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Facing Your Financial Fears

The Money Nerve
Facing Your Financial Fears

Facing Your Financial Fears

We all have money habits ingrained in our lives, yet many of us are afraid of facing financial fears. Financial fear is often caused by emotional response that we unconsciously carry with us, and facing your financial fear is the first step to eliminating stress and worry.

There are dozens of emotions that surface when it comes to money. When I was thinking back on the emotions I have dealt with in client meetings over the years, I came up with an extensive list. But one emotion seems to crop up more often than others. It’s exhaustion. Looking at the root cause of our financial actions can be exhausting. Being broke can be exhausting. Budgeting can be exhausting.

Exhaustion

Many people have a message in their mind stuck on replay, and it says, “I don’t want to look at my financial reality. I just don’t want to look at how messed up I actually am.” It seems less exhausting to live in a make-believe world! The problem with that assumption is that it’s a fantasy. As soon as you get an overdraft fee – BAM! Welcome to the real world. Dealing with reality out of fear makes you may feel even more de- energized and defeated.

Turn your exhaustion around:

• Analyze your true situation. Don’t spend money before you receive it.
• Have a contingency plan
• Create a strategy to move in a new direction.
• Investigate smarter personal finance tips and tools

Determine where your “MONEY NERVE” is by facing Your Financial Fears

1. Write down a recent, uncomfortable Money Nerve moment and analyze how you might have mitigated the emotions behind it and improved the situation.
2. Start a journal to track your money habits and emotions
3. Make a list of people in your inner circle of family and friends with whom you could discuss finances.
4. Make a list of professionals who could provide financial advice, maybe a CPA or a financial advisor.
5. Pick the three strongest emotions that trigger your Money Nerve. Mentally trace them back to what you believe to be the root cause. For example, “My father got angry whenever we wanted to eat out.”
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B.
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6. Write down a recent, uncomfortable Money Nerve moment and analyze how you might have mitigated the emotions behind it and improved the situation.
7. Review your journal entries to identify other emotions that trigger your Money Nerve.

Becoming more aware of the emotions that trigger your Money Nerve will create new options for making positive change in your life!

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Does Money Buy True Love?

Money vs Time

Does Money Buy True Love?

My grandparents gave my family so much! We knew they loved us best! We were their only grandchildren. Their money bought TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. But as children, we never thought to ask “does money buy true love?” When I was a young adult, and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a few days 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 felt they needed to pay for everything, all the time. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.

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

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 taken aback, hurt and saddened by that thought.

Using Money to Mask Insecurity

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.  Even though the money was always used for positive experiences to create a loving environment, the cash did not create a bond; it was the act of connecting and caring that cemented the relationship.

Explore the Emotions that Propel You to Use Money in Relationships

Going out to eat, attending special events, and taking your family to Disneyland are all 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. Are you afraid people won’t like you if you can’t splurge on expensive meals and events? Do you need people to admire you or feel awed and impressed with your generosity?  Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people?

Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic financial response in relationships.  Check out ways to examine your actions – set aside quiet time to reflect on what’s most important to you or begin to journal. Start making conscious choices that will generate an authentic connection based on love and trust. By cultivating genuine relationships with family and friends, you will construct a lifestyle of proactive abundance, and that makes all the difference in the world!

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Unconscious Choices: Time To Stop

Unconscious Choices

Stop Making Unconscious Choices

Do you ever try to juggle payments on numerous credit cards to stay afloat? Is it an unconscious choice to constantly transfer money back and forth to pay bills?

Do you free up expenses on one credit card so you can charge more on another card? Do  you “need” a new pair of running shoes? Have you made a payment on a credit card, crossed your fingers, and hoped your paycheck would be deposited in time to cover the check?

If you have too many things going on financially, make time to stop. Take a deep breath. Your unconscious choices are wreaking havoc with your financial journey.  Become more aware of your actions and begin to focus on streamlining your life. You cannot keep all this mumbo-jumbo going on and ever expect to reach your dream destination!

Slow Down to Make Conscious Choices

Unconscious choices create an “auto-pilot mentality.” This happens when people fall back on old habits, and make choices without thinking.Determine where you are today, and where you want to go tomorrow. As a result, you can make better decisions moving forward. Set up a proactive plan and use conscious choices to reach fiscal goals.

One unusual tool to get out of this cycle is to freeze your credit cards. Once you have a place to live, enough money for food and access to transportation, most other “things” are “wants.” If most purchases are for entertainment, fine dining, clothes and extra things you could live without. Stop! Freeze Your Credit Cards!

