Money: The Subject Nobody Talks About

money management
 

Today, I’d like to write about one of the most taboo subjects around. No, not non-monogamous relationships; not politics or religion, either. I’m referring to… money.
 

For some reason, it seems to be more acceptable to talk about STDs than about money. My own experience mirrors this: Whenever I publish an article or video on the subject, it gets a fairly low number of views. Why, then, do I continue addressing it?
 

The answer is: Because it’s important and because you’ll never be able to truly prioritise your passion(s) unless you sort out your money mindset and the actual management of your finances and put them on rock-solid feet. Another reason is that it’s utterly ridiculous to shun a subject so mundane, one that’s so vital for our lives.
 

I’m going to look into the reasons why people resist the subject. Then I’ll give you rock-solid ways out of the taboo and towards a healthy, even joyful money management.
 
 

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Why is money (management) a dirty word?

 

I have googled it, read books and psychological articles, and talked to literally hundreds of people about the subject. It’s part of my Coaching programs, after all! From all of this, several trends have emerged:
 

– The first is discomfort. People are embarrassed to talk about money for manifold reasons. We don’t learn about money management in school, so most people don’t know the first thing about budgeting, saving, or investing. The older they get, the more uncomfortable they are about this, and end up avoiding the subject altogether.
 

– There also seems to be a remnant of an aristocratic arrogance in the sense of: “Money is something you have, not something you talk about”. This one is particularly baffling, because clearly the only people who profit from this kind of attitude are employers who pay their employees unfair or vastly different salaries. Nobody ever finds out because of the taboo.
 

– Related to the second point, but in contrast to it, is the view of rich people as bad and greedy. This attitude is widespread – just check out memes on social media! It’s not surprising that people should wish to avoid being seen as someone to whom money is important.
 

– The last reason is embarrassment. People feel vaguely ashamed for not having or earning more and don’t want to admit they don’t have money management figured out. Others are ashamed because they earn a lot, which feeds into the previous point: They are afraid to be seen as one of the “filthy rich”.
 

Reading the above, where do you fit? I have yet to come across a human with a naturally healthy attitude to money. We all fall into one, or even several, of the categories I listed. Knowing yours will give you an advantage in moving forward.
 

subject nobody talks about
 

The effects of the taboo

 

I’ve already mentioned some of the effects: people being embarrassed about even having money, because it’s supposed to be a dirty and immoral thing. Injustice and inequality are being perpetuated.
 

On the personal level, however, the tragedy is that so many people never get educated about their finances and will always regard the subject of money from an emotional place of either fear, disgust, or avoidance.
 

Barring a move to an off-the-grid lifestyle in a functioning community where barter still flourishes, you’re going to be forced to deal with money pretty much daily for the rest of your days. When you look at the above three emotions, is this really how you want to feel about something so central in your life?
 

Might it be time to turn things around? Might it be time to face the subject, change your beliefs about it, and learn the joy of money?
 
 

Tackling your money mindset

 

You’ve already got a head start on this process by finding out what your negative beliefs about money are (see “Why is money a dirty word?” above). Now in order to get rid of a belief, you need to do the following:
 

Weaken the existing belief: Imagine your belief is a table resting on four legs. You’ll now proceed to break off these legs by finding tangible proof that your belief isn’t true. For example, if you think all rich people are awful, go and look up the amazing good some people do (such as buying up whole stretches of rainforest for the sole purpose of preservation).
 

Replace it with a new, helpful belief: Now find a belief that will take the place of the one you’d like to let go of. If your belief was that rich people are awful, find something true like: “Many rich people are wonderful people who do a lot of good. Money makes people more of what they already are.”
 

Of course there are many other facets to creating an abundance mindset. Once you tackle your beliefs, you’re off to a great start, though.
 

abundance
 

Learning money management

 

Now that you’re working on your mindset, you need to also learn the nuts and bolts of financial management. There are many books on the subject, and if you’re subscribed to Wild Spirits News, you also get regular “Money Corner” tips and advice.
 

Set up a monthly budget that includes categories for fun stuff such as you passions. There should also be a percentage of your money reserved to be blown on silly things. The joy you’ll feel upon spending this money will in turn fuel your abundance mindset.
 

You can do courses, or learn from the ground up in my Wild Money program. It’s a combination of teaching you the principles of money management and investing on the one hand, and Coaching for an abundant, joyful mindset on the other. You probably never imagined that you’d approach finances with a happy, even playful attitude, and that you’d be better off for it! Come and try it out.
 

Whatever you do, please break the taboo about money. It’s okay to care about it. It’s okay to like money and enjoy it. It doesn’t make you a shallow person, unless you start valuing money for itself, rather than what it stands for and what you can do with it. All the real negativity around money starts when people put money before people or the planet, or seek to achieve power over others with it.
 

As long as you don’t do any of that, you’re free to enjoy money, buy yourself some luxuries, play and also give to others. And don’t forget to finance your passion(s), generously but within a solid budget. Your life will take on a sparkle it never had before.
 

