Fear or Dreams. What Motivates You to Save Money?


find money image credit: Good Search

I had a statistics professor in college who brought out the state lottery in class. “I don’t even mess with it until it’s over ten million.” Let’s remove some of the zeros from that. . . . What if you found ten dollars—what would you do with the money? What if fifty dollars was automatically deposited into your bank account every month? What would you do with that money?

What motivates you to save money? Is it fear of being without? Or, is it your dreams of  “one day” and “what if”? Do these aspects of motivation help you set goals, or pass through you thoughts until the next time.

Find out what motivates you. Fear or Desire. Decide to take a stand. If it’s fear and you’re not saving, then some may say you’re fooling yourself.  If your fear is not having enough, begin by putting aside money every single paycheck. You say you don’t have enough to do that. Do it anyway. Put aside even one dollar every paycheck. Do not label it “rainy day”; label it “savings”. You may scoff that one dollar isn’t enough. Hmmm… Funny. A second ago you didn’t have “enough” to save anything. You’ve got to prove to yourself there IS enough. Change your thinking, and change your life. Yes, even one dollar at a time.

If it’s desire and you take no action, you’ll never draw it to you. Sure, you may be gifted a car, or marry someone in “that” neighborhood, but that only goes so far. If you take action (and action begets action) you’ll change your consciousness, and by doing so, you’ll prove to yourself you don’t need someone else to save you —which opens the door for that good to come without strings, and enables you to share your good with others, too.

The on-line bank ING Direct (now Capitol One) allows customers to set up several savings accounts, and customers can name them. (Car, Travel, Financial Freedom, Life…) Happy saving!

Arizona Hotshots Baptism of Fire


The Yarnell  fire is 100% contained now*. The nineteen firemen who recently lost their lives in the Yarnell, AZ have been in my thoughts. I’m not a news junkie. In the world of 24/7 news coverage—where we hear the same reports in various sensationalized ways, I manage to hear sound bites, and follow up if I choose to learn more. This story shocked me, as it has shocked so many others.

Some twenty plus years ago, my brother (now retired) was a hotshot wildland fireman in California. Like most hotshots, he loved his job. He continued to promote in job title, but his favorite days where as a hotshot. Like many hotshot crews, his crew was flown all over the US and sometimes other countries.

Hotshots are recognized as an elite crew of firefighters mostly male, and extremely physically fit. While they are young, they have their heads on straight. Not only their lives, but their buddies’ lives depend on it. They basically live with their coworkers for half the year.

During breaks between fires, I remember my brother bringing home some new hotshot friends he’d met while jointly fighting a raging forest fire somewhere. It was after a fire in Idaho I’d learned about “shake and bake.” It looks like a “moon blanket”, a thin foil sleeping bag that is only used as an absolute last resort. The firemen shake it out—then bake it out while they wait for the fire to pass over them. As the fireman in the video say, “Everyone sees God when they’re in a shake and bake tent.” If the wind shifts, it can flip these tents open and the firefighter will burn to death.

For me, it is unfathomable that nineteen hotshots died on the same day in the same location. The only way I can make sense of it is to believe the wind shifted something fierce. I bless the families and the Prescott community, as well as the comradeship of hotshots worldwide. I believe these nineteen souls move on the wings of love.

If you pray, please do for this community feeling the loss. Lift them up with your thoughts. Hold them in the Light of healing consciousness. Trust that they will find peace in their own way with this fire’s legacy.

Knowing that Native American roots are deep in Arizona, I believe these individuals were escorted into their transition by Native American ancestors. The earth is sacred, and these individuals were caretakers of the earth, releasing their life face down to the earth. Hearing only the wind and fire. Now, they beat the drums their families hear as heartbeats of newly born children.

*P.S. Four days ago I heard the fire was 90 percent contained, and today people were allowed to return home. But I haven’t heard an update on the fire. If it isn’t fully contained, sorry for misinformation. Thanks to all who’ve worked  at fire containment, and saving lives.

Be Present. . . Now.


