debt problems

“It’s important for people to look back before they’re able to move forward.”–Karen McCall

Karen McCall has a special place in my heart. She was the first one to tell me I was an underearner. And it really pissed me off!

“I am not,” I said defiantly. “I’m a writer!”

Talk about chutzpah!  Here was the leading pioneer in the field of financial recovery. And I’m arguing with her?

Of course, she saw right through my defenses and gently guided me to the truth.

I can honestly say Karen changed my life…in ways I couldn’t even have predicted at the time!!!

She stopped seeing clients years ago to focus on training Financial Recovery Coaches.

Now there’s BIG NEWS!

Jedi Master McCall (one of her students used this phrase, in an email to me, to describe Karen) is offering a special 3 month program…Financial Recovery Foundational Training…for anyone.

Yes, it’s a prerequisite for the Certification Core Training.

And it’s also ideal for professionals to augment their financial coaching skills.

But, for the first time…and here’s why I’m so excited…this training is open to ANYONE (you, maybe?) who wants to transform their relationship to money.

This is an amazing program. There is nothing like it anywhere that I know. It’s truly transformational! Karen, herself, will be teaching. And the sessions are on the phone.

You will be matched with a personal mentor, led through  your own money history, uncovering limiting beliefs, and given a tool box of “Financial Recovery’s underlying methodology.”

In other words, if you’re really serious about healing your relationship with money, this class was tailor-made for you!!! To learn more:

This course will rock your world. Are you ready?

Long time…no blog!  Did you miss me?

In case you were you wondering what happened (or not), I’ve been waiting…for all your contest submissions to flow in.

Remember?  In my last blog, I asked you: How have you overcome inertia in your financial life…without waiting to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer? The winner would get a mouse pad.

To all who entered, thank you. There were some great ideas.

To all of you who are struggling with inertia and haven’t a clue what to do, help is here…take a look:

  • Honorable mention goes to Tracy, who quoted a bumper sticker: “Debt is Normal. Be Weird.” Great words to live by!!!!
  • Third runner up is Donna, for calling me “a genius for starting this contest.” …in all due modesty.
  • Second runner up is a financial coach, Michele, who advocated hiring a “financial coach like us.” Makes sense to me!
  • First runner up is Barbara W. who declared  “a deadline can be a powerful force against inertia, even if it’s self-imposed.” For example, she suggests, “agree with a friend to update your wills by the end of November, and schedule cocktails to celebrate.”  Cheers to that idea!
  • The Winner is: Laurie, who suggested a great exercise: “write down the best things that could happen if you change what you’re doing now AND the worst things that could happen if you don’t change. Then share the results with one person and receive feedback.”  This is quite an eye-opener!

Congratulations, Laurie…if you email me your address, I’ll send you a bright red mouse pad that says “Scare Yourself Every Day!!! You’ll be the envy of the office. But let them know, they too can order one on my website: Come to think of it, those mouse pads would make great Xmas gifts.

Just hung up from talking to a man who’d hired me to speak to a large group of employees.

The purpose of the event, he told me, is to reach out and educate these people about their Deferred Compensation Benefit Plan.

The problem, he explained, is that members were only putting in the small minimum amount each pay period. They wanted to encourage participants to increase their contributions and understand what they’re investing in.

The real issue, he admits: “How do you break their inertia?”

Isn’t that the Big Question for all of us when it comes to money?  (And a lot of other things, I suppose!)

How do we break our inertia?

Most people do it the way I did—by waiting for a crisis. There’s nothing like a catastrophe to kick us out of our stupor. For me, it was a whopping tax bill following my divorce.

Why didn’t I take action when I first found out my husband was grossly mismanaging my money? Why did I wait and put my whole family in jeopardy?

Truth be told, inertia, like ignorance, can be bliss. But the penalty for procrastination is not pretty.

So I ask you:  How have you overcome inertia in your financial life…without waiting to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer? What advice would you give a roomful of foot-draggers?

In fact, let’s make this a contest. A prize goes to the winner with the best suggestion.

The prize: a bright red mouse pad that boldly declares: Scare Yourself Every Day.

Come to think of it, that just might be the best solution for fighting inertia!!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

Twitter Barbara at:

The Money/Happiness debate continues.  Just today,  USAToday asked the age old question, yet again:  Does money bring happiness?  Well, I’m here to resolve this issue, once and for all! (drum roll, please).

Money does NOT make you happier.  But poverty doesn’t either.  What  DOES  make you happier?: taking control of your money, instead of allowing your money to control you!

Let me give you an example.  Here was  a woman (a successful attorney),  who for the last three years,  felt helpless,  hopeless,  and (obviously) very unhappy as her life,  and her debt,  spiraled out of control.

Then, last month, she called me for coaching.  We’ve only had 3 sessions so far.  And most of our time was spent dealing with her resistance (“I’m NOT going to change my lifestyle,” she told me firmly) and getting her out of denial (“OMG, I’m spending way more than I earn!!”).

Finally, last week, she sprang into action.  I share her latest email with you because its proof positive how much happier life can be when you take charge of your finances.

