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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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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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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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Can running change your life?

A while back, I posted this comment on Facebook:

“It’s possible for you learn to love running.  In doing so you can learn to love your life.”

The comments were intense.

People pushed back.

There was a lot of resistance.

Some of it was legitimate. People shared health issues that prevented them from running. The gift of listening to their bodies.

Some of it was inspiring.  People shared stories of how they used to hate running, gave it another try and it changed their lives. Created major breakthroughs.

All of it was passionate.

It got me thinking.  If I said:

“It’s possible for you to love bowling, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

Would the reaction have been the same?

Or what about:

“It’s possible for you to love painting, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

How about:

“It’s possible for you to love exercise, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

I’m curious:

How do you react to each of these?  

Do these statements bring up different emotions?  

Why?

My hunch is that they aren’t all the same.  The truth is you have different experiences & thoughts about running, bowling, painting and exercise.

These experiences and thoughts create a different emotional response when someone says it’s possible for you to love it.

If someone says to me, it’s possible for me to love bowling and in doing so learn to love my life, the response I get is laughter.  I think it’s funny.  I have no resistance to bowling and no real desire to use it to change my life.

For painting, I feel a longing to know more.  A curiosity to explore and a little bit of doubt about my abilities.

For exercise, I feel neutral.  I get it.  I’m not opposed to the statement and I’m not excited about it.

So why so much resistance and passion around running?

My two cents:

  • You have experience running.  For many, including me, not all of this experience is good.  In gym class I was slow, so I tried to run faster and it hurt.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I stopped trying.
  • There’s a lack training in pace. You haven’t learned to enjoy going slow enough that it doesn’t hurt.  You’re not in gym class anymore and nobody cares how fast you are running.  Trying to run too fast for your body is uncomfortable.
  • It’s hard to start small.  You want to go out and run 1 mile today. For years I couldn’t run a mile, so I started with a minute, or 10 seconds, and I kept at it.  Now I can run a mile.
  • Walking gets a bad rap.  I used to think if I took a walk break while running, it meant I was a slacker, I was cheating, I wasn’t doing it right.  That’s not true.  Walk breaks are what allow you to run further, faster and with less pain. When you’re starting, the more walk breaks the better.

Think back to your first experience running?  Was it good?  Bad?  Are your stories about running creating resistance now?

Are you willing to give it a try?  Why/Why not?

In my own experience, I didn’t always love running.  I hated it.  And like many things I used to hate, once I learned why I hated it, gave myself the opportunity to experience it without resistance, I learned to love it.  The things that brought me the most resistance now bring me great joy.

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say on this topic.  Add your comments and perspective in the comments section below.

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Getting My Good Vibes On

Today was a super special day for me.

I had the chance to guest post for a fellow coach and mentor over at Good Vibe University.  If you don’t know Jeannette Maw, you should.  Her work is fun and powerful!

Head on over and check out the post on how to feel good while budgeting.  It’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way and one I’m always excited to share.

As recently as a year ago budgets were a bad word to me.  Until  I learned something that changed my perspective.

I learned budgets don’t have to be about deprivation. They can be about setting conscious intentions about money and energy. Choosing, in advance, what you most desire.

Read more at:

http://goodvibeblog.com/2011/11/budgets-in-the-vortex/

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I am a friend.

I am a bad friend.

I show up late.

I forget your birthday.

I don’t commit to plans in advance.

I change plans at the last minute.

I get busy and don’t call.

 

I am a good friend.

If you ever need to talk, I’ll listen.

I’m thoughtful.

If you’re having a bad day, I’ll drop off a card of coffee.

If you need help, I’ll volunteer.

I support you 100%.

I love you unconditionally.

 

I am simply a friend.  This is who I am.  Not good and not bad. Perfectly imperfect. I am a friend.

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25 Things I Love About My Body

I was having a discussion today with a friend about body ‘love.’  The concept of really loving your body.  My friend wanted to know how you change your mindset from one of dislike to one of love.  How to let go of the ‘fat’ kid story.

It’s amazing how much we hate on our bodies.  How we criticize and look for all the flaws.  Our bodies are the vehicle that carry our souls.  To thank these bodies for all the work they do lugging us around, we complain about the size of our thighs or the cellulite on our legs.

There’s got to be a better way.

To inspire a different way of thinking I spent some time reflecting on some of the things I LOVE about my own body.

