Category Archives: Money Topics

What You Say About Money Matters

Remember that now-old, computer adage: Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)?  It’s even more crucial when we apply it to our thoughts.  Our brains put like thoughts together in neural pathways.  All our thoughts about any particular thing get connected together.

It’s really quite fascinating.  For example it’s kind of like a bunch of cupboards.  When you open the door to the cupboard there are all the goodies in there.  Until you open the door you don’t actually think about what’s in there.  For example, most of us have a cupboard we could call “Friends from childhood” — we don’t open in very often, but when we do we can see a bunch of people in it.  Just think of the name of one kid you knew. Got ’em?  Okay, now as you remember them the cupboard door opens wider and you can see more kids in there.

It’s a pretty cool system, and I think there is no coincidence that in many ways computers are structured in a similar fashion.  Even though we may not have had all the brain science worked out when computers were invented, the style and method of our thinking influenced the design.

Okay, so what on earth does that have to do with money and what you say about it?  The short answer is EVERYTHING!

What you focus on is what you create.  You gather more and more fodder to support your position, and all that fodder makes the ‘cupboard’ bigger and bigger.

What exactly do you say about money? We know that the odds are your parents said things like:

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees
  • You’ll have to work really hard to make any
  • There’s never enough of it

The irony is that because they believed that, they proved it — with one small but important caveat.  See the use of the ‘enough’ word?  Our brain pays no attention to the ‘never’ in that sentence.  What it does do is focus on creating the enough word.  The problem is enough is a ‘scarcity’ word.  Think about it.  One way or another there was always ‘enough’ — just enough.

The quantity of scarcity thoughts in the “money cupboard” in most of our heads is huge.  That neural pathway is jam-packed with examples, reinforcement, fodder.  Conversely, the money thought cupboard around the idea of plenty, or lots, is a tiny little cupboard from perhaps a doll house.

The result being that when it comes to money, just like when it comes to other thoughts and ideas, we reinforce what we have always reinforced.  We are at the very least in the habit of thinking that way.

Changing that thinking, and thus the results you create, is both hard and easy.  It’s as easy as being conscious of what you say and think about money, and changing from an ‘enough/scarcity’ to a ‘plenty/lots’ conversation.   And that is also hard to do, mostly because it’s a very ingrained habit.

My suggestion is to institute a counter-balancing method.  Start by being easy with yourself.  Don’t give yourself a hard time when you use that scarcity word.  And when you use it, and notice it, then immediately replace it with a more abundant word.  At the very least balance it with a counter-balance statement.  For example: “I never make enough money, except when I do!”  It can actually be an amusing thing to do.

The reason that all this is so important is that you can’t actually create the abundance or security you want to get past ‘scarcity’ or ‘enough-ness’ until you can believe it’s possible.  And you cannot be in ‘plenty land’ as long as you keep reinforcing the neural pathway that is a massive cupboard filled with scarcity thinking.

Here’s an example that might help.  Did you take a foreign language in school?  I took French.  Most classes focused on you speaking the foreign language, right? We didn’t try to learn French by speaking English.  That just wouldn’t work.  And I found when I went to France on a trip, the longer I was there, the easier it was for me to understand the language.  I had even started to think in French by the end of the trip.  What was happening is that the French ‘cupboard’ was getting filled. 

It’s the same with your money thinking and beliefs.  You can change it, and it’s a simple and as hard as learning to do anything different.  Remember, when it comes to money, what you say about it does matter!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to some support in changing what you say about money give me a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Do Budgets Drive You Batty?

The typical answer to that question is an emphatic YES, THEY DO!  Many times in a presentation I have  asked: “How many of you have created a budget?” — most of the hands in the room go up.  Then I ask: “After you created the budget , how many of you actually ever looked at it again?” — almost all of the hands in the room go down!  My guess is that, as one of my ‘followers’, creating and using budgets isn’t your favorite method of managing your money?  Okay, maybe I understated that: You probably think of a budget as a form of torture, right?  You are not alone!

Before I get into exploring that, just in case you are worried that I’m going to end this blog suggesting that you use or create a traditional budget, have no fear!   What I’m actually going to do is explain why budgets don’t work for you, and suggest some other options.

