Let’s review!

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let’s review Marion’s Ten Commandments of Finance:

 1.)  Money doesn’t equal happiness

2.)    It’s in your hands

3.)    Don’t disrespect yourself

4.)    Don’t disrespect your family

5.)    Don’t let others disrespect you

6.)    Don’t discount emotions

7.)    Expect the unexpected

8.)  Ignore the Jones

9.)    Practice charity

10.) Let it go

 Money matters. It matters substantially and its use in your life demonstrates your character. Wrap your brain around your money. Take control without being controlling. 

 I would remind you to encourage each other and consider each other all the while minding our own freaking business and working to improve your understanding of your life and money.

 This learning about life and finances is a process. We won’t ever be entirely perfect in every area of any subject, including money.. We will always be learning, grappling, growing.  The only way that it will be better tomorrow is because of your actions today! Wrestle your money to the ground, baby! Get things under control. Learn to love a budget. Do it!

The Ten Commandments of Finance: Commandment X Letting Go

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

10) Let it go

 Once you have done everything you can,  you can’t do anymore. Please be at peace knowing you are only responsible for your piece of the Universe, not any other portion. As you grow wiser, you will spend your life tweaking elements and characteristics of the good you know to do. 

 You can’t regret, look back or beat yourself up. Life is full of surprises and some of them really stink. You knew less in the past when confronted with those options than you know now, so please forgive yourself.

 If things go swimmingly for you, you shouldn’t think you are better, smarter or wiser than others around you. Nor should you think you are a dolt and everyone else has it together.

 Sometimes it was because you were careful, but sometimes repeated job losses, divorce or illness have nothing to do with us, or our good, or bad, planning. Winning the lottery, an inheritance or a medical settlement can be like rain or sunshine. What now, that’s really more important. Here, in this place in your life, with stuff ‘under the bridge’ things yet to come in your future, what are you going to do in the present?

The Ten Commandments of Finance- Commandment 9 – Charity

June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

9.)  Practice charity– Your finances may be in your hands but life is not all about you.

As I have said before, you need to be the master of your freaking domain, of where your money goes. You need to know where all your pennies and dollars are headed. But an essential place for them is into the hands of others. You need to practice charity.

Why? Cause life’s not all our you or me; because the difficulties of others puts our life in perspective; because what goes around comes around; because  how you spend your money is a direct reflection on what you value.

What DO you value?

The Ten Commandments of Finance: Commandment VIII Forget the Jones’

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

8.)  Ignore the Jones

 Peer pressure is not simply a problem for kids.  Grown-ups also succumb to it. Be it in the brands they think they must own, or vacations or even how they invest their money.

 If you hang around people who have different values about money or who make considerably more money than you, you may feel upset about your life and chosen priorities; that shiny truck in your neighbor’s yard, the vacations . You really can’t know how much debt they have or the financial situation in their life simply based on external appearances.

 Do you remember the commercial  – Lending Tree-loan services company

Stanley Johnson, who brags about his big house, his new car and how “I even belong to the local golf club. How do I do it?” he continues with a big, dumb smile, “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs.” Lowering his voice, but still smiling, he adds, “I can barely pay my finance charges.” The smile doesn’t leave his face as he drives a riding lawn mower, saying, “Somebody help me.”…

Recognize the potentially bad influence others may have on your spending and your attitudes pertaining to your life and your satisfaction.

 But also consider this: You might be a stinky influence on others. You may spend a lot when others are trying to be more frugal. You may brag about how easy finances are for your family and what a great job you have when others are struggling. Do a little self-evaluation and recognize the potential trouble or unintended pain you may cause to those you love, chickadee.

 And recognize that the influence you have includes the messages you are sending to your kids. Study after study show that if you make shopping your hobby you will teach kids to spend more. How do you spend your time with those babies of yours…? Do you encourage the hobby of shopping in them?

The Ten Commandments of Finance: Commandment VII Expect the Unexpected

June 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

7.)  Expect the unexpected

 Things change. Be it bumps in the road with your plan. You’ve seen enough of life and had enough experience to realize that your very good plan of using this particular check go towards paying down the credit card may get sidelined. Maybe the car and the refrigerator break or your daughter needs special sports paraphernalia tomorrow and forgot to mention it.

