I Pay Cash for Everything!

“”Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, 
but none are fun when you set about retiring them.”
-Ogden Nash
” 
 

The minute you decide to make changes in your life, your inner voices will start to chatter.

Old ways of thinking are not easy to shift. Your ego and subconscious seriously fear danger.

It’s their job to keep you safe and they will do whatever it takes to insure that safety.
Yes! Let me repeat myself so it sinks in — your subconscious will do whatever it takes to stop you.
You might be surprised what shows up that stops you. Or, at a minimum, what makes you pause and wonder, “Is this the right thing to do? Maybe I need to rethink this!
I guarantee you’ll most likely see it as a coincidence or bad timing. You’ll convince yourself that one thing has nothing to do with the other. You will miss the connection between the decision to change and the outcome, the thing that showed up to stop you.
I would like to encourage you, instead, to pay attention to those times when the voice in your head wants to label something as a problem or the wrong way to go. Recognize it for what it is, which is, the old way, the old you that wants to keep you stuck and prevent you from moving forward.
This is especially common in money matters.
Let’s use an example, one that many of my clients have struggled with and tripped upon (not to mention, so have I!). The use of credit.
Recently, a long standing client, decided she was done using credit to buy things. She shared with me that credit card debt was sucking the life force right out of her! It kept her awake and sleepless at night and made her feel guilty spending any money at all. And yet, her credit card balances grew, and grew.
Enough, already, she proclaimed! I’m done using credit!
Together we worked out a plan for her to stop using it, to spend only using cash, and to live within her means.

Her first big step, after making this decision, was to cut up all her cards. A frightening step, one that takes a big deep breath.

She was ready — we had discussed this many times in sessions — what approach and practical steps she would need to take to stop using credit.
But, then, all the logical excuses and rational reasons started to bubble up. Not to mention some unexpected expenses she had not planned for.
Her subconscious / ego was on high alert. It was doing its job!
 
It rushed to rescue her.
STOP! It screamed, Are you crazy?! You need credit for a good credit score! What if you have an emergency, you don’t have enough money saved for that? And, what about all those nice things you love to buy? You won’t be able to have them now!
DANGER! it warned. You aren’t safe without that safety netYou must keep the cards and just not use them.
Then it happened — The dreaded expense for which there was no money to cover. Her mind raced on how to solve it and went immediately to using credit as the answer.
But, this time, she was ready. She had her trusty mantra, and a strong resolution to stick to her guns. She repeated her mantra…
“I use cash for everything!”
And, bang, she held to her promise to herself. She didn’t use credit to pay for this expense — a big one by the way. And fascinatingly enough, the money to pay for it showed up.
She, like many others I have worked with, finally recognized that credit was NOT her safety net. In fact, it was just another prison to overcome.
Notice what stops you … None of it is true. When that chatter begins, remember my clients mantra — “I use cash for everything!”
 
What mantra are you going to use to remind you of the promise you made to yourself? It’s like a handy string on your finger, nudging you to stay firm and stick to your guns.

Oh, and by the way, you can live without credit cards. I’ve done so for years. You don’t need credit, no matter what your ego says!

Want to know how I did it? How others are doing it? Just ask me.

Have You Ever Been Fooled?

“Dinna laugh, dinna smile. 

Hunt the gowk (foolish person) another mile.” 

April Fool’s Message – Scotland

I have never been one who enjoys practical jokes. It feels cruel and hurtful to the one in which the joke is played. But, then, I have always been a sensitive sort, taking people at their word — believing what they said hook, line and sinker.

The embarrassment that follows, when I’ve been deceived or tricked, is deep and shameful. Only made worse when I’m told that it was just a joke, don’t take it so seriously.

It often makes me wonder, To who, exactly, was it meant to be funny? It does seem to be solely for the joy, entertainment, or benefit of the one doing the telling.

But then, there is even a day, April Fool’s Day, specifically for the playing of practical jokes and the spreading of hoaxes. A day of harmless pranks. A day of games, amusements and silliness.

Certainly, a day that was perfect for two friends of ours who are known for pranking each other. April Fool’s was meant for them!

I remember the year in which one of them managed to sneak into the other’s yard at night time. He set up the entire patio to look like an old bus station terminal.