Budgets can and do work… for analytical types.  You know them, they are those “logic first” people, the ones who create spread sheets and data bases for fun.  They are great people.  They are historians.  They like looking at all the data and coming to conclusions.  Good for them.  If you are one of them, you probably already have and enjoy using a budget.

If you aren’t one of those analytical types, all it means is that you are not happy crunching numbers.  You might be more ‘feeling’ oriented, more emotionally based.  Or you might be more ‘in the moment’ than interested in history and trends.  If that’s the case one of the biggest problems with a budget for you is that it’s after the fact.  What I mean is that you don’t have control in the moment.  You do what you do, spend what you spend.  Then you come home and as you load your spending into the budget spreadsheet you have either succeeded or failed.  By then you don’t really remember what your thoughts or emotions were when you were making the purchase, so you feel a bit lost.  Around this point is where most people feel shame, judgement, or even some bit of failure.

And there’s the rub, the thing that makes us batty.  It feels like something happened to you that you just couldn’t control because you are looking at the event before or after, instead of when it’s actually happening.  That’s why it feels so upsetting.  You are judging your action outside of the time when the actual choice was made.  At best you have a memory of what it felt like, not a clear vision of the choice.

If you are more of a big picture, emotional and/or an in the moment person, analysis after the fact won’t actually help you change your behavior.  It may make you feel bad about it, but it doesn’t give you any insights.

What will help you make better money choices is to find a way to be conscious of what you are spending—and why you are spending it—right in the moment that it is happening!  Make a list of things that often motivate your choices in the moment.  Things like:

  • Being tired, hungry
  • Feeling lonely, angry
  • Wanting something new, an emotional lift, some fun
  • Anxious to just get it done, settling for less than what you wanted

There are myriad possibilities, and you know what your go-to ones are.  Write them on a  card or note them on your phone. While you are standing in line to pay for your items, check if any of your purchases hit one of those spots?  and then make a choice to either buy it or not.  Understand what you are up to, make choices that truly work for you both in the moment and the long run.

A system like this, or my GOSH Model (which you can find on other blogs of mine) WILL help you be more conscious of your spending.  That’s what this whole budgeting thing is truly about — being conscious, aware, and purposeful in your spending.

Focus on having your spending and how you use your money reflect what you really care about. Your money will reflect your choices.

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to explore just how you can let go of a budget and still have sound money practices give me a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

“Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees”

Money doesn't grown on trees… but it can grow!We’ve all heard that one, haven’t we?  It’s an example of a money belief—an idea that we have about money.  We all have beliefs around money, yet somehow we don’t actually try to untangle them. We shy away from looking at the beliefs.

Instead we tend to try some method of crunching numbers or budgeting.  We put money in envelopes, we watch our spending on our cell phones.  Some even play with my handy dandy “GOSH” model.  (Which by the way is very cool and useful!)

And here’s the truth:  None of that really works until you figure out what your money beliefs are, and if you want to keep them!  Your money behavior is driven by your money beliefs.

You will create and perpetuate your beliefs around money.  You just will!  Frankly we do that with all our beliefs.  We find the information that supports them, and we ignore the information that refutes them.  It’s part of all that lovely pattern making that goes on in our heads.

Of course, with money it’s more complex than with other things because of that whole money being a taboo topic thing!  Since we don’t talk with others  or even ourselves about our money beliefs that just keep influencing our choices over and over.

Which of these have you ever heard, thought or found yourself believing?

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees.
  • You’ll have to work really hard and you’ll still never make any money.
  • There is never enough!
  • Rich people aren’t as nice as poor people.
  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • I am not good with money.
  • I can’t do math, so I can’t do money.
  • I feel like I must have been out sick the day they actually explained money.
  • Having debt means I’m a bad person.

Those are just some of the most common ones.  There are no doubt thousands of possible money beliefs that will hinder or hold back your effectiveness with the stuff.

And just to be clear, I’m not talking about how much of it you have, I’m talking about what is your relationship with money?  Do you see it as a tool and ally, or as an enemy?