 Eventually, if you persist in doing good, the money will go to pay down debt and you will have more money saved for retirement. Don’t be too quickly discouraged.

 Sometimes the fork in the road may be an entirely new road, a new way of thinking about mortgages or investments, as new instruments are developed. You don’t want to assume new things aren’t bad because they are ‘new fangled.’  Cars , computers and texting were new for someone.  Instruments you, or your parents, didn’t know about previously doesn’t automatically make them bad.

 Learn what you need to know, be open, concerning the new things so you can have options about different ways to save for retirement or get a mortgage.

 The lesson here? Be flexible and expect the unexpected.

The Ten Commandments of Finance: Commandment III

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

3.)  Don’t disrespect yourself– stop thinking something’s wrong with you because you have trouble understanding money.

 As I said in my presentation, A Smart Girls Guide to Financial Bliss, you’ve got to love yourself, kids.  68% of people with high esteem are good at planning their day-to-day finances. By contrast, 70% of those with poor self-esteem don’t feel in control of their finances.  62% of people with high esteem have set themselves long-term financial goals.

Let me tell you how self-esteem helps in finance. You need to know that you are important enough to stand up for what you believe is needed even when you don’t feel technically capable about the details of the financial matters in your life.

Let me tell you about Beth and her story. Beth, not her real name, didn’t feel smart about her finances. So when she married, she gave the money reins to her new husband. His mandate was to direct all their money towards paying off his debt. Minimum payments were made on all her debt.  Beth voiced her concerns that this seemed wrong, not wise, unfair, but because she felt ‘stupid’ about money she’d acquiesce about this crazy inappropriate allocation of funds.

 Not surprisingly, they are divorcing, because there were problems in the relationship. If you doubt you’re smart, if you let yourself be bulldozed, if you know in your heart something isn’t right…it ISN’T.

 Most important priorities after having a budget: don’t add to debt; having retirement savings (particularly important for women for so many reasons in my book) plus emergency money.

 You don’t need to know these topics well enough to earn a Ph. D.  I am not an expert on topics at which you may excel. You probably don’t sew your own clothes, build and fix your computer and harvest all your food and fuel? No? So you don’t need to be the sole resource of financial information in your life. YOU need to know what you need to know and you need to know when you need help!

 But you DO have to make having a basic understanding  of your financial life a priority, as you are doing today – I mean you don’t have to be reading this blog. You could be doing other things like shopping!!!!

The Ten Commandments of Finance – First Commandment

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Ten Commandments of Finance:  Speaking to the larger truths, and not simply the facts, about money.

 I love learning about finance, whether it is about business, personal finance, investments, all of this is really yummy to me. But I have found that not everyone feels excited.

1.)  Money doesn’t equal happiness

A recent article in the WSJ (Tuesday, March 15, 2011, pg. D1) entitled ‘Is Happiness Overrated?’ stated what other studies have revealed. Happiness isn’t you having more stuff; it’s an attitude of the heart.  Long-term fulfillment and happiness, according to this article and many others like it, comes from having a life of purpose and meaning: volunteering, getting a degree; being the best you can be and helping others – that brings fulfillment.

Don’t get me wrong money can make life easy – or its lack make life more difficult.  Gallop’s poll of 450,000 people found that our day-to-day moods can be affected by money. With a salary of $75,000 folks feel as if life is working out. At a significantly lower income, according to Gallop – and you know from your own experience- folks feel  ‘ground down’ by financial difficulties.

But you KNOW it isn’t money that brings happiness because we have all heard of sports stars and lottery winners, or those with well-paying jobs right in our community, who are miserable. Recent news stories of particular TV or movie ‘stars’ with such loneliness and emptiness in their hearts demonstrate that money is used, or squandered, to buy friends, companionship or is compulsively spent on things, all in a desperate effort at filling a void.

Happiness can come from things that have NOTHING to do with money: exercising, the simple act of holding a pen or pencil in your mouth in a way that makes a grimace; becoming cheerful when you see someone at the store. In my book there is a chapter on happiness and all the joy beauty brings be it from flowers, color, nature and just being able to see nature from your window. All these things bring happiness.

More money helps. But happiness, life satisfaction, comes from other sources.

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