Finance


“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: www.financialrecovery.com.

This course will rock your world. Are you ready?

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“What you share you strengthen.”

~A Course In Miracles

In the spirit of the above quote, ask yourself this question: Could I be undermining my success by what I’m sharing with others?

Years ago, a  coach gave me a powerful assignment.  For 2 weeks, I was to simply observe my conversations, without changing a thing. Just notice what I talked about, the words I used, my typical reactions…you know, the stuff I was sharing with others.

What I saw was not pretty.

I had a habit of putting myself down…without even realizing it. I’d constantly dismiss my skills (“Oh, that’s no big thing”), deflect praise (“I thought I was awful”), and diminish my successes (“But I could’ve done so much better”).

What felt, to me, like humility, was in truth, a form of self sabotage. Every word of self depreciation put another dent in my self esteem.   I was strengthening my sself-doubt…while destroying my self-confidence.  No wonder I was struggling.

Are you doing something similar? Minimizing your achievements or underestimating your  value?

I invite you to find out. Spend a few weeks simply watching what you talk about.  Then write a comment below on what you observed.

In  my next blog, I’ll share with you the things I did that made a huge difference.

I wonder if we women aren’t lacking a gene that makes this form of discipline especially difficult.  The final technique,  Strategic thinking, means keeping one eye on your higher purpose without taking the other off the bottom line.

Men seem much savvier at strategic thinking. Women, in their eagerness to give back to  their community or give birth to their dreams, often neglect this critical step.

To  think strategically, you must constantly link your Big Vision to the costs of doing business, connect your mission statement to the profit/loss statement.

One  woman explained it this way: “Connect everything with the numbers. To be a successful business woman, you have to strategize all the time on how to make the numbers work.”

And another,  a business owner  “The secret to a million dollars is continuously reevaluating the expenses to run a lean, mean business.”

And still another: “Once you know where the profit is, it’s just a matter of multiplying how many widgets you need to sell.”

Basically, strategic thinking involves:

  • figuring out the costs to do business
  • cutting losses when something wasn’t working
  • designing effective structures and systems
  • daily strategizing and yearly long term planning

Strategic thinking did not come easily to many of these women.

“This is not my nature,” said a former journalist, “I’m a writer. It was something I had to learn. No matter how passionate you are, you have to have business savvy.”

You can learn to think strategically by reading books, taking classes, talking to others, and/or consulting with professionals in or outside your industry.

I find strategic thinking is best done with others. My advice for tackling this technique– form a Strategic Task Force. Invite people (anywhere from 1 to 10) you trust, respect, and admire. Meet with them regularly to help you stay on track  strategically or  contact them when you need strategic solutions to problematic situations.

Please comment on your experience with strategic thinking.  This is definitely something I want to learn more about!

Listen up, ladies. We need to talk.  We’re still on the ‘D’ word. But now we’re getting to the nitty gritty.  This form of Discipline is what separates the women from the girls. This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is, in short, the BIG SECRET to SACRED SUCCESS™.

And I got it straight from the mouths of women who make millions.  If you wanna play  a bigger game, you gotta  toughen up! That means disconnecting from your Inner Pleaser and growing thicker skin.

By  nature, we women want everyone to be happy with us. Successful women are no different. Almost all I interviewed confessed to a “little girl inside me who wants to be liked.”

However, success requires us to make difficult, even painful, decisions that often have negative consequences for other people.

“You have to do the hard stuff,” said one mega high earner. That ‘hard stuff’ included firing employees, ending partnerships, holding tight during demanding negotiations, enforcing an unpopular policy, firing high paying clients, even enduring multiple rejections and disappointments.

In fact, virtually all the women I interviewed told me that their biggest regret was not making tough decisions sooner.

‘Toughening up’ didn’t mean these women had to harden their hearts, numb their senses, or go all macho.  It did mean a dramatic shift in their mindset.

The shift sounds like this:   ‘I’d rather be respected than liked.’

As one woman told me: “I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions. But I learned,  you can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.”

The recognition that earning respect is more important than gaining approval was what one woman described as a “watershed moment.” It definitely was life-changing for me…and liberating.

This one shift in thinking– ‘I’d rather be respected than liked’ –means developing a “rhinoceroses hide” while keeping an open heart. This is precisely how we’ll become strong, effective leaders without compromising our feminine nature. This is what will allow us to be powerful without being punitive, forthright without being unfeeling, responsible without being ruthless.

Where do you need to toughen up?  If you’re like me, I bet it’s not just at work, but on the home front too.  Leave a comment below about what “toughening up” looks like in your life.