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Image Credit: Good Serch

When you take in a breath—in that moment, you’re telling the Universe you’re trusting 100% that all your needs are met. In that moment, you’re not bargaining for a few more years of life, or refusing to breathe until you have all the money you want. It’s pretty amazing. A breath—something we don’t usually pay attention to, gives us all we need in that moment. It’s up to us to trust.

If we live in “the now” we give up worrying about the future, and regretting the past. We breathe in. . . . Pause. . . . Breathe out. . . . Pause. . . . Repeat. We focus on what’s in front of us: The person we’re talking with, the food we’re eating, the car we’re driving.

Pay attention to your breathing today. Is it fast or shallow? Do you sit slumped over, making breathing harder or less efficient than it could be? When you walk, stand tall! Know you deserve to be here just the same as the trees around you, and the stars above. You’re here by Divine appointment. By breathing, you’re saying, “Yes!” to that arrangement. When you think like this, you’re not just taking up oxygen, you’re taking it in. Becoming one with it—with life, with body, mind and soul. It’s not about “What more can I get.”

It’s about learning to trust that we are already proved for.

Building Confidence


I’ve been working with at a middle school with a boy who has special needs. Next year he’ll be in high school. Not just any high school, but a fast-pace one without the student support he’s used to. One day, during our five minute walk/break, I asked him if he was excited about going to high school. There was hesitation. Then I interjected, “—Or are you a bit nervous?” He answered, “Nervous.” After school, I went home and compiled a list of songs he could hear and watch on You Tube. The songs all have positive messages and are ones my mom would refer to at certain times in my life. On the day of promotion, I gave him the list.I hope you share these with anyone who may be facing some fear, big or small in your eyes. The videos I chose were geared toward what I thought this particular student would like. You may find the same song with different artists.

How to wake up early and cheerful.


singingsparrow Image Credit: Good Search

Are you excited about life when you wake up in the morning? Does hearing birds chirp outside your window while you’re still in bed, make you smile? It does me! Even if I sometimes wish the birds would hold off a bit longer, I always end up smiling, and sometimes laughing. The birds are so excited about the new day!

The birds sound like a bunch of kids waiting for a field trip to start, or friends getting together for a good chat over breakfast. “Oh I saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning!” “I had the best worm and bug for breakfast! —And did you see the new basil on that woman’s patio? I love basil!”

In the Spring, if you pay close attention, you’ll hear conversations between parent birds and their young. The young will mimic the sounds made by their parent—be corrected, and try again. A few days later, you won’t hear them. They’ve had their “it’s time to leave the nest” conversation, and are off.

Next time you get bent out of shape when your Saturday begins a bit earlier than you’d planed, shift your focus and listen to the birds. It just may make you smile.

Simplify Life. Get Rid of It!


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Image Credit: Good Search

When you hear, “A simple life is easy to achieve!” do you think, yeah, back up the POD and hire a team of guys to haul your stuff out?

Has the game of “S/He who dies with the most toys, wins” gotten old, and not fun anymore?

If you’ve climbed the ladder to high pay scale success, is the fast pace power-job worth sacrifice of family? Are the two cars mandatory? Will you only get your exercise by belonging to the tennis club or gym, or can you find free, or less expensive ways to stay fit? Do your kids each have their own room, or can they learn to share, while learning about money?

What does simplify mean? Does it mean hippyville, or frugal, monastic living? It can mean that, but it doesn’t have to. It can mean having less, but higher quality things. Maybe it means being seen all winter —or two in the same coat, rather than having a variety of coats you don’t like as much. Could you live in a smaller place—even an apartment, if you like the location? On what do you place value? Some save up to buy what they want (Hooray!), Others, can’t wait, and either go into debt, or buy lots of small, inexpensive things for immediate gratification. If you’re willing to entertain the idea of simplifying, take a look at what makes you happy. There may be some deal-breakers, like traffic, noise, living far from your family. On the other hand, some take public transportation, or don’t mind spending time in their car, practicing a new language or book on CD. They love the hum of a busy city and take George Burns’ at his word. “Happiness is having a large, close-knit family in a small town, far away.”