Cool Down Your Emotional Impulses

Take all the credit cards you have maxed out, and put them in a container. Fill it with water and place in your freezer. Many people buy more impulsively when using credit cards, which results in purchasing tons of unnecessary items. Since your cards are in the “deep freeze,” you must thaw the cards out to use. As a result of waiting, the unconscious urge to splurge will pass.

Create A New Mental Map

 Maybe your current mental map tells you that life cannot be enjoyed without using credit cards. Do you even know what the interest rate is? If you don’t know, you could be paying 20 percent or more on your credit cards. Create a new mental map about money.  Shift your perspective to move toward your financial goals. As a benefit of curbing your expenses, money saved from interest charges could be a down payment on a new car or a romantic trip to Italy.
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TALKING ABOUT MONEY WITH YOUR PARTNER

3x3-talking-about-moneyPeople would rather talk about sex than their money. It is more important to talk about money with your partner. Starting an open communication about what each partner makes, what the responsibilities are, and choosing how to manage your money, is a powerful tool for building a successful relationship.

Arguments revolving around finances are the Number 1 reason for many divorces and break-ups. If you are serious about your partner, you need to start talking about money with your partner. One easy way to start this discussion is to share about how your family handled finances. Did your Mom pay all the bills? Did your Dad always plan the family trips? Were you and your siblings paid allowance for doing household chores or was your allowance given without any obligations? Once you and your partner hear how your families handled money and find common ground, it is easier to understand why your partner makes different financial decisions than you might. Having this knowledge can also help couples to formulate a blended plan, ensuring each person has a voice setting budgets and spending.

When one person makes more money, it is easy for the other to feel less valuable. Both people need to know that they are contributing to future goals and can share their opinion. Resentment can build when there is a feeling of iniquity or that one’s opinion is not valued. Another habit that can “kill” a relationship is hiding “secret” savings accounts or debt. Each person needs to build a healthy relationship with money, so both of you can work together to be accountable for personal needs and spending money and joint dreams and goals!

Listening and talking about money with your partner can help you find creative ways to solve financial challenges. Now you can make proactive choices for directing your money toward large purchases and investing in your future…together!

Check out some of the tools on this website. Many of these tools are free and offer a roadmap for smarter fiscal management. Browse some of these links and talk with your partner about which tools might be best for you!

(Photo via business.financialpost.com)

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CREATE INCREDIBLE CHANGE

incredible change

Intentions, coupled with thoughtful choices to support a new direction in life, can bring about incredible change.

One of my main reasons for writing a book, hosting seminars and webinars to educate people on finding a better formula for making money choices was the fact that many of my clients could not separate their emotions from their financial decisions. I realized that lots of people felt shame or despair when making reactive emotional choices. I firmly believe a person CAN reallocate their time and money to create more positive results, especially when setting clear intentions ahead of time.

Your best friend and your worst enemy are both in this room right now.
It’s not your neighbor right or left – and it’s not God or the devil; it’s you.
– Edwin Louis Cole

In the last #MoneyNerve post, I explored the concept of setting your financial GPS; knowing where you are to reach a new destination. Check out this info-graphic for creating incredible change. I wanted to share this visual for setting up an action plan and achieving your goals.

Achieving-Goals-Infographic

Joi, at Self Help Daily, shares this mental tidbit, “When it comes to goals, a lot of people have a tendency to call them by the wrong name: dreams, hopes, wishes… While there’s nothing wrong with any of these words (personally, I’m smitten with each one), when we use words like this we kind of take ourselves out of the equation. Dreams, hopes, and wishes – they more or less indicate that success will come at random – yet that is not always the case. While I’m all for positive thought and firmly believe that we can produce more positivity in our lives by first being positive, ourselves, good things do not just happen because we want them to.”

I hope you enjoy reviewing this simple info-graphic and use it to boost your strategy. Now’s the time to blaze a new trail toward healthier money decisions!

~Bob

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Setting Your Financial GPS

financial GPSSetting your financial GPS is a strategic plan for reaching a life goal or planning a future destination. First, you need to know where you are and where you want to go.

When people get in a car and activate their GPS, it is assumed the device knows where the car is and will arrive at the correct address. From experience, you cannot always rely on it to be accurate. The same concept of reaching a target in your life must include your starting point and what you want to achieve. To make good financial decisions, you need to break the autopilot mentality and start thinking for yourself. Being on autopilot when facing money decisions means you allow roadblocks and congested traffic existing in your head.

