How well do you receive money?

By: Liz Wolfe

I recently read a moving and insightful book called 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.  It’s a true story of a man who completely turned his life around when he decided to write a thank you note every day for one year.  This memoir is an example of how powerful gratitude can be.

The story that I remember most from the book, though, was one that Kralik tells in the beginning.  He describes how as a young boy his grandfather gave him a silver dollar, telling him that if he received a thank you note, he would send another one.  As long as Kralik sent him a thank you note, the silver dollars would keep coming.  In this way, his grandfather taught him a life lesson in etiquette, while simultaneously illustrating how gratitude generates more abundance.

As the story goes, Kralik did indeed send his grandfather a thank you note, and true to his grandfather’s word, a shiny new silver dollar came back to him in the mail.  Once again he wrote a thank you note, and in return another silver dollar.  By the third silver dollar, however, Kralik had lost enthusiasm for the exchange, and did not send another thank you note, and thus the flow of silver dollars stopped. 

My husband and I don’t give an allowance to our children, so one day my son Julian came to me asking if he could earn some money.  “Sure,” I told him, and he presented a list of activities and how much each was worth.  Getting out of bed when called in the morning and getting dressed was worth 25 cents.  Making a bottle of seltzer was worth 10 cents.  Doing a complete load of laundry, including folding and putting it away was worth $1, etc.

For two weeks, Julian enthusiastically completed tasks, and as he did I dropped quarters in to a cup for him.  I noticed, however, that I was the one reminding him that if he did certain things he would get the money, and I soon tired of that game.  One day I said to him, “When you complete a task, you let me know, and I’ll put the money in the cup.”  I figured if he really wanted the money, he would tell me, plus, I wanted him to be the one taking the initiative.

For a while, Julian accumulated a fair amount of money in his cup, and got to spend some of it.  However, once I told him that he was responsible for letting me know he had earned money, the rate at which he earned it dropped significantly.  In fact, for the past month, he hasn’t asked me for money at all.  He still makes seltzer, he still gets out of bed and gets dressed in the morning, and does a host of other items that we decided on -- but he doesn’t collect on them.

The similarity between these two stories is that in both cases, had the child simply taken the initiative to do the prescribed activity as directed, they would have received more money easily and abundantly.  It caused me to think about how often I “leave money on the table.”  For instance, I have a check for $100 sitting on my desk right now that I just haven’t taken to the bank.  I’ve written in previous blogs about various gift certificates that end up buried in piles on my desk.  I even occasionally delay in submitting invoices for work I’ve done.  People actively owe me money, but I don’t collect on it, just like Julian and his chore money.

If inadequate cash flow is a frequent theme in your life, take a look at how well you are RECEIVING the money that is already out there in the universe waiting to come your way.  While there is a common belief that receiving is easy, many of us could use practice in this area.  Receiving is an action that requires conscious attention.  You can practice receiving by being gracious when people give things to you – compliments, gifts, a seat on the subway, and of course, money. 

I have a personal practice whereby any time anyone offers me money, I take it.  I want to tell the universe that I want money, and that I am ready to gratefully receive it.  That way, like the author’s grandfather, it will send me more.


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Liz Wolfe is a skilled and energetic motivational speaker, coach and trainer. For more than 20 years she has inspired hundreds of people with her passionate stand of abundance: “There is plenty for everyone, including me.” As a coach for entrepreneurs, she empowers clients with her unique system: “A Clear Vision + Purposeful Action – Hidden Barriers = Breakthrough Results.” Lizwolfecoaching.com

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Liz Wolfe

Liz Wolfe has lead trainings professionally for over 20 years. She is originally from Western Pennsylvania where she grew up on a sheep farm. She began her public speaking career as a child, doing spinning and weaving demos at local festivals with her family. In her formative years, she was money poor but resource rich. Her days on the farm supplied her with a wonderful foundation to learn about the abundance of the universe.

She came to New York City in 1987. Since then she has created a successful business with her husband, Jon, that focuses on helping companies and individuals realize their full potential.

Time Management Techniques for Work-Life Integration

By: Laura Berger

Credit: Pexels

Credit: Pexels

Despite all the talk and best efforts, work-life balance remains elusive for many professionals. The generic advice about how to structure our time fails to account for each individual’s income requirements, career goals and personal values. When you fall short of “having it all” -- the successful career, the storybook family life, the active gym membership, the eight hours of sleep -- the outcome is guilt, stress and shame. In a nutshell, these emotions only hinder growth.

No one can be in two places at once. Expending effort in one area of life causes guilt in another. Long hours at work, for example, can result in a cycle of negative self-talk: “I’m letting my family down by staying at the office so late.” Conversely, leaving work early to join a child’s field trip can cause thoughts like, “I have so much to do at work. I really shouldn’t be here.” These statements only add more guilt and shame, and the vicious cycle continues.

Fortunately, it is possible to have a successful career and live in accordance with your values. The key is to understand what works for you. You can also shift your approach, maybe embracing the term “work-life integration.” Just making that subtle pivot in language will help.

The Tool

Start this integration by identifying where you would really like to focus your energy.

You can use an energy chart, similar to the one below, to provide a fantastic visual representation of where you are now and where you want to be. The energy chart allocates how much energy you spend in each of your “essential roles.” Create your own chart by first calculating your total daily waking hours.

Next, over the course of a week, record how much time you spend on each intrinsically fulfilling activity daily, both as time and a percentage. For example, if you spend 10% of your time exercising, you would assign “10” as your energy allocation for that activity. You can also include activities that you’d like to incorporate into your life. If you would like to start meditating, for example, assign it “0” since you currently spend 0% of your energy on meditation.

Typically, clients will include eight to 10 activities, but there is no right number. For your chart key, create color-coded rectangles for each activity.\

Courtesy Berdeo Group

Courtesy Berdeo Group

Now map out how you wish to spend your time. Being a visual creature, having a chart of what you value makes it far easier to stay accountable to your goals. Having your current and future life charts side-by-side will show you whether you are living in alignment with your core. This may just be the motivation you need to kick start your journey.

