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To Do or Not To Do

When it comes to the question of merging your money, it can get hairy.

There’s a lot at a stake.  For your money and your relationship.

Should you combine your finances or keep them separate?

In today’s video, I’ll help you identify the red flags to watch for as you navigate the best the path for you and your relationship.

Whether you’re just getting ready to say I do, or celebrating years of marriage, take a minute to check in and see if your solution really is the best for you.

Bottom line, every couple is different.  Focus on the goal of creating intimacy and engagement with your money and your partner. You can always adjust and renegotiate.

In the comments below share what solution works for you and your partner, what challenges you’ve faced when it comes to merging money and how you’ve overcome it.

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The myth of earning more

I’m a research junkie.

Image By: AMagill

I love looking at numbers and identifying trends.

Particularly around other people’s behaviors.

While I was researching google search terms on the topic of money, I stumbled upon something that stopped me in my tracks.

Something that made me rethink everything about the way I talk about money.

It turns out people really want to get rich.  In fact, 7.4 million people searched the term ‘get rich’.

The way I see it there’s two primary ways we can make that happen:

1. Earn more money

2. Spend less money

And if google is any indication, people clearly prefer option 1.

Earning money beats out spending less on google searches by nearly a 9:1 ratio (2.7 million searches compared to 301,000).

I get it, earning more seems like a magic bullet solution.

It’s easy to think that once you make six figures, richness will just automatically happen.

But it’s not always the right solution.

Making money isn’t synonymous with getting rich.  Far from it.

In fact, one survey by Thomas J. Stanley, found many high-income earners are actually less efficient at becoming millionaires than their moderate income counterparts.

Once people start making more money, they have a tendency to spend more money. They live in more expensive homes in pricier neighborhoods and increase their lifestyles to match their incomes.

If you want to really create wealth, you have to be willing to look at both sides of the coin.

Think about it:

  • How much money were you making 5 years ago?
  • Has your income increased?
  • Has your net worth increased?
  • Has it increased by the same percentage as your income?
  • Do you know what your net worth is?

Most people don’t.

I used to be one of them.  In fact, I’m a perfect example of the earn more myth.

As recently as a few years back, I was making six figures and was far from rich.

I had no idea what my net worth was.

I knew exactly how much money I made, but I had no idea how much I spent.

If income was the solution to wealth, I would have nailed it.

But as I found, creating wealth took more than a high income.

It took consciousness.

It took awareness.

It took understanding.

And it took spending less than I earned.

If Google has it right and we really want to get rich, we have to be willing to look beyond earning.  Earning is only half of the equation.

Share our comments below.  

I’m curious: what do you think about the google earn more, spend less discrepancy? 

How are you creating wealth?  What’s had the greatest affect your bottom-line?

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Shift from worry to abundance

Creating a prosperity mindset around money isn’t always easy.

If it was, we’d all have one.  And research shows, we don’t.

In fact, The American Psychological Association found that 75% of surveyed adults say money is the number 1 source of stress in their lives - (June 2008).

Watch this week’s video for my tip on the fastest way to shift from worry to abundance.

Creating an abundant mindset takes time and practice.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a consistent commitment to checking in with yourself, being aware of your feelings, and consciously taking the time to choose thoughts that feel better.

Even the experts, including yours truly, fall into scarcity from time to time.

When worry starts to run the show, the first step is to be kind to yourself.

Beating yourself up for feeling scarce about money won’t help you create abundance.

Take a few minutes to notice what happens before the worry.

Do you start to get a subtle feeling that somethings not right, even before you feel stressed about money?
Do you engage in certain behaviors before you notice the feeling of scarcity?
I often notice a sudden desire to shop or an avoidance of balancing my checkbook, before I notice the feeling of worry.

These symptoms have become a trigger for me to start looking at what’s going in – in my money and my life.

What are your triggers?

Look at your money worry as a signal to go deep and look at the big picture.

Money problems often have little to do with actual money, so take an honest look at other things in your life that may be causing worry.

If your relationship is stressed or your job is a nightmare, you may project those feelings onto your money.

In the comments below, tell me what are you most grateful for when it comes to money?

Email your money questions to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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Getting Paid

When you own a business or do work for someone else – getting paid is a pretty important part of the deal.

After all, you are in business to make money.

So what do you do when a client just won’t pay their bill?

Before you come down on the client, take a few minutes to look at your payment process.

The most common reason for not getting paid, is not being clear up front about your expectation for payment.

Check in.

  • Do you provide prospective clients with clear, written communication around your payment process BEFORE you start working for them?  Why/Why not?
  • Do you require some type of payment in advance?  Why/Why not?

Be brutally honest – what’s stopping you from spelling it out?

Asking for money is a sure fire way to bring up your fears about being good enough, being successful or just plain getting the business.

And those fears aren’t going to make asking for money easy. Bring them to light now, question them and empower yourself to put the right process in place from the get-go.

Once you’ve done the hard work of looking at how and why you’re current process is working, then it’s time to tackle this specific client.

