The answer c9814708_san be, I believe, both.

For me, and many people like me, shopping certainly had many of the elements of addiction.

I would obsess about buying something. I would seek out opportunities to go shopping although I knew it was damaging my relationships and credit rating. I’d often have trouble stopping and would feel restless and irritable or even depressed, when I stopped or hadn’t been shopping in a while. I denied I had any problems with money and was never open about my purchases regarding price or quantity. I would also be out of control sometimes e.g. buying 2 pairs of shoes when I only needed one or none at all!! One of my clients told me of going into a shop to buy a white t-shirt and coming out a short time later with many t-shirts of assorted colors!

These are all common characteristics of addictive behaviors as described here http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/hints/addictiveb.html .

So, I now readily admit, I had a spending or shopping addiction for many years.

For me shopping was not the cure. It was merely a temporary patch or plaster over some wounds, namely my low self esteem.

Buying stuff made me feel better about myself and more worthy of others’ love and attention, in the moment.

It was temporary at best.

Many people who use shopping, or spending money, as a salve for their wounds report having feelings of remorse and even self loathing afterwards. They regret that they have again succumbed to the seduction of shopping. Their self esteem is hit again as, once more, they have broken the promise they made to themselves to stop using their credit card.

Just as alcoholics wake up the next day and regret last night and vow to, this time, never drink again, so does the shopaholic regret the shopping and vow to never do it again. They promise that they will pay off their credit cards and never use them again.

I would, secretly, make statements like that all the time and then further knock my self esteem by not keeping my promise to myself. I couldn’t be relied on, even by me.

Now what about the other part of the equation…that retail therapy is a cure?

For many people an afternoon of shopping is a very enjoyable way to spend time, either with friends, or alone. The buzz and visual stimulus of the shops and malls make them feel uplifted and brighter. It elevates their mood.

One of the questions I ask people when they start working with me is about their attitudes to shopping. If they describe shopping as a hobby it does raise a red flag for me.

Does it mean they are addicted? Not always.

However, it is worth remembering that shops and shopping malls are in business to sell stuff and make a profit. If you are spending lots of time there, the chances are you are going to spend more money than you intend and often, than you can afford.

So if, for you, the occasional outing to the shops lifts your mood and makes you happy then by all means go for it, at least occasionally. We are meant to be happy.

If, on the other hand you find yourself spending more time or money than you intended when you go shopping maybe it is time to evaluate these trips and find other less expensive hobbies or ways of making you feel better or relieve the boredom.

If you found yourself being a bit alarmed or all too agreeable, when you read the first part of this article contact me and set up a clarity/strategy call with me and we can talk about. You can schedule it here :-http://www.financialclarity.co.nz/schedule-session.html

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4532597_sOver the past week I have participated in a business challenge.

It was challenging, I’ll admit. For one thing it had me video myself dancing. Unless I’ve had several drinks I am very late to any dance floor!!

But better than that;( although to be fair bettering me having to dance wasn’t that hard!) it gave me huge insights and aha moments. One of them was about my own underearning.

I am sharing it here:-

I’m Jill Porter, the money coach who helps women, in particular, sort out their money shit and I am over being only partly, and erratically, visible.

I’ve had this business for more than 6 years now but really only stepped into it, if still only gradually, this year!  I am now ploughing forward.

Before, I would get the business to a certain level and then something would stop me, and the business progress. Genuine stuff like my Mum dying and having major surgery; but I let them derail me. Over and over.

It was more comfortable to be a victim of my circumstances than to stand up and own my past, and claim my future.

I felt even more uncomfortable than I do dancing and that’s saying something! (Unless of course, the party has been going for a while and I am well lubricated!!)

I was happy to claim that I was an overspender; there was something kind of cute about being a shopaholic or succumbing to some retail therapy!  I was much less keen to admit that now I was also an underearner.

I had sorted out some of my money shit but more had reared up.

It was shit scary!! Why?

What would people think?

Would people still like me?

Would it scare potential clients off?

How could everyone else do it but not me?

I can do lots of scary stuff. I had repeated major surgeries and faced them with courage and used my awesome resilience to recover and come back better than before.