Courtesy Berdeo Group

Courtesy Berdeo Group

Courtesy Berdeo Group

Courtesy Berdeo Group

Taking Action

With a mechanism in place, it’s now time to start acting toward your goals. Begin by figuring out how you might be able to get back more time for yourself. Some, for example, choose to wake up 30 minutes earlier to fit in something they love, whether meditating, walking the dog or journaling.

Next, look at how you are “wasting” your waking hours. How much time do you spend scrolling social media or browsing the internet? In front of the TV or shopping? You might be surprised at how quickly these numbers add up. Twenty minutes per day on social media is 2.3 hours per week. Ask yourself if this time would be better spent on any of the essential roles in your future energy chart.

Next, evaluate how you can strategically shift your schedule. Say, for example, you currently do laundry after your kids go to bed. Could you do laundry when they are doing homework instead and use the time after they’re in bed to treat yourself to an at-home yoga session or a nice bath? Of course, routines are powerful. Be determined to approach this from a flexible perspective.

Then identify the barriers preventing you from doing what you love. If you find yourself overloaded with work, for example, delegate more. If you find that housework falls entirely on you, talk to your family and provide specific ways they can help. Ultimately, if you spot an unfair “time-suck” in any aspect of your life, don’t be afraid to speak up about it.

Now ensure you are allocating your newfound time toward the activities you identified in your future energy chart. If you’ve made time to exercise, for example, set a goal, whether that’s running a 5K or going to the gym three times per week. Think about ways to help you stay accountable to that goal. Maybe find a gym buddy or track your progress in a notebook or in an app. Think creatively about how you can optimize every second of the time you find for yourself. After all, time is finite -- it's truly your most precious resource.

Lastly, treat your energy chart as a living document. Make a note to come back to it periodically to ensure you’re on track. As you make progress, your current energy chart will evolve, and the preferences on your future chart will likely change, too. Alas, all change requires some type of tool or method. In this case, a little rigor will create much happiness, lower stress and maybe even increase longevity. Go forth and see how worthwhile it really is.

This article originally appeared on www.forbes.com


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Featured on ABC News, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdeo Group. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is the co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical.

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Laura Berger

Featured on ABC News, in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and in Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdéo Group. She has counseled leaders for 15 years, maximizing their potential in the areas of Evidence based leadership, global operations management, and strategic change management. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, Leo Burnett Worldwide, American Hospital Association, Starcom MediaVest Group, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, World Business Chicago, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is an in-demand speaker and co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical: Could You Say Goodbye to Everything You Know to Get Everything You Want?.

5 Tips for Educating Kids About Money

By: Allison Pearson

Talking about money is difficult for most of us. Sometimes, talking about money to a family member is even more difficult.

Growing up, I was fortunate to have parents who prioritized my financial education from an early age. When I was a teenager, my grandmother gave me a small sum of money to do with as I pleased. After some gentle guidance from my dad, I decided to invest the money. My dad set up a meeting between me and his stock broker so I could learn and decide how I wanted to invest. At the end of the day, I ended up losing all the money. Ultimately, this early lesson was more valuable than the money itself. I learned firsthand about the importance of making thoughtful investment decisions, and about how quickly and easily money can be lost.

When I started my first post-collegiate job, my company offered employees a government bond program, with bonds that matured after 20 years. As a young investor with an instant gratification mindset, I could have easily brushed the whole idea aside as pointless. My parents, however, urged me to participate. I took their advice and just now cashed those bonds out to help pay my son's college tuition.

As my son begins college, I have worked to follow in my parents' footsteps by educating my son on finances. This effort hasn't come without challenges. I suspect I'm not alone. In fact, I imagine that a lot of parents feel uncertain about how to talk to their kids about money. So, to support you in this process, I'd like to share five tips for educating kids about money.

1. START SMALL

When I was in elementary school, students were all encouraged to contribute small amounts – nickels and dimes – to a savings account. As students, we then were encouraged to check our saving progress. Though this activity wasn't a requirement, it was extremely valuable and financially accessible to nearly everyone.

I brought this same approach to bear in educating my son. I started with similar small, low-pressure lessons. For example, I encouraged him to count the coins in our spare change jar so he could see how every penny adds up over time.

Establish a foundation of financial literacy from a young age. Concepts of earning, saving, spending, investing and donating will eventually shape how your child views the world.

“Establish a foundation of financial literacy from a young age. Concepts of earning, saving, spending, investing and donating will eventually shape how your child views the world. ”

2. GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED

My dad made it a point for me to speak directly with a stock broker instead of doing it for me. When I opened my son's first savings account, he came to the bank with me and talked to the banker himself. From then on, whenever he had money to add to the account, we would go to the bank together to deposit the money. This helped familiarize him with the bank and started to give him a sense of where his money went.

Your child's first paid job is another ideal opportunity to teach the importance of saving. When my son was six, we would go out to the golf course behind our house and collect golf balls that he would clean and sell. When he was nine, my son started to earn money by mowing lawns in the neighborhood. At that point, we established a rule that at least half of the money had to go into his savings account for college. When a kid gets their first paid job, the novelty of having one's own money can make it tempting to spend it all at once. If you as a parent can instill a saving mentality early on, you're more likely to teach your child to be a saver, or at least a financially responsible adult.

“Your child's first paid job is another ideal opportunity to teach the importance of saving.”

3. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE MONETARY VALUE OF EDUCATION

Though you probably wouldn't explain the inner-workings of a college savings fund to an 8-year-old, it's a good idea to help young children understand that a college education is not only valuable, but also costs money. If relatives contribute to your child's college savings account, be sure to explain the importance of those gifts and how they positively impact the future expense of college.

Though I am proud of teaching my son about college savings, reflecting back, I should also have shared the quarterly statements of his college 529 plan. By not engaging him in reviewing those statements, I missed an opportunity to help him understand how money performs when it's invested. You may want to consider sharing this type of information with your kids.

4. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY

Be honest about your family's financial situation. Though these conversations can be difficult, they also help children understand what to expect in terms of household spending, and how those spending choices impact them.

For example, when you openly discussing a job loss or pay cut with your child and explain its impact on the family's near-term spending, you can teach your children about coping with unexpected income changes. Conversely, if your financial situation unexpectedly improves, you can discuss how to responsibly manage positive change to ensure it has a long-term impact.

