Money Message Principle #20 – Money Message and Finance.

The stories in my blogs all illustrate that if you alter your relationship to money, your life and world will be a different place. This is especially true in the arena of personal finance. If we investigate the issues we have about money, implement a new money message, and take actions aligned with it, money will no longer be a source of suffering. I quote here Judy’s story at length, because of how well it illustrates, step by step, how she followed these concepts and how it affected her relationship to her personal finances.

At the time I took the Caring for Your Soul in Matters of Money® workshop, life had not been kind. Since the finalization of my divorce a year before, I had been struggling financially. I had not received the divorce payout that was due from my ex-husband and had no savings. I was juggling every month to make ends meet with two daughters at home and one in college.

It was obvious to me that I was a worrier, but what I discovered in the workshop was that not everyone operated with the same constant, nagging mental chatter that I did.

I also discovered my money baggage: I have to work hard, I’m not supposed to want anything, and I don’t deserve anything anyway.

Standing in the shower in the mornings or while driving back and forth to work, I would always do mental arithmetic.  I’d be trying to figure out how much the bills were,
how to pay them, and still have money for groceries or any unexpected things that might come up.

I rarely balanced my checkbook, so I really didn’t know how much I had available for paying the bills. I usually didn’t pay bills by the due date because I never wanted to let
go of the money. I might write the checks and seal the envelopes, but not mail them for a few days. The whole schizoid attitude was instrumental in feeding my worrier nature.

At the workshop, I created my new money message: I have plenty to live freely and give freely.

I decided to really discipline myself to think my money message and take actions consistent with it instead of with my money baggage. I posted my money message on the bathroom mirror, in my checkbook, and in the middle of my car’s steering wheel.

I worked out a money plan for the next twelve months so I could see what my expenses and income were. The money plan clearly showed that I didn’t have enough income to cover my monthly expenses. Yikes!

Yet instead of going into my worrier tailspin, I decided to get a second job to help cover all the expenses and get out of the hole I was in. Almost immediately I was offered a job that I could do on the weekends and get paid a substantial amount per hour. I worked that job for a year until I had the income I needed to pay all my expenses every month.

I set up an accounting program on my computer and got a new bank account so I could download all the bank transactions directly into the accounting program. I categorized all the expenses so I could see where my money was really going and if I was on target with the money plan I set up for myself. As I tracked all my expenses, I went back to the plan and modified it as I began to get a clearer picture of how much I actually spent each month and on what.

I also set up as many of the bills as possible to direct debit out of my checking account, so I didn’t have to be bothered with writing checks and mailing them. Since I had a steady job and got a paycheck twice a month, all I had to do was get my paycheck deposited in a timely manner. I contacted my creditors and asked to change some of the due dates on my bills to make my cash flow work better. I made some
substantial payments on my three credit cards every month until I paid them off.

I worked with the Child Support Services and began to receive the monthly child support that was due, instead of listening to my money baggage, which says, “I am not supposed to want anything, and I don’t deserve anything anyway.”

One of my daughters wanted to go back to playing cello in the school orchestra and I told her she could because music is one of her passions. At the time, I didn’t have any
way to pay for the rental of the cello, but I was listening to my money message, I have plenty to live freely and give freely and knew we would come up with a way to make it work.  As we were enrolling her in the orchestra class at school, the music teacher said she had a cello she could use. She walked us back to the music classroom, went to the storage closet, and took out the cello. My daughter was thrilled.

Another daughter had been attending the same private school for years. As I came to see the reality of my financial situation, I told the school’s director that she would not be able to attend the following year because it was no longer affordable for me. The director said that my daughter’s presence in the school made a contribution to the school and she insisted she attend. The director told me I should pay whatever I could afford. I paid about a quarter of the normal tuition for the next two years until she graduated.

I worked with my daughter in college to get financial aid so she could complete the last two years of college, which she was able to do.

I began contributing to my favorite charitable organization every month.

When the kids asked for things, I could say yes or no based on knowing where I stood financially. This is a much calmer, saner, more peaceful way to operate instead of the
old way where I would say yes to almost everything and then fret about how to make the money work.

Each month on the spreadsheet showing the monthly expenses and income, I also kept a list of items that did not fit into the budget; this became our wish list. The items
on it were both large and small—vacation, driving school tuition, a car for my youngest daughter, a guitar, camera, etc. Interestingly, many of these things began to show up.