What do you make up about money?  Really, what do you make up about money?  Make a list!  Now look at each one of those beliefs and ask yourself a couple of questions, like:

  • Is this really true?  Like 100% of the time TRUE?
  • Is this my belief?  Or is it my family’s belief?  Or even, is it my cultures belief?
  • What might be different if I changed this belief?

That’s one of the cool things about beliefs: we can change them.  It takes noticing that you want to change the belief.  Then it takes both patience and maybe even humor to work on changing it.

One of my favorite ways to accomplish the change in beliefs is to throw in another option every time I hear myself either thinking or saying the belief.  It works like this: You follow the belief statement with something like, “…except when it’s not!”  (Examples:  Money’s hard to come by… except when it’s not.  Rich people aren’t as nice as poor people… except when they are!)

So ‘Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees‘ — except it can grow.  It can be different.  And you can do better with it.  It all starts with choosing how you want to think about it.  As humans we are really committed to proving our beliefs.  We see it all the time.  So figure out what your beliefs are, and, if continuing to prove your current beliefs to be true actually makes your life worse, try understanding and re-framing the belief.

Just imagine how much easier all this money stuff would be if you had some positive thoughts about it!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you’d like to play with this belief changing idea more, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Misplaced Loyalty

Loyalty can be a truly wonderful thing—on both the giving and receiving side—and like most things, being loyal can lead to some negative results.  The misplaced loyalty knot I’d like to talk about is all tangled up with biology and anthropology.

It starts before we are born.  On the biology side it really stems from those big brains we have—or rather how much more growing they need to do after we are born.  We have to be cared for by the parent for a much longer time compared to many other species.  It’s not just about walking and talking, it’s also about the complexity of human society.  We need to learn how to communicate and behave.  All very complex things going on in a brain that isn’t really ‘grown’ until early adulthood—despite our strong teenage opinions!

We have tons of things to learn, and we learn those things from our parents.  To make that learning more effective we are biologically hard-wired to be loyal to the parent.   We take whatever they say or do as the “gospel truth” when we are little.  We HAVE to!  They are our protection from danger, our source of food, and our primary source of knowledge.  We absolutely cannot afford to piss them off—they might abandon us!  And if they did that, we would die.  That is as true for us today as it was when we humans were hunter/gatherers long ago.

That hard-wired loyalty has a bit of a dark side though.  When it comes to money it gets messy.  And around money, all that loyalty creates huge problems for generation after generation.  It’s that thing where we don’t talk about money since it’s so taboo!  We learn about money without any actual training,  by observation only and thus we absorb and create many odd ideas.  Not only are the ideas a bit strange but they are hidden—we aren’t conscious of them.

This misplaced loyalty creates a bunch of strange results:

  • If your parents fought about money you will likely fight with your spouse about money.
  • If your parents fought about money you may very well decide that money is evil and bad, and make sure to have as little of it as possible.
  • Women will often unconsciously make sure they do not make more money than they perceived their fathers did as some kind of loyalty.
  • Perhaps the only way your parents expressed affection was with money, so that’s the currency for you to give or receive affection.

On and on it goes, and we don’t actually consciously recognize we are caught in these old familial traps around money because they somehow just “are”—they are so ingrained in our brains we have never ventured to distinguish and analyze them.

That is exactly what I would invite you to do!  Spend some time thinking about—maybe even journaling—about you and your money.   Do some digging.  See how what you are doing with money relates to how your family handled and talked about it.  You’ll find that you are doing something very similar to what you perceived your parents did, or you are doing the opposite of what they did.  The ‘perceived‘ word is in there because the topic is so taboo you probably don’t know what they actually did with money  You only know how you percieved what you saw and heard around money.

It’s a knot well worth untangling because this misplaced loyalty has been influencing your relationship with money all your life.  If you look more closely at it you can then make a choice to keep it or change it.  That’s the problem with taboo things that never get discussed.  We don’t even recognize we are caught in them, let alone that we have a choice.   Give yourself the choice!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you’d like some support understanding how this loyalty piece played out in your family, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

The Eclipse and Money – Something in Common?