I have a friend in New Zealand who’s getting rid of everything. He’s going to rent out his house and move to Thailand. Over the years, like most of us, he’s accumulated lots of things. I left him a lot of those things when I returned to the states, and sent him many more things from over here. Now he’s getting rid of the bison piggy bank, Wellington-boot flower vase, pottery bowls, silk ties, books, cards, cards and more cards! When it gets tough weeding through some of the stuff, he tells himself, “This won’t be meaningful to anyone when I drop dead.” (A real sentimental bloke.) He’s doing it because he’s moving forward on a desire.

This simplify stuff isn’t for the chicken-hearted. (Although you can go at a slow pace, and you call the shots of how much is too much.) I’ve even gotten caught up in his flurry of activity. Last month I gave  away things still in good shape, but I was ready to release them for one reason or another: shoes, leather pants, a wool coat and lots of summer clothing. This month I’ve already found more—and I’m considered a minimalist by many!

Want to simplify? What can—and will you get rid of today that will make you feel lighter for doing so?

How to Live the Life You Want


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Image Credit: Good Search  (from movie, what the bleep do we know)

A woman is on a cruise, and sees a man she finds very attractive. He notices her looking at him and starts up a conversation with her. She tells him, “You look like my first husband.” He asks, “How many times have you been married?” She responds, “None so far.”

It’s possible to create wonderful experiences, but it takes held intention. We often just give up, or give in to negative talk or thoughts that are unconscious. Here are some tips for how to get started on the life you want to create.

Remove the Negative:

Worry = torment one’s self (dictionary definition)

  1. Go without TV, news paper, or any negative stories or opinion (even if it means you are not answering your phone with the weekly gloom update call from family, or friend.) Cut off the flow for 14 days, then be conscious when watching/reading/taking.
  2. If you listen to music, listen to that of higher consciousness. If the words are crude, or the song is from hurt or anger, that’s not higher consciousness.
  3. Avoid negative people for 14 days. Say to yourself: “I’m only receptive to receiving the positive energy of life.” Be part of the positive energy, too. What goes out, comes back.

Bring in the Positive:

  1. Get around the right people at least once a week- dinner, class, pals.
  2. Mental image a life without worry. What does it look like? See yourself with friends, laughing, having plenty of extra money, joy, love…
  3. Write the vision down, read it, read positive books, refresh your mindset with movies like The Secret, and What The Bleep Do We Know.

Teachable Money Moments with Your Child


teachable momentsImage credit: Good Search

Chances are, you weren’t taught about money. If that’s the case, hopefully you’re changing that pattern with your kids. No matter how old they are—even if they are at college, or raising kids of their own, it’s not too late to teach them. This of course, comes only if they’re willing to hear you out. There are ways to take advantage of teachable moments. If they’re not willing to listen, back off—but then don’t give in to kiddie tantrums or phone calls for money. I recently read that baby-boomers are far worse off than their parents when it comes to knowing how to save money. Their parents may not have had as much, but they knew how to save—and did. Begin now to teach your kids and your grandkids easy ways that add up.

One teachable moment can be offering choices. “The two things you want are out of your budget. You can get this toy for $1 today, or save and get that toy for $5 another day. For older kids, you can give them an allotted amount for clothing and tell them “This if what I’ll put toward your shoes. If you want the more expensive ones, you need to make up the difference.” If you send your teen to the grocery store for an errand, give them guidance. Send them off with a coupon for what you want, give a price range, “Get bananas if they’re less than .50 lb”, or give them directions to buy what’s on sale, “If bananas are more than .50 lb, see what’s on sale. Check the prices on strawberries.” If they have a cell phone, you can always ask them to call you from the store if they have questions. If retired husbands can do this, so can kids. For the child who moves back home and still spends money. Have them pay rent to you for the purpose of you putting the money in a special account to be given to them when they’re back on their feet, and have enough money put aside to move out.

You get more bees with honey. Praise your kids for things done right. If you can, do this in front of someone else. This includes good behavior and wise money choices. A phrase like “You’ll be so proud of  Joey for how well he handled his $1.00 at the store today” is a better reinforcement than, “You’ll never guess who behaved at the store today!” Make sure your praise is genuine and not sarcasm, or a left-handed compliment.