Beyond Frugality: Money Abundance For 2020


 

Abstract:
 

People aren’t too fond of learning about money. Too much of the advice around finances focuses on self-denial and frugal living.
 

It can be frustrating when you try to focus on your passion(s). A lot of the time you need to spend money: on equipment, materials, tuition… The expenses add up quickly.
 

What if I told you that tapping into abundance is the opposite of self-denial? It may sound unbelievable, but don’t stop listening just yet. I’ll show you exactly how it works.
 

Your mission is to learn and apply the principles of joyful money for your passions.
 
 

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Task 1: Learn why self-denial doesn’t work

 

Most people try to save money and never manage. Every time they get ahead, something happens to eat up all their money again. I was once in this sitution myself, and I know it sucks.
 

Nor am I going to tell you that you can just will yourself out. The truth is, it’s absolutely possible to change your financial destiny, but it requires some dedication and consistency.
 

Self-denial is counterproductive, because it is restrictive and limiting. You won’t create flow by building barriers. It’s as though two opposing forces of nature were at work.
 

Money Abundance

Photo by Daniil Silantev on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Tap into money abundance

 

Instead of focusing on the lack of money and what you can’t do or buy, focus on what you can and what you already have. Here’s some inspiration to get you started:
 

  • Every time you pay something, say or think: “There’s more where that money came from.” (I learned this from Marie Forleo)
  • Give away 5% of your income. Find a worthy cause or donate spontaneously each month.
  • Create a Passions budget of 5-10% of your income.

You may also look into increasing your earnings and learning to budget, as well as improve your mindset long-term. Take a look at my Money abundance program, read books on personal finances, educate yourself about investing. If you work on it consistently, you’ll notice a huge shift.

Who Owns You Really?


 

Abstract:
 

This might sound crazy. After all, if you’re watching this video, you’re almost certainly not a slave physically owned by anyone else!
 

I’m not talking about actual slavery, but entirely different, subtle forms of ownership. In our day and age, this usually happens through money.
 

Your mission today is to become aware of who owns you, and then minimise the outside influence.
 
 

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Task 1: Become clear on who owns you

 

Of course we are no longer physically owned by someone who can literally buy and sell us, harm and even kill us. And yet there are people and organisations that have a claim on parts of your life.
 

If you’re employed, large parts of your time belong to your employer. If you pay off a mortgage or buy anything in installments, you have effectively given away power.
 

This isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s something you need to be aware of. Create a list of everything you’re paying off or owe.
 

who owns you

Photo by Christopher Harris on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Take back ownership

 

A bank can take fairly drastic measures against you if you default on loan payments or a mortgage. Here are some steps you can take to gain back control.
 

Check the list from Task 1 so you’re fully aware of who owns you – or part of you and your time.
 

  • Separate the wheat from the chaff: For example, if you have a small child, they have a claim on you but that’s not ownership, it’s a natural and temporary duty of care.
  • Follow the money: Some forms of lending are good (mortgages can make a lot of sense, depending on the circumstances). But if you live in your overdraft or have loans for items, you need to re-assess.
  • Get smart about your money: read books, take coaching, go to a financial advisor. Create a plan on how to take back control bit by bit. It won’t happen overnight, so you need long-term support.

Do You Have Money To Spare?

money to spare
“I’d love to go travelling for a few years,” confessed my client, “but I just don’t have the money to spare.”
 

This last bit made me perk up. I probed a little further, and it turned out that she had this idea in the back of her head, that better-off people simply have money left over. When she thought about it, she admitted that it didn’t make a lot of sense.
 

I agree. On the whole, I don’t think there are many people – apart from the super-rich – who actually have money “to spare”. In fact, I’m fairly certain that if I were to do a quick poll of when’s the last time you had money left over at the end of the month, you and almost everyone would probably say: “That doesn’t really happen.”
 

If you’re one of the rare exceptions to this, congratulations! But even in that case, I’d wager that you’d have more money to either save or invest into your dreams if you didn’t pay for everything else first and simply took what was left. And that’s my point here: Money is energy.
 

Think back to the money you existed on as a student, or when you got your first job. Chances are you’re earning more these days. However, does it feel like you have buckets of cash? Probably not.
 

The reasons for this phenomenon are manifold. Generally speaking, we adjust our lifestyles to our income without even realising it. Once our available money increases, so does our mindset and subconsiously, our needs as well.
 

What this means is that you need to come up with a better system if you’d like to have money “to spare”. Fortunately, I’ve got you covered there!
 
 

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The one-pot philosophy

 

You may argue that you can always budget and divide up your income – necessities, savings, gifts, play money, the way you’ve seen me suggest it a number of times if you’ve been following me for a while. Maybe you’ve even tried this method and found that you didn’t stick with your budget.
 

Before you feel like a failure, let me tell you a story. Imagine you cook a meal – say, a stew? – for a family of five. You divide out the food and tell each of them: “This bowl, that’s your food. Look at it and remember it well.” And then you take the bowls and one by one empty them into a big pot. Each person gets a spoon, they gather around the pot and start eating.
 

