Money Message Principle #3: Take Actions Consistent With Your New Money Message (Part 2)

My sharing all these stories is an attempt to get you to recognize some of the limiting beliefs you carry, and then to create a new vision for yourself. Though afraid or unsure, if you continue to trust your money message and take actions in alignment with this new vision, one day you will find yourself living that new life.

Initially, as you are creating you new money message and experimenting with it, you may feel a bit uncomfortable about it. Your money message may even feel a bit false and too unrealistic. That is to be expected. You’ve lived all of your life up until this moment weighed down by your money baggage. After all, you have a lot of evidence that your money baggage is true, and you may have no evidence—zero, none, zip—that your new money message is true.

Your money message is like new shoes that take a while to break in. Your money baggage, however, is like an old pair of comfortable slippers. It is human nature to stay with what is more known and comfortable. These old slippers are your old patterns of thought. And sometimes those old thoughts come back and inhibit us from acting in line with our money message.

It happened to me recently concerning a decision I faced. I needed to expand my business, to add more office space and hire more employees. As I turned the details over in my mind, I became increasingly anxious. I was wondering about a downturn in the economy. I was worried about the added overhead, and that we wouldn’t have the business to support it. I knew I would have to work harder to support the growth. So there I was, smack dab in the middle of my old money baggage again: I have to work really hard to make money, and even if I do, I’ll never make enough.

One morning, I was fretting about all of this when I remembered my money message. It is my birthright to have abundance in all areas of my life and I give generously from this abundance. I breathed deeply a few times and began to reorient my thoughts back around my money message.

Even though it was a stretch to expand my business, I went ahead. Over the ensuing months I experienced a few moments of panic, but I decided to trust and keep going. I hired the staff I needed and as a result have been able to serve more clients and become more profitable as a business.

When I give money away, with every check, with every donation, I trust it will come back to me multifold so I don’t have to live in the scarcity of holding on. This trust allows me the courage to take new actions, take more steps, and to keep on when I get afraid.

In Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, after Scrooge has his awakening, he takes some actions right away that mirror his new world view. We might assume that Scrooge’s money baggage is: I need more, more, more. Money is more important than love. When his night messengers come and take him on his series of dreams, he is able to witness the sadness and pain his closed heart has caused in the world. Finally, he is taken to see his own grave. When he wakes and finds out he is still alive, Scrooge undergoes a complete change in consciousness. We might say he has discovered his new money message: Living my life from a place of generosity will make me richer than I could ever imagine.

He doesn’t just think this; he immediately sets out and takes action. He tells the boy in the street to go and buy the biggest turkey he can find and have it delivered to Bob Cratchit’s house. He is filled with a joy and newfound generosity in his heart, and he shouts that joy to the world.

If we could follow Scrooge throughout the rest of his life, there would inevitably be times when he would find himself back in his money baggage, alone on a cold night counting his money, wondering how he could get more, and feeling the old fear that propelled his greed. But he would have already taken some baby steps to start to turn his life around. He’d bought a turkey for a poor family. He’d called out good cheer to the people in the streets. Maybe over time, he would have built a new home for the Cratchits or an orphanage for all the street waifs running about.

Changing your reality involves a dance with faith, and requires you to act. You don’t take your new money message up to a mountaintop and sit in its glory, expecting your life to be transformed, wanting the universe to do it all. Nor will just verbalizing your money message over and over make a difference.

There is an old Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Even after turning over a new leaf, even after insights, the work is still there to do, the action still there to implement.

If you are going to have a new life empowered by your money message, you need to decide what actions are consistent with the money message, and then get out and take them. If you do, good things are going to happen to you. This practice will become a habit, and after some time you will find yourself living amidst a new reality and relationship to money.

Tune in next week to discover Money Message Principle #4: We Can Only Think One Thought at a Time.

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Our Money Baggage Is Not True

There is a universal truth about your money baggage: it is not true. It is not true that you do not deserve money. It is not true that money is bad or that you have to work hard for it. Money doesn’t necessarily corrupt and people with money and power will not necessarily humiliate and control you. It is not true that a woman cannot be powerful and competent with money. It’s not true that you can’t follow your heart and earn a good living at the same time. Your money baggage only seems true to you because you have made it so inside your head.

Money baggage always speaks in the language of limitation:
Without money, I have no value.
It’s selfish and greedy to want.
I have to take care of myself.