I live in Oregon, just about 30 miles from the magic belt of ‘Totality’ so the eclipse stuff has been big here.  Everyone has been talking about it.  People gathered together to get closer, whether in a campsite or a festival.  People all over the country made a special effort to be in it and see it.  That’s a big change!

Centuries ago a solar eclipse was a message from the Gods, and not a fun one!  the sky goes dark, the sun disappears and is left this weird ring around it.  The stars in the heavens shine in the day time.  The animals behave oddly.  “Wow!  Scary stuff.  We’d better sacrifice a few virgins before this gets worse!”

It was a big, scary event.  It made no sense.  There was no ‘science’ about it.  No one knew anything for sure.  Some folks made up things, and they were mostly fear based.  After all, these were generally tough times, what with plagues, droughts, and no plumbing.

And then along came science.  Well, actually science came along, and humans in general resisted it.  Hmm… that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Around 500 b.c.  some folks were beginning to embrace the idea that eclipses might be a natural phenomena. Edmund Halley and some others were very sure about that by 1715 a.d.

Today we lean toward it, instead of away — because we know what it really is: the moon crossing in front of our view of the sun.  And those who ventured to see it in totality report it was amazing, emotional, and wonderful.

“Okay, lovely” you say: “What has that got to do with money?”

Well besides the fact that people are willing ‘spend’ a bunch of both time and money to go see the eclipse in all it’s glory, there is a lovely metaphor in this event.

What’s the most taboo topic in our culture?  What’s the thing your parents used everyday and never actually taught you about?  What’s that thing that it feels like everyone else has figured out, and you are  just clueless about?  What is the most bewildering, mysterious, and scary commodity on earth?  Money!

For most people, the real problem with money isn’t money, it’s what we make up about the stuff.  We often treat it as if it was an evil entity trying to keep us from our good — a spirit or god perhaps?  We act as if it has a will of it’s own, like it somehow magically disappears or keeps us from our dreams.

The real issue is that we look at money as a weird, mysterious, almost mystical thing that we just don’t have the alchemical wisdom to decipher.  We align with the taboo about the subject that our parents and ancestors have held for so long.  It stems from the pile of ideas like:

  • The only people who talk about money are greedy people
  • Rich people aren’t as nice as poor people
  • You have to work really hard and you will still never make any money

These ideas limit us, and frankly aren’t the TRUTH.  They are possibilities, but they aren’t absolute truths.  What these thoughts actually do is keep you from actually looking at your money, noticing what you are doing and not doing with it, and changing your thinking and actions about it.

Money will tell you exactly what you are doing with it, if you just look.  And it is you that are making the choices around your money.  Money doesn’t actually cause things, it just reflects what you are choosing.

So how can you look at your money more like the modern day Solar Eclipse experience?  Do you need special glasses (perhaps a bookkeeper?) to help you see what is going on?  Can you think about it as a natural result of the Moon moving across the sun (you spending more than you make?)  instead the will of an angry god?

How can money become the thing you actually want to spend time with and look at?  How can you eclipse your past around money?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you’d like to chat more about your own money eclipse possibilities , just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Liquidity

Now, there’s a juicy topic!  In the world of finance liquidity means having money available for your use.

My guess is that you don’t think of yourself as a ‘finance’ person, but you do handle, use, and need money, right?  And one of the things you need from money is to be able to get your hands on it, right?  If all of your money was tied up in a retirement account, in order to get your hands on it you would have to go through hoops, fill out forms, wait, and then would only be allowed to take out so much without a penalty.  You are willing to have the money “out of touch” like that so you can sock it away and hopefully let you money grow for your retirement.  That’s a good thing.

However, a bunch of people I know are also reducing their access to their money in another way, and it’s an interesting money knot for sure: They overpay their taxes.  One friend does it because he feels that it will make him safer from the possibility of an audit.  Others do it because they actually think of their taxes as a savings account.  And yet others think of it as a way to put aside money for fun things.  Hmm…

Personally my sweet spot with taxes is to either get back or owe both Federal and State less than $1,000.   The reason I like that spot is because I’m not in essence lending my money to another ‘entity’ to use all year long.  Sure I can’t make as much interest on my money as the government can.  They can put my money with your money and invest it at higher rate than you or I can get.  But beside that point, I also don’t have the use of my money when it is waiting to become a positive tax return.