And then you get cross when they don’t “remember” their parts and all start eating whatever hits their spoon first.
 

It simply can’t work that way, can it? Then why do you expect it to work with your money? If your salary sits in just one account, then all your budgeting won’t help; you’ll keep using money for other purposes than what you’ve budgeted for, and you’ll definitely never have anything left over to save or use for your passions.
 
 

Money to spare: Divide and conquer

 

The best thing to do is to create separate accounts for each purpose. With most banks in the developed world, this is free. I have all my accounts in my mobile banking app at one glance; other banks offer online banking or phone banking. It’s a little hassle to set up all the different accounts, but it’s a necessary step if you’re serious about managing your money.
 

Some budgets don’t need an account of their own after all, for example your rent or mortgage. My monthly spending money gets withdrawn in cash at the beginning of each month, so no account is needed for that either.
 

See what works for you and don’t be shy to talk to a bank advisor. If they know their business at all, they’ll congratulate you on being so well-organised. Once your accounts are set up, you can either transfer the necessary amounts each month when your salary comes in, or – if your income is the same each month – you can even set up standing orders for things like the rent.
 

I can’t fully explain why it works, but once the money is gone from your main current account, it’s far less likely for you to mess up your budget and use money for an expense it wasn’t allocated to.
 

Try accounts for necessities (rent, bills, food, haircut – ca. 60% of your income), play (ca. 5%), giving (5-10%), education/coaching/workshops (10%), saving (10%) and saving for spending (5-10%). You’ll gain peace of mind as well as funds for the things you love.
 

3 Steps To Dramatically Change Your Finances Through Focus

change your finances
 

I’m not exactly rich right now. Two years ago, I’d finished paying off old debts and made a conscious decision to live and to pursue my passions. What followed were a few major expenses. I got my teeth fixed (around 3,000 EUR) and enrolled in business courses (2,700 EUR). I finally got into traditional archery and swordfighting (for which I bought equipment far exceeding 1,000 EUR).
 

Add to that the fact that I took a substantial cut in salary when I downsized my life, plus a few unforeseen expenses, and you have a fairly skint Sibylle who once again owes some money. Yet when I think back to the time I went broke in 2004, I realise it couldn’t be more different this time around.
 

For one thing, I owed a lot more back then. But the main difference is that I had no idea about finances and no idea how to deal with the mess. I was scared and helpless. Now, while my finances are a little strained, I still know exactly what’s going on. I went into this knowingly and don’t regret a single expense, because they were all necessary for my well-being and/or happiness. Most of all, I know without a shadow of a doubt, how and when I’ll have every last penny paid back and a comfortable financial “cushion” once again.
 

In short, I’m now educated about finances. I’ve also developed something which enhances everything in life, including finances: focus.
 
 

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Learning about finances

 

To learn about finances, I spent years going to workshops around the world and doing every program offered online. I read dozens of books on money management and found through trial and error, which of the systems I learned made sense. Therefore, I regularly write about money in the newsletter, and I hope with all my heart that it’s helpful.
 

The most important thing when you want to change your finances is to tackle them on two fronts: Money management, which is about knowing where your money goes and how to budget it, is step 1. Step 2 is a mindset which is as free as possible from learned ideas about money being scarce, or only coming to bad, greedy people, and all these other things we pick up from childhood onwards.
 
 

Where is your focus?

 

You’ve probably heard about the law of attraction, which states that you manifest in your life whatever you focus on. Focus is what occupies your mind most of the time. Now with an average of 6,000 thoughts that each of us has every day, it’s practically impossible to police this process. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut: Your emotions, which are caused by your thoughts.
 

Ever felt pretty good, and then you remembered something awful someone said to you, or your child being bullied, and after a minute or two you feel awful? Nothing outward happened, you just thought of something negative, and it changed everything.
 

To find out where your focus is, check in with your emotions. Set 3-4 alarms on your phone throughout the day. Whenever you hear the alarm, ask yourself how you feel. If the answer is anything other than: “Wonderful!” at least half the time, your focus is not on things that make you happy.
 

If you consciously adjust your thoughts 3-4 times a day, you will form a habit over time. Think thoughts of gratitude, or think of someone you love. It takes a while, so stick with it for at least a month or two! The change will be dramatic.
 
 

Change your finances

 

Here’s how you can use the above process in relation to your money situation.
 

1. When you “check” in, specifically ask yourself how you feel about your finances. If you feel awful, or even just uncomfortable, your focus is likely on bills, expenses, or debts. Adjust this towards thinking of the money you receive, however little it is.
 

2. Create a “giving” fund of ideally about 5% of your income. If you can’t afford it, start with 10 or 20 bucks a month. Donate these to a cause close to your heart. Whenever you do this, send along your love.
 

3. Also check in with how you feel whenever you spend money. If you feel anxious or worried, stop yourself. Say: “I happily give xxx EUR/$ for this” or, as Marie Forleo suggests: “There’s more where that came from.”
 

These may seem like small steps, but they will turn around your focus and change your finances. You’ll move away from scarcity and regret, and towards abundance and security. Your cash flow will follow.