I have to be useful or I have no right to be here.
I have to work hard, hard, hard, or I will fail.
I will be a failure if I am not as successful as my father.
You get money not by following your spirit or doing what you want, but by being responsible and doing what others tell you to do.
It’s not okay to spend money on myself.
I had better save because I can’t depend on anything or anyone.
I’m not worth anything because I didn’t earn it myself.
Money equals self-esteem.

None of these statements is inherently true. And yet we live entire lives assuming they are, doing irrational things with money that seem completely rational to us.

Gordon is someone who has received more inheritances than anyone I know. I was always a bit envious, as I often used to fantasize about getting an inheritance. Like people who fantasize about winning the lottery, I imagined what I would do with all my fantasy inherited money.

Gordon had a unique solution for what to do with his: he gave it all away, every time. When he got an inheritance, he would proudly tell me what he had done. “Oh, my friend had some credit card debt so I paid that off.” Another time he told me, “A great kid in my neighborhood wanted to go to college and didn’t have the money so I gave it to him.” One time it was, “This woman who works in my department really wanted to go buy this piece of land that had been in her family for many years, so I helped her with the down payment.”

Within months of any inheritance, Gordon was back where he was before, working in a job he didn’t really like all that much. He justified it to me by the fact that he “had to work.” And then he would complain to me about how many more years he had until retirement.

I was always astounded by his generosity. I wasn’t sure I could be that generous under the same circumstances. Yet, something was wrong with the picture. I always wondered why he didn’t keep some of it and leave the job he didn’t like. Even if he couldn’t retire, he could at least use it to support a career change that would be more fulfilling to him.

Once I learned about his childhood, I came to see that giving away his inheritances wasn’t just about being generous. It was also propelled by an underlying belief that money is bad. His father, a longshoreman in Texas, had come upon sudden wealth. He had inherited a few acres of land, beneath which happened to be a lot of oil.

Most of us are unprepared for sudden wealth and his dad was no exception. What had been a fairly happy existence for Gordon ended. His father bought a large yacht, quit working, and over time became a bit of a local playboy and carouser. A young mistress entered the picture, a divorce followed, and the family was torn apart.

It was clear to Gordon that money destroys family. His money baggage became: Money is bad; it corrupts.

Gordon got rid of his inheritances in seemingly honorable ways. He gave it to people who really appreciated it, or who really needed it. It seemed very virtuous. But his generosity really stemmed from the fact that he had a deep fear that money would corrupt him.

As obvious as it might seem to an outside observer, Gordon had never made the connection between his altruistic pattern of giving away money and his dad’s behaviors. His early painful imprinting—his money baggage—was running the show, keeping him in a steady low-paying job that he disliked. He was controlled by the fear that money might tear apart his own family and life.

Of course it isn’t true that money is necessarily bad or that it corrupts, but Gordon believed it was. As children, we live in a world defined by our money baggage, a decision based on a misperception of reality. A single event can define our money baggage. But oftentimes, our money baggage develops over many years. It can  arise and be reinforced over decades from a mood in the home or a parent’s recurrent attitude. It may not be obvious until we begin to look at its effect on our adult lives.

Our money baggage might work for us for a while. But when we are adults, it stops working, and we can find ourselves living dysfunctional, frustrating, and fearful lives. When we find ourselves in jobs we do not like; when we are unable to find work; when we cannot hold onto money or make enough to support our dreams; or when we attempt to improve our lives but are frustrated at every turn—all these situations revolve around our money baggage.

Money is involved in all aspects of our lives, and when we decide to work on our money issues, we find a powerful access point to multiple aspects of ourselves, an access point that helps bring to consciousness that which is unconscious. It’s the first step in healing emotional pain and finding our soul’s work. It all begins with the realization that our money baggage isn’t true.

Next week, we discuss exercises for discovering your own money baggage!

 

Money Baggage and Relationships (Part 2)

Here is the story of Ellen, an independent woman. Ellen’s money baggage is: I have to do everything all by myself, and I’ve got to work really hard to get money.

“When I was six years old I wanted to buy some candy or a toy. I asked my dad if he’d give me some money and he replied, in his deep voice with his arms crossed in front of him, ‘Well, I can’t just give it to you. You’re going to have to work for it.’