Allow me to digress for a moment.  I must admit that I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching some daytime Judge shows here and there.  My favorites are Hot Bench and Judge Milian from the Peoples Court. These things are always about money, because money is the basic way that courts have of solving issues. It’s amazing how many times people end up in court because they borrowed money from someone with the promise of paying it back once they got their tax return—and then somehow didn’t pay it back.

Here we are just after Tax Day, maybe you filed early, maybe you filed on time, maybe you got an extension.  The more interesting question is, did you give the government a bunch of your money to use free of charge for months, and at the same time deprive yourself of having the money on hand during the year? Oh, and while we are at it, during the year, did you incur or pay any interest on your credit cards?

If you did, you are certainly not alone, and I get it. Overpaying in taxes to get a bigger return can feel like a good idea.  My guess is the part of you that makes the decision isn’t really your competent adult part, but more your kid side that wants to be handed some fun money all at once.  There are other ways to create some fun money—really!—and they don’t cost you as much in liquidity or interest.

Whatever happened with your taxes in 2016, you have a choice to do it the same way or differently in 2017.  What’s your choice?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you’d a bit of extra support untangling this liquidity thing, give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.shelltain.com.

Cuckoo Clock Phenomenon

The other day my massage person and I were talking about how sometimes a long-term client just disappears for some amount of time, and then often returns some time later.  I can’t be sure in all instances, but my guess is that what is often happening with this kind of stuff is something I call the Cuckoo Clock Phenomenon.  

On some level the client acts as if you, the practitioner, live in a Cuckoo Clock, and between interactions with the client you are inside the clock waiting for them to chime the hour and ask you to come out.  They are rightly thinking of themselves, not you.

When you are in a personal service type of profession like a coach, massage therapist, virtual assistant, etc., clients often end up leaving your ‘practice’ without warning.  They just stop, which can leave you dangling.

In many ways this is just fine. You are providing a service, and that is how the client thinks of you.  It’s not personal.  For them, when you are not with them, they do not think of you.  These are your clients, not your friends or family.  You do the same thing.  I don’t think of the dentist or the person who pet-sits my cat when I’m out of town in between when I need their services either.

Part of what gets this in a tangle is that when we provide a service based largely on our own selves, it can feel more personal when the client leaves or takes a long break. It very likely that if they do disappear it’s not about you. It’s about something else.  That something else could be a myriad of things, many of which you haven’t even thought of.

One of the things I find intriguing  about this, is that there is more often than not a money component in the disappearance.  Or at least the illusion of a money piece.  Let me give you an example of my very own!

When I first moved to Portland I was getting massages by a perfectly good massage therapist.  (Yes, I think that at least two rubs a month are a necessity)  All of a sudden, one day, I had the thought that “I can’t afford this any more!”   First I kinda looked around and thought “Who said that?”  Then I dug a little deeper.

Nothing had changed in my money situation—I had the funds to continue with the massages.  What I finally realized is that what had changed is that I was simply tired of the method the person used.  The massages were fine.  I just needed a change.  Frankly that was too weird and awkward for my brain to process, I had to make up a more viable reason—and money is always good for one of those.  Of course, it costs too much.  On some level that makes sense because I no longer valued the massage in the same way.  What is really more likely is that “I can’t afford it” is a great excuse.  Getting clear on this was very helpful to me.  I got clear that I could still afford to get a massage, I just needed a different  masseuse.

See here’s the deal.  Money is the most taboo topic, ever!  If you want to get out of something just bring up the money and people will quickly scurry away.  And it goes deeper.  Something like a massage, coaching, or fitness training are often thought of as indulgent, or selfish—not as self-care, growth, or improvement.  When things get tough financially we are more likely to sacrifice those things that help us feel and do better with some kind of “things are already tough, so let’s make it harder—it will build character” logic.

