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UNCOVERING YOUR FINANCIAL ABUNDANCE

Abundance is an exhilarating state of being when there is enough of what you want. It is a place you can relax and rejoice into.  As the New Year is approaching, intentions, prayers and wishes are going out. Abundance might be the gift most often asked for.

In this essay I want to look at financial abundance specifically. Our attitudes towards money vary. And many beautiful things in life are free. And the best things are not things at all. Yet some beautiful things and experiences do have price tags.

I want to share with you my Three Step Journey to Uncovering Your Financial Abundance.

 The Three Steps include:

1.      Knowing what you want.

2.      Knowing where you stand financially.

3.      Building a relationship with your income and spending.

 I shaped this effective system while helping my financial planning clients with their finances. Without any changes in income, we found a way for them to enjoy the things they wanted without guilt or worries. They were able to relax into knowing exactly what they could or could not afford, and feel abundance where previously they were feeling lack. Even when they could not immediately have what they wanted, they found out what it would take for them to acquire it.  

Money can be a taboo topic in our Western society. It can be the elephant in the middle of the room that no one will talk about. It is considered rude to ask questions and share any information about personal finances or troubles. Discomfort is commonly attributed to personal money matters.  Have you ever felt embarrassed or shy asking to be paid for your work? I have. And this is exactly why I want to offer you a way to expose any places in your relationship with money that can benefit from extra attention, clarity and added sense of direction.

Your relationship with money is one of the most complex and rich bonds you have with the world around you. Your relationship with money is about valuing the gift you are bringing into this world, feeling entitled and grateful for the compensation you receive, and handling the money you earn in a conscious way that provides you with joy, confidence and increased opportunities.

The last part of the equation is what I want to tackle here. Uncovering your financial abundance and eradicating the nagging guilt that occasionally comes with spending money on the things that you want is what I am after.

Have you ever wanted something but said to yourself “Oh, I really should not”? Most of us have dreams and wishes. Some of them are easier to attain than others. And sometimes when something seems out of reach, we try to convince ourselves that we don’t really want it anyways. We work hard, but there never seems to be enough.

 
When those prayers for abundance are heard, it rains money. I invite you to build a container to hold this new abundance. We will build a container for the seeds that will grow, blossom and multiply.

The first step to uncovering your financial abundance is knowing what you want. List a few things you really want even if your mind is telling you that you will never ever be able to afford them. Just for now, we are only looking at the things that require money.

Now that we have a destination, we need a starting point. The second piece of the equation is knowing where you stand financially. Assessing your Net Worth is useful for creating a reference point. This is the difference between your assets and your liabilities. List everything you own and everything you owe. Estimate the value and calculate the difference. For example, the value of your vehicle adjusted for its depreciation and your coin collection are your assets. Your credit card debt and the money you borrowed from your friend are your liabilities. Knowing where you stand gives you an idea of what would happen if you were to sell everything, pay everything off, and  start from scratch. (Or go live in the woods)

The third and final piece of the Journey to Uncovering Your Financial Abundance is getting your ducks in a row and creating a Projected Income and Spending Plan. A week by week cash flow analysis is a great way to see where your hard-earned cash goes. Money spent on the little things can create a Black Hole in your budget. The little things are fun to buy in the moment. But they get forgotten quickly while keeping you further away from the things you really want.

List the income you know you will earn plus the income you hope you will earn if you are self-employed. If you want to get fancy, discount the income you are not sure about by the probability of getting it. To do that, multiply the number of dollars you hope to receive by the percentage of the chance you can honesty assign to this possibility.

Now list the expense side of things week by week. What are your home, food and transportation expenses? These expenses are usually fairly easy to estimate. Now you have your Necessities listed.

And here is the fun part. The difference between what you earn and spend on necessities is yours to play with! My favorite part of the spending Plan is what I call Niceties. Yes, I am really calling them that.

Niceties are the frosting on the cake. They are the enjoyable things you do not need, but want and like. My personal Niceties include yoga classes, dance passes, and workshop fees. It can be anything that makes you happy, regularly or once in a blue moon.

The last bit of the Income and Spending Plan is what is left from your Income after you have allocated the money for Necessities and Niceties. This money can be stored away into an interest earning account or a retirement plan, or invested.

If your income is sparse or seasonal, having a cushion for the rainy day brings security, so it is well worth budgeting for. 

Most clients I have worked with ended up very surprised at what they found out. It turns out that their financial situation is much better than they thought! There was a surplus of money every month! This money was leaking into the Black Hole of the Little Things, going away unnoticed and unaccounted for. Once we got all the numbers lined up, it became very clear how long it would take for that dream trip, workshop or dress to become a reality. Some dream items were well within reach! 


And guess what?

Once you know that you can have what you want without hurting yourself financially, the guilt-free joy of having it grows tremendously. Having what you want with no guilt attached is a very different feeling than hoping that your charge will go through, and that you will have enough money left to pay your rent.

When you know where you stand financially, you can confidently say “Yes, I can and will have this.” Or sometimes you look at the numbers and say “No, it is not a good time for this right now, but I can have this in six months, or, if I cut my spending here and here, in three months!”

A great example of the freedom that comes with knowing where you are is a story of a client of mine. I will call her Nancy. I noticed that Nancy was uncomfortable in her body while we were discussing her finances. I asked her what was wrong. Nancy said her back was hurting because she had to quit going to yoga classes due to lack of money, and was not disciplined enough to practice yoga at home. Nancy said that yoga so far was the only thing that had helped her back pain.

Her yoga classes did not cost a fortune but they did cost money. Nancy said that she could not justify going to yoga and paying $16 per class every time while her massage therapy business was slow. Nancy shared that while she was not per say “broke”, she had a sense of doom due to her low income.

We crunched some numbers and looked at everything Nancy had, earned, spent and wanted. We created a map of Nancy’s financial life in a colorful and easy to read spreadsheet. And, what do you know? Not only did Nancy have enough to cover her life expenses, she had a $350 monthly surplus! Where was the money going? We looked at Nancy’s credit card statement and noticed daily Starbucks charges, frequent lunches out and many other little charges that really added up.


So to Nancy’s surprise, not only she could afford to practice yoga at a studio, but she could still allocate $100 a month to savings. At the time Nancy was not saving anything, and she felt worried that she could end up in financial trouble should something unexpected happen. So we opened a Money Market account that paid her much better interest than her savings bank account without locking her in.


This is a brief example of how a simple money structure uncovered someone’s financial abundance. There is no need to be super wealthy to live a life of abundance! I believe that abundance means having what you want. And some of your desires are closer than you really know.

The Three Step Journey to Financial Abundance is about knowing what you want, where you stand, and mapping out a path to get where you want to go.  Having a handle on your finances creates feelings of confidence, security and abundance. Not knowing where you stand can bring a feeling of instability, like being precariously suspended in the air with no ground under your feet, and no sense of direction. Knowing your situation provides a sense of power, and gives you the freedom to make conscious choices. It empowers you and propels you towards a richer and more fulfilling life.

 
 
 

Financial Planning and QuickBooks Consulting