I said that I would wash the car. He agreed and away I went. I pulled the hose across the front yard, got a bucket of warm soapy water and some rags, and proceeded to scrub and soap and wash the car. What a sight that car was to behold! All shiny and clean. It was beautiful and I had done it all myself.

I ran inside to tell dad and collect my reward. He said, ‘Well, I’ve got to inspect the car before I can give you the money.’ So I nervously followed him outside and watched him walk around the car looking here and there, sighing, and nodding to himself. Finally, he pointed out that I missed the lower part on the car door. I bravely listened as he told me I had to clean that first before he’d pay me.

So he left and I proceeded to scrub that part and check all the other parts of the car. I called him again and this time he pointed out the hubcaps. They had spokes and he told me I needed to use a toothbrush on them. So I choked back the tears and cleaned the hubcaps.

The next time it was the car’s roof. I had only hosed it down, because I was too short to reach it. So I had to get a chair and wash it with soap. My dad left and I started crying.

I can’t remember how many times we went through this but eventually he laughed at me as he pulled a quarter out of his pocket and gave it to me.”

Ellen’s dad might very well have been trying to teach her the values of working hard and doing a complete job. But he forgot he was dealing with a sensitive six-year-old girl and it was the first time she had ever worked for money.

It’s no surprise she grew up to be a workaholic and a perfectionist. She also vowed not to ever let anyone lord over her with money. She became very successful and an “independent woman.” That sounds good on the surface, but it arose from a deep underlying belief that people with power and money will humiliate and control you. So she set out to make sure that never happened. She was determined she would earn what she needed and rise above the need to ask anyone for money.

She did eventually marry, but even within the relationship she held on to her independence, in one case insisting that she save up for her own maternity leave instead of letting her husband help out. She always had to do it herself because her money baggage would not let her trust anyone else with her fate as it related to money, especially not a man. They did not fight about money, but her money baggage created an emotional gulf that prevented a true partnership.

How is money handled in your relationship? Who pays the bills? Have you ever deferred your own career choice in the interest of your partner’s? Do you feel as if you have to rely on another person for money or that you can’t rely on anyone but yourself? Do you argue about money? Is money misused as a source of power in your relationship? Does the person who makes the most money typically make the decisions? Ask yourself why these patterns exist.

Sit down with your partner and discuss your money issues with each other. Ask if there is any fear about money. Share your own fears. Discover your money baggage together and see how each other’s money baggage creeps into and affects your relationship.

Next week, we discuss how Money Baggage can affect you at work.

Money Baggage and Relationships

Money affects every aspect of our lives, and therefore has a profound effect on our intimate relationships. Few people will disagree with me when I say that money is a common reason for many arguments. Survey after survey shows this. Money, in fact, is often cited as the number one reason people get divorced.

Our money baggage influences everything: whether we can find a partner, whom we choose, how easy or difficult it is to maintain a long-term relationship, and our tendency to lay blame on our partner when discussing finances.

Recall Oliver, whose father yelled about the grocery bill. He fled Austria at age fifteen, far from the painful memories of his parents’ fights over money. He became a farmer in Canada and spent most of his life avoiding having to deal with money. His money baggage is: We don’t have the money, something is always wrong! I’m out of here!

Oliver had accountants deal with the farm finances, and he let his wife, Anita, handle the family money. Anita’s money baggage is: I’m bad with money and the end is always near.

She shared: “I have wanted money—and what money can provide—ever since I heard the alluring sound of my grandfather’s coins jingling in his pocket when I was very small, signaling he wanted to give them to me. Money was good stuff; magical and mysterious and good things came from having it. But Mom thought it wasn’t proper for me to want money and ask people for it. So after being allowed, once, to have Grandpa’s coins, it was ‘No!’ after that.”

One day Anita took some coins off her dad’s dresser and was punished for it. She was locked in her bedroom and not allowed to come out until she confessed and apologized to her father. She refused to admit having taken the money, even though everyone knew she had. She cried and cried but her parents would not let her come out of her room. She felt afraid and ashamed. Her conclusion about money was that she was bad with it and that she couldn’t be trusted.

As an adult, Anita reinforced her subconscious belief that she was bad with money by marrying Oliver, who she knew would be a good provider. She also became a compulsive spender. So here you have a compulsive spender, who believes deep down she is bad with money, in charge of the family finances, married to someone who wants to avoid dealing with money altogether. Arguments about money were commonplace in their marriage.

