The Key to Help you in this Financial Quagmire

The stock market feels like it is uncontrollably gyrating. One day it’s careening downward. Then it tries to recover only to slide down again, then inch back up, then…

It’s situations and times like these, uncertain and alarming, that can bring out deep emotions towards money. Some of you may feel like your plans for retirement have just been shattered, and not because of anything you’ve done. You might feel at a loss about how to make your finances better; you might feel that someone “did something to you” because this is not anything you would have done to yourself! Others may feel that plans you were making with your money just got ripped apart and again, not by your own doing. You feel resentful or victimized as you can’t “normalize” your financial position. These feelings of victimization, of resentment, of anger towards a condition you did not create can leave you vulnerable and reactive when talking about daily money responsibilities and needs with a partner, spouse, or family member.

Although these reactions are common, they are often not productive and can result in actions or conclusions that can be destructive. Yes, the market is down. Yes, you are angry about it. No, this does not have to trickle into other areas of your life. When it does, I recommend asking yourself this question: “What is actually making me feel __________ (angry, frustrated, out of control…?) And listen to your response. Get clear on what it is that is bothering you. Then, address that specifically. 

For example, if you feel like you have lost opportunities with your money, acknowledge that feeling. You may have. I lost opportunities both in the crash of 2000 and the one in 2008. But, as much as I wanted to wallow, I realized it would not benefit me to do so. I regrouped. I had to.  Let this tremendous disappointment become a catalyst to build stronger resilience and resolve.

If you are frustrated and feel hopeless because you cannot change your financial portfolio, or your monthly income, this is the time to hunker down and reframe your financial picture. Reduce the extras, get creative, and find support by talking to people in your communities about  how they are reallocating their financial resources. Watch movies to see how people have persevered through unlikely odds (Touching The Void or The Dawn Wall come to mind). Rebuild your “center” so that you feel more in control of your life, more than you were before this financial whammy hit.  

You can come out of this stronger than you came in, more in control of your life. It will take asking yourself some important questions, listening to the answers that can guide you to rebuild your strength and your center. It will take focus and resolve. You can do it! Contact me if you need further conversation to assist you.

mother handing key to daughter [PNG Merlin Archive]

The One Big Tip to Use for Healthy Money Communication

Money and relationships can be difficult to negotiate. One person thinks they are the saver while the other is an unnecessary spender. One likes talking about money while the other avoids the subject, repeatedly.  Because money styles can create disharmony in a couple, here is a huge tip to alleviate tension in money relationships.

Money conversations may be easier to avoid than to have but avoiding money conversations are a detriment to strong relationships. Instead of avoiding money conversations, bring up a topic where you can learn about your partner’s financial upbringing. Ask a question like: What was money like growing up for you? How was money talked about when you were little?  What did you do with money when you were little?  And just listen, without inserting a judgmental or comparative comment. It is essential to understand each other’s attitudes and behaviors around money before trying to affect these attitudes. Nobody wants to feel shame or guilt around a habit they want to break but can’t. They want compassion, encouragement, and empowering support. They want to feel capable not unable.

Money is a very personal area in our lives, so learning to talk about money and how you can put frameworks around money in your relationship, is key. When considering frameworks to build around your financial life, ask each other questions like: What does budgeting mean to you? How have you successfully used it in your life? Where has budgeting been an issue for you? How can we create limits that work for each of us and support what it is we want to accomplish financially?

Money is a topic that can become a strong partner to relationships. Transform judgments, accusations, and disappointing attitudes to questions of inquiry, encouragement, empowerment and support.