Well worn metal chairs all hooked together. Dead palm trees in big pots. A mat laid under to look like bus terminal cement floors. Paper bus schedules in a rickety display rack. And, a row of metal lockers meant for travelers belongings.

Yes, the whole works — all that was missing were the waiting passengers. What a surprise to open his curtains in the morning and find that!

I must admit, that was funny, to this day the visual makes me chuckle. But, then, it wasn’t my backyard and I didn’t have to haul away the stuff!

Harmless enough, you say? No adverse effects, law’s broken, people hurt, or misinformation spread.

But, what about when the ruse, prank, fake story, or hoax isn’t so harmless? What then?

Here are a few to consider. Are they harmless or helpful? Are they entertaining or is the joke on you?

–> The constant and daily bombardment of advertising or marketing meant to get you to buy — maybe even to your financial detriment. Billboards. Signage. Commercials. Magazine ads. Online promotion. Social media. Inserts. Mailers. Labels. Products mentioned in novels. Infomercials. To name but a few!

–> The ambiguous or false promises made by retailers. Many of them sang in delightful jingles or played out with slapstick, memorable humor. Or, serious side effects downplayed by showing you images of beautiful, sexy people riding bikes, splashing in the ocean, and hugging each other.

–> Long, complicated legal contracts that would take a Harvard graduate to decipher and understand. How often have you actually read, and comprehended, the tall stack of documents you signed at a house closing?

–> The disclosure statements for credit cards.  Long, boring, and purposely printed in light gray, tiny print — the lingo used is painfully confusing and often dry as dirt to read. Other than a few financial types in this world, the terms are seldom understood by the thousands of everyday consumers who use them.

And, speaking of warnings and disclosures, did you notice they are always strategically placed at the end, after you have already decided, YES, I want it. They know the deal is sealed and nothing is going to change your mind. Much like warning labels on cigarettes, you’ve already decided to smoke. The warning has little, to no, impact.

Much like being told it was just a joke, don’t take it so seriously! 

Ever ask yourself, “To who, exactly, was this meant to benefit? Who does this actually protect?” Would it surprise you to know the one it protects is not you?

Just like practical jokes, meant for the benefit of the teller.

And, in this I have no sense of humor. I have seen too many pranked into a hurtful place, including myself.

Isn’t it time we ask, before we buy, agree, or sign that contract … Is this harmless or helpful? For who does this truly benefit?

Is this a joke, ruse, prank, or fake news meant to make me part with my dollars?

What scares you silly?

It was early in the morning, much like any other weekday. I was snug in my bed, warm and cozy. My husband and dog asleep beside me. The room peaceful and quiet with only their soft snores, a comforting presence in the waking day.

But then I woke with a start. A waking dream that certainly got my attention — there in my dream was a big spider. Surprisingly, it didn’t scare the bejesus out of me.

I used to be afraid of lots of things. Roller coasters — even little ones in the kiddie area of the fair. Ferris wheels — don’t rock the bucket unless you want me to climb on top of you. The boogey man under the bed — yes, even as an adult, I would rush out of bed honestly fearful of someone under it.

At least I’m not alone with my biggest fear — spiders. They scare the crap out of me. Even a photo of them will send chills down my spine and make me shiver. (I guarantee I won’t put a photo of one here!)

Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders affects women four times more than men (48% women and 12% men) and is the #1 phobia on the top 100 list.

I would have thought the fear of death (#12) or public speaking (#13) would have beat out spiders but apparently not. Even my fear of clowns is #88 on the list. They simply freak me out. Reading Stephen King’s book IT definitely sealed the deal on my dislike of them. Not a fan of the Jack-in-the-Box clown either — supposedly so friendly and inviting — NOT!

But, back to my waking dream — in it I saw a woman’s hand holding a small twig and upon the twig (did I say “small”) was the biggest spider I’ve ever laid eyes on. Bigger than a tarantula, but lighter in weight. Not as hairy either. Much more delicate with long, spindly legs.

Evidently, it wasn’t my hand, or in my dreams I am much braver than when I’m awake.

I wasn’t close enough, it seems, to fear it, standing a distance from whoever was holding it. The long skinny legs resting lightly upon her hand seemed innocent enough. That is, until I heard a voice suggest she put it down since this particular spider was one of the most poisonous spiders in Australia.

And, Boom, I was awake. Wide awake. The dream vivid and clear.

I described it to my hubby, wondering what it meant, asking if he had any suggestions on its meaning. I believe dreams have guidance for us, if we but remember them, and learn how to decipher the message.

He said, after some thought, that it made him think of credit card debt … the most poisonous thing in our wallets. He’s heard me say something to this effect over the years as I have counseled clients to release their dependence on it.

Something that he and I had to learn to do as well.

And, by jove, I think he hit on it. The idea resonated to my core and I knew my waking dream was guidance on this area of my work. I was meant to, once again, be an activist, a strong voice, speaking out in a world tied deeply to the use of credit.

The harmless looking, thin plastic card, oh so innocent in appearance was much like the toxic, poisonous spider sitting angelically upon her hand. That is until it bites the hand upon which it sits.

Credit is very much the same. We have come to believe it is harmless, a safe way to buy and have that which we want. We are encouraged in oh so many ways to use it to the fullest.

We have come to rely upon it as if it is our friend.

All seems well, until, that is, it bites.

Are you able to answer the biggest question?

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”- Wayne Dyer

I love to learn. I love to read. If an idea or topic catches my attention and my gut says, Yes, that one!, I dive in.

My heart races, my soul soars. I’m on fire and ready to soak it in.

Give me the book to read. Tell me what class to take. Who is my teacher? What lesson am I to learn? I’m ready! Let’s go!

That’s how it happens for me and that’s how I ended up in the class, years ago now, which asked the big question —  What is your big why?

Who doesn’t want to know that, I wondered? Wouldn’t it make life so much easier to know the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you and to wake up every day motivated to do it?

 Sounded pretty darned good to me — sign me up!

The class began with a number of simple, key questions to answer about our childhood. Easy enough to answer. But then, we went deeper.

We were asked to remember something in our lives that was painful or changed us forever — what Dr. Phil calls, A life defining moment!”

We were given ample time to recall and describe it — to write it all down. As we did so, more questions were asked to help us peel away and reveal why this moment or event was so significant.

Why did it stick with us after all these years? What did it tell us about our purpose? How did it drive us in life?

Amazingly enough, these questions led directly to the answer we came to find out — For what purpose was I intended?

And, to this day, I have not forgotten mine — to right wrongs. 

My antennae go up immediately when I sense, feel, or see a wrong. I can hardly contain myself to fix or correct it. I find myself looking for answers to make it right — to solve the issue.

Once I figured out my purpose, it became obvious why I had picked particular careers in my life. Banking. Finance. CPA. Internal Auditor. Financial Counselor. All had some element of structured, well-defined rights and wrongs. Rules to follow. And, a clear line that gave warning when something was wrong.

It helped clarify my path in life and in my business— to honor my purpose in all that I do. To say NO to anything that did not fit it. I have found that I fail if I try to do it another way — or I am miserably unhappy.

It is the biggest question after all — Why are you here? What is your BIG WHY?

It is more important than most of us recognize — our souls know it and yearn for us to live it. In fact, research has shown that Knowing Your Purpose In Life Could Help You Live Longer.  (Forbes Nov. 2014)

Yet, somehow we’ve lost track of why we are here. In all our “busyness”, our focus has gotten narrowed on the aspects of day-to-day life. We grew up and in the process we let go of and forgot why we are here. We believed what we were told — that it was time to be an adult and do grown-up things. Put aside those childish ways.

Sadly, we then left behind the essence of who we are — we bought into the belief that it, too, is childish. We moved on to what we were taught “should” be our purpose, our goal, and life path.

We then end up believing our purpose are the roles we play in life — mother, sister, wife, teacher, employee, manager, healer, coach, writer, artist, business owner, etc. Seldom is it your purpose.

And, there begins the agonizing trek back to finding it once again, revealing it to ourselves, and living fully into it. Many of us go to our deathbeds not ever rekindling that purpose consciously. It plays out in the background of our lives, calling to us, and yet, going unheard.

Isn’t it time you asked the biggest question of all? WHY AM I HERE? I promise, there is an answer. And, it is a personal one just for you. No one else has the same one — only you are here to express it.

It does affect all that you do. It guides you in all decisions and questions you may have. The best career path to take. Whether to marry or not. Am I meant to buy that house or live that lifestyle?

But, be sure to take Wayne Dyer’s advice … your purpose is not to get to a certain place … It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”