Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Money, Money, Money

In my recent newsletter, the section called "Thoughts to Consider" offered a perspective from one of my blog posts entitled "Time vs. Money".

A friend of mine emailed me back with the philosophy and approach she's trying to put into practice in her own life. I haven't read the book she mentions, but the advice is great.

I am moving toward Joe Dominguez's solution ( I hope and aspire to it anyway): Your Money or Your Life.

Summary: Know what you need. Know what you spend. Need less. So you're not dependent on earning money and spending tons of time earning money but you spend time on what matters to you most, or you have time to figure out what that is.

Speaking of money, I've been traveling quite a bit and am starting to realize the dent it's been making on my finances. When I told my friend I needed a break from the jet-setting to let the coffers build back up, her response (left in "quick email speak") had a great metaphor -
yeah you are probably having a cash post buzz. sometimes it feels like you spend more than you do just cuz you have so much fun. also sometimes you really do spend that much, lol. but I know what you mean. its like when you've run a red light that was really red. you're like ok, I got away with it but I need to calm down for a while before my luck runs out.

It's also interesting that in the first few workshops, the topic of money and financial stability came up repeatedly. Many of us still have debt from school (or are still in school), have struggled to climb up from the bottom of the totem pole, and have started thinking about the future.

Maybe we want to buy an apt/house, a new car, pay off our credit cards and bills with no problem, or invest more in our 401k. Maybe we want to have enough to take a long backpacking vacation through South America, or create a financial safety-net to eventually start our own business, or just have the ability to go out with friends and not feel guilty for spending so much.

Why is it so hard to save money? Is it that we don't have a unifying money strategy or approach (like my friend who's motto is "Know what you need. Know what you spend. Need less."), or maybe we don't have clear financial goals to inspire us and keep us focused. If we have both a money strategy and a clear financial goal, maybe we need help with the daily discipline of resisting the temptation to buy those shoes or that new DVD player. It's starting to sound like any other area of business or life that needs attention - values/approach, strategy, action plan. If you'd like help with this, check out my coaching services.
  • What's your philosophy or approach to money?
  • What would you like to improve about your financial situation?
  • Would you attend a workshop that focuses on setting and achieving financial goals?


foo said...

I wish I had a better handle on my financial situation. The red light analogy is very apt for me -- I haven't been paying attention to the lights, and so far, I haven't gotten in trouble. But I don't know what I am spending and I don't think it is too much but I'm not sure.

I don't think I can set financial goals at this point because they feel so intangible. So much of future financial goals revolves around purchasing a home, which is such a pipe dream in San Francisco. I might feel better about financial planning if I could seriously discuss being a perma-renter.

Jenna said...

One of my favorite concepts in personal finance is "Pay Yourself First" - save off the top and then it's not a chore. "Saving whatever is left over" never works. Also, following a financial plan is EXACTLY the same as following a workout. It takes the same goals and discipline to work - with similar results to your fitness level if you were following a workout. If you put a lot of effort in, you get great results. If you just "see how it goes and play it by ear" - you won't hit the goal (if you've even created them) of paying off debt, buying a car/house/apt, taking a trip to NZ etc....