“Be honest about your family's financial situation. Though these conversations can be difficult, they also help children understand what to expect in terms of household spending, and how those spending choices impact them.”

5. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT DEBT

Learning about debt is equally as important as learning about saving. When I accompanied my son to open his first checking account, the bank also recommended he open a credit card to start establishing a credit history. Though I was nervous about this idea at first, I decided to allow my son to give it a try. Thanks to my son's frugal nature, his $500-limit card has yet to be used even mid-way through his sophomore year at college.

Be sure to also observe and monitor your child's spending and saving habits. Understanding their habits will help you decide how much guidance or control to offer with regards to finances.

“Be sure to observe and monitor your child's spending and saving habits. Understanding their habits will help you decide how much guidance or control to offer with regards to finances.”

Before your kids go to college, talk to them about the possibility of student loan debt, too. Student loans have quadrupled since 2004, becoming a more significant burden for millions of people.1 In my case, even though I planned to save enough to cover my son's tuition, he chose a more expensive school than I'd anticipated. For our family, that means he'll be on the hook to cover some of the cost himself.

Encourage your children to explore opportunities to lower the expense of college, whether through scholarships, financial aid, or reduced housing, meal plan or text book costs. You may want to draw up a detailed college budget with your child and use that opportunity to reinforce the importance of lifelong budgeting skills.

My son embarking upon college has been a major turning point in my efforts to educate him about finances. These financial education conversations can be intimidating for parents and kids alike. Nevertheless, I feel good about helping my son lay a foundation for a healthy financial future.

Every family is different. The tips I've offered may not fit your specific situation. Furthermore, conversations about finances are highly personal. At minimum, keep the conversations going. Regular open dialogue can go a long way toward building a healthy mindset around finances and beyond.

This article originally appeared on https://www.jacksoncharitablefoundation.org/for-grown-ups/articles/5-tips-for-educating-kids-about-money.xhtml


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Allison Pearson currently serves as Vice President of the National Sales Desk for Jackson National Life Distributors LLC (JNLD). She is responsible for the Career Development Program, coordinating recruiting efforts and training and supporting the Sales Desk management team in strategic initiatives. Allison joined Jackson in 2002 as Director of Recruiting with Human Resources.

Five Strategies for Befriending Uncertainty

By: Laura Berger

Every rung I climbed on the corporate ladder was giving my ego the success it so craved. But there was one glaring problem: I wasn’t truly fulfilled. Compelled to reevaluate my life and career, I asked myself the all-important question: What truly matters?

What followed was unthinkable for someone in my career stage, I dropped my profession, packed my bags and moved to Costa Rica with my husband.

There was so much uncertainty surrounding this very unconventional move, but instead of letting our doubts run the show, we decided to roll with them. In under a year, the identities we held on to for eons evolved with each new, greater challenge we faced.

I soon realized that the situations I feared the most led to a heightened sense of accomplishment once overcome. I actually started to crave uncertainty.

It turns out that our brains are hardwired to avoid uncertainty. It is what scientists refer to as information-seeking behavior. This phenomenon may explain why we find change generally unpleasant.

Contrary to what your brain signals, my experience has taught me that uncertainty is not the enemy. Rather, these unsure occasions are opportunities that can help you grow when you shift your mindset.

How many decisions do you make on a weekly basis without knowing exactly what the outcome will be? Probably more than you can count. Though most of these decisions are minor, their existence underscores the big picture: Uncertainty is a certainty.

The next time you face uncertainty, use these strategies to turn that situation to your advantage:

1. View uncertainty as if it is always working in your favor. The moment you start trusting that uncertainty is here to strengthen your grit, intelligence and success, you can start freeing yourself from false constraints. This new perspective will enable you to accept the present moment and roll with it. In turn, you will acquire new skills, a newfound confidence and a greater sense of achievement.


2. Observe your thoughts and emotions. Thought patterns are conditioned by past experience, and by the environments in which we were raised. In essence, our thoughts are shaped by the past. By acknowledging them without judgment, rather than immediately reacting to them, you’ll have the clarity to do what is in your best interest.


3. Write down any negative thought patterns. Write down any situations that trigger undesirable behavior, be it procrastinating, getting angry with colleagues or giving up on big goals. By journaling how you react to uncertainty, you can effectively detach yourself from these harmful patterns, giving you the space and confidence to prepare for whatever life throws at you.


4. Get practical. The next time you catch your brain obsessing over uncertainty, Jordan Harbinger, of the wildly popular podcast, The Art of Charm, says to ask yourself the following questions: Can I get this information? Do I need to know this information right now? This rationale will end up saving you the energy you would have spent stressing over something likely out of your control.


5. Commit yourself to the next phase. Many of my clients will reach pinnacles in their careers and then feel it is time for something different. For them, it isn’t time to retire — it’s time to rewire. Navigating a new chapter can make you feel like a fish out of water, but when you fully immerse yourself in your next phase, the new will feel like normal in a flash. Imagine how freeing change will feel once you accept it as if you had chosen it. Though I would highly
recommend a jungle experience, it doesn’t take one to untap your true potential in the face of
uncertainty.

This article originally appeared on www.forbes.com


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Featured on ABC News, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdeo Group. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is the co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical.

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Laura Berger

Featured on ABC News, in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and in Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdéo Group. She has counseled leaders for 15 years, maximizing their potential in the areas of Evidence based leadership, global operations management, and strategic change management. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, Leo Burnett Worldwide, American Hospital Association, Starcom MediaVest Group, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, World Business Chicago, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is an in-demand speaker and co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical: Could You Say Goodbye to Everything You Know to Get Everything You Want?.

My Self-Employment Success Story: How I Quit Corporate To Work for Myself

By: Jill Beirne Davi

Since paying off $30,000 six years ago, I still use credit sparingly, and I didn’t take out any loans to fund the start-up of my business. Instead, I created a separate savings account called “Investments” to use as working capital for the business. I used that money to educate myself on the basics of starting a consulting business, as well as for things like my website and programs that taught me how to launch and run a business. Overall, my strategy was to pay for a lot of the major upfront costs in cash from my day job.