This is a likely scenario when you have a client that all of a sudden disappears and  then returns sometime later.  The return indicates they liked the service you provided.  If that’s true, then the disappearance was probably something about money.  Or at least that the client thought was about money.  And the client figured you will just be sitting inside the Cuckoo Clock waiting for their return, right?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you end up in this kind of money tangle as a practitioner or client give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Follow Your Money

“Follow the money” is a catch phrase about how to solve a “who done it”—it’s a way to put the puzzle pieces together.  What I’m wanting to do is talk a bit more about how that idea relates to our own money.  If we follow our own money what will it tell us?
Let me start by talking about how money works in a company.  Money tells us what’s working and what’s not.  Following the money shows us where the system is asking for help, and where it’s smoothly running.  It’s one of the delights of financial statements.  A company’s financials tell you what’s working well, and where the problems are.  If customers aren’t paying invoices, it shows up in the Accounts Receivable and it points to a problem.  Somehow, the customers aren’t happy.  Now we know where to look to help the company.

It’s exactly the same thing with your money.  What does your money tell you?  Okay, your first response to that question is probably, “There’s not enough of it!” Let’s look a little deeper than that.  That “not enough” answer has some emotion (yours) around it, while money is just trying to be neutral and show you what’s going on.  Where is there not enough?  Where is the money going?  Do you know?  The money will tell you, if you pay attention to it, if you listen to it.  Listening to it may look like using Quicken or creating a spreadsheet to allocate expenses.  It may look like hiring a bookkeeper.  It may look like paying attention to what you’re spending money on when you spend it.  It may look like something more creative than linear, like using my GOSH model. Regardless, if you follow it, it will tell you.

For most of us, the “leakage” problem spending comes through the credit card.  It’s money that gets spent easily, quickly, and without much noticing.  So take a look. Again, what’s money telling you there?

Here’s a way to look at this:  It’s like dieting.  To lose weight you have to eat less and exercise more.  You can find out what you are doing by noticing what you eat and how much you exercise.  We know that if you don’t change those habits, then you will not lose weight.

It’s the same process for food or money!

If “not enough” is the issue, you need to spend less or make more.  Money can actually tell you which.  And if you choose not to look at where money is being spent and how you earn it, it cannot and will not change.

So what would it be like to actually follow your money and find out what it has to say to you?  What might the information it gives you—without emotion—help you to see?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want to explore this idea and get some support in deciphering what your money it saying?  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website: www.sensiblecoaching.com

Perfect Bandage Fix

Recently I had the opportunity for the perfect use of a bandage.  Using a bandage can have several connotations.  If can be seen as a temporary fix for a problem –  somehow usually involves lots of duct tape.  We’ve all seen some amusing examples of that one.  Bandages also provide great protection and safety for a boo boo or, owie which is often applied with the help of a kiss. I now have a third use for a bandage.  I’m using it to turn a bit of a downer into a smile!

I achieved a dent on my left side panel of my car awhile ago.  As I explored getting it fixed I realized it was one of those exercises in “what do I want to do with my money“.  The facts were that the quote to fix the car was $1,100, my deductible was $1,000 – ouch!  My 2001 Hyundai Sante Fe actually has less than 90,000 miles on it and is a delight.  Despite that it’s Blue Book value is around $2,000.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I applied my own Money Knot untangling philosophies to this issue.  Spending money to fix the dent didn’t fit in my GOSH Model.  GOSH is my tool to help you see if your spending is aligning with what’s important to you.  In GOSH the ‘G’ is for Growth – nope dent fixing doesn’t do that for me.  ‘O’ stands for Obligation – if I spent  money to fix this it would increase my obligations, instead of keeping them at ‘as low as is reasonable‘, which is the goal for Obligation.  ‘S’ represents Sustaining – the car runs just fine as is, so no pull to fix it from that side.  Finally ‘H’ is for Heart – I do love my car and like it to look nice, but not $1,100 worth!

