Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wild Woman Wedne$day

Wise women are financially fit! Now I’ll be the first one to admit that I am NO financial wizard. For many years I lived beyond my means and carried a huge credit card debt. Even now as I write this my face is redder than my former balance sheet figures as I think back on how irresponsible I was with my money! As a single mom I pinched pennies, cut coupons and created beautiful budget spreadsheets. They were a work of art, and I put them up on the frig right next to my daughter’s drawings, next to the weekly menu. The problem, however, was that I didn’t follow through on them… I’d walk into a superstore or department store, or sometimes even the grocery store, and I’d justify buying this or that or the other thing. You know, “Oh, it’s only some makeup, or a CD, or one article of clothing… and I just HAVE to have that pair of shoes.” $30 dropped here, $20 here… comparatively small purchases. I mean, what’s wrong with a new lipstick? Nothing – if it’s in your budget. But ahhhh, the draw of that instant gratification when that purchase was made and you held a lovely new bag filled with goodies in your hot little hand… it’s intoxicating and addictive! C’mon now, you know exactly what I’m talking about here! The tyranny of the urgent (I HAVE to have that N-O-W) far overroad my carefully crafted budget!!!

On top of that, I had a Ph.D in procrastination, and when the bills came, I was too tired or just didn’t want to think about what I really didn’t have, so I would put them off to the side and use the standard procrastination mantra of Scarlett O’Hara (cough.. cough.. in my best southern drawl), “I’ll think about that tomorrow… tomorrow is another day!” It’s taken me years to fix all these problems and my credit score, and many anxiety-ridden nights and tears, not to mention a self-loathing for being financially irresponsible.

Personally and professionally as a life coach, I have come to understand and treasure (yes, pun intended) the importance of having a healthy financial life. I’ve written posts on our website here frequently on financial matters, and tried to share what I perceived to be good information and articles and other blog postings for your money matters… because money DOES matter!

I’ve had the good fortune (yes, again pun intended) recently to take some online webinars on retirement and investing. I’ve contributed to my 401k over the years, but really only have a thimble of understanding when it comes to investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) and how to plan out a sensible and realistic retirement plan for myself. Educating myself on these topics is crucial to my long-term life goals, and I’m trying to do something each week to get better at my knowledge base, and then putting my newfound information into action so I can build a secure future… one step, one dollar at a time. My very wise and financially savvy Mom (hi Mom – you are my HERO) has always said that, even if you can only put a few dollars away each paycheck, it’s more than you had before! Just like losing weight, its one pound at a time or in this case, one dollar at a time. (Unless of course you are English, and then it’s still one pound at a time… but I digress…)

So… how can we take that change jar that we’ve been dumping our spare change into for the last few months and use that little fortune we’ve amassed to our best monetary advantage? (By the way, you’d be amazed how a jar of change can wind up being $100 or more.) Here’s a link to some financial tutorials I’ve found on Investopedia:

I also like these websites:

Many banks and sites also offer free financial calculators, such as:

The bottom line is, wild women, do your research, know where your money is going (including your cash), make and stick to a budget (including building a solid emergency fund), and learn all you can. There are free articles, podcasts, webinars and much more on the internet – just be smart and go to reliable, trusted sources! My friend Judy is another fabulous financial mind that I talk with about money issues – find yourself some friends and get together over coffee (homemade, not the $5 fancy-schmancy kind), and start a financial group that investigates, invests and gets involved together with

Managing money, building your wealth, being actively involved and taking ownership for your own financial future – it’s your responsibility, and it just makes $en$e!


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