So I doubled down and focused on attracting more clients, to reach my tipping point faster. But once I stopped treating my consulting like a hobby, I got nervous. I had trouble promoting my services beyond word-of-mouth referrals, and I was afraid to follow up with people, breaking into a sweat when discussing my fees. But I knew I had to conquer those fears if I wanted to work for myself, so I hired a coach of my own to help me build those skills.

To attract clients, I worked around the clock. I hustled, but it was exciting! I woke up about an hour earlier than I had to every morning, and by 7 a.m. I was at my computer with my green tea, either writing posts on my blog or content for my workshops, emailing clients, asking for speaking engagements or studying up on how to run a business. I even took 8 a.m. client calls before showering, and put in a full day of work at my corporate job! I’d teach workshops, and speak or meet with clients on nights and weekends.

After eight months of really focusing on building my practice, though, it became clear that I had to choose. I essentially had two full-time, demanding jobs, and I was burning out. Clients were reaching out, but I didn't have the time to take them on. I simply didn’t have enough energy to ride two bikes any longer. It was decision time.

My Last Day at My "Real" Job

I crunched the numbers to see if I was ready. Overall, I was running a pretty lean machine. Most of my work was done remotely out of our home office, so I didn’t have to worry about permanent office space. As for health insurance, my husband and I talked about private insurance, but it made the most sense for me to be covered under his plan. I agreed to pay the difference coming out every month. I also applied for professional liability insurance, which can be paid in a lump sum annually. And I calculated how much I would need to put aside every month for retirement. Since I was cutting back, the contribution would be smaller than I contributed in the past at first but would grow over time.

The day I left corporate, I was definitely excited but sad. It was hard to leave a job that I’d called home for six years. When my coworkers asked if I was taking time off, I laughed. “Time off?” I said. “No way. I have a full schedule next week!”

It was definitely a rush to open my laptop that first self-employed Monday morning to a full schedule and no boss. I wrote my next blog posts, prepared for a radio interview later in the week, and had three client calls and a consultation with someone who wanted to hire me.

Financially, self-employment isn’t as drastic of a change as I once thought it might be. The hardest part is creating a system to manage my cash flow so that I can forecast what I’m making every month. I use Excel to plan out incoming client payments and outgoing expenses every month (including what I pay myself). That way I can see all in one place what I need to earn each month. Once I reach that number for one month, any extra carries into the next month. I still pay the same bills I was paying when I was working full time, including the phone, cable, utilities, groceries, parking and part of the mortgage.

What has changed quite a bit is my "fun money" fund, meaning my allowance for personal expenses, like getting a haircut or buying clothes. For now, it's half of what it used to be, which means I really have to watch what I’m spending more closely than before I left. But I’m at peace with making sacrifices until my income is more consistent. As long as I can get my nails done every now and again, I’m good for now while my practice grows. I expect to be profitable by April of next year.

The biggest challenge for me now that I’m self-employed is keeping my confidence up during the natural business ebbs and flows, like during the summer months when people are away on vacation and the phone never seems to ring. I’ve found that when self-doubt creeps in, it helps to reach out to other self-employed friends, or my amazing husband, and ask for a kind ear to listen.

So far, it’s been a joy, and I don’t see myself going back to corporate any time soon. The flexibility to create my day and really make a difference make the financial ups and downs completely worth it.

This article originally appeared on https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/10/07/my-self-employment-success-story-how-i-quit-corporate-to-work-for-myself/#43caa0b63bee


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Jill Beirne Davi is the founder of Abundant Finances, a service that helps you get yourself out of debt and start amassing abundant savings in record time (without deprivation or eating cat food for dinner). For more helpful money strategies to turn your finances around, visit abundantfinances.com. 

Worried About a Market Downturn? These 3 Yoga Principals Can Help

By: Manisha Thakor, CFP®, CFA

The late economist Hyman Minsky observed that cycles of risk-taking follow a consistent pattern. He found that stability and absence of crises encourage risk-taking, complacency, and lowered awareness to the possibility of problems ahead. Then a crisis occurs, resulting in people being shell-shocked and unprepared.

Indeed, we have seen this cycle play out in the way many investors behaved before and after the 2001 technology bust and 2008 global financial crisis. In tracking cash flows for fixed income and equity mutual funds over several decades, we observe that investors pile into risky assets following years of strong market performance and retrench into fixed income after suffering stinging losses—in effect, buying high and selling low.

As the current economic expansion enters its tenth year this June (now the second longest in modern history), and U.S. equity investors have enjoyed annualized investment returns of nearly 18 percent per year since March 2009 (the long-term average is 10 percent, dating back to 1926), it is timely that we call attention to George Santayana’s famous warning: those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. 

So there you have it. Like a game of musical chairs, the party is going to end with many losers. How can you increase your odds of being a “winner” in the next market downturn?

Surprisingly, the answer may be found in some ancient yoga principles.

Huh?

Let me explain. I recently came back from a yoga retreat in Nicaragua where I was introduced to the concepts of Dharma, Sankalpa, and Vikalpa. To keep things simple, I will define Dharma as “the way that you do everything”—in other words, your overarching approach to life. Your Sankalpa are the specific steps you will take over the next 12-18 months to bring you into closer alignment with your Dharma. Your Vikalpas are the behaviors that keep you from acting on your Sankalpa and ultimately embodying your Dharma.

What struck me as I was thinking about how to apply these three concepts to my own life was the beautiful overlap they have with the ideal way to manage one’s own money. In fact, these three ancient principals can be used to help you navigate through the next market downturn.

Your financial Dharma is akin to the overarching investment philosophy you choose. (I recommend following an evidenced-based approach, but to each their own). Your Sankalpa is similar to your asset allocation—have you set aside a portion of your portfolio to immunize your standard of living long enough to weather a bear market? Your financial Vikalpas are the human tendencies that get in the way of sticking to your financial Dharma and Sankalpa.

Here’s an example. John and Jane are nearing retirement. They are believers in efficient market theory and have chosen an evidenced-based portfolio that incorporates funds such as those from Dimensional Fund Advisors and Vanguard. This choice of investment philosophy is their financial Dharma; it’s the way they “do money.”