On an actual freeway, you can see hundreds of cars ahead of you on the road. The roadblocks you have set up in your mind tend to be less obvious. Nobody is setting out an orange cone with blinking lights telling you to merge your credit card debt.

Budgeting inertia and increased mental stress take place when you try to juggle payments on seven credit cards or transfer money from one bank account to another. Have you ever freed up expenses on one credit card so you can charge more on it while making a payment for another card? Do you wait for a paycheck to cover checks you just wrote? Time for a new roadmap!

A financial GPS can be a terrific tool for setting a destination from your start point to a future goal. Even when your financial advisor and your accountant set up external steps for you to follow, you are ultimately the driver of your “monetary” vehicle. I have several clients who, in the face of grave consequences, have driven right off a fiscal cliff – despite having been informed of its presence.

Collectively, many of us have become unconscious and drift through the “business” of our lives. As you become aware of what direction you want to go, you can work your way out of that dream state. Slow down and make conscious choices for the next three months. “I will not charge my credit card; I’ll just skip going out to dinner this week.” “Maybe I do not need three new outfits.” “I should balance my checkbook.” “Take a breath and focus.” (It is good to remind yourself to slow down.) Now you can actively manage your money rather than frantically reacting to fiscal surprises.

Makes life more enjoyable!
Bob

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CREATE SPACE FOR NEW BELIEFS

issuestissues-ch-6-emotional-baggage-claim

We have all unconsciously downloaded misinformation into our brains. We now have to consciously begin identifying our early money programming memories based on our family, early childhood and how we were raised. It will take some work to identify and change those beliefs.

By finding and following The Money Nerve, you have already started the process of self-discovery. The more I’ve learned about myself, the more I’ve understood the impact that even the most seemingly insignificant events have had on my life and that probably rings true for you as well.

Before you start any journey, you need to know where you want to go (your goal), what you have to work with (your beliefs), and what new things you will bring (your new perspective).

It’s important to bring your story to consciousness so that you begin to take responsibility for where you are. This, in turn, helps you make clearer choices that will take you where you WANT to go—and allows you to realize your own power.

Explore some of your old habits and see if those actions are still serving you. If they hold you back, it is time to clean out any financial and emotional “trash” and move forward. Once you are aware of where you sabotage yourself financially, you can begin to change your automatic responses. Be more present and listen carefully to the words you are using. As you start to consciously hear yourself creating roadblocks, choose to intentionally reroute your mind toward the fresh course of action that you have set for yourself.

Start by setting aside time to think, reflect and write down your thoughts, present and future. Spending time by yourself gives you the ability to hear your own voice and discover your dreams. Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

With a certain amount of quiet time, you start to listen with the ears behind your ears. You may hear voices saying, “Only special people do that,” “I don’t deserve it”— and the voices may not be your own. It will sound like you are saying it, but if you are like me, you might hear your parents telling you that you are not capable. Tell those voices to be quiet; you are busy. And then go back and pay attention to your own voice.

Are you ready to take action? If you hate your job, find your passion and work in that field. If you don’t have skills, take classes. If you hate being broke, start saving. If you are unhappy with your debt, make a plan to pay it down while curbing spending.

What is working for you and what isn’t? Are you ready to start creating your financial freedom even if the process is scary? Now you can begin to head in a new direction.

Invest in Value for Long Term Sustainability

The financial quick-fixers have a duct tape mentality, and contrary to popular belief, duct tape doesn’t fix everything. They may get immediate results, but are not actually dealing with the cause of their problem.

If you are overdrawn in your bank account, you might think you are doing right by using your credit card to bring your account back into balance. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul. The reality is that you are creating more debt for yourself and adding interest payments to what you owe already.

I joke that I wish I could “un-know” what I know. It is a lot more work when you start to take responsibility for your life. Imagine going to a seminar and hearing that there are eight steps you have to take in order to become a millionaire. Many people in the seminar will stop at four steps and say, “I’ve finished four steps, why don’t I have 500,000 dollars?”

We live in a volatile world. Instead of being a financial quick-fixer, take a longer view into the future and begin to make choices will create a healthy and abundant lifestyle over time.

  • Figure out where you are: Take a look at your spending habits and write down every purchase in a month.
  • Identify your priorities: How can you reallocate funds to support your priorities and provide additional value in your life?
  • Create a financial support system: Actively seek support utilizing professional advice, friends, financial tools, software and applications to set yourself up for success.

Once you learn to work with your list of financial goals and stop operating out of fear regarding money, you will see your efforts transfer to other aspects of your life. You may feel more financially confident once you have a clear vision of where you are and where you want to be.

