The Flow of Money

by Wendy Olsen Brodeur, CFP, CFDS, CSC, Mediator

MONEY IS ENERGYI believe that life is a flow of energy. Just like a river flows, life too, can get damned up, can over flow, can get contaminated, and can even dry up. I also see money with the same lens.

When we talk about money, one of the first things that needs to be addressed is cash flow. I am about doing the hard work and getting conscious and real honest about not just where the money is coming from but where is it going? It is interesting that in our education system we teach about how to land the job, start a business but who has ever been taught how to manage that first pay check? Who learned about financial planning, emergency funds, protecting your money or anything to do with how to balance a budget?

OUR BIGGEST ASSET

When I do seminars, I’ll ask the audience “What is your biggest asset?” The majority will say…their house. Although that can be true, I like to think our biggest asset is our ability to earn an income.  Why? When something gets in the way of our earning potential, we may end up with cash flow issues. Cash in our society is a big deal. It pays for our life style. When you are faced with a life crisis that de-rails our income, this can add huge stress to your already stressed situation. Why do we tend to wait till we hit the wall? Because we are human and we need to not only learn life’s lessons but then turn around and share them with others.

LIFE LESSONS

I like to share my life lessons because I too have been caught up and witness to life’s challenges. If I can share strategies around the stress of money, that will make a difference to people’s lives then I am fulfilling my mission and passion. From not leaving an abusive relationship because I had no money of my own, to watching my father’s health eat up all their retirement money, to watching my mother supporting my brother as he struggles with a debilitation condition unable to work. The inability to work creates many ripples and affects many things and people along with society.

Most recently, I watched, as my son’s girlfriend bravely fought through cancer. Not only did this affect her ability to work, but out of caring and love both my son and her family took time to be with her and drive her to appointments. Not only the reduction in cash flow for everyone but the increase in spending for things like wigs, massage, retail therapy all takes its toll. We all would do what it takes but is there something we could do before hand to help with the cash flow of things? The answer would be yes….education and some basic financial planning. AND…it’s never too late!

We are also very grateful she is now clear and getting back to the flow of life.

GET CONSCIOUS
Getting conscious is really nothing more than making some time to look at the black and white of your spending? Get out your pay stubs, the bank and credit card statements. It’s time to take an honest look at what exactly is going on. This step can be scary for some, enlightening for others and a regular activity for a few.

I am not a professional in psychology but there are always some interesting insights when people do this. You may discover a spending habit and wonder why? With some work you can determine the reason. Some may be wise to get professional counselling. You may even discover information that you did not know about, especially if you have a partner.

THE HOMEWORK
Most of us hate budgets. Just the mere word sends shivers though our bodies. So let’s look at it a bit differently. (Worksheet attached). Now that you have all your statements out for a period of time, I suggest you break down the spending into three categories.

  1. What spending do you really NEED to do to live. That may include your housing, tax, utilities, and food costs. For example; we need to eat but do we NEED to eat out as much as we do?? That is for you to determine. Highlight what you currently think are needs and then go to the next category.
  2. Track any spending that would be associated with your GOALs. These items may be vacations, retirement, renovations for the year, etc.
  3. Track is all the spending you do on WANTS. You want to eat out because you are tired or don’t know how to cook or whatever excuse you are making for yourself. You want another pair of black shoes because you just have to have them for some reason. You must decide but be honest to yourself. Don’t judge just yet as that will come.
NOW THE HARD WORK
We are creatures of habit. We get into a comfort zone and many of us do not want to change.  Change can be difficult. But why wait until a life crisis to force a change when we can do some work to prepare? Life is about choices. Sounds simple yet it’s not easy.The work I suggest you do next is look at your categories and start to make choices and changes. You might see that you have not started to save for retirement but do not know how much you really need. You might have decided that insurance for your healthy spouse is a wise choice but need to look at costs. My recommendation would be to find a professional with whom you can relate to help get you on track and keep you there. They can help you with strategies to change things. Find someone with the proper credentials and good references. You can check the CFP website for some of the questions to ask when looking for a professional – http://www.fpsc.ca/choosing-financial-planner. The work you do here is neither right nor wrong, but if feels so good once you have a balanced plan in place.CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Now the challenge! Once you have put your strategies in writing to meet all of your NEEDS, GOALS and WANTS, you need to start to live it. Living consciously is being aware of the flow of your money; the good, the bad and the ugly. We may need to readjust. That’s OK. It is also human to fall down but just get back up and keep going.

WHATS NEXT

In our next news, I will speak to our money personalities and some strategies that may help you understand your tendencies toward money. We will look at why your flow is doing what it’s doing.

About the Author:

Wendy’s mission is to Educate Enrich and Empower the people she serves! As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) she is trained and educated on all aspects of money.  She also specialises in Financial Divorce (CFDS), sometimes a reality for many.  To learn more about Wendy and her work, visit – www.wealthwellness.ca and www.tfds.ca.

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