John and Jane have a detailed conversation with their wealth advisor and identify what money they’ll need from their portfolio over the next 10 years to maintain their minimum desired standard of living. As a rough baseline, 15 percent is a solid benchmark for this allocation to ensure a base level of a safety net. Next, you add in any expected annual withdrawals, either for recurring or one-time expenses. Then you take the net present value of those 10 years of cash flow and discount them back.

Your financial Sankalpa is to set up your finances such that, no matter what happens in the market over the next 10 years, you will not have to sell securities outside of your capital preservation bucket in a down market. This figure is a rolling one, which is why you want to revisit your Sankalpa regularly—every 6 to 12 months is ideal.

The third and final step is to acknowledge your financial Vikalpas, those pesky behavioral traits that can trip you up along your way to Dharma. Examples include a tendency to panic and sell in market downturns, to follow hot tips you hear at cocktail parties, or to keep too much (or too little) in cash out of greed (or fear).

Whenever I hear someone tell me 2007-2009 market “ruined my retirement,” I know that one of two scenarios happened. Either they didn’t have a Sankalpa or asset allocation that included an appropriate capital preservation bucket and were forced to sell securities at fire-sale prices. Alternatively, they had the right asset allocation but did not have an overarching financial Dharma—their investment philosophy—on which to fall back. They sold in a panic, acting on their Vikalpas.

As you work to maintain a sense of financial well-being during the next market downturn, spend some time making sure you are comfortable with your investment philosophy (financial Dharma) and asset allocation (financial Sankalpa) to ensure that natural human emotions like fear, panic, and terror (financial Vikalpas) don’t drive your decision-making.

Blending these mental well-being principals of yoga into your overarching life can enhance your financial well-being.

This article was originally published by Brighton Jones, nationally-recognized wealth management firm based in Seattle. You can follow Manisha on Twitter @ManishaThakor.  


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MANISHA THAKOR  is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The Bam Alliance. Manisha is the co-author of On My Own Two Feet and Get Financially Naked. Manisha has been featured on CNN, PBS,NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Glamour, Essence, and more. Manisha is also the founder of moneyzen.com.

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Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

Downsizing in Retirement

By: Allison Pearson

Do you and your partner share the same goals & expectations for the future throughout your changing life phases?

My son recently headed off to college. It was an important life transition, not just for my son, but for me and my husband as well. Seeing our child move out of the house and start a new phase of his life inspired us to evaluate our outlook for retirement – or, more accurately, how we would approach our next stage of life and how we envisioned living it.

The notion that the traditional definition of retirement is changing is no longer a revelation. It’s not even a remotely provocative concept these days.

We've all seen the headlines about how people are working longer because they're living longer, or simply because they want to remain active, engaged and productive. I'm personally very much on board with this – I plan to continue working into my "retirement" years, although not necessarily in the same capacity as what I'm doing now, or on the same full-time schedule.

In other words, I plan to downsize my career to some extent when I reach that point when I feel ready to shift some of my focus to other life goals, activities and interests. I think that's what I look forward to most in retirement, and how I define this next stage of life for me: It's a time to focus on whatever you choose to focus on, so long as you're able to maintain the lifestyle you're comfortable with financially.

"Our careers have always been the center point of our conversations about retirement, but now we are starting to consider other aspects of our plans for how we'll live in the future."

My husband and I are both in agreement that, barring any physical limitations as we get older, we intend to continue working, contributing and generally remaining active for as long as possible. Our careers have always been the center point of our conversations about retirement, but now we are starting to consider other aspects of our plans for how we'll live in the future. In other words, we're trying to develop a common vision of retirement that is both fulfilling and financially viable.

Where to Live in Retirement – The Housing Dilemma

The concept of downsizing is typically used in context with housing, of course. And as I look toward the future I (somewhat hazily) envision for myself and my husband, figuring out what will work best for us in terms of the size, cost and location of the place we call home has become a rather pressing topic. In fact, our initial conversations on the topic were my first indication that my vision of retirement was not entirely aligned with my husband's – at least when it came to housing.

Before I go into how the housing situation exposed this gap in our retirement vision, I'll give some background on the practical aspects of our downsizing dilemma.

Our situation is probably familiar to a lot of people in our stage of life. We realize it would make sense to downsize for a number of reasons – cost chief among them, but also the desire to have a smaller property to maintain. But we're also at the mercy of the ups and downs of the real estate market.

We purchased our current home 15 years ago in the midst of a classic "buyer's market" and were pleased to see it appreciate considerably since the 2008 recession as the location is very favorable and home prices in general have enjoyed a steady climb.

Now that we've reached this point and the housing market is strong, we feel we should consider selling, as it appears we're solidly in a seller's market – but are we? After all, a healthy real estate market means we have a good chance of making a profit on the sale of our current house, but as we peruse listings in the area, I was disheartened to realize that there's no way we'll find another house with a comparable value. Even the smallest houses we'd consider are now going for around what we originally bought our current house for. As it stands, we don't have the opportunity to make a profit on the sale of or current house that we could add to our retirement savings, or even make enough money so that we could have a very small mortgage or eliminate it altogether. That was eye opening!

Of course, I'm not implying that one should consider their house to be a retirement nest egg. The unpredictability of the real estate market makes that idea a very risky bet! But the Catch-22 nature of trying to buy in a seller's market is simply a complicating factor as my husband and I attempt to downsize as one of many aspects of our lives in preparation for retirement.
 

Getting back to the vision side of things, our discussions about downsizing bring to mind a time several years ago when we purchased a property in Utah. It was in a fairly remote, secluded location – more or less rural compared to where we live now.

I had always considered the Utah land to be an investment property, so it took me by surprise when I learned that my husband had always assumed that's where we would live when we retired. I told him that wasn't what I had in mind at all – I envisioned having a smaller, more manageable house but still wanted to be located in a suburban area with easy access to grocery stores and other conveniences.

"You can believe you share the same vision as your partner, when in fact you have very different ideas about what your future needs will be."

We have since sold the Utah property, but it's a good example of how you can believe you share the same vision as your partner, when in fact you have very different ideas about what your future needs will be.

