Archives for October 2017

It’s Trick or Treat Time!

It is that time of year. The weather turning from the warmth of summer into the coolness of Autumn. Pumpkins and gourds begin to appear, along with wreaths of welcome on our doorways in beautiful Fall colors — Bright oranges, flaming reds, sunny yellows, and deep, rich greens and browns. 

It is also the season for trick or treat — to don a creative costume and celebrate the tradition of Halloween.

A tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages in which even the most elder delights in the custom of the children going door-to-door to collect their treats.

But, how does the ‘trick’ part of the tradition play out? And, since this is a newsletter about money, how does this relate to the dollars in our pockets?

The ‘treat,’ as you know, is usually some form of candy, although, in some cultures, money is used instead. Whereas the “trick” is usually an idle threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.

Anyone TP someone’s home? Oh no, not you!

Although trick’s played at Halloween are meant to be entertaining or to delightfully frighten, it’s not much fun to be pranked, fooled or tricked when it comes to your money.

And, the tricky part is, it often comes masked as a treat — especially if the trickster is particularly masterful, the trick is seldom fully understood until you’ve taken the tasty morsel offered.

Sound scary? Indeed it is. Here are just a few tips to help you see the typical crafty maneuvers, offers, or advertising used to lure you in…

  • Scare the bejesus out of you to get you to give them what they want. It’s the “Fear-then-Relief” approach which then produces compliance. It has been shown that people who experience anxiety tend to respond positively to the request when the source of their anxiety is abruptly eliminated.
  • Confuse the heck out of you to get you to comply with their request. In this scenario, it’s the “disrupt-then-reframe” technique — a sneaky way to get people to cooperate. It disrupts your typical or routine thought processes.
  • Speak quickly to get you to agree with them. Ever notice how fast the advertisers talk when listing the side effects of a drug OR other negative effect? Yep. The idea is to speak faster so you have less time to process what they’re saying.
  • Mimic your body language, or your speech pattern, to get you to like or agree with them. It’s called the “chameleon effect” and we tend to like conversation partners that mimic our postures, mannerisms, and facial expressions. Don’t be fooled, they do this in mass advertising, too. They know their market and play to it.
  • Use a “decoy” option or object to get you to buy their product or service. In other words, if they are selling a more expensive, unfavorable, or unknown product or service, they add a third option to make that one look more enticing. Ever heard of a bonus, discount, or the ever popular buy-one-get-one?

How do you avoid these tricksters? Sometimes you don’t, especially if the trick is done well.

The best way to not fall trap is to recognize the marketer, seller, or advertiser’s job is to get you to buy. Period. Their goal is for you to fill your cart, agree to the terms, and walk out the door with the item or service that they are selling.

Their job is to keep you a consumer of their stuff, and to want more.

 Unfortunately, often to your detriment.

Let’s face it, sadly, we’ve all fallen for it — and, we may not even realize we’ve been tricked. Let’s look at a few of the sly ones that may have slipped by your ever vigilant radar.

  • Travel on us — Sign up for our travel miles credit card and get free airline miles for every dollar you spend. 
  • Have the car of your dreams — Lease it versus buy it. The monthly payment is doable after all. And, you can then have a new car every three or four years.
  • Be fashionable and current — you want to look like a million dollars so you’ll get noticed, get that great job, and attract that special someone.
  • Modernize and update your home — Your home won’t sell or be worth anything if you don’t have an open concept, quartz counter tops, and updated kitchen.
  • Buy it today and pay no interest for a year.
  • Pay off all your debts — Refinance your home and have no more bills! Consolidation is the answer.

And, my all time favorite — Pay for everything on your credit card and have only one monthly payment each month. How easy is that?

Don’t be tricked. All of these examples are crafty and intended to deceive. Some aspect of each of them is harmful to you.

Isn’t it time we pull back the deceptive curtain on these practices and step fully into the wise, informed citizens that we were meant to be — versus fooled or pranked consumers!

Leave the trick or treating to the fun of Halloween!

Tidy Up Tuesdays — What are the three most important areas to tidy?

What are the three most important areas to tidy?

Only three, you might ask? But wait, my whole house is a mess.

Well then, you’ll be pleased to know the three most important areas to focus upon, and give your full attention, would be these three.

What are they? The bedroom, the kitchen and the entryway to your home.

It’s all about the flow of energy — allowing it to flow easily and effortlessly up to, into, and throughout your home.

Think of it this way, would you put a piece of furniture directly across your doorway? Certainly not. How would you enter or exit — climb over it every time? Or, would you avoid that entrance and go another direction?