I came out at 52 and told my 90+ year old mother…and that got the heart rate up I tell you…as well as my friends and family. Mostly it was incredibly positive and I was so glad that I had.

So now I been brave and admitted this, not only to myself, but also to you.

With the other brave stuff I could see myself as a bit of a hero. This is trickier. I feel vulnerable and maybe some of those fears may come to pass. I know I will cope with them, if they do. I know I am strong and resilient.

Why do I want to?

I want a successful business. I want a profitable business.

I want to prove the nay sayers wrong!

I am also passionate about children and really want to make a difference for children living in poverty. First in my city Auckland, but then to spread that help as far as it will go.

But way more than any of that I really want to help more people sort out their money shit.

I know how stressful it can be.

How much sleep you lose worrying about money.

How many arguments it causes with your partner.

How it robs you of the enjoyment you should be getting out of life.

How it robs you of your self esteem and causes you shame.

How it costs you some of the opportunities you are given.

So, I really want to support women as they traverse this tricky path and help them find some shorter routes and, if possible, avoid the really hard yards.

To help them reduce their stress, recover their restful sleep and help to make them happy and joyful again.

If any of this resonates with you click this link and book a free strategy/clarity session with me by clicking the link below and we can have a chat.

http://www.financialclarity.co.nz/schedule-session.html

When I was at primary school, maybe about 8 or 9, I always wanted these Clarks sandals like everyone else had!

Clark's sandals

Mum would never agree. For some inexplicable, or maybe not understood, reason she would never buy them for me.

She always insisted, and bought me these and they were always red! I hated them.

Jellies

Now history has shown that I was something of a fashion trail blazer in the1960’s by wearing jellies! I’m sure that idea never entered Jeannie’s (Mum’s) mind and it doesn’t matter, I still hate them.

I use this story to illustrate a point.

When I was in the midst of my overspending and chronic debting I thought I was on my own because everyone else could manage their money. I hid my shameful secret pretty well; or at least I thought I did. Just as I didn’t want to stand out with my jellies, nor did I want to stand out with my inability to manage my money.

Now, not everyone was wearing Clark’s sandals at school, probably just the girls I considered cool or in!

Like that, I now know that not everyone manages their money well either!

I’m generally considered smarter than your average bear and I couldn’t! I’ve had many clients who were seen as very successful, and in many ways were, but their finances were in a mess. They weren’t all overspenders like me but their money situation was chaotic.

Admitting that I needed help really changed the situation for me and finding that I wasn’t alone made all the difference.

If you know deep in your heart that you could be doing a better job with money then get in touch and we can have a complimentary strategy session to see how you could be doing better. Click on this link to my website and contact me today…I’d love to chat and I know you will feel better after we do.

href=”https://jillporter.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/12637931_s.jpg”>Shame

It’s been a funny few days.

I have had some great responses to telling my back story.

The odd questioning ones as well.

Why would I tell this?

Maybe I should have made it more positive? Maybe it would be off putting if someone was wanting to work with me, if they knew I didn’t have it all sorted out?

None of them were doubts I hadn’t had myself, trust me. However, I take heart from Brene Brown’s quote : “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”

My purpose in telling my story is not only owning it myself but also, hopefully, providing encouragement to others who may be thinking that they are walking this path on their own. They are not.

I am on that path too and I meet people all the time, who are on their own version of this journey.

In our society, money is not talked about unless it is bragging about how much you have! Most people don’t do that. My mother went to her grave at 93, not ever knowing how much my father earned!!

Things have changed from then but it is still considered shameful to be in debt, to have to borrow money and god forbid to go bankrupt. (At the same time as we are bombarded with advertisements to buy, buy, buy! And to get this credit card and be jetting off on overseas holidays etc, etc,etc.)

I know how lonely it can feel to have these issues and feel that you are all alone. How scary it is. How alienating it feels. Just how fucking ghastly it feels!!

I hope by being honest about my path I can help someone else not feel so alone and to feel braver about reaching out for help, or just to tell someone else, so that it doesn’t feel so lonely and scary.

Another Brene Brown quote helps too:- “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

OK, I am changing things up in here!