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: www.barbarastanny.com. Come to think of it, those mouse pads would make great Xmas gifts.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;

that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau

Had a brief, but interesting conversation while shopping  in Costco with My Man and his son a few days ago. His son, a senior in college, is a sheer delight. He’s ambitious and charming, with a vivid imagination and a quirky view of life. We were walking down the home furnishing aisle when he made an announcement.

“I’m going to live in a Castle one day, “ he declared, and proceeded to describe how it would have a gym, a pool, a hula hoop court (he’s an amazing hooper!), and all the amenities castle’s typical have, including lots of turrets. The boy was dead serious.  I was intrigued.

“Good goal,“ I assured him, and meant it. But even more, I saw it as a wonderful metaphor for the big dreams many college kids have for life  after graduation.  Problem is, like most his age, he hadn’t really thought through how to make it happen.

“If you start now,” I suggested, “You can definitely make it happen.”  He asked for my advice. I was ready to give it, but standing in the middle of Costco, there were too many distractions.

So this blog is meant to help him (and anyone else) build a firm foundation under their future castles.

16 things I wish I knew about money when I graduated college:

1.     If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it. Delayed gratification is the gateway to wealth (and a sign of maturity).

2.     Despite what you’ve heard, money is NOT power. Money is simply a tool. The trick to getting the most out of any tool is to know how it works and to use it responsibly.

3.      Understand the miraculous power of compounding—where your money earns interest, then your interest earns interest, and then that interest earns interest, and before you know it, you’ve got a lot more than when you started.

4.     Make savings a habit. Every month, have a small amount–say $5 to $10–automatically transferred from your checking account to a savings account.

5.     Consistent savings, no matter how tiny, adds up quickly.

6.     Always have a Safety Net…just in case—accumulate at least 6 months of living expenses, to be used for emergencies only.

7.     Create a Fun Fund for short-term purchases, like a ‘gotta-have’ video game or a weekend getaway—open a separate savings account, or simply drop spare change in a jar.

8.     Begin now building good credit. Apply for a credit card and use it responsibly, which means paying it off every month  (refer back to #1!)

9.      Never, I mean NEVER, get into credit card debt (not for a castle or the carpet or even a couch).  Mounting credit card bills destroys your peace of mind and your quality of life. What good is a castle if you can’t enjoy it?

10.    Keep your checkbook balanced. Even better, put everything on Quicken. Clarity (knowing precisely how much you have) is power.

11.     Learn about investing. Take a class. The only way to make sure your money grows (enough to buy a castle and also maintain it!) is by putting at least some of your cash in long term assets (like stocks & bonds) that will grow faster than inflation and taxes will take it away.

12.      Never invest in anything you don’t understand. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re buying; you won’t know when to sell; and you can’t accurately evaluate the advice you’re given.

13.     Don’t put off investing until you’re older. If you start now, regularly investing small amounts (in mutual funds), that money will grow into millions. Really!!!

14.     Own and respect your value. Never settle for less than you deserve or desire. Always ask for more than feels comfortable.

15.     The biggest financial risk you can take is to ignore your money, and do nothing at all.

16.     Read biographies of wealthy, successful people. They’ll inspire you to think bigger about what’s possible, and give you the fundamentals for making it happen.

That’s my advice. But it’s certainly not a definitive list. I’d love to hear from others. What would you add?

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html

Twitter Barbara at: http://twitter.com/barbarastanny

I remember, back in the 80’s — when I was struggling to understand money — I started an Investment Club.

Every month a group of about 12 friends got together, usually at my house. Someone brought treats, and we’d spend an hour or so discussing stocks… along with girl talk, gossip and romantic updates.  It was a great way to put the Fun into finances while doing some serious learning.  I really did learn a lot.

However, as I also learned, Investment Clubs can be complicated, time-consuming, and sometimes, contentious. They require co-mingling money, reaching a consensus on stock picking, and a serious time commitment, especially for the officers.

I’ve come to see there’s another— arguably better— way to combine socializing and studying.  Financial Book Clubs.  What makes them better? These clubs are less work and focus on far more than just investing.

I wrote an earlier blog on this topic… http://barbarastannyblog.com/page/7/ But I just got an email that brought it to mind again.  (Emails make such great fodder for blogs!) I was inspired… and I thought you would be too.

In my next post I’ll tell you about;  “One woman’s tale of Overcoming Underearning by joining a Financial Book Club”… stay tuned!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html

Twitter Barbara at: http://twitter.com/barbarastanny

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