Some years ago I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer talk about the children’s song, “Row, row, row your boat.” He went on to explain that the song provides a succinct and sweet guide to life:
“Row, row, row (don’t try to do anything other than row) your boat (not anyone else’s), gently (take it easy!) down (not up) the stream, merrily (be cheerful), merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream (don’t get too hung up on it, it’s all an illusion).”
The “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money)” support group met to discuss how money leaks out of our financial boats when we’re not looking, when we’re not paying close attention.
Instead of “leaks,” think how money “sneaks” out. It’s kind of like assuming your three-year old tot will continue quietly playing with her toys while you go into the kitchen to grab a much-needed cup of coffee. You blissfully combine the right amount of cream and sugar, take a sip and, oh, no, where did she go?!
Our support group members frequently discuss using money to purchase experiences (adventures, learning, travel, and even hiring people to help you so that you can have time for experiences) rather than stuff, but that may be a reflection of the demographic of the group which tends to be early 40s through mid 70s, when you’re pretty much done accumulating things and in fact are in the process of hiring a professional organizer to help you get rid of the stuff you’ve accumulated. I recognize that many people are still in the accumulative phase of their lives, there’s no judgment here.
Whether you are in the life phase of accumulating things or the one when you’re decluttering, you’re most likely wanting your financial boat to stay afloat with a measure of peace and security, right?
As one of our regulars, sales coach Bill Knoche, says, “It’s amazing what you can learn when you get calm.” Want to plug the leaks in your financial boat? Get calm and be vigilant.
- Don’t fear the numbers like they’re some kind of financial monster lurking under your bed. One of our regulars, jazz singer Mari McNeil frequently talks about how scary it was to look at her budget after her divorce. To her delight she could afford to have her hair done the way she liked!
Bill advises, “Look at what’s there, rather than what’s not there, the latter has a negative charge to it.” Look at the numbers, what you have coming in, what’s going out and why; you may be very surprised, relieved, or, at the very least, informed. Then you can go from there.
- Drop the “shoulds,” we can beat ourselves up trying to be perfect with our money. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, just merrily row your boat.
- How do you know what’s “best?” Identify your key values (such as faith, kindness, justice etc.) and your needs (financial as well as mental, such as “I need to reduce my debt” and “I need a sense of order to be at my best.”).
Does this purchase help you meet a need? Does it align with your values?
If yes to both = YES, do it!
If yes to only one = WAIT and check your motivations.
If no to both = that’s easy: NO, don’t do it.
- Put on some blinders: Even well-meaning family members and friends will have opinions about what you are doing with your money. The only effective way to combat their commentary is to be aware of what strategies would most benefit you and row your boat merrily and confidently in that direction.
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