How to Live in Retirement – A Shared Vision

The housing detail – while it's certainly an important one – is nonetheless a relatively tactical decision and I'm confident we'll be able to come up with a compromise that works for both of us. In fact, finding a house that's slightly more off the beaten path than I'd prefer could allow us to find something that's more affordable and gives us the financial lift we’re looking for with the sale of our current house. But we've agreed that we will not rush out and do anything unless it makes good sense. We love our home and views of the mountains and don't want to have to give that up.

Still, the fairly stark contrast between our preferences on this point opened my eyes to the larger, more philosophical question of whether we shared the same vision of retirement. In other words, not just where to live, but how to live.

Perhaps the reason it's so difficult for me and my husband – and for most couples, I assume – to find common ground when it comes to our long-term outlook is because of the uncertainty involved. Strictly from a health perspective, it's very difficult to know what we can expect to be capable of 20 or 30 years from now. It's also a rather scary and unsettling thing to think about, so the natural tendency is to block it out of your mind entirely – you can worry about it later.
 

With so much of our future unknown – and unknowable – how can we ever be sure that we're both moving toward a shared vision of retirement, or of our future together in general? For me and my husband, I think the best solution is to make retirement an ongoing conversation. It's a key piece of our future that should come into play whenever we're discussing finances, career paths, housing decisions, major purchases, and our college-aged son's financial situation and future as well.

I've written about talking with your parents about their retirement and educating your kids about money in my previous columns. And I firmly believe that communication is absolutely critical to financial success and maintaining a healthy relationship with money. It can be a difficult thing to discuss, but having honest, open conversations with your family members can help ensure everyone is better prepared for those important transitions – both expected and unexpected – in our lives.

"I firmly believe that communication is absolutely critical to financial success and maintaining a healthy relationship with money."

Your vision for retirement is a very personal thing. But when you're expecting to share the rest of your life with your partner, you want to make sure your visions are at least somewhat aligned. Keep those lines of communication open, and remember: the future is what you make it, so it pays to remain focused on your goals and prepared for the unexpected.

_____

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.

This article originally appeared on https://www.jackson.com/financialfreedomstudio/articles/2017/downsizing-in-retirement.html


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Allison Pearson currently serves as Vice President of the National Sales Desk for Jackson National Life Distributors LLC (JNLD). She is responsible for the Career Development Program, coordinating recruiting efforts and training and supporting the Sales Desk management team in strategic initiatives. Allison joined Jackson in 2002 as Director of Recruiting with Human Resources.

Using Social Media to Advance Your Career - and Your Company

By: Raleigh Mayer

The numbers speak for themselves.

LinkedIn is host to 107 million U.S. users and 332 million worldwide.Twitter boasts 232 million active users, and Facebook enjoys a whopping 1.35 billion postings.

"Positioning and promoting oneself in cyberspace can be complicated, and electronic engagement should be treated like any other business interaction, as communication is currency."

In just one year alone, online activity has doubled, from 21.5 to 41.9 billion "actions" online. In the financial industry, LinkedIn had more than 2 million members as of 2013, with two people signing up for a LinkedIn account every second.

Identity tools from business cards to email signatures now routinely include URLs for LinkedIn profiles, as well as links to Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Individuals and organizations with minimal—or absent—electronic footprints are not only less visible but often less respected, as online visibility is no longer optional.

Whether you are building a career or a company, if you're not online, you don't exist.

"Relationships, brands and even businesses can be built by using social media," said Jennifer Openshaw, executive director of the Financial Women's Association (FWA). "It's a megaphone for extending your current content and communications more broadly and making powerful connections in seconds."

How can you leverage this new medium for you and your company?

Job searching

The world has turned upside down. Would you believe a whopping 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates? HR leaders are now bypassing headhunters and opting for the ability to find their best candidates using smart search capabilities.

That's why those seeking new careers or positions should pay careful attention to the quality and currency of their LinkedIn profiles.

Executive search expert Stacy Musi of Chadick Ellig, a New York-based recruiting firm, said, "Every executive should have a current and descriptive LinkedIn profile that clearly articulates their personal brand and highlights their areas of greatest expertise."

But that doesn't mean you should ignore face-to-face and phone connections.

"Many searches are still filled the old-fashioned way: through real-time networking," Musi pointed out.

Alexandra Tyler, vice president of integrated campaign management for a leading financial services firm, pointed out that "keywords in your online profile enable you to be found easily in search engines by top recruiters. So be purposeful in crafting your online summary and profile to get to the top of search-engine pages."

Building a human brand

One of the failures of corporate branding is forgetting to humanize. Most marketers place ads or push out a message, when it's those companies who create a connection that can take a brand to another level.

That's why Linda Descano, managing director and global head of content and social at Citi, believes "it's key to put a human face on big corporations. This can be done through tweeting, posting, writing and then gauging the success of these initiatives."

She adds, "This is also true for individuals. You must always manage and maintain a digital brand, as this enables you to be known for what you want and simultaneously helps you to better protect your specific brand."

And that branding needs to be consistent. While Openshaw notes very different purposes and audiences between, say, LinkedIn and Facebook or Twitter and Instagram, keep in mind what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said: "You have one identity. The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly. Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

Openshaw, the author of "The Socially Savvy Advisor," points to the "convergence" of all media.

"The idea that there are clear lines between personal and professional identity has always been a myth," said Kristin Johnson, senior advisor at Logos Consulting Group. "Social media hasn't changed that, but it has cast a brighter spotlight on the interconnectedness of our personal and professional relationships, therefore putting greater responsibility on people to consider how perceptions from online identities feed into relational outcomes—both personal and professional—in the 'real,' offline world."

The 4 C’s of social communications

Indeed, positioning and promoting oneself in cyberspace can be complicated, and electronic engagement should be treated like any other business interaction, as communication is currency.

Whatever social media platforms you choose to use, be sure to keep these four C's in mind:

Be current: Keep all information, including head shots, up to date.

Be consistent: With your language, tone and profile photos (to be recognizable on each platform).

Be compelling: Every posting should be as clear, concise and clever as possible.

Be critical: Don't accept just anyone into your network; vet them appropriately.

And finally, regarding the company you keep, follow the words of wisdom of Citi's Linda Descano:

"Accepting someone via your own social media channels is an endorsement of that individual. You must ensure they're people of stature with high character who reflect your personal values. Stay true to yourself and conduct yourself online as you would offline at all times."

