You might assume that as a money coach I spend all of my time thinking about money. And while I can see why you might be thinking that, it couldn’t be further from the truth!
Over the years I've learned that
"being good with your money"
doesn't mean obsessing over it.
Instead, imagine that:
You’re saving and investing automatically.
You’re using set it and forget it systems that require only quick, strategic check-ins.
You’re enjoying your life without having to choose between meeting your expenses and doing the things you actually want to do.
I’vI’ve been on both sides of the coin. There’s no toss-up.
It’s a clear winner.
The long way around
I’vIn my twenties, I wanted everything – the upper-middle class lifestyle that looked so pulled together and comfortable.
You know – the one people work over 20 years to achieve.
Only I didn’t want to wait for it. I wanted it all, and I wanted it now.
I shopped to fill the void, to quiet the voice that said I couldn’t really afford this lifestyle, to satiate my appetite for more.
Girl, did I shop!
I spent my evenings and weekends under fluorescent lights buying expensive clothes for myself and the kids, buying home decor, buying...buying...buying.
I would pat myself on the back for “saving” more than I was spending. I was addicted to that line on the receipt, you know the one. The one that reads you saved $386. You spent $84.99.(Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale, I’m looking at you!)
I was all about the “buy now, pay later”.
If there was a way to break up the payment, I was all in… I even put the new stove on monthly installments.
I was collecting debt like a hobby; and not a very fun one.
The Shopping Hangover
One day I whipped up a spreadsheet. In hot pursuit of my next acquisition, I entered all of my balances to see where I stood.
Could I afford it?
I calculated the debt payoff timeline using my minimum payments that I was sure were insignificant.
But, the numbers didn’t lie. The screen blinked back at me the cold, hard truth. I would be over 40 before I had paid for it all.
At 23, in the prime of my youth, the journey to 40 seemed like an eternity, an impossibility. A lifetime away!
I hadn’t even taken into account other necessities that were less sexy, but still needed attention – the leaky roof and the spongy window pan in the bathroom. And it certainly didn’t account for all of the things that could truly fill me up – adventures with friends, remarkable travels and memorable experiences.
The reality glaring back at me was all it took for me to make a complete 180.
I began pursuing happiness through a new route – via a debt-free lifestyle, tweaking my behaviors and setting new goals.
l paid off all of the debts with a vengeance – including my student loans & the house – by the time I was 32 and then I was free to start putting all of my money towards the things that I genuinely cared about.
The Catch 22
At some point I realized, “Hey! I’m really making all of this happen.”
And it really didn’t feel that hard at all.
It didn’t feel like a grind, or like it was an impossibility, or even a stretch.
It felt more like taking the stairs. Put one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there on a steady incline.
I had really dialed in systems. The more I accomplished, the more I believed in my ability to make it work. I noticed other people saying things like “I wish I could take a trip like that!” or “I’d love to… but I could never do that.”
I truly believe that these systems can work for anyone.
The catch 22 for me was that I had pretty easily achieved my goals. It had become almost too easy. Predictable.
I was bored.
I had been focusing all of my energy on managing the money I already had. I had stopped pursuing more. I had settled. My income had surpassed my own glass ceiling – and let me be clear that it was in no way an above average income – but I really couldn’t imagine myself making more.
I didn’t realize that I could adjust and go to the next level. I was in a comfort zone. I had begun to stagnate.
We humans are made for ingenuity, creativity, and the pursuit. It’s not about the destination for us, it’s about who we become in the journey along the way.
I’m still in the process of learning how to own the discomfort of growth.
Because there is nothing more painful than keeping yourself small, of knowing you were meant for more, and not going for it.
I started investing in myself. Slowly at first. Cautiously… what was this business with online courses? I began to have results, returns on investments that went beyond the financial scope. I’ve been steadily investing in coaching, mentors, and group programs.
I meet creative entrepreneurial women along the way. I’ve found my people.