Ok so here is Part 2!

If you didn’t see part 1 yesterday, here is the link:


Having got myself back on track following Mum’s death I then had to take another break whilst I had surgery on my hip. I was on crutches for 6 weeks and sore and tired, so not much work got done!

Now I am not going to bore you with all the details but during the next 4 years  I had another 4 lots of surgery! Most of them quite big surgeries and requiring significant recovery time. Between each one, my business would grow again and be on the brink of becoming successful and bang, another surgery, and back down it would go.

Bugger! But great excuses for absolving me of any kind of blame or responsibility, right?


Now I needed all of those surgeries but on some level I needed the hiccough they brought to my business success too.

I’ve done quite a lot of exploration of this over the years but as many of you reading this will know, I’m not much into woo-woo stuff, so I also rejected any idea that I may have had a part to play in any of this.

Recently, I’ve come to accept that I surely did. Law of attraction! On some level I am still a bit skeptical about the role of the Law of Attraction when it comes to needing surgery or for that matter getting other physical illnesses. The traditional medicine which I have known and practiced as a nurse for so long, still has me pretty firmly in it’s grip!

However, what I have come to accept in the past few months, was how my surgeries allowed me to play the victim, not be responsible for my business success, or