Money And Me – A Love Story

All my life money has had issues with me. I’d work hard to make it, put it in the bank and watch it disappear.

Oh there were patches there where money and I would reconcile and stay together for long periods of time, but inevitably I’d find my money cheating on me with my bills and I’d realize  that money didn’t love me as much as I loved money.

It took me a half a century to figure out how to keep money happy and believe you me, that makes me happy too. I want to share what I’ve learned with you and if I can help just one person to improve their relationship with money – well that would be a good thing.

1.     Don’t spend other people’s money

Other people’s money, that means credit cards,credit union loans, bank loans, student loans and anything else that you will have to pay back with interest.

Other people’s money seems like a great idea when you’re in the line at Macy’s and the cashier says you can get 10% off of your purchase today if you sign up for a card RIGHT NOW. Trust me the one day sales and percent off coupons and those gratuitous credit limit increases will have you in debt up to your eyeballs in no time and that 10% off won’t offset the 16 to 30 percent interest you’ll be paying on your balance each month.

IF YOU CAN”T PAY FOR IT WITH CASH, YOU CAN PROBABLY LIVE WITHOUT IT. Remember your money will leave you when it discovers your affair with other people’s money.

 2.     Don’t spend money now that you think you’re going to earn later

You just got a new job, big promotion, your tax refund is going to be awesome this year- so you think to yourself “I’m going to earn that money later, so why not go ahead and  treat myself or the family to____”. I think this was one of my major shortcomings, always spending money I thought I was going to earn before it was actually in my pocket, I like to call that “euphoria spending”. Just think about it, if I’m spending as though I’m making more, when I’m not, then something is going a gangling as they say. Maybe it’s the electric bill, the gas bill, money for the commute to work next week, lunch money for the kids…whatever.  DON’T SPEND WHAT YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE…YET.

3.     Pay your bills in full every month

Keeps the bill collectors at bay, makes you feel rich , and helps you to keep your sanity.  This is a hard one for some people, they tend to pay half of this and a quarter of that, steal from Peter to pay Paul and end up in this deep pit full of past due bills. I’ve never been one of those people, just wasn’t in my DNA, but I wasn’t always able to stay  on top of things and would suddenly  discover that the cell phone bill was 3 months past due because I  got busy and wasn’t keeping up. Continue reading and I’ll tell  you how I fixed that and how you can too.

4.     Open an ING account

I am sure that by now there are other online banks that allow you to open as many accounts as you’d like and manage your money in the way that I am about to explain. Back when I started ING was the one that I found and that’s the one that has worked for me

  1. Open an Electric Orange account and have your paycheck Direct Deposited there.
  2. Add a savings account and call it “Emergency Fund” because this is where you will stash a little money every month for unexpected things like a busted water heater or car repairs and the like
  3. Open one savings account for each one of your bills – this will keep you on track so that you don’t miss any of your monthly payments. I name my accounts after my bills: The Rent, Gas bill, electric Bill, Cell Phone,Car etc.

 

5.     Set up automatic transfers from your Orange account to each of the savings accounts

This will ensure that each month when that bill comes due – you have enough to pay it. Here is an example:

Bill and his wife earn $1000 per week. The table below shows their bills and the automatic transfers that should go into each account when they get paid every week,( the math may be off but I hope you get the idea):

Bill Amount Weekly Automatic Transfer
Mortgage $1000 $250
Electric $120 $30
Gas $30 $7.50
Cell Phone $200 $50
Cable $75 $18.75
Car $350 $87.5
Credit Card $100 $25
Gas and groceries $550 $137.5
Savings (external Account) $800 $200
Emergency Fund $300 $75
$3525 $881

As I hope you can see – by saving money from each check to pay their bills, Bill and his wife are able to live happily with their money.

6.     Open an external savings account

I need to have money that is hard to get to, so I have an account outside of ING where I transfer out 20% or so of my income each paycheck. That amount is based on how much I usually have left over after bills, groceries, gas, and other necessities.

Today, money and I have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect. I’m able to eat out, shop, shower my children with unexpected gifts, build up my savings – and pay my bills on time. We’re finally happy together – and you can take that to the bank.

The Elephant in the Room| How I Crossed My Racial Divide

guesswhoscomingtodinnerBack in 1997 when my teenage son began dating the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl next door, my reaction can almost be called hypocritical. After all, hadn’t I spent the years after my divorce specifically dating only Caucasian males?

Well perhaps it was this specificity in my past choices, which led me to believe (as many still do) that just as lesbians and gay men “choose” to be homosexual, so do teenagers “choose” to date outside of their race.  I was distraught over my son’s choice because I felt that in choosing to date a white girl, he was rejecting his  Black mother, and all of the other Black women in his family tree.

So, what did I do? Well what could I do?  You know from my previous posts that I love my children just the way that God gave them to me – unconditionally. And, for  that reason, I would never allow them to feel less than loved by me.  When my son was 5, he said to me “Mommy, how come you’re white and we’re black”.  Hmmm,  even at 5 my boy had deep thoughts ; as you well know, I am not white, but I am less brown than my children are and I mention this only to illustrate that kids don’t start seeing color and differences until we point them out.

When it comes to people, our childrens’  likes and dislikes are based on their feelings about those people, and race and ethnicity don’t even come into play for them. That is until we start to point it out. I think that my reaction to his choice of girlfriend freaked my son out because I am the last of the hippie chicks, the love everybody equally generation, the don’t judge a person by what’s on the outside school of thought.

And there I was being a big fat hypocrite when my son did exactly as he was taught and didn’t judge the book by it’s cover!