Eat before you go shopping. I remember as a kid and into my teens going shopping with my mom. If it was around lunchtime, we’d always eat at home before heading out. Two reasons: To save money. To keep blood sugars and therefore emotions in tact. As I got older, I’d insist I wasn’t hungry, and that I’d be fine. We’d pull into a parking lot and sure enough, I was hungry! I wasn’t interested in eating out, I just had a high metabolism, and if I hadn’t recently eaten, hunger pangs and crankiness set in. Like magic, my mom would pull a cut apple or some other form of portable sustenance from her purse. As an adult, I know I can go from not hungry to head-spinning hunger. If I’m headed out the door, I’ll bring food with me. A banana, a cut apple, some crackers, cuties or a sandwich for mid-trip. If you tire of a cranky child, try staying a jump ahead, offer a snack at home or in the car on the way to your errands.

Everyone will be better off.

People Who Feel Poor Take More Risks


Save-Money-300x290 Image Credit: Good Search

Meir Statman is a finance professor at Santa clara University. According to Money magazine, he’s one of the most influential experts in behavioral finance (how your emotions and beliefs affect your decisions about money.) Statman thinks America needs to move from the polite nudge of encouraging people to save for retirement, to perhaps a push, and maybe even a shove.

Statman states, “People who save end up supporting non-savers.”

I’ve seen it. The parent who saved all their life, and their kids who are in constant need of support. Finally, the kid moves in with the parent. The agreement is for the adult child to put aside money, to build a nest egg while the parent helps them out. That’s not always how it goes. The adult child gets new clothes, travels, and spends time with their buddies doing activities that cost money. The parent has lost the deal, and most likely, the adult child has little money saved, even with their bills being paid.

People who are savers will save with a push. Just a nudge will do. They get the concept of needing money to function in this money-barter system we as humanity have agreed upon. More than half of the population, however, seems to be in crisis mode. They have no plan. They go for instant gratification rather than saving for something, especially retirement, which seems so far off, and so vague. What does “retirement” mean? For some it’s only about big vacations, or living a long time. And people will justify their lack of saving with, “I don’t travel.” “I won’t live forever.” “I’ll re-marry rich.” Oh, really? And then they meet the person they want to spend the rest of their live with. That person has saved money (for one), likes to travel, plans to live into old age, and isn’t rich (by the non-saver’s standard.)

Here’s what Statman proposes: Set a low minimum (8%) for a mandatory savings plan off one’s income. Other countries such as Israel and Australia set 15%. This would be on top of social security. People scream foul. They say it’s paternalistic. But, if they’re not saving, they’re relaying on others to carry them. By having a mandatory savings program, people are prevented from temptation now, to have it later.

Let’s say someone is honestly, super tight on money. Don’t start at 8%, but start somewhere! So many people say they can’t. It’s not the guy who socks away $10,0000 every couple years who comes out ahead. It’s the guy who consistently socks away $50. or $200. a week.

Statman says, “When people are feeling poor, they are willing to take more risks. You can have two people each earning $100,000 a year: One of them says, “This is plenty.” The other feels behind. That one is more willing to risk losses in the hopes of reaching his or her aspirations.”

Meir Statman’s 2011 book is: What Investors Really Want

For the Next Thirty Days


When I tell people I don’t have a television, I’ll get comments like, “You must get a lot done.” Or I’ll get looks like, What rock do you live under? I’ve been offered at least one television a year for eight years.

I’m not advocating everyone giving up their television. (Having one per house, and not in the bedroom, maybe.) I am encouraging people to look at what they do with their time, and think of what they’d do if they had more time. What have you thought of giving up? (Gossip, swearing, smoking, sugar, fat, negative thinking. . .) What do you want to do? (Yoga, sing, read, water color paint, cook. . .) Don’t have time to cook a healthy, tasty dinner? Get the family involved in the activity. Husbands can shop. Teens can chop onions. Families can talk during dinner (oh, aren’t we glad we gave the television away!)

Here’s a six minute video about trying something new for 30 days. By the way, it takes 27 days for something to become a habit. Once a habit is formed, you’ll miss it if you break the pattern.