Empowering yourself financially allows you to toss out old reactions and habits. You choose your actions! As you tap into your own power, you no longer wait for luck to happen or hope that you win the lottery—you actively take charge of your life. I call this positive lifestyle where the riches of life are inherent in your soul—proactive abundance!

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GO the DISTANCE

Change your mindsetAsk yourself where you would like to be in one year or five years. Would you like to be free of credit card debt? Would you like to have traveled the world? Would you like to have put away money in a retirement account? Would you like to change your spending habits? Would you like to see 50,000 dollars in savings?

Once you know where you would like to be, state your goal. A year from now, I’d like to stop using credit cards. In five years, I’d like to be credit card debt free. A year from now, I want to go to school for additional training. In five years, I’d like to be in another career or own my own company.

Quiet the censor in your mind and just let your imagination travel where it likes. After allowing yourself this quiet time every day, you may be surprised to see where your imagination takes you! Take advantage of planning ahead then every three months or so, sit down and adjust your budget. You can still get to where you want to go, you are just allowing yourself to keep it real and tweak the plan, as needed.

Finances will always be a part of your life—not something you can ever move past. Confront your financial fears and set aside an hour per week to update your records. If you use computer software, download your bank statement and expenses. Balance your checkbook. Keeping up with your money each week for a small amount of time will help you stay on track for your bigger goals.

Make an effort to spend responsibly. Make a list of all bills you get each month, and then check them off your list as you pay them. That way, if you didn’t receive a bill, you still realize it has to be paid. Spreadsheets are a great way to keep track of expenditures. Once a year, list your assets and debts to get a sense of your net worth. Now you have a true road map of where you have been and can move more efficiently toward your current financial destination!

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Build Your Dream Team

3x3 Being Financial PartnersMaking a plan for a rainy day is always prudent. Some examples might be stashing some money in a savings account, looking toward your retirement or setting aside a three-month supply of food so that you are covered in case of an emergency. Just don’t go overboard, and sacrifice living to the fullest in your present life for an unforeseeable future.

I think of my friend’s grandmother finding an envelope labeled Hawaii trip in her husband’s safe deposit box after he died. They never left mainland soil in his lifetime. He had plenty of money in the envelope; they had the time; he just waited too long to take action. His financial fears kept both of them from sharing unique and fulfilling experiences together.

Have you shared your dreams, your goals or even your credit score with your partner? Maybe it is time to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation about what is important to both of you. Make the time to explore how to make those dreams happen. You want to know what triggers stress in each other and be aware of emotions can trigger extreme reactions.

As you become more aware of your emotions and what triggers your Money Nerve, you will be able to be more understanding of your partner’s Money Nerve. You want to have a conversation with the goal of improving financial communication and a better understanding of the person you love. You may still get annoyed and even upset by the reactions of others— but know you have each other’s back to deal with your situation.

Many times, sharing your financial journey and goals with others can help keep you on track. Keeping a budget together with a common focus becomes fun with a partner because you can “team up” with one another to track receipts, and build a stronger portfolio. When you join forces, you can now plan on how and where to spend your cash, set goals for fulfilling each other’s dreams and laying the groundwork for a better future.

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YOUR FINANCIAL GPS

3x3 From A-ZWhen we get in a car and activate the GPS, we assume it knows where we are and will get us where we want to go. Yet from experience, we know we can’t always rely on it to be accurate. In order to make good decisions before going anywhere, we first need to know where we are and where we want to go. The same principle applies when making good financial decisions, we need to break the GPS mentality and start thinking for ourselves instead of staying on financial autopilot.

You may believe that your investment adviser and your accountant use some kind of financial GPS to get you where you want to go. And that is what you are paying them for. Even if they have mapped out a plan, YOU are ultimately the driver of your fiscal vehicle. I have several clients who, in the face of grave consequences, have driven right off a money cliff despite having been informed of its presence. Know where you are, be aware, and know what your destination is. Just as there may be road closures or challenging traffic on the interstate, you need to be flexible and make monetary changes when dealing with “financial roadblocks.” Recalculate your GPS and continue to move forward to achieve important long-term goals.

Have you have become unconscious? Open your eyes, examine new options and work your way out of that dream state. Make conscious choices in your
financial travels and stay aware of your surroundings. Begin today! Approach financial decisions with a proactive, intentional course of action, rather than letting emotional reactions drive your life! You will enjoy the journey so much more and reach your life goals!

~Bob