Recall from Part I of Confessions of a Money Coach, my wife and I were pondering some life changes.
We resolved that before making any major moves we would first get a better handle on our money. I experimented with every cash management system or approach I could find. I hated all of them. They were frustrating, laborious and intrusive. Instead of helping us get more connected to our money they seemed to widen the separation.
Ultimately, I developed a system, The Cash Flow Cascade (more on that in future posts) that I hoped would deliver the outcomes we were looking for. For 6 months we became the first guinea pigs of this new approach. We stuck with it through some bumps and hiccups but in time we could see how it was going to make our lives better! One of the things we liked was how it helped organize spending in a way that fostered insight which we could use to make more informed decisions. Progressively, that led to our making three resolutions, which I’ll share next.
First: Replenish the “Three Scarcities”
A lack of money is often blamed for blocking us from realizing our desires. I’ve found things are more complex than that. When my clients describe the things that constrain their lives, three words come up again and again – money, time and energy, what I call the “Three Scarcities”. Interestingly, time and energy scarcity are mentioned almost as often as money. The Three Scarcities are inter-related. Spend a moment and you’ll see how they connect.
- We need money to fund our lifestyles
- To earn that money, we work
- Work uses up a big part of our time
- Our energy is zapped keeping it all rolling
My wife and I concluded all three scarcities were operating in our lives. We agreed that no matter what changes we made, replenishing the three scarcities had to be part of the deal.
Second: Less House, More Life
What we thought was our dream home had become an anchor. It anchored us to a lifestyle that was evolving. While more changes would come, a change in residence was our starting point. Our credo had become “Less house, more life”, so it came as no surprise when that’s exactly what we got!
Within a year the old house was gone, replaced by a cozy condominium townhouse. Its previous owner had recently renovated the unit and it suited us perfectly! We bought it the day we first saw it. The best part was our new home was less than half the price of our old one!
The townhouse was two blocks to our town’s lakeside park, the site of countless events scheduled each summer. In a different direction we could walk to the town’s main street to enjoy its restaurants, cafés and shops.
One of the first things we noticed in our new life was how much freedom we had gained; no responsibility for yard care meant we had time and energy we could repurpose for other things. Our first taste of more life! Since I’m a Money Coach, this all needed to make financial sense as well. It did. Our mortgage was gone, our retirement fund got a welcome boost and our discretionary cash flow increased substantially.
Third: Renew Our Passions
With the big changes behind us, we were free to pursue our passions. Dorothy became more involved in riding and fulfilled her lifelong dream of having a horse. I started playing more golf and watched my handicap drop.
I also found a great deal on a used motorcycle that ticked all my ”must-have” boxes.
Conclusion: Know Your Why
It’s curious that the path to money clarity can begin from almost anywhere. For some it’s a life transition, for others a financial calamity. Ours began on a vacation, triggered by the simple act of reflection that gradually led to an awakening. We awakened to the need for an updated life vision. We believed that if we put our hearts into it, we’d be motivated to get clear on our money too. We felt like we were entering a new season of our lives and we wanted our changes to stick.
My coaching clients are often surprised when the first thing I ask is for them to clarify what they really want. Many had sidestepped this question out of fear, guilt or any number of other reasons. I call this clarifying process “Knowing Your Why” i.e. why you want to take control of money.
In my upcoming eLearning course, Beyond Budgets – 7 Insights to Money Clarity, Knowing Your Why is the first insight. It changed our lives. In the next few weeks, you’ll be given access to this lesson as my gift to you!
Steve Demaray is the founder of the Personal Money Coach Money and an advocate for money clarity. Steve guides growth-minded people through a money life shift that transforms stress and frustration into simplicity and freedom. He has successfully coached people from Vancouver, Canada to Sydney, Australia and countless places in between.