It is the same with the movement and flow of energy. Block it, and it goes elsewhere.

Oh, no! There goes your money, wealth and good opportunities!

Which gets us to clutter and tidying up … two of these areas, kitchens and bedrooms, are where we spend most of our time. Heat studies done on the footprints of houses have revealed that most of us only actually live, or spend time in, 40% of our homes.

What do we do with the rest of the house? We fill ‘er up with stuff. After all, who is comfortable with empty, vacuous or open spaces? Not us Americans. Time to go get more stuff!

It also means, there’s no more room to put stuff, so the areas you spend the most time get piled up as well.

Want to know more? The best way to approach getting those areas tidied? Today’s video covers bedrooms, with a bit about entryways and kitchens, too! Which one are you going to focus on today?

Oh, and psst … you’ll want to use your entryway more often. Many Californians enter through their garages!

The dreaded knock on the door

The phone rings in the middle of the night — an ungodly hour — that suddenly awakens you. Your heart and mind races as you try to calm and reason with yourself.

It’s probably just a wrong number dialed.

Yet, you are instantly alert. Who could it be? Did something happen to someone you love or care about?

With dread, you answer the insistent ringing.

Hello?

We all shudder at the thought. The call that could signal that something is drastically wrong. The fear that we could lose something dear to us.

And yet, the one most disturbing event we hope to never experience is the dreaded knock on the front door from an emergency responder. As you rush to answer the door — There they stand and you are told to immediately evacuate your home. No time to hesitate. You must leave NOW.

This frightening experience has happened to many these last number of weeks … to those who have been asked to leave their homes because of hurricanes or firestorms. The frequency of this is unnerving.

Are you prepared in case this might happen to you?

I do not tend to be a doomsdayer, someone who is given to instilling fear, foreboding, or predictions of impending calamity. However, the natural disasters, along with the human caused destruction, has brought my awareness to one of preparedness.

I had to ask myself, “Am I prepared if this was to happen to me?” And, my honest answer, is no.

Here’s the crazy part — I have been through many natural disasters myself, experienced them first hand. Lived in areas with tornadoes. Was evacuated from my home because of a hurricane. Was evacuated from my church in the Oakland hills due to a firestorm. And, I was trapped on the 32nd floor of a high rise building during the big earthquake in ’89 in San Francisco.  

How, then, could I not be more prepared myself?

It does beg me to ask that of you? 

BUT, what exactly would you pull together to insure you are prepared? What would you have at the ready in your ‘go-bag?’

Let me just clarify — I am not an expert in all the areas you would be wise to prepare. However, the one area that I do wish to impart are what key personal and financial documents you would need to bring with you should you have to evacuate or leave your home. 

See the attached guide sheet, the quick and easy list that I’ve prepared for your ease and convenience.

What Should be in your Go-Bag

Ideally , you need to have these documents gathered in advance — stored in an airtight, fire-protected safe. You do not want to be hurriedly trying to gather these upon that knock on the door.

When asked to evacuate, your only priority is your safety. Do not delay evacuation trying to locate any document.

Of course, this is only the personal and financial records you need to have at the ready. Other items to include, as suggested by those who have lost everything in a disaster, were photos, sentimental jewelry, and a laptop.

One friend shared with me that she took her deceased husbands t-shirt with her, a non-replaceable memorable keepsake.

How about you? What would you have in your ‘go-bag’ at the ready?

As to my own preparedness — even those of us who have come through disasters fairly unscathed, we too, put our heads in the sand. I realize that I have been complacent, assuming that I would not be the one who got the knock on the door.

Seems time to use my own checklist!

 

Tidy Up Tuesdays — How do you get it all done?

Do It In 2!

Tired of all the piles of stuff? You know — Closets, rooms, and garages, stuffed to the gills, and overflowing, with it all. Or, maybe all those undone projects?

Have you gotten to the point where you’ve thrown up your hands in disgust?

I certainly hope so, because, if you have not gone to disgust (or some other equally disturbing or driving emotion) you’ll most likely live with the stuff forever.

Ouch! Probably not what you wanted to hear, huh? But, let’s face it, we humans love comfortable, and we’ll stay with comfortable forever even to our own detriment or unhappiness.

Much easier to hang onto it, numb out, and no longer recognize we are uncomfortable. Instead, we hunker down, settle in and tolerate.

But there is a way out. Honest, there is. And, it begins with this simple question – What would you like it to look like instead?

How can you move past living with, or tolerating, and actually get it out of your life?

Use your discomfort to guide you. After all, it has been nudging you for ages. You’ve just stopped listening to it.

Isn’t it time to give it a voice?