A Year of Financial Fitness

by | Jan 1, 2012

“Money skills are 21st century survival skills.”

The quote above is from my old friend, Dick Wagner, a pioneer and thought leader in the financial planning community. He has shared this insight for several years on many occasions. Now more than ever, I believe, this truth is essential.  We can get by without knowing history, biology and physics. But we are required to face money at this time in our culture if we want to survive and thrive. Thirty years ago, while examining and dissecting a homeowner’s insurance policy and an umbrella policy for a fictitious family in Dr. O’Toole’s Risk Management course, I raised my head and wondered, what the heck are my friends who are earning liberal arts degrees going to do when they get out in the “real world”?  It was this moment when I landed on my passion for service. I wanted to help others make wise financial decisions because they did not have the training and benefit I had while studying finance in school.

Thirty years after completing my degree, I continue to hold the mission of service and to offer pathways for others to access it. My insight this year is, give yourself a break! You are not supposed to know this stuff. It is not natural. Money is manmade. The money systems are complex constructions developed over thousands of years, most recently from sophisticated minds trained at ivy league schools with multiple motivations – hardly so you can function well without assistance and without knowing the foundation. But let’s leave that discussion and focus on what you can do now.  My insight and offering is to give you permission to “go back to school” and learn the basics of finance.  Set aside an entire year to become financially fit.

Why an entire year? To create plenty of space (when you imagine money is urgent, behavior is constricted and there is no room for creativity or accuracy) for you to attend to the following:

  • discovering your limiting beliefs around finances,
  • taking specific concrete action toward the practical matters of money,
  • seeing the interplay of systems and processes to illuminate the financial landscape and,
  • connecting with others in a new way and deepen relationships

Supporting your evolution through financial fitness inspires me. The areas we will cover this year include: estate planning, cash-flow/spending, investing, risk management, tax planning & preparation, philanthropy, life after work (I don’t use the word retirement), saving, transitions (divorce, inheritance, death …) to name a few. Of course there will be spontaneous and fresh additions as current events warrant.

This month is the beginning. Month one; where you know very little.  Here we set the intention and clear the space.

I encourage you this month to make an offering to yourself, and commit to a year of financial fitness. You could state: I, __________(fill in your name), commit to mastering financial fitness.

Once committed, create a powerful, supportive intention for the next twelve months. Examples of positive intentions:

I celebrate mastering financial fitness, once and for all.

I easefully and joyfully master financial fitness.

With gratitude and joy, I master financial fitness.

After creating powerful supportive intention statements, organize your year, to devote each month to a particular topic. Each topic will be reviewed and analyzed, and actions will be applied and completed. To get organized, use assistance from resources such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done or Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing From the Inside Out.  Or, you can simply decide to use a few file folders in your file cabinet with labels of financial fitness, or create folders in your electronic file system of the same.  However you choose to organize, it is essential to create the time, space and area for actions to be completed – in a non-urgent pace.  I’m here to help in several ways.  First, monthly MoneyMovesTM News will attend to each topic. As a complement, we meet voice-to-voice through our monthly tele-connections, to inspire each other to stay focused.

Now it is your move.  Fitness is about vigor and well-being.  Do you want to be financially fit?

(Visit my Courses page for upcoming TeleConnections dates and register anytime.)

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