25 things I love about my body

  1. I love that my body allows me to be active (paddle board, kayak, run).
  2. I love that my legs are strong & they’re always propelling me forward.
  3. I love that my body teaches me that I can do more than I know (like running 26 miles).
  4.  I love that I have big bones (they are strong and hearty and to be honest, they make me look thinner).
  5. I love being short.  I do.  Can’t explain it, but I do.  Good things come in small packages.
  6. I love that my arms allow me to pick things up (like my dogs).
  7. I love that my body provides the sensation of touch, the feeling of a soft blanket or my husbands hug.  My body allows me to enjoy this pleasure.
  8.  I love that I have great legs.
  9.  I love that I have a small waist and a nice stomach.  No six pack necessary.  It’s perfect just the way it is.
  10. I love that my entire body is the perfect size for me (how could it be anything but?).
  11. I love the mole I have on my back.  I’ve had it since I was a kid.  It’s like a special mark.
  12. I love that I have feet to stand on.  I mean how could we stand without feet.  I love that mine are wide to give me extra balance.
  13. I love that my body is healthy.
  14. I love that my body sustains me.  That it houses my organs and keeps me going.
  15. I love that when my knee was hurt it lead me to my dear friend and physical therapist (thank you knee)!
  16. I love that it supports me.
  17. I love that it tells me when somethings not working, either through pain or discomfort.  It’s a great signal to check in.
  18. I love my hair. Long or short.
  19. I love my smile.  There is nothing better than a stranger noticing my smile.
  20. I love that it is healthy enough to allows me to walk my dogs every day.
  21. I love that it ages with me.  It helps me mark the time and gives me grace in knowing there are things in my control and things beyond it.
  22. I love that it’s been with me my entire life.  It’s never let me down.  I may have thought it did, but I was wrong. It’s always taken me exactly where I wanted to go.
  23. I love that I can dress it up or down with the clothes I choose to put on it.  Let’s face it, dressing it is one of my favorite hobbies and I love that it gives me an excuse to shop.
  24. I love that it’s mine.  I get to say yes or no to what goes into it.  I get to decide how to move it, where to take it.  It’s all mine & I don’t have to share if I don’t want to.
  25. I love that it allows me to dance.  The freedom of movement is so joyful and powerful.  Without this wonderful body I wouldn’t have the joy of dancing.

Now it’s your turn.  What do you love about your body? Start a revolution in your life and put together a list of your own.  Write it down.  On paper.  At least 25 reasons. Post your top 5 in the comments section below.

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3 Reasons Being Selfish Rocks

1. You have a better chance of being rich
2. You take responsibility for you own results
3. When you take responsibility for your own well being, you have more to give to the world.

All of this based on an article from MSNBC.com with the provocative headline: The rich are different — and not in a good way. (You can check it out here).

The whole thing got me thinking. Selfish gets such a bad rap in our culture. We’ve glamorized the idea of being a martyr. Putting everyone’s needs ahead of our own. Giving the world, our families, our jobs everything we’ve got.

We often provide our services, knowledge and skills for less than they’re worth. We believe that to be good we have to be selfless.

We’re paying the price for it. Happiness levels are at all time low.

There’s a reason they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before putting it on your child. If you don’t, you might not have enough oxygen left to actually help anyone else.

When you’re running on empty from taking care of everyone else, you don’t have much left to share with the world. Giving starts to feel like a burden and a struggle.

All of life is that way. Including money. You can never be poor enough to make someone else rich.

What if Bill Gates was altruistic enough to give away all his products for free?

Would we still have access to the technology that’s changed the way we do business?

Would charities across the world have access to the $28 billion he’s given to make the world better?

What about Warren Buffet?

If he was empathetic enough to give away his knowledge for free, would the world still benefit from the $1 billion he’s given away?

I’m curious, what would your world look like if for just one day, you said forget being a martyr and did what made you happy?

How would the world be better if you embraced selfishness? Charged what you were worth without remorse? Took 100% responsibility for your actions without looking to others to help you out?

Would it really be such a bad thing?

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Shampoo

I bought shampoo today for the first time in more than two years.

Sounds crazy right?

Back in the day, when I thought better shampoo was one of the keys to happiness I would buy shampoo regularly. It wasn’t unusual for me to buy 2 or 3 bottles at the same time. In fact, when I finally stopped buying it, I had enough to last for more than two years.

It wasn’t just shampoo, I also had years worth of face lotion, regular lotion, nail polish, tinted moisturizer and eyeshadow.

And I wasn’t happy.

So I kept buying more.

Trying to show myself there was enough and I could have it if I wanted.

Then I realized I am enough – even without 13 bottles of shampoo.

And I stopped needing to buy shampoo.

Until today – when I needed it. Not because it was going to make me feel better, but because I was out.

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Barefoot

Barefoot in the Grass

There’s a lot of talk right now about ‘barefoot’ running.  It’s a craze.  Some experts love it, some aren’t so sure.  That’s the problem with experts.  There’s rarely consensus.  Different experts, different opinions.  No clear path for the lay person.

I like running in shoes.  I also see the logic in trusting your bodies natural biomechanics.  Our bodies were meant to run.  We don’t need a stability shoe to make it possible.  Humans were running long before shoes were designed for pronation problems.  

The problem is our bodies weren’t designed to run on pavement, asphalt and the other hard surfaces that make up the majority of surfaces we runners spend our time (unless you are lucky enough to live on the beach).  Back before running shoes, I’m pretty sure most running was done on soft surfaces like the grass, in the forest.  

And on the grass is the perfect place to practice being barefoot.  When was the last time you took off your shoes and just walked in the grass?  Felt the blades between your toes.  It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.  Bonus points if sprinklers are involved. I can recall playing barefoot in the yard for hours as a kid.  Shoes were rarely on in the summer. It felt like freedom.  Until of course I stepped on a nail.  Then it was back to shoes for a while.   Yet even as adult there’s something remarkable about the feeling of being barefoot in the grass.  For no other reason than to feel that freedom again.  

As for running, I’ve comedown in the middle. I’ve moved to a less supportive shoe.  I’m checking in to see how my body responds. Ultimately my body is the only expert I trust. So far, I like what my body is telling me about this new way of running.  If the trend continues, I’ll move to less support.  Until then, I’ll enjoy a few moments of bliss when I take my shoes off after a run to feel the grass between my toes.

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