Oliver: “Anita handled the household money, a bookkeeper handled the farm bills, and an accountant prepared the yearend financials. I, on the other hand, would take the garbage out, sweep the floor, clean up the office, and file paperwork before starting on a budget. A budget that should only take two days to do would take me two to three weeks to finish.”

Anita: “I always enjoyed going shopping—until it was time to think about coming home, and then apprehension set in. I dreaded having to face the music and having Oliver find out I’d been shopping again. As the guilt took over, I would subtly maneuver my parcels from the trunk to the house to my closet unnoticed. I would be scared wearing the new clothes or using the new appliance for the first time, just waiting for Oliver to ask if it was new.

Oliver: “I never wanted to know what she bought. Our money was her responsibility anyway. I’d think, ‘When the money is gone, she can’t spend anymore.’ Well, that was a wrong assumption, but it was fine as long as I didn’t have to deal with it. Secretly, I could blame my financial ruin on her reckless and unappreciative spending.”

Anita: “My spending contributed to many fights in our marriage. When it came time to look at our finances, especially if I said we needed more money, we might as well have been reading from scripts, as we both said the exact same things every time. He’d say, ‘If you didn’t spend so much we’d have enough.’ ‘Well,’ I’d say, ‘if you would just get involved in knowing where our money goes. Groceries just keep going up, the kids need braces. We do have a joint checking account—you could look at that from time to time. And if you could get the farm bills under control, we’d be fine.’ These fights never stopped me from spending for long and it never stopped Oliver from avoiding money. For twenty-five years we were talking about money—but we never heard a word the other said. It looked like a wonderful marriage to the outside world, but it wasn’t.”

A lot of money disagreements arise out of our partner’s fears and automatic behaviors colliding with our own. A subtle dance often ensues to avoid dealing with it, while frustration and resentment grow. Most of the time, one spouse blames the other and just can’t understand why the other one won’t change his or her behavior.

How often have you said to yourself, “If only my partner would handle money the way I do, or do as I say, then our money problems would be over!” All the while your spouse is thinking, “If only my spouse would handle money the way I do—then our money problems would be over!”

For most of us, it was common to grow up in a household where money was not discussed. Often couples tell me they seldom or never talk about money, even those who have been together for decades. It’s simply taboo. Given that money is so central to every decision we make, how can we have an honest and fulfilling relationship if we do not talk about it? And how can we talk about it if we don’t understand our money baggage and how it is driving our own behavior?

Are you in a relationship where money is not discussed? How come? What are you afraid of? What is your partner afraid of? Help each other discover your respective money baggage. What behavior do you notice in yourself and your partner? Explore where these behaviors came from.

You might save each other a lot of suffering. You might begin to let go of old patterns that don’t serve your soul and become closer as a couple; it might even save your marriage.

For some couples, money baggage does not always lead to arguments. In a household of relative harmony, however, it can still play a powerful role. It can create a separateness that does not allow for complete emotional connection in the relationship.

Tune in next week for more on how Money Baggage affects Relationships.

Helping Your Children become Financially Responsible Adults (part 2)

In this week’s blog post, Karen Ramsey continues with her tips on how to help your children become financially responsible adults.

4. Give your kids an allowance and cash gifts on special occasions to help them discover the power of saving. If you choose to give your children money, you can use it as a way to help them become more conscious about money and allow them to discover the power of saving.

I suggest splitting the cash gift allocation into four buckets; 1) Tithing; 2) Immediate Gratification; 3) Delayed Gratification; and 4) Long term goals:

  • Tell them that 10% of their money has to be given to someone in need. This is the “tithe” allocation. My younger daughter Annie told me, “I want to send money to an orphanage in China.”
  • Thirty percent of their allowance can be spent on anything they want right now. This is the “immediate gratification” allocation. If they want to spend this 30% portion on movies or candy or whatever, that’s their choice.
  • They need to save 30% for things that cost more. This is the “delayed gratification” portion. They may want a camera, a cell phone, an archery set, or in-line skates. They have to save until they can buy them.
  • The last 30% is for long-term goals, like college, or a trip to South America when they are sixteen.

Each portion of the cash gift has its own purpose. Each portion has a lesson that the child can learn from it. Incidentally, the above method of allocation is a valid practice for adults, as well.

