as they look back over their life. Family and friends are valuable and your investment in relationships will always outweigh pure materialism. Do we need money? Yes! Do we need to manage our finances effectively? Yes! But remember there is more to life than just more.

As you walk through life, take a moment and breathe deeply enough to create a space; space that allows you to make choices objectively. Rather than simply reacting, have empathy with yourself and others. I hope you will honor yourself and others this week!

Bob

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DEFINE YOUR MONEY NERVE

We all have different wants and needs and there are many roads to reach the same goals. In the same way, we all have different levels of emotional tolerance toward our present financial situation. If your money nerve is being pinched, it is time to explore ways to release the tension.

Have you ever noticed how one friend always has to buy what they want NOW? And then needs to borrow cash for lunch? Or how another friend drifts through life without being aware if there is enough money for food and rent? You may have a friend who makes plans and no matter what happens, sticks to them – even when circumstances change and a shift might be beneficial.

Let’s see how one of my clients made a change.

John came from a family that relied entirely upon faith. John’s father was a devout Christian and a pastor of a small church. It was a point of pride that the Lord always provided, even if John’s family didn’t have a lot of money. Almost without fail, when winter came, a member of the church would approach his father and say, “The Lord has put it in my heart to buy your kids winter coats.” Thus, the family would get winter coats. John’s parents trusted God to take care of the family, and they were always taken care of – just not on John’s timetable.

John told me that when he was young, his family had a tradition: if you were passed a dime and needed the dime, it was yours; but if you didn’t need to spend it, it should be given to someone else who might need it. They called it living on faith and the family never “wanted” for their needs. As a child, John never had control over whether his wants and needs would be met. While his childhood experience of passively counting on others did not lessen his faith in any way, it did help him to recognize that he wanted a more active role in his financial decisions. As an adult, John created a long-term financial strategy. For him, it was essential to set targeted goals to fulfill his needs.

Have you explored your core emotional impulses when certain money situations come up? How do you react to an overdrawn bank account? Do you feel panicked and make corrections quickly? Or do you shrug it off – because you have overdraft protection!

Are you living on the edge or do you have some reserve? What emotions come into play as you navigate your finances: Feeling scared, empowered, ashamed, proud or angry?

As you review your feelings and reactions to financial choices, you may see patterns or habits you didn’t notice before. Once you define what is happening, you can make different decisions for a new result, just like my client John.

Bob

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Does Money Solve Everything?

yard work with grandpa

Do you use money to “solve” problems or to make people like you more?

My grandparents gave my family so much! They provided TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. When I was a young adult and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a weekend in their yard fixing things up. At the end of the weekend, my grandfather tried to give me a hundred bucks, which I politely refused. My grandparents were very confused and hurt. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized what my grandparents were really saying with their overly generous attention: “We don’t feel worthy of your love, but if we give you lots of money, will you pretend to love us?” I was totally taken aback and saddened by that thought.

What I came to understand is that my grandparents grew up feeling insecure and unworthy of attention. The only way they thought they could convince people to love them was through bribery. My grandparents taught my mother the same lesson, which not surprisingly trickled down to my siblings and me. Buying expensive presents, always treating friends or family to meals or providing luxuries that they cannot afford, to make others love you more, isn’t a “real” relationship.

All of these activities are positive things that we do with friends and family because we care about them. However, if the underlying emotion is based on fear and need, it might be time to explore your actions. Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people? Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic responses in relationships. Begin making conscious choices that will generate a genuine connection based on love and trust.

Bob