This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com


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Known as the "Gravitas Guru", Mayer is currently a senior fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and executive leadership, a leadership lecturer at New York University and Barnard College, and on the leadership council of the Financial Women's Association. 

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Raleigh Mayer

Raleigh Mayer, known as the “Gravitas Guru”, is an executive development consultant, coach, and speaker, specializing in presentation, communication, and leadership, including programs designed specifically for the career acceleration of female executives. Formerly a vice president and spokesperson for the New York City Marathon, Raleigh has coached and trained executive clients for more than a decade and serves a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies.  She is currently a senior fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, a leadership lecturer at New York University and Barnard College, and on the leadership council of the Financial Women’s Association.

Empowering Women: Four Ways to Improve Your Financial Well-Being

By: Marguerita M. Cheng

As a financial planner, I look back at the generations of women who throughout American history have drawn on their intelligence, imagination, and sense of wonder to make extraordinary contributions, and I am awed.

I’m also not surprised at how far we have come.

Currently, women outnumber men in American colleges and universities. This reversal of the gender gap is a recent trend, noted in 2009, when 57 percent of bachelor degrees, 60 percent of master degrees, and 52 percent of doctoral degrees were awarded to women.

Fortunately for women, this increase in education translates into increased influence—and affluence.

Women are attaining individual wealth through corporate employment, as well as entrepreneurial pursuits. In fact, women-owned business are growing at twice the national rate, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research.

As a working professional mom of three children, I understand that women often have the best of intentions in managing their wealth, but often put themselves last.

The reality is that many financial advisors do not invest the time or energy in attempting to understand the differences in how women view wealth. While it’s not true for everyone, men tend to associate wealth with prestige or power. Women tend to associate wealth with security and peace of mind.

Here is list of strategies that I use with my female clients to help them become more engaged and empowered about their financial well-being:

1. Raise your voice. There is no such a thing as a dumb question. There is no need to talk over people or down to people. Case in point: One of my female clients approached her tax advisor about wanting to pay off her mortgage prior to retirement. Instead of letting her finish her question, he quickly responded, “Why would you think of such a dumb idea?” Fortunately, she decided to fire this gentleman, I wonder how many women have encountered such a negative experience, and stick with advisors who are not listening or paying attention to what they want for their financial futures.

2. Value all of your contributions in the household, not just the financial/economic ones. I will never forget one couple, where the wife was a highly specialized nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She asked me why an advisor once told her that she and her husband should only buy extra life insurance for her husband. She said that I was the first financial professional to validate her many roles of mother, wife and daughter, and started crying. “At last,” she said, “I have financial peace of mind.”

3. Don’t make assumptions or generalizations. Don’t assume that all women are spenders, or that all women are conservative investors. Don’t mistake silence for lack of influence. As an example, in Japan, women usually manage the family’s finances and give their husbands an allowance.

4. Look back with pride. We gain strength and inspiration from the amazing women who came before us. We can thank them for paving the way for us to embrace our growing financial power. Let’s wield it well.

I explain to my children—two daughters and one son—that I am inspired to help women improve their financial confidence. Working with my clients in a financial planning relationship is intellectually stimulating, emotionally gratifying, and socially rewarding. The idea of financial education and empowerment is truly timeless.

This article originally appeared on www.beinkandescent.com


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Marguerita M. Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth. Prior to co-founding Blue Ocean Global Wealth, she was a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial and an Analyst and Editor at Towa Securities in Tokyo, Japan. She is a CFP® professional, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, a Retirement Income Certified Professional® and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

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Marguerita M. Cheng

Marguerita M. Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth. Prior to co-founding Blue Ocean Global Wealth, she was a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial and an Analyst and Editor at Towa Securities in Tokyo, Japan. Marguerita is a past spokesperson for the AARP Financial Freedom Campaign and a regular columnist for Investopedia & Kiplinger. She is a CFP® professional, a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM, a Retirement Income Certified Professional® and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. As a Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) Ambassador, Marguerita helps educate the public, policy makers, and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning. She serves as a Women’s Initiative (WIN) Advocate and subject matter expert for CFP Board, contributing to the development of examination questions for the CFP® Certification Examination. Marguerita also volunteers for CFP Board Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (DEC) hearings. She served on the Financial Planning Association (FPA) National Board of Directors from 2013 – 2015 and is a past president of the Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area (FPA NCA) 


Rita is a recipient of the Ameriprise Financial Presidential Award for Quality of Advice and the prestigious Japanese Monbukagakusho Scholarship. In 2017, she was named the #3 Most Influential Financial Advisor in the Investopedia Top 100, a Woman to Watch by InvestmentNews, and a Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE®) by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC).


Marguerita’s mantra is “So many people spend their health to gain wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health” (A.J. Reb Materi).

How Breathing Can Save Your Finances…

by Jillian Beirne Davi

I’m known for saying that Money is a HUMAN made tool.  And humans are emotional.  Therefore money is emotional.

(Even though it doesn’t have to be.)

Money follows the simple laws of cause and effect. You GIVE to the world a specific amount of energy and in return you RECEIVE energy in back in the form of money.

Money, business, your finances, they all follow a linear process.  The same way that diet follows a logical process. You give out more in energy to the world, you receive money.  Ask enough people for what you want, you’ll get it!  Do more than what’s expected of you in every situation and you’ll receive your reward in due time. It’s cause and effect. It’s not that hard.

The problem is that we are emotional beings. And so we act irrationally and non-linearly because of how we FEEL.  If we do not learn to master our emotions, we’ll never be able to master our money. (Or our weight, or our careers, or our relationship… really anything.!)

So money mastery is really emotional mastery in disguise.

What I’d like for you to try on for size today is a simple exercise that produces enormous results that helps you to master your emotions.

It’s a 10 minute breathing exercise.  Really a meditation.  (Don’t laugh, this works!)

When you feel your emotions flaring up, your mind is racing, your thoughts are taking you down the rabbit hole of anxiousness, worry and distress – it’s time to take a 10 minute time out and Breathe.

When you breathe in focus on saying the world “inhale” to yourself silently. When you breathe out, focus on the word “exhale” in your mind.