For younger kids, give them jars for each portion of their allowance. You won’t believe how focused they will become, how fascinated and proud they will be, seeing the longer-term jars fill up. Visitors to your home will be escorted to the kids’ rooms to see their jars of money. In later years, you can set up a savings account instead of jars for the kids’ longer-term goals, and they will learn about the power of compounding interest.

I started Lydia, my oldest daughter, on a 25-cent allowance. When her Long-term jar got full, we set up her savings account at the bank. When her first statement arrived, showing she had earned 21 cents interest, her eyes lit up.

“How did that happen?” she wanted to know.

“Isn’t it amazing?” I asked. “All this time while you have been sleeping and eating and playing, your money has been just sitting there growing. And they gave you almost a whole quarter for it.”

She couldn’t believe it. Now every month, she can’t wait until the bank statement comes. She wants to see how much she earned while she was sleeping, eating, and playing.

5. Let them know what it costs to run a household. Allow children to participate in the choices about how to spend money and the reasons behind them. In junior high or high school, let them in on how the family finances work. Let them sit with you while you pay the monthly bills. Let them observe you writing the checks. Or let them write the checks and record them in the register. You can show them how much will go for groceries, etc. and how much is left at the end of the month. This is not intended as a guilt trip, but as an education. It allows them to feel that they are included in the overall picture. And they will have a better understanding of why you sometimes have to say no. As a result of this involvement, they will develop an understanding of good money management that will be invaluable to them later in life.

By not giving your children everything they desire, setting clear financial boundaries, helping them learn how and why to save, as well as what it costs to run a household, you are likely to help your children develop a better relationship with money. They will be more apt to solve their own problems, earn their own rewards, and mature normally. When the inevitable day comes that they get in trouble, they will not need to turn to you for financial assistance because you’ve helped them to learn how to make good money decisions on their own.

Going through this process will teach your children important lessons they would not learn if everything were just given to them. We don’t include our children in financial discussions because we don’t want them to worry about money, but including them makes them feel more valued and respected. Don’t you sometimes harp on your kids to be more responsible? Involve them in family financial planning, and observe the result!

Helping Your Children become Financially Responsible Adults

One of the complaints of many people today is that the world is full of people who feel entitled, particularly Millennials. As parents, we often ask ourselves, in a world that seems to reward entitlement, how do we raise children who have a healthy relationship to money and teach them to be financially responsible? Most people first learn about money from their parents—not by talking about it in any meaningful way, but by observing. But our parents may not have been the best role models for managing and spending money. After all, they probably learned about money by observing their parents. But what if we broke the cycle and actually talked to our kids about money?

We don’t usually include our children in financial discussions because we don’t want them to worry about money, but including them makes them feel more valued and respected in addition to beginning to teach them valuable money lessons. You certainly don’t need to talk to them about mortgage ratesand retirement plans. But you can include them in discussions about the financial ramifications of some of the decisions you make. Kids can understand and handle a lot more than we give them credit for.

At what age can you start teaching your kids about money and choices? I suggest somewhere around age six or seven. This is when they start comparing what they have to what their friends have. At this stage, the habit of asking for everything to “keep up with the Joneses” sets in. Here are five tips that can increase the chances that you will raise financially savvy children who grow into financially independent adults.

1. Don’t give them everything they desire. We all want to be good parents. One way to be good parents is to say no to our children when it’s appropriate. We don’t have to give in to pressure. The fact that we live in a consumer culture is a surprise to no one.  Our children are constantly bombarded with product marketing messages, whether online via Facebook and other social media or television programming, which has shifted significantly since we were children.  In the 1950s, a half hour television program occupied about 27 minutes of narrative space, leaving three minutes for commercials.  Today, half hour programming is about 21.5 minutes, with 8.5 minutes of commercials. We live in an era where brand name logos are the “in” things to wear. This influence comes right into our living rooms.

Resist this influence. Saying “no” at times will set your children on a responsible course for the future, and it will make an extraordinary difference to your pocketbook.  Saying “no” does not mean you love your children any less, that you are depriving them, or that you have failed somehow. It means that you are establishing clear boundaries.