“I have been working diligently to shave my monthly expenses and I am having a blast!” she wrote.

Of course, it wasn’t easy, she admits. “One thing I will say:  it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of discipline to save money,  and was much easier to stay in debt – which is how the system is designed.  But I like the power I feel now much better.  Saving money is actually making me feel very sexy, and probably the sexiest thing I have ever done!”

You’ve got to admit—she’s one happy camper!!!  How did she do it?  With this 7 Step Formula.  She:

  • Opened a savings account:   “$10 per month is automatically transferred from checking,”
  • Cut spending:   “I shaved $1400 from my monthly expenses.”
  • Stopped using cards, even her debit card:  “I was using my debit card the way people use their credit cards and it was getting me into trouble.  I cut it up.”
  • Negotiated with creditors:  “I am working liking crazy with my credit card companies” to decrease rates.
  • Created a spending plan:  “I figured out how much money I needed this month by category and have gotten out the appropriate amount of cash, put paper clips and sticky notes to each allotted amount, and that is all I can spend.”
  • Stuck to her budget no matter what, even during a major move:   “In the past I would have just gotten out my credit card, charged the move and said I would deal with it later.  Now I am planning, looking at all of the expenses and figuring out the best steps and ways to save money.”
  • Followed the coincidences (which always occur when you start taking charge):  “On top of this, I just landed a HUGE new client in Santa Fe, NM –  out of the blue, of course.”

Ultimately, this woman created her own happiness by making 2 crucial changes:  she changed her behavior along with her attitude.

Getting out of debt, she told me, has become “such a fun game.  It’s amazing to see where my money goes!  Wow – to be conscious is incredible. Thanks Barbara – I am loving this!”

Don’t YOU want what she’s having??

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

Twitter Barbara at:

I did a massive closet cleaning yesterday.  Gave away bags of clothes to Goodwill.  I’m a big believer in letting go to create space for something better (see my blog post about it!).

As I was tossing stuff into garbage bags, I found a framed certificate I’m definitely keeping.  It declared that I’d completed the “Financial Recovery Counseling Training” in 2000, and was signed by founder Karen McCall.  The training was intense and life-changing.

Karen McCall is THE pioneer in the field of overspending, underearning, and chronic debting… and my long-time mentor.

She was one of many professionals I visited in those early desperate days of my own financial crisis.  She was, however, the only one who told me I was an “underearner”.  Initially I balked at the accusation.

But she broke through my denial, and I became her client… then her student. I often wonder, if it wasn’t for Karen, would I be doing what I’m doing now?

If you are a coach, looking for a rewarding new career, or simply want to make changes in your own financial life,  you need to know this — In  early September, Karen is offering her final training program this year.

As she told me; “This is very likely the last class where I will personally be doing the majority of personal mentoring with my students.”

The cool part of this extensive 6 month program is that Karen not only trains you in her Financial Recovery process, but mentors you on starting a successful business.  Check it out.  There are only 4 slots left.

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

Twitter Barbara at:

This will give you cause to pause… especially if you’re in debt.  Have you ever looked up the definition of  “debt”  in Webster’s dictionary?  Try it:

A client of mine did recently,  and,  in her words,  “I was absolutely shocked!”  Merriam-Webster’s first definition of debt –  Sin.  Yes… SIN!!!

Do you realize that a whopping majority of people are “living in sin”?  Are you?

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

Twitter Barbara at:

Want to kick things up a notch (or 2 or 3) in your life? Ask yourself this: “What do I need to let go of?”  Seriously.   “Letting go” is a profound strategy few people fully understand.

When you pinpoint what’s holding you back, and are willing to let it go, miracles occur.  There is one catch, however.  Usually, the very thing you most need to let go of, is that which is most scary to give up.

Let me give you an example.  This just occurred in my latest Overcoming Underearning® teleclass (see  One woman, let’s call her Dee, was desperate to get out of debt.  Her main problem – her house was more than she could afford, but she couldn’t bear to let it go.  Her home was her sanctuary,  a retreat from the world,  tucked away in a little village that was nearby, but felt worlds away from the big city. Her closest friends were her neighbors.  She never had to lock her doors.  How could she  ever leave this?

Yet as our class continued, it became clear.  Dee needed to sell the house.  It broke her heart, but it was the right thing to do.   From that point on, things happened quickly.

She’d sat down to write a newspaper ad  when there was a knock on the door.  A man introduced himself as the father of her next-door neighbor.  He wondered  if, by any chance, she’d sell her house.  Dee’s jaw dropped, but she kept her cool.  They closed the deal, that very day, for $15,000 above what would’ve been her asking price.  And the man paid cash (yes, a big wad of cash now sits in the bank).

Dee’s bound to miss her house. But she won’t miss the debt.  And the relief  in her voice was palpable.  In fact, she was down right giddy.  Besides, she’s surprisingly excited about looking for houses in her price range.

The moral of this story?  The next time you feel stuck or weighted down, instead of asking; “What do I need to do?” Ask yourself; What do I need to let go of?” Then take the leap and watch for the miracle… and please share your story with me!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

Next Page »