An extravagant life

Most of my clients have said this to me at some point in our work together. You may have said it or thought it yourself. Shelley and Brian were frustrated with juggling hockey fees, camp dues and property taxes in a month where the business revenues were lower than they had hoped. They decided it was time to get their money sorted out once and for all. They said to me “We make good money, I don’t understand why we are always struggling – we don’t live an extravagant life …” I said … yeah you do. I wasn’t being mean – I was being honest. OxfordDictionary.com defines extravagant as: Lacking restraint in spending money or using resources; Exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate Shelley and Brian aren’t alone. Forty percent of Canadians are living an extravagant life. – they are spending more than they are making. Another 20 percent live close enough to the edge that a late paycheque or a low revenue month makes them nervous. Are you living an Extravagant Life? Find out by answering these three questions. How much do we earn? Be clear on how much income you are bringing into your household. As a business owner, the total revenues you earn are not all available for your personal use. Taxes, business expenses and business investment must be accounted for. How much do we spend? Be clear on what your life costs. Consider not only the monthly expenses, but the fixed and variable expenses that come up during the year. Items like car repairs, gifts, gas and spending money for trips to the in-laws, vet...

Everyone Has a Drug

Everyone has a drug of choice. It’s the way you self-medicate. A way you try to fix what is wrong or missing. A way to fill an empty hole inside that everyone has. Your drug of choice could be food, alcohol, sex, surfing the internet and even exercise. For many, it’s spending money. Buying things, experiences, people…whatever it takes to fill that empty hole. Spending was my drug, and it could have happened any number of places. I attempted to fill my empty hole by spending $80,000 on coaching. It actually started off great. I made a decision to join a program and I learned a lot. In fact, I would make that decision again. It kicked off my business. And then, things changed…well, I changed. I started to use it as a drug – to fill the void of my own dwindling confidence, to buy an image of what I thought I should be. I stopped trusting myself. I was trying to buy salvation. I lost myself…and found myself in the process. This conversation I began last week sparked a shitstorm. People I’ve known for a few years have stopped communicating with me. Others have responded to me with various feedback, including the many reasons why this conversation is both confrontational and offensive. Many of my colleagues are taking my message personally. I have a message for them and for you, which is that the conversation I started has nothing to with any particular industry. This conversation is about MONEY – how you are spending it, where you are spending it and what you are telling yourself about...

Are you an ostrich?

If I asked you what your biggest money mistake was, what you would say? There are 3 big mistakes I have seen many families make (and admittedly these are mistakes I have made and have learned so much from). Read on to see if what you can do to stop being an ostrich. Not knowing how much it actually costs to run your life. When life gets busy, and tracking expenses is a pain.  Between the credit cards, debit card and numerous payments that need to be made, keeping a handle on it can feel hard. It is likely that you were never taught how to manage your day to day money.  The banks are very happy to give you more credit, so if you go over a bit, it isn’t the end of the world, right?  But then the debt starts to creep up and up.  If you don’t know how much it costs to live your life, how do you know if you can afford it? A great step to take is to consider the spending areas you might have been forgetting.  You will likely think of including your mortgage, utilities and groceries in your spending but don’t stop there.  Be a detective – scan your credit card and bank statements for additional frequent expenditures like your Costco membership, dog grooming and gas for the regular trips to the in-laws.  These are things that cost money and may get missed in calculating your regular monthly spending. By simply understanding how your money moves through your life, you may identify some problem areas. Making small changes could help...

Four great tips to keep more money in your jeans

Nine out of ten Canadians have a debit card and almost half of Canadians have three or more credit cards. Interac says that a third of us go to the bank machine at least once per week. That is a lot of plastic, and a lot of ready cash. We have a lot of transactions in our busy lives, and keeping the running total in your head can be a challenge. How do you remember what money has been spent where? Start with these four tips to keep more money in your jeans. Make Notes on the ATM Receipt Does it feel like your cash disappears right out of your wallet, so you find yourself back to the ATM? Next time, hang on to the receipt. As you spend the money you took out, make a quick note on where you spent it. Keep the receipt for at least two weeks so you can see where the money is going. Avoid double spending Armed with a debit card and a credit card, it is easy to double spend your money. At one store, you swipe the debit card and that money comes out of your account. When you use the credit card, you have to remember that money has been spent, and hold it back to pay the bill. When you make a purchase on your credit card, move that money right away so you don’t spend it twice. Pay the credit card with online banking, or move the money into a holding account using a free online savings account until your bill comes in. Keep Separate Accounts One...

It’s Money Season: Five steps to less stress in your money life

Seasons change – winter, spring, summer and fall. We have a holiday season, hockey season and bathing suit season and we have Money Season.  Each brings up specific images, memories, decisions and actions. With the January to April Money Season in full swing, images and memories will come up and decisions will need to be made. We have all had to make choices around our money and we have all certainly made good ones and bad ones over the years.  For many, Money Season is cause for extra stress and anxiety.  A BMO study showed that the looming March 3rd RRSP deadline causes stress for 60% of Canadians, often causing them to make rash decisions. More than 70% of Americans say that tax filing is stressful or very stressful and studies show that this stress leads to health issues, more fatal car accidents and more challenging relationships. Reduce your stress, get better results and have more fun with your money by taking time and taking action now – before the deadlines arrive.  Here are five great steps that you can take to make your Money Season merry. Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change. ~Jim Rohn  Get clear on what is important  We spend all kinds of money on things we don’t care about, and often don’t even want because we don’t have a compelling reason not to. Instead of following the oft-given advice to tracking expenses, start your money life game plan by getting clear on what is important to you. When you have a compelling reason to do something differently, it...