For a few years I have been posting irregularly in here, usually about money and money behaviours. It’s been OK but it was a bit boring( actually often a lot boring!!) and I’m not into boring and nor do I lead a boring life.

Sooooooo….. I have decided to change it around and I am going to post more regularly just on what’s happening in my life. It won’t be on all of it, I promise!! I will still focus on money in many ways but it will be more centred on my ongoing relationship with money and where that has led me and the adventures I have along the way.

It may not be pretty, it may not be well punctuated and it may not use correct grammar all the time, but it will be real. It may well contain some of my opinions on other stuff too…so look out!

A catch up first..

As many of you know, for a lot of years I was an overspender (aka shopaholic) and a chronic debtor. I always had credit card debt apart from a few weeks when I had, yet again, managed to pay them off, vowing to never use them again…until I did! Every. Time!

I was living in the USA ( my home is New Zealand) and met a new partner.. A quick explanation here. I usually use “they gave me an ultimatum” but in the interests of really telling it as it is, it was really she gave me an ultimatum. I warned you that my life isn’t boring …I came out as a lesbian at 52 and F was my first female partner! Using “they” has given me a few laughs though! eg a male CEO saying ” so all you needed was a good man!” As if!!!

Anyway, F gave me an ultimatum: either get help for my spending and behaviour around money, or we were through.

So, I found a counsellor and began Financial Recovery counselling. It was a gamechanger! I stopped using my credit cards immediately and began tracking what I was spending. Did I become a penny pincher? No, but did I plan my spending and then  track what I spent? Hell yeah!!

Things were trucking along pretty well…until the company was restructured and my position was eliminated.

Back to NZ I came with F relocating with me. The only problem was I didn’t have a job as I had become too senior (and too expensive) for the local subsidiary. I’d had my fill of corporate life anyway and decided to strike out on my own and Financial Clarity was born. I would help people, women in particular, who had issues around money like I did.

It wasn’t an overnight success..far from it but I began to attract clients and I was able to help them change their relationship to their money. It had hiccoughs along the way and lots of them.

My Mum got ill and died aged 93. I was delighted that self employment allowed me the freedom to spend some very valuable weeks with her before then though. My wonderful Mum’s death derailed me than I thought it would. I thought I was pretty accepting of the inevitable with her age and failing health.

On many levels I was but I missed her more than I thought possible and still do.

Look for part two of the catch up tomorrow!

Is today your day?

April 8, 2014

lotto numbersThis week’s Money Motivator I wrote on the potentially negative effects of selling Lotto at the checkout in supermarkets. I don’t think it is a good idea. It puts the temptation of acting on magical thinking too close for comfort. What do you think?

In Financial Recovery we use several terms to describe money behaviour. One, which I have used before is the money fog, where people ignore the signs of their precarious financial situation. Not opening mail, not knowing what their credit card balances are and how much interest they are paying, are all examples of money fog!

Another one is “magical thinking”. Essentially this is when we expect a miracle to get us out of the mess we are in. With money and debt, examples are a knight in shining armour racing in on his trusty steed and rescuing us, winning the lottery or getting an unexpected inheritance! All, we know are pretty unlikely to happen!

Therefore, like others, I was concerned with the news that Countdown supermarkets will have Lotto outlets right at the checkouts. Likewise the news that Lotto tickets will be able to be bought with credit cards!

TV3 had an item about this at the weekend. The CEO of the Mad Butcher, Michael Morton said that “ “A jackpot weekend can take up to 8 or 9 percent of (sic) our total weeks’ sales, and on a Saturday with a big jackpot it can be up to 15 percent of a loss of sales,”

Darryl Evans of the Mangere Budgeting Services Trust, said that on the Monday after a big jackpot they have a big increase in the number of people requesting food parcels.

A lot has been made in the media about the ease of purchasing leading to an increase in gambling. This is not my area of expertise so I cannot comment. However, what I do know, is that people who have a spending addiction, together with those who have substantial debt including, but not limited to, credit card debt, will be enticed by the power of their magical thinking into spending more than they can afford on Lotto. They believe that winning Lotto would solve all their problems and spending their last cent, or going deeper into debt, on tickets is worth it because they WILL win and therefore, on Monday, they will be able to repay it!