For example, a co-worker said she was going to sell the car of her recently deceased mother. It was the perfect first vehicle for my youngest daughter. I bought it from my
co-worker at a bargain price and she was excited that it was going to someone who would really appreciate it.

Although having all the material things “show up” has been good, what have been the best results are the other less tangible ones like:

  • Having peace of mind, not the old fretting, worrying, anxiety, and mental gymnastics.
  • Being responsible, not avoiding things, just standing firmly in my money message and making choices.
  • Feeling confident, experiencing success and using the evidence of my successes as my stepping stones for whatever is next.
  • Using creativity and inventiveness, finding the means to do and have things beyond what I had done before. This often means asking others for help—something I would never do when operating from my money baggage, as I always had to work hard and not want anything.
  • Being excited about life, enjoying every day, and laughing a lot.
  • Having a vision for the future, allowing myself desires, dreams, and possibilities.

One step at a time, we get closer to a future that becomes our present, where we feel more alert, alive, and aware in our lives. Each step builds on the one before it. Judy’s money situation did not change instantly after she started this work. She just kept putting one foot consciously in front of the other, firmly planting it in her money message. Eventually those steps bore fruit and gave her a sense of direction and control over her personal finances that she had never before thought possible.

Next time – Money Message Principle #21 – Money Message and Family

Money Message Principle #19 – Money Message and Work.

To illustrate the way a new money message can forever change the way you work and the things you focus on, I want to tell you the stories of two people: Mike, who used his new money message to find a more lucrative career and work fewer hours; and Amanda, who learned to keep the money she earned and allow her wealth to support her creativity.

Whatever Mike did, in his father’s eyes it was never enough. He could never do enough to earn his dad’s love. When he got all A’s and two B’s, he was told, “You’ll have to work a little harder in Social Studies and Spanish.” His dad only saw what his son didn’t do and
only told him what he didn’t like.

Mike got a job delivering papers, and later bagging groceries. He became a hard worker. He worked his way all through high school and college.

A few years back Mike came to work for me forty hours a week and then took a second job working twenty hours more during the week and on the weekend. And despite all this hard work, he was also always in debt.

Mike’s money baggage is: I don’t make enough money because I never do enough to deserve it. As a child, Mike got money confused with love. What he truly wanted from his dad was love and recognition. He could never get it, so his young mind decided he wasn’t
good enough, that he just had to work harder. Without being aware of the reasons why, he threw himself into work to get love and recognition, to fill the void. But he never did fill it. He worked harder and still ended up continuously short of money (love).

He then implemented a new money message in his life: I earn more money than I will ever need and I share my abundance, love, and joy with all. He began to take actions to support his new money message. He met with a career counselor and decided to open his
own bookkeeping business. He wrote a business plan and discovered that he could support himself as a bookkeeper working a reasonable forty hours a week and not have to work two jobs. He started his bookkeeping business by telling everyone he knew he was looking for clients. In a very short period of time, he had enough clients and he quit working for me.

Today he works less and makes more than he ever has. He sets his own hours and he only works for clients he wants to work for. His life hasn’t gone from pizza to caviar, but the struggle is gone and he now feels in charge of his life.

The important lesson from Mike’s story is common to every money baggage/money message story: the possibilities are right in front of you—you just can’t see them. For Mike, the option for him to open his own business and make more money while working less
was there all the time—he just couldn’t see it because his money baggage was in the way. It was covering up the real reason he worked so hard and could not get ahead.

He was the same person with the same circumstances the moment after he came up with his new money message as he was before. His new money message simply opened up for him a world of new possibilities. He implemented actions in line with his new money message and then these new opportunities began to shape his life.

Another person whose new money message led to the transformation of her relationship to work was Amanda. Amanda grew up in the Midwest where she attended an exclusive private school with the daughters of multi-millionaires. While her family had a fine life and
she doesn’t ever remember wanting for things, her friends enjoyed a different life: they lived in big mansions; their budgets for clothes and activities were way beyond Amanda’s; and they were dropped off at school by chauffeurs.

She remembers fondly the pool parties and how she loved to spend the night at their mansions. What she remembers less fondly is how her friends’ parents treated her. It was as if she wasn’t even there, even when she was eating dinner with them. If other girls of
multi-millionaires were there, the parents would talk to them, but not to Amanda. She felt that because her family didn’t have as much money as they did, she didn’t belong at the same table. Her friends’ parents seemed to treat her as if she didn’t exist.

From these experiences, Amanda decided that rich people were mean and she was determined to never treat anyone as she had been treated. Amanda’s money baggage is: I’m not one of them and I don’t want to be one of them.

