For Love and Money

by Zen Gray

Have you ever lost sleep worrying about the bills?

The reason why I’m bringing up financial issues in this blog is because I believe that money troubles are another symptom that life is not in balance. And when life’s not in balance it WILL affect your body… and NOT in a good way. Studies show that if you stress, you’ll gain more belly fat. Other studies show that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll eat more. And still other studies show that if you and your partner don’t have money strategies that mesh, then it’s the number one cause of divorce! For those reasons, let’s talk about money.

Thankfully, I haven’t felt the sting of credit-card debt for a while now. But I’m re-reading a book called Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker and he talks a lot about your “financial blueprint” – the unconscious money strategies you’ve learned that are either working for you… or they’re not.

I grew up in a middle class family and I was taught that talking about money was “tacky” and there were never budgets. My mom would often buy a bunch of clothes on sale and bring them home and we’d take back what wouldn’t fit. I don’t remember one discussion about money when I was growing up except that I was told it’s rude to ask about money. Oh, and I used to win coloring contests as a kid and was told to “put the money in the bank”. I vaguely remember having this savings account and then my great grandmother left me $1000 which was added to the savings account– but when I went to pull out money in college, my parents told me that they used it for my tuition. That seems totally fair — except for the fact that I thought it was mine to use for what I wanted so I felt like I saved my money… for no reason. I’m SURE that experience carried over into my adult life because until recently, I’ve never had a savings account. Why would I? On some emotional level, it was pointless to save.

I’ve never been that great with money but I was blessed with a family that really took care of me. The only problem is that I didn’t learn effective financial strategies on my own and quickly got into debt once I left home. After YEARS of turmoil, I’ve finally started to educate myself about how to MANAGE my money. Eker suggests opening a “Financial Freedom” bank account where you deposit 10% of all your income (after taxes), to create a “Financial Freedom” jar in your home to deposit SOMETHING in it every day (even if it’s just a single penny), and to have a “play” account or jar with 10% of your income. Lastly, he wants you to open up four more accounts for Long Term Savings For Spending, Education, Giving and Necessities. Here’s the percentages:

10% Financial Freedom Account and/or jar

10% Play Account and/or jar

10% Long-Term Savings For Spending Account

10% Education Account

10% Give Account

50% Necessities Account

Even if I just have one dollar, I’m supposed to manage that dollar!  Eker says, “This action alone will send a message to the universe that you are ready for more money. Of course, if you can manage more, manage more.”

To keep my sanity, to whittle my waistline, to build some wealth, and to keep the peace with my fiance — I’m willing to give it a try. Of course, there’s a bunch of other strategies that I can implement, but I’m starting small so I can feel successful at mastering one thing at a time… much the same way I train my clients.

Perhaps because I’m a Taurus, I picture myself as a bull psyching myself up by taking small steps, then slowly they become bigger and faster and soon I’m this powerful force that can bulldoze my way through any obstacle. Of course, sometimes there’s a pretty red scarf waving around and my attention gets diverted but that’s just a part of the game. Sometimes we get distracted, sometimes we spend too much, sometimes we have a cookie… we must simply refocus and try again, right?!

To your health, wealth and happiness!

~Zen

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