Now, I think most of us have dreamed of winning Lotto and what we would do with it when we do, but the difference is that the people I am talking about, see it as a realistic strategy for getting them out of the hole they’re in! Then come Saturday night, Sunday morning or whenever they check their tickets, they are overwhelmed with the disappointment of their strategy not working. Not only did they not win but now they have less money to buy the essentials or, worse still, are deeper in debt. This impacts their relationships, their mental health and can take food from their family’s table.

I know this because it was part of my magical thinking! I would buy a ticket religiously every weekend, believing(!) that this was my time and here was the solution, only to be bitterly disappointed on Sunday or Monday when I checked the ticket(s)!! My spending on this never went beyond $25 each week, but I am aware of people spending hundreds of dollars on Lotto, money they cannot afford.

It is also interesting to note that Countdown report an 8% increase in sales of Lotto when they trialled selling them at checkout as opposed to separate booths! They also get 7% of the profit from Lotto sales; they know it works!

If this is your thinking and behaviour, or you know someone who has these beliefs, get in touch and we can have a chat about strategies to use to avoid such spending and creating more successful strategies.

Often, when talking to people about the work I do, I tell them that I help people clear their credit card debt once and for all and never have to use a credit card again. For many that sounds like the definition of impossible! They have cleared their debt before, often many times, and know that it just goes back up again.
20284370_s
Then, when I tell them about the process I use and explain that, if possible, I will get them to commit to not using their credit card at all until I see them next time, I see the horrified looks and panic setting in!

The reason for this is that, like so many people, their credit card is their security blanket! It’s what stands between them and financial disaster if the car breaks down, the child needs orthodontic work, the dog needs surgery, Christmas arrives, someone has a birthday, friends ask them out for dinner, they need a holiday etc etc! It is where they go for “money” when all else fails. I know this, I have done this, more times than I care to remember, but I also knows that it doesn’t work and only makes the situation worse.

I am not going to go into all the other reasons people use credit cards, like air points etc and the reasons why it is better and cheaper to use debit cards or better still cash! Today I am just talking about using them as your back up plan! I have been a bit facetious above with the “emergencies” people use their credit cards for, but I have either given them myself or heard them, and more, many times when people have told me that they only use them for emergencies.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking “but I do only use them for emergencies and then immediately pay them off in full” then fine. Whilst I do think that there is a better way, this message is not primarily for you, but read on because you might be interested in how you could do it differently.

I then go on to explain how I help them save their way out of debt, once and for all!  Doesn’t that sound good? Too good to be true? Not at all. If you follow the method which I teach you, which was developed by Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute, that is exactly what you can do. I never ask people to cut up their credit cards, nor put them in a container of water in the freezer, I just ask them to trust the process, which has worked for thousands and thousands of people, and not use their credit cards until they see me again. As Karen says, “ if you want to get out of a hole, first you must stop digging”!

The other key steps are to pay the minimum on your credit card each month whilst building up a savings account, which we call a Periodic Savings account. Now I can hear all of you with financial backgrounds or those who pay off your credit cards in full every month, exclaiming that this will cost extra because of the interest. Yes, you are right but if you are someone who constantly uses your credit card and can never manage to always pay if off in full every month, then, trust me, this is a much cheaper way in the long run. Remember I teach you how to pay if off, in full, once and for all and to never have credit card debt ever again.

That’s because the Periodic Savings account becomes your security blanket; it’s where you go to get the money to pay the dentist, the vet, the restaurant, the holiday and Christmas! Using a formula I teach you, you can plan for all these and more, and know that you will always have the money available to cover all these events, without having to bring out the credit card. Once this is functioning well we also start another account which we call a “Safety Net” account and here you provide for coverage of all your expenses if you were to have an interruption in income.

So, if you would like to learn how to save your way out of debt, once and for all, use one of the methods below to contact me and we can have a coffee and discuss it further, to see if I can help you.

I’d love your comments about all of this and feel free to share it with your friends either by email or socially below.

Have a great week everyone and give it a try… Can you manage to not use your credit card for the next week?