Amanda grew up to be a successful divorce attorney. She had plenty of clients and was well respected within the legal community. Her practice continued to grow, as did her revenue. But a funny thing happened—she always found a way to spend her increasing revenue on her business, and her take-home pay stayed the same. She would inevitably find something that needed to be fixed or purchased, or a new business venture that needed to be funded. Somehow, there just wasn’t much left over at the end of each month. And if there was money left over, she’d give it away to someone who needed it for a class or workshop.

This went on for years, and it frustrated her, but it wasn’t until Amanda identified her money baggage that she got a glimmer as to why she didn’t bring home more money. She realized that she was finding ways to spend money on her business ventures or give it
away so that she “didn’t become one of them.”

In working on her money baggage, she identified the multitude of ways she managed to get rid of her revenue so that she didn’t become like those mean rich people: moving to a bigger office; hiring more staff; not charging as much as other divorce attorneys charge;
creating a legal-advice business for the masses, and giving money away to nonprofits.

While Amanda’s husband was also working, the low level of her take-home pay didn’t affect their day-to-day life that much. But now that he was approaching retirement and she was going to be supporting them, she realized she had to turn the situation around.

She created her new money message: I freely express my creativity with ease and grace.

In a period of three short months she raised her rates, terminated an employee who really wasn’t getting the job done, and hired a replacement who was immediately able to bill clients for work that more than covered her salary. In addition, she created systems
and procedures to streamline the workflow so her firm could take on more clients and generate more revenue; collected old accounts payable that had been long overdue; and started requesting a retainer from clients before she would start working on their divorce,
something she’d always been afraid to do. Today her billings are up and she is on the road to taking home more than she ever has. She now knows that if she takes home more money, she won’t become “one of them.” For she can “freely express her creativity with ease and grace” and support her family, and her soul. As Amanda said to me, “When you say money baggage, you’re not kidding. It is such a relief to discover what has been holding me back.  I’m excited about moving forward into my wide open future”.

Your money baggage will express the underlying attitudes and beliefs that have led you to your current work or your lack of it. Your new money message will guide you to the work and life you imagine yourself doing in the future, full of possibilities just waiting for you
to discover and explore. These possibilities are there, right now in your life. It’s up to you to dive into the process and discover the new relationship to work that awaits you, one that cares for your soul in matters of money.

Next time – Money Message Principle #20: Money Message and Finance

Money Message Principle #18 – Money Message and Relationships.

Our money baggage often influences our choice in a partner and how we relate to each other as a couple. Oliver and Anita argued about money regularly. It was the central irritant of their marriage and kept them locked in a constant struggle, full of anxiety about money and resentment toward each other. They were trapped in a perpetual conflict because of their respective money baggage. He was concerned with avoiding money and wanted to leave any situation where it was being discussed (We don’t have the money, something
is always wrong! I’m out of here!). Her money baggage told her that she was bad with money and compelled her to become a compulsive spender (I’m bad with money and the end is always near).

The discovering and exploring of their respective money baggage messages led to a better understanding of each other. A commitment to create new money messages and live lives consistent with those messages saved their marriage.

Anita: This work of discovering our money baggage gave me a profound insight and compassion into how Oliver’s traumatic young experiences shaped his particular view of life. And how our relationship and habits were in perfect (albeit discordant) harmony with our thoughts about money. It had an impact on all areas of our marriage.

Oliver: I was able to transform my relationship with Anita from periodic dislike, contempt, and cynicism to compassion and understanding. I used to say, “This is just how women are!” and “She has no idea what it took for me to make this money, to just waste it on another pair of shoes.” Now I am able to ask her genuine questions about money and to allow her to see my vulnerability around it.

Anita: I discovered that his avoidance and then anger over money was not about me, but about him. It has allowed me to step back and not take things so personally. I have a sense of finally growing up, coming into my own sense of self. I don’t have to manipulate, plan, and control things to get what I want. All is well. I am freed up.

The couple created new money messages and began to take consistent actions that supported their money messages.

Oliver’s money message is: Money is energy and I am the sun. Anita’s money message has several parts: I have the life of my dreams; I am the source of miraculous prosperity and abundance. Life is a gift. All is well.

Since starting their work on money baggage and money messages, they have had only one disagreement about money in the past three years. Oliver now handles the family finances and Anita has become more conscious of her spending habits and has reined
them in.

Anita. This work has moved us from conflict to complement.

Oliver: We have transformed something “unspeakable” into something that brings us closer together.