So if I did spend the money to get it fixed, what would I be doing?  I’d be falling into a Money Trap.  That’s what I call the things that pull us away from spending in alignment with the GOSH Model.  Things like habit, convenience, and ‘It’s on sale’ (Woo Hoo!) are all Money Traps.  They are those things that cause us to look at the credit card statement and ask “Where did it go?”   One of the great things about the GOSH Model and the Money Traps are that they are a bit different for each of us.  What may be Obligation to me, might be Heart for someone else.  For me, if I spent $1,100 to fix a dent in a car that is worth about $2,000 that would clearly be a Money Trap.  I’d  have to call that particular trap the “Vanity/Ego Trap” because it would be solely about ‘lookin’ good’.  Since I still have plenty of miles left on the car and it’s in good condition otherwise, I’d no doubt spend money on other things the car might need to run, but this one is cosmetic not mechanical.

So what Bandage cropdid I do?  I used a wee bit of Heart money and bought the perfect bandage for the car.  She just needed a little acknowledgement of her boo boo, and I needed a way to turn a downer into a smile.

The other principle that  I applied was one from my days as in Interior Designer.  If there is some weird architectural feature that just seems funky, instead of trying to hide it, point to it, make it a feature.  Give it a personality of it’s own!

I hope you enjoy both the perfect bandage fix I applied here, as well as the introduction to the GOSH Model.  If you’d like to explore GOSH more give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com  Meanwhile, avoid those Money Traps whenever possible.

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Rank, Revenge and Money

Recently I was reminded of the complexity of a crucial couple’s money knot: what happens when one partner “controls” the money?

I was asked by my friend, Kathleen Burns Kingsbury to be on her new Breaking Money Silence® Podcast Series.  She’s hosting conversations around money myths that we hold.  The one I chose to talk about was “I have to know everything about the money to feel safe”.  We had a really great conversation which covered many aspects of the myth.  Here’s the link to the podcast so you can check it out: http://www.kbkwealthconnection.com/podcasts/myth-money-feel-safe/powerstruggle

One of the things that’s really intriguing to me about this topic is the concept of Rank and Revenge around money.  Let’s dig more into that one, okay?

Frequently in a relationship money is the place where power struggles are uber visible.  We’ve all seen the dynamic where one partner controls the money and the other partner ‘acts out’.  It was in some ways the cultural norm before the sexual revolution, right?  The husband controlled the money, but the wife would then go out and splurge.  In that instance the husband holds the “rank” in the form of control, and the wife practices the “revenge” in the form of spending extravagantly.  It’s a game or dance we have all seen in our families, in novels or in film.

If one person holds power in a negative way, the other person is likely to find a way to exert some revenge.  What’s really going on is an attempt to find some equilibrium.  The power in the relationship has become one sided.  It’s no longer a partnership, it’s a tug of war.

Struggle is a normal phase in a romantic relationship.  It’s that time when the ways you are different no longer seem cute and amusing.  Why can’t your partner just be more like you?  Why can’t you be right?  Why can’t you be the top dog?  Money is a place where this often plays out. Unfortunately some couples never move out of the struggle place around money—or other things, for that matter—and keep tugging on the ropes.

At the end of one talk I gave, a women came up to me and said: “You need to FIX my husband.  He’s driving me crazy.  He has these spreadsheets.  He’s always fiddling with the numbers and it’s just crazy.”   Seems ironic, in a way, doesn’t it?  This husband was being the number cruncher and his wife, being of the opposite view, thought it was crazy.  Mostly we think the less number crunchy person is the wrong one…the truth is that neither one is right or wrong, they just have different strengths and talents.

We all know opposites attract!  This issue is how have money effectively managed while NOT stimulating rank and revenge in your relationship.

One that often works is for the more natural number cruncher to translate the information into pie charts or bar graphs.  It’s likely that the opposite of the cruncher will be able to grasp proportions at a glance while numbers may just baffle them

One of the things Kathleen brought up in our conversation that I just loved was that as we share in the management of our finances with our partner the intimacy between us increases.  I think one of the reasons that is true is that when we finding a way to share this crucial area we have to honor and respect each other and our differences, and that makes for a closer connection.

Money, and the day-to-day management of it, is a crucial thing in our lives.  How can you facilitate a better way of sharing the money responsibilities in your relationship?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want to talk more about rank, revenge and money, give me a call 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com