12 years later I am older, wiser and more accepting. I know now that you love who you love, and like Michael Jackson so eloquently stated “it don’t matter if you’re Black or White” . I know that my childrens choices when it comes to their partners is not a rejection of me or their race. I believe that if we leave them be, our children will obliterate the racial divide – if we let them.

Unfortunately, I saw on Mamapedia that there are parents who are now entering the struggle.  I have a friend who is white and her  teenage daughter likes  a Black  child in her grade. They are unofficially dating, I don’t have a problem with it, but my friend does, even though she has never mentioned it to me.  I feel like there is a big old elephant in the room every time we are together, that there is something we should talk about but don’t. We discuss husbands, diets, raising kids – you name it. But I see the elephant out of the corner of my eye, and I so want to mention him.

I know in my heart, that she will come around on her own, 12 years from now she will probably laugh about this and wonder why the situation upset her so much. You see when our children date outside of their race it’s not about us, and if we will remove ourselves from the equation we would not be upset about the color of the other person and we would be free to judge them on “the content of their character”,  just the same way we judge anyone who dares to date our child.

I think it’s telling that this interracial relationship is totally accepted by her child’s peers. The future looks bright after all.

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When quitting is the only option

Are You A Quitter? I know I am. When the going gets tough the tough may get going but the niseylee usually gives up and moves on. From academics to relationships, I always assumed that I just was not cut out for the hard stuff.

I think it’s the commitment that sticking with it requires. For example, if you yourself have been hurt in a relationship or you’ve watched your parents engage in a combative and painful relationship- it would make you gun shy wouldn’t it? Definitely not apt to stay in a relationship long enough to get to the part where someone could actually hurt you.

In business, the chronic quitter does not stick around long enough to be placed in a position of authority and responsibility. Guess they are afraid they will “let someone down” or actually have to “show some results”.

So what’s a commitment phobic under achiever who craves success to do anyway? I’m glad you asked:

  1. Define what success means to you (lose weight, earn more, have happy healthy kids etc)
  2. Based on this definition, set some short term ( 1 -12 months) and long term (1-5 years) goals
  3. Accept responsibility for your past actions and their present consequences
  4. Live your life on purpose, nothing is accidental

Let’s face it quitters never win because they just don’t ever finish what they start. So are you a quitter?

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The Importance of Communicating Our Intentions

Has this ever happened to you? You signed a new person to your business intentionopportunity, they were gung ho and ready to rock and roll, you are just totally over the moon about the possibilities. But it’s been two weeks and Jane doesn’t respond to your emails and has not returned any of your calls.  You’re starting to wonder if there is something you said or didn’t say that may have caused this situation.

Jane  is MIA and, trust me, it’s no one’s fault. You ASSUMED that Jane planned to just jump on in there and get to work, building her business and increasing your earnings. However, Jane’s intentions are to get to it when she get’s to it,  after all you did tell her that it’s her business.

You entered into this relationship with the intention of gaining a partner who would help you to grow your existing business, Jane entered into this business with the intention of getting a home office tax deduction because she is single, childless, and has to pay additional taxes at the end of the year.  And yes she does plan to work the business someday, but it was never her intention to do it today.

This example illustrates the negative situation that can arise when we do not clarify our true intentions when entering into a relationship. The truth is that this is a very common thread in all relationships, we have certain unspoken expectations of our co-workers, our spouses, our children, and our friends.  When the other party in a relationship does not live up to these expectations we are disappointed and the relationship is slightly fractured.

Joe, a married man from Connecticut, meets Cindy at a club in New York and they enter into a relationship. Joe’s intention is to have a good time outside of his marriage, Cindy on the other hand believes that Joe loves her and her increasing intention is to wrest hi away from his wife and children and marry him herself. Cindy wins and Joe marries her after his divorce becomes final. Several years later she is devastated to learn that he has had several affairs. Joe is surprised, it was never his intention to hurt Cindy, he gave her everything she wanted and assumed that she understood “the kind of guy” that he is.  Joe and Cindy could have saved themselves some trouble nd heartache by stating their intentions and expectations loudly and clearly back at the club when they first met.

In business, as in life, you will find that things will go much more smoothly when everyone is clear about what their intentions are and what their desired outcome is. What if you had said to Jane, “I am looking for people who are ready to hit the ground running because I have a goal..” then Jane could have responded “Well I really like the business model and want to sign on, but I probably won’t be able to get started working for another six months, would that be ok with you?”

It sure would save you a lot of angst and frustration to find out what’s really in your prospect’s head up front, now wouldn’t it?

How do you communicate your intentions when prospecting?

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Do I Need A Crash Course In Love?

The Love Course

The Love Course

As you know from reading my last post , my relationship with love has been less than stellar.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t come a long way from the kid who cried herself to sleep at night cause her Daddy lived somewhere else, but I did bring a lot of baggage on the journey – and I think that I may still have at least one train case with me (admit it, you have no idea what a train case is do you?).

When my blogging sister Lucy Lopez suggested that I try her Love Course, I  jumped at the chance.  The Love Course promises to (in Lucy’s words)  :

  1. Explain some of the most perplexing things about ‘love’
  2. De-myth-ify the most commonly held myths about love and relationships
  3. Lead you gently through a series of questions, exercises, meditations and visualizations to help you identify and sort through your own beliefs, doubts, (mis)understandings and expectations about love
  4. Give you many opportunities to reflect on and re-assess your dominant and conscious as well as subtle and subconscious thoughts, words and behaviours that characterize your relationships
  5. Teach you specific skills to help you overcome unloving habits of thought, speech and behaviour
  6. Help you build the confidence you need to love effortlessly, freely and fully.

Over the next 6 weeks I will immerse myself in LOVE and share the experience with you. In the meantime do visit Lucy at www. lucylopez.net.

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