2. Set financial boundaries for your children. Kids need and love boundaries. When kids are given everything they ask for during their developmental years, it makes a strong imprint. They grow up believing they should have everything. It creates and reinforces a mindset that says the way to get something is to demand it—or always expect that it will be given to you. It eliminates the cause-and-effect relationship between productive effort and reward. It sets in motion a materialistic pattern that will cost both you and your children tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Make the boundaries clear. Tell them, “I can afford to get you this pair of roller blades. If you want that other more expensive pair, then you’ll have to help make it happen.”

3. Help your children set reachable financial goals. Have your kids create a list of their goals: getting a new soccer ball, taking rock climbing lessons, or traveling to Mexico. Then have them prioritize which of these are most important, and help them develop a savings plan to achieve some of their goals. As parent, you decide the goals to which you want to contribute. Tell them, “Okay, you want an iPhone. You want a guitar. You want every new X-Box game under the stars. You want a clubhouse in the back yard. Here’s how much money is available. You decide which of these things you want most. Or maybe you want to save this money and go to Disneyland next spring. You decide. It’s your choice. But you can’t have it all—unless you want to earn the money to pay for it.” This strategy also de-emphasizes a reliance on credit.  This teaches children not to go out and charge whatever they want, but to create attainable goals, and then save the money to buy the things they want.

If you involve your kids in financial decisions, you might even be surprised at what they come up with. A friend’s daughter thought of starting a silver polishing business. Around the holidays she distributes fliers in the neighborhood and always has plenty of customers.

Tune in next week for the final two tips on how to help your children become financially responsible adults!

Three Universal Misconceptions About Money

We hold three misconceptions about money that are almost universal.

The first misconception is: If I had more money, I would be happier. I could move to a bigger house. I could get that new car. My investment portfolio could get to the level it needs to be. I could finally get ahead and not struggle so much. I would have more peace of mind. I would have more free time. I could do what I really want to do—and be happy at last.

The reality is that more money will not give you peace of mind. No doubt you make a lot more than you did on your first job. Is your life more fulfilled because of your additional income? Do you feel freer, more content, more secure, and more alive? Do you have fewer problems now? Do you at last have money figured out? Does more money really bring you happiness? You hope that it does.

The second misconception is: People who make more than I do don’t have money problems. We assume that we are alone in not understanding money. When we see another person who earns more money than we do, we automatically assume that they must have money figured out.

Just because people make more money than you doesn’t mean they are free of the financial problems with which you wrestle on a daily basis. Most people spend up to the level of their income, and their problems follow right along with them. Assuming that your basic needs are well-covered, it makes little difference how much money you make—unless you have a plan.

We are often “insane” about money—we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Until you have a plan, life is not going to change. It has little to do with how much you make. It has everything to do with your goals and whether your spending is consistent with those goals. Think about it. What is your life all about? Are you heading in the direction of your true purpose? Is your financial plan leading you toward or away from that purpose?

The last great misconception about money is: Someday, one day, it is all going to turn out okay. When people say this to me, I ask them, “Just what is going to happen to make it all turn out? Your next raise? An inheritance? Or maybe winning the lottery?”

I need to tell you this, my friends: Someday it’s not going to turn out—unless you do your part. You’re probably not going to marry the prince or the princess who will bestow instant wealth upon you. You’re unlikely to win the lottery. Your next raise won’t fix all your problems. It’s not going to just work out unless you have a plan that includes your goals and you implement that plan.

What would life be like if you decided to be more satisfied now? What would it be like to have a conscious understanding of money and its role in your life? How would you feel about money if its sole purpose was to provide an avenue to your goals and deeper passions?

We need to better understand the real purpose and potential of money, and how we use or misuse it. Money is simply a medium of exchange. By clarifying our goals, we can put money to work for us instead of the other way around.

The course to success begins by reflecting on why we react and spend as we do, while leaving behind our old beliefs about money. We can then head in a new direction based on knowledge—knowledge founded on where we are and where we want to go. Getting there then becomes a simple matter of steering and adjustment.

If you wish to change your relationship with money, there are three things you must do.

First, gain a clear understanding of how you spend your money and on what you spend it. Second, incorporate your deeper goals into a financial plan and commit to that plan. And third, allow yourself to be satisfied now.

If you are not satisfied with your life, don’t look to money. It will not solve your troubles. Look elsewhere. But where?

Perhaps the ancient Chinese sage Lao-Tzu is a place to start:

Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?

If you look to others for fulfillment,
You will never be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
You will never truly be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you.