Anita: We have a whole new vision of our future together by being able to talk about things and not fight about money.

We used to waste so much time and energy. Now we are involved in new ventures personally and in business. It’s all now being built from a strong and supportive partnership.

Anita and Oliver have continued this work and each discovered their soul’s calling to help alleviate the ravages of poverty in the world. They are leaders in an organization whose mission is to develop the political will among nations to deal with poverty. Best of all, they are recreating their relationship and finding new means to commit and to work together. They tell me they have never had so much fun.

Living in accordance with their money messages transformed their relationship from one of fighting and discord around money to a true partnership of support, empowerment, and enjoyment of life and each other.

Oliver: My money message reaffirms, and gives me reliable access to knowing and remembering, who I really am—a part of the eternal, a spiritual and inspiring being. Discovering that gave me the ability to see my marriage as this precious sacred entity, one to be cultivated.

Join us next week for – Money Message Principle #19: Money Message and Work

Money Message Principle #17 – Change Takes Time and Persistence.

In trying to transform our relationship to and experience with money, the most difficult hurdle we encounter is time. It can take some time to bring about changes in your life. To see the beneficial results from your money message at work, it is going to take persistence and patience. It may take a while for you to break your old habits and guide your mind to begin processing in a new way.

Thoughts are a chemical phenomenon that create neurological pathways in our brains. When we think a thought over and over we reinforce its pathway. By choosing a new thought again and again, like our new money message, we reinforce the pathways that will
lead to different thinking patterns.

This work is not about getting rid of the old pathways; in fact, some researchers believe that we can’t eliminate our “hard wiring,” the thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that we developed during our formative years. The old neurological pathways and reactions
will always be there. We can however, create new pathways by focusing on our money message and taking actions consistent with it. The more we do this, the stronger these new neurological pathways become. Eventually our old money baggage pathways begin to wither. We can consciously decide to empower and give our attention to something new in place of the habitual past.

The process of actually transforming your life can take time. When trying to remake your life around a new thought, backsliding is possible. Decades of thoughts and habits influence our behavior. Our old neurological pathways run deep.

But over time and with persistence, the neurological pathways formed by our new money message will run even deeper and lead us to a new empowered life.

We have all experienced trying to change our old behavior, only to have it creep back in over days or weeks. Behavioral changes don’t hold for long unless we alter the underlying or sponsoring thought that created the behavior in the first place, in this case replacing our
money baggage with our new money message.

If we continue to take consistent action in line with our new money message, our behavior changes and new possibilities appear.

Your life is not going to magically transform right away as you go through this process. You did a lot of work over many years imbedding behaviors and creating perceptions from your money baggage. Your new money message requires the same conviction and effort, but now with conscious intent.

Jacqueline, an interior designer, had money baggage that arose from her family’s belief in being honest poor folks, and from their feeling that money was bad. It was better to be poor and honest, they told her, than to have money and be tarnished by unspiritual
thoughts. This is how she describes the difference in living a life that was consistent with her money message instead of with her money baggage:

I came to a point in my life where all that old money baggage language needed to change. I realized that work and money are not bad. I am working to remove all the emotional charge from those old ideas. Something is emerging from the shadows, and it’s me. And I really like it.

This is the attitude we need to have to do this work. It is about the slow process of emerging and liking what we see. Little by little, we get there.

Our conscious mind is like a small rowboat on the surface of the great unconscious. We can row, row, row around but mostly we are subject to the currents and whims of the great force beneath us. In doing our soul’s work in relation to money, we must dive into the depths of our unconscious. We must also transform the size of our boat. Through consistent thinking and acting with our money message, we create a large and powerful ocean liner that can take us anywhere on the great sea we want to go.

Courage, patience, and persistence are required on this path. As we continue to deconstruct the habits of our old thoughts and consciously reinforce new ones, good things ultimately will come. We develop less and less resistance to the new thoughts and we begin to attract new situations, new ways of looking at the world, and new opportunities.

It will take some time and you might hit some bumps along the way. Forgive yourself and move on. Your new money message way of life will gradually materialize. Baby step after baby step, you will get to a place where your old money baggage way of life is just a
memory and a new life of possibilities is open before you.

Let’s return to the four main areas of life that we’ve covered and take a look at how people have brought about this transformation. Their examples show us how some have made profound changes in their relationships, work, finances, and family life by affirming their new money message and taking actions consistent with this new message.

Next time- Money Message Principle #18: Money Message and Relationships