Now, as you sit there with your eyes close, notice ALL the thoughts that you are having.  Noticing these thoughts are the key to mastering your emotions. You are not your thoughts about money.  Your thoughts about money are what are driving you insane and blocking your path to abundance.  Sounds over-simplistic. And it is.

So notice the thoughts you are having around money. Notice the emotions that come up when you think them. It all seems so REAL.

But it ain’t.

Money is a neutral tool to get you to where you want to go that’s it. We attach all this excess meaning and emotion to it, which makes it difficult for us to do the very things that would help us to create financial harmony!

We don’t ask.  We stay in self-doubt, we demand perfection from ourselves and others. We stay stuck in blame, resentment and fear. We’re too busy nit-picking, we are afraid of rejection, what other people with think of us, we’re trying not to lose control.

All this emotional nonsense that cuts us off from income that’s RIGHT in front of our faces.

Now, back to the exercise.

When you do this 10 minute breathing exercise you will begin to train yourself to disassociate from that chatter.

To just let it chatter on and on without becoming emotionally attached to it.  Without getting sucked into it’s drama.  You can train your mind to come back to Inhale and Exhale. You’ll be learning a powerful mental habit:  to interrupt the chatter, focus on the here and now and just BE.

When you can do this exercise more frequently over time you can begin to master your emotions. And when you can do that, then you are well on your way to becoming emotionally and financially free!

I invite you to TEST this out.  Do it for 7 days straight.  You 10 minute exercise.  You will find that it relaxes you and helps you to make wiser decisions in your financial life.

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Jillian Beirne

Jillian Beirne Davi is a Financial Turnaround expert and the founder of Abundant Finances, a service that helps you get yourself out of debt and start amassing abundant savings in record time (without deprivation or eating cat food for dinner).   After digging herself out of $30,000 in debt and saving tens of thousands of dollars, she decided to share her strategies with others who struggle in this area.  Turns out:  They work! The Abundant Finances community continues to grow with conscious women who are committed to making RADICAL changes in their financial lives.   For more helpful money strategies to turn your finances around, visit http://www.AbundantFinances.com and sign up for the high-content, high value FREE newsletter today!

How do you show up each day?

by Karen McMahon

A look at our emotions as Energy in Motion and how to move toward awareness, engagement and fulfillment

I used to be a pretty positive person.   But a few years into my marriage, working full time and raising two toddlers, I found myself constantly angry.  At first I was struggling through a rocky, oft-times abusive marriage and later a hostile divorce.  I was fighting with my spouse all the time; living in a house filled with stress, the kids began to act out constantly; financial fears and overall anxieties were so intense you could cut the tension with a knife.  It is no wonder I wasn’t at my best, maneuvering through my everyday challenges.

What challenges are you facing and how are you handling them?  If you are getting tired of the way you are showing up, the good news is you can do something about it.  You don’t have to approach each day with worry, anger and tension.  You don’t have to snap at people, cry at the drop of a hat and be tied into knots each time you need to make a critical decision. You can shift to a better place. But like everything, it is a process and patience is critical.

The solution is in the lens through which you view your world.  From where you stand life might look pretty grim or scary or unfair and because perception is reality, your feelings are totally understandable.  However, you can change your perspective.  Ask yourself a few key questions…

  • Is there another way to look at this situation?
  • Are there any other possibilities besides the one I am currently considering?
  • How might someone else see this situation?
  • How is my perspective serving me and what is another viewpoint I might consider?

Typically when we are in a pressure cooker like divorce, we look at the world through the eyes of a victim or a fighter.  We are either depressed or in some level of conflict.  Either of these vantage points is like standing in front of a runaway freight train.  All we see is doom and gloom.  What if you were to move to a ‘safer’ vantage point, one that served you better?

When you feel sad and hopeless or angry and fearful, you feel a heavy sensation as if you are dragging yourself through your day.  Likewise, when you experience a beautiful sunset or a wonderful night out with friends and loved ones, the feeling is calm and peace or joy and excitement.  During these times you feel a lightness of being.  The reason for the heavy and light sensation is the energy that comes with the emotions.  Emotions are simply energy in motion.

Stay tuned, I am going to look at the seven energy levels that we all reside in.  From the ‘catabolic’ life depleting energy that you experience when you are feeling like a victim or in full out conflict as mentioned above, to the move fulfilling energies in living in forgiveness, compassion, peace and joy.

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Karen McMahon

Karen McMahon, Certified Relationship & Divorce Coach & Master Energy Practitioner is the founder of KM Life Coaching and co-author of “Navigating Your Divorce: A guide to the Legal, Financial and Emotional Basics”, a free ebook. Karen’s passion is to work with men and women going through the divorce process; helping them navigate the difficulties while focusing on personal growth and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead.

Money Makes the World Go Round

by Kristina Leonardi

Artists and musicians do it. Actors and writers do it. Designers do it. Nonprofits and entrepreneurs do it. To some extent, we all do it. We strive to maintain our authenticity, creativity and vision of who we are and what we want to express in the world while trying to earn a living in it.

Last week I attended a lovely event hosted by In Good Company highlighting the journey of fashion designer Selia Yang. She reinforced once again that for successful creative types, every decision cannot always be 100% creative - to truly exist and thrive, you must understand and often defer to the financial/commercial aspect.

These types of lifestyles are the 'roads less traveled' for a reason - if it was easy everyone would be doing it! It's a path that takes faith, determination, perseverance, and, perhaps most of all, courage.

The word courage is made up of the Latin root for 'heart'. There is no doubt that to do what you want to do in life, you need lots of heart - in the form of love for yourself, others and your work, and the passion and conviction to forge ahead, even if you don't know for sure where your next meal will come from.

There's a reason they call it show business, and although nonprofits are not for profit, they still need money to do the work they do. How to achieve that balance of being who we are and supporting ourselves is an eternal quest with no silver bullet answer. At the end of the day, we need to be able to decide as individuals just how much we can compromise ourselves for it.

When choosing to live a life that is most true to who you are, you need to be aware of what things you might have to sacrifice to make things happen. But as challenging as the path can be, there is always a payoff for sticking with it - we wouldn't have all the beauty, innovation, entertainment and opportunity in the world if others hadn't done so!