Posts Tagged ‘financial peace’

The Innocent

February 21, 2011

If you’re not already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, you’re missing out on my monthly review of the eight financial archetypes presented in Brent Kessel’s book It’s Not About the Money. For the month of February, I profiled The Innocent, which struck a chord with a lot of my friends and contacts. Read on and see if you maybe see yourself or someone you know.

The Innocent

Innocents, whether they have money or not, have the common thread of being unable to master money. Either they weren’t taught the skills, are confused by money or their natural gifts are not economically valued in our society. Innocents aren’t necessarily against money like Idealists are, they just have a hard time hanging onto it and dealing with it.

Many of the other financial archetypes develop their relationship to money in response to fear, anxiety or frustration. Innocents don’t have a coping strategy, so the pain they feel about their financial situation is often deeper and more obvious for others to see. They might feel like they should have the ability to be better with money, but when it comes down to trying, the response has historically been to shrug and say, “I guess I’m just not good with money.”

Even if they earn a high income, Innocents don’t have the know-how to secure their financial futures, so at the end of the day they find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. Innocents are far more likely to be regular lottery players and fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes, looking for a quick fix. When these endeavors fail, it just adds to their lack of confidence and feelings of inadequacy when dealing with money.

Practical Ways to Manage Cash Flow and Budgeting

Innocents usually spend everything they have and sometimes more, without any idea where the money is going. They are often people with no earnings of their own and depend on a spouse, family members or the government for support, which further adds to their financial distress. The first step of getting their financial house in order is to look at the numbers.

If you’re an Innocent and you don’t know how to look at the numbers, get help. Ask a financially savvy friend or hire a financial coach. Find out where your money is going, then start living within your means immediately. Find ways to simplify your lifestyle so that you can become self-sufficient. Prepare a debt pay-off plan and stick with it. It won’t be easy at first, but ignoring your financial situation won’t make it go away.

Many Innocents are women that are divorcing after many years of being financially dependent on their husbands. They know one thing: that they want out of their marriage. But they don’t know where to start when it comes to becoming financially independent. With a little bit of planning and professional guidance, I help these women save their energy for dealing with the emotional aspects of ending their marriage so that financial concerns don’t cloud their options as they move on.

Next month I’ll be covering the Caregiver archetype, someone who regularly subjugates her needs (both emotional AND financial) to those for whom she feels responsible, leading to resentment and poor financial health. Sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a single review!

Kelley C. Long, CPA is a Chicago-based financial coach who believes you shouldn’t have to have a million bucks to receive personalized financial advice. Check her out at www.kelleyclong.com.

Are You “Making It?”

January 31, 2011

I finally got a chance to watch the Oprah show last month that had Suze Orman putting the smack down on “Octomom” Nadya Suleman. And let me tell you, Suze let her have it. I’m usually not a fan of calling someone on the carpet and making her feel like crap about her financial situation, but in this case it was absolutely necessary.

Suze, Nadya, Oprah

I could go on and on about how the conversation played out (or you can read it yourself here), but what I found most compelling about Nadya’s little “come to Suze” was Suze’s answer to Nadya saying she was “making it” financially when she decided to have eight more babies (in addition to the six she already had).

When Suze asked Nadya what she was thinking when she decided to have more kids, Nadya commented that she was getting by day-to-day just fine. Suze asked if she was “making it,” and Nadya said that yes, she was making it but things were tough. And then came my favorite part:

Suze stopped Nadya mid-sentence to inform her that she was not “making it.” Making it is NOT getting up in the morning and making it through the day to try the next day. Making it is:

  • Having an eight-month emergency fund
  • Not having credit card debt
  • Not needing food stamps
  • Putting money in your retirement

This made me really think about how many of us spend money on things we can’t afford and don’t really need, thinking that just because we are still able to pay the bills and we have a job that we are making and will figure it out in the future. I did this when I first graduated from college – I spent a summer living on my credit card, figuring that when I started my new job in the fall, I would pay off the debt right away.

Little did I know that it would take me more than five years to finally see a $0 balance on that card. And that didn’t come easily either – I threw every little “windfall” that came my way into getting that debt paid. Tax rebate check? Straight to VISA. Work bonus? In the mail to VISA. Raffle winning at a fund-raiser? Hello, VISA. You get the point.

I sacrificed quite a few opportunities to enjoy exotic travel or indulgent spa treatments or even just an extra visit with family because I knew that until that debt was gone, I shouldn’t be spending a lot of money on non-essentials. I WASN’T making it, even if I had a great-paying job, was putting money in my 401k and was still in my 20’s.

I’m not professing that unless your financial picture is perfect, you shouldn’t take a vacation or buy that new couch you need. “Making it” is a goal to be worked toward for most of us and getting there doesn’t guarantee financial peace. Just don’t fool yourself when you’re whipping out that credit card next time you know you probably shouldn’t.

So, are you making it? Please share your story or opinion in the comments.

Kelley C. Long, CPA is a Chicago-based financial coach who believes you shouldn’t have to have a million bucks to receive personalized financial advice. Check her out at www.kelleyclong.com.