Decide how much time you’re willing to invest in recouping the money.  Decide how you want to feel about this specific circumstance and decide what action you’re willing to take.

From that place, send the No BS email.

It goes like this:

“I require payment for X service in X amount by X date.  If there’s anything else you need from me to make this happen, I need to know immediately so I can provide that to you.”

If you’ve decided to pursue the payment further, you’ll want to add that to the end.

“If payment is not received by X date, my next step is X.”

Keep it clear, specific and to the point. No explaining.  No emotion.  Just the facts.

In the comments below tell me what systems you have to ensure payment from clients and how you’ve handled non-payment in the past.

Email your money questions to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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Why do you want to be rich?

Why do you want to be rich?

If you want more money, it’s one of the single most important questions you can ask.

Why.

Why do you want more money?

It requires you to get really honest with yourself.

To examine your values.  To determine what’s important.

To understand why you care about money in the first place.

The second most important question to ask is: what does being rich mean to you?

How do you define rich?  What does rich look like?

The answers to these questions will be different for everyone.

And answering them will provide two distinct benefits:

1.  You’ll start consciously thinking about your money.

2. You’ll  supercharge your goals.

Check out the video for a quick tip to figure out the real reason you want money.  It’s a great way to get past the surface reasons to discover the real reasons why.

 

In the comments below, share your why.  What’s the #1 reason you want to be rich?

Email your money questions to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!


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Avoiding Feelings

I used to be a world class emotion avoider.  When it came to my feelings, I gold medaled in not feeling them.

I was a bona-fide pro.

Simply knowing that my shopping was driven by a desire to avoid a feeling was not enough for me to change.

I wasn’t motivated by a goal of not shopping.  Or spending less.

In truth, those goals were hollow. They didn’t matter.

What did matter was the idea of creating wealth.  The idea of enjoying my lifestyle while reaching my long-term financial goals.

What mattered even more, was the idea that I could consistently feel better. Feel good.  Feel happy.

Not pretend happy.

Really happy.

And I could use my relationship with money to help me get there.

This meant not sugar coating my feelings (that was just another form of denial).

This meant not shopping when I wanted to feel better.

And most of all it meant no longer hiding from and avoiding those pesky feelings.

It meant exploring those feelings.  Diving into what was causing them.

I discovered that feelings are a gift.

An invitation to explore my mind.  An opportunity to uncover my beliefs.

The worst thing they can ever do is create a feeling.

The best thing they can do is to help me change my thinking and my life.

When I changed my thinking I started to change my feelings, for real.

I consistently started to feel better, no shopping necessary.

When I felt better, I created better results.  For myself and my money.

Leave your comments and insights below.

Email me your questions on money to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Money Monday: Emotional Spending

The response to the Making Peace with Target post has been tremendous.

I’ve had emails coming in from all over the world. (If you missed it, you can read it by clicking HERE).

Turns out I’m not the only one who has a dysfunctional relationship with Target.

As one reader put it, “Target is crack cocaine for middle class women!”

So what can we do about it?

To answer that question, I’m pulling out a video from the archives.

It’s all about how to identify emotional spending.

In reality the process of breaking up with Target and emotional spending isn’t easy.

It’s taken me a long time.  It was really uncomfortable.  I had to exam who I was, my beliefs about money, and start paying attention to how I was feeling (by far the hardest part).

I still fall off the wagon from time to time.

But one of the most important things I did was to start paying attention.

How was I feeling when I was shopping?

How did I feel when I was done?

Slowing down and asking myself some hard questions in the middle of the aisle with a cart full of stuff.

So I challenge you to do the same.

There’s 4 key questions I ask myself before I hit the check out line:

  • Question 1: What do you think it will mean if you don’t buy the item?
  • Question 2: Why do you want the item & how do you think you will feel if you buy the item?
  • Question 3: Are you in a hurry?
  • Question 4: Will this item take my closer to or further from my financial goals?

You can read the full original post on emotional spending by clicking here. There’s some more juicy details on these four questions.

Emotional spending was the biggest challenge I faced with money.  It’s not an easy dragon to slay.  But it’s well worth the fight.

Leave your comments and insights below.

Email me your questions on money to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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Making Peace with Target

Do you shop at Target? Or Nordstrom or Banana Republic?

Not just occasionally, I’m talking at least a few times a week?

I mean, they have pretty cool stuff, right?

I’ve so been there.

My husband used to say, what exactly do we buy at Target? We seem to go there A LOT. (By we, he really meant me).

Eventually I learned the problem wasn’t about Target.

Target was simply a symptom of a bigger challenge.

The real issue was understanding why I felt compelled to spend so much money on stuff that wasn’t bring value into my life.

Target made it easy for me to disengage.

To use shopping to feel better about life for a few minutes a day.

To get lost in all the cool stuff and forget about my problems.

But  I knew I could do better than Target.  For my money, and myself.

So I took a hard look at my money.

What I saw wasn’t pretty.

Nearly all of my net worth was comprised of my 401k.

Which doesn’t sound so bad.

Until I realized I was putting 10% of my salary in my 401k and that 10% made up  up 90% of my net worth.

What exactly was I doing with the other 90%?

That’s not a simple question to answer.

On the surface I was just shopping.

Buying clothes.  And decorations for the house.

And whatever else I wanted.

Except I didn’t really want any of it.

What I really wanted was to be liked.

To be admired for my style.

To be loved.

To be happy.

And Target just couldn’t get the job done.

No matter how much I spent.

So I had to make peace with myself.

I had to discover what I really wanted.

I had to learn who I was without wearing a new outfit.

And that was hard.

It still is hard.

I’m learning to connect with myself.  Sometimes I don’t like what I see.

Sometimes it just plain sucks.

And it’s rewarding.

I’m constantly learning and growing.

I’ve learned I really don’t like Target clothes that much.

I’ve learned that I’m uncomfortable sitting still.

I’ve learned that intimacy and connection make me more uncomfortable than sitting still.

And I really want those things anyways.

I’ve learned that I’m not always comfortable letting people see me.

But I want to let them see me anyway.

I want to see me.

And when I started to see me and let the world in on what I was seeing, a funny thing happened.

Target lost its luster.

It wasn’t the joy factory I’d made it out be.

But I was.

 

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When to Quit Your Job

You’ve found your passion.

You’re ready to follow your dreams.

But should you quit your job?

Well it depends.

Do you hate your current job?  Are you worried about how to support yourself financially?  Are you excited about the new venture primarily because of all the money you might make?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to stick it out with your current gig a little longer.

The best way to get killer results in your next venture is to make the decision to jump when you already feel abundant, peaceful and excited.

If you’re worried, frustrated or annoyed the actions you take will likely cause more worry, frustration and annoyance down the line – no matter how passionate you are about the venture.

The good news is, you can follow your dreams while your at your current job.

Those two things are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, working at your current job may help you launch your venture to even more success.

I always say, “be passionate enough about this dream to deliver pizza.”

I’d love your feedback on the topic.  Specifically, if you’ve made the jump, how did you know it was time.  If you’re still on the fence, what’s keeping you there?

Leave your answers to these questions along with your comments and insights below. 

Email me your questions on money to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

If you like this,  share it on facebook or twitter!

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November Account Review

Each month I do a full account review of my finances.

I review every dollar I made and every dollar I spent.

Everything goes in a category.  Each category gets totaled.

Sounds kind of boring, right?

Except it isn’t.

It’s mind-blowingly fascinating.

Astounding.

Even though I plan in advance with my budget, balance my checkbook daily and generally keep good tabs on things, there’s almost always one line item that shocks me.

What I think I’m doing with my money and what I’m actually doing with it are often very different.

And it’s awesome.

I get to discover on paper how my money is working for me and how it’s working against me.

I get to learn about myself and my money on deep and rich level.

Most importantly, I get to decide if I want to keep engaging in the same behaviors or change them.

To make it even more fun, I’m going to share what I discover with you.

I’m going to tell you what surprised me and I’m going to show you how I change my thoughts around my spending to create a different result. This is where I get really, real with you.  You’re going to see how a money coach coaches herself around money.

Fun, right?

November Account Review:

Top 3 Spends

  • Mortgage
  • Food
  • Cell Phones

Biggest Surprise

Food: $1400 – Almost equally divided between eating in and eating out.

Thoughts: 

The single greatest thing I’ve discovered this month is that my thoughts about not wanting to cook are preventing me from coming up with a plan around meals.

Not only do I end up spending more on expensive, last minute food items, I actually get less enjoyment from the whole process of eating.

When it comes to making dinner, I’m often scattered, hungry and annoyed.  Not a pretty picture.

If I want to maximize my joy from food and my money, I’ve got to think about the whole thing differently.

Things to consider:

How much value am I getting from this spend?

Not as much as I could be.  I haven’t necessarily been making high quality foods or having remarkable dining out experiences.  For $1400 I expect more than what I’ve been giving myself.

Could I have the same satisfaction/enjoyment around food and spend less money?  Why/Why not?  

Absolutely.  I throw out a lot of food and am generally disorganized when I go to the store. I end up buying food that I don’t enjoy that much because it’s easy/fast. If I planned in advance for the week I could have foods I enjoyed more and spend less money.

What do I think is stopping me from planning/organizing?

I don’t really like to cook so I don’t put much planning into it.  It’s funny because not planning actually makes me dislike the entire process.  It’s time to eat and I realize I don’t know what to make.  I end up going for what’s fast and easy vs. what I enjoy.

The biggest motivator for me is that I want to enjoy my food and my money.

I’m playing around with the thought: planning my meals in advance helps me enjoy my food and my money.

It’s totally true and it helps me get excited about a plan for the week.  I know I’ll end up eating better and having more money.

Goal: Reduce food expenses to $1000 a month.

Put your comments in the comments section below. Specifically answer these two questions:

  1. Are there any categories where you’re spending more than you realized?
  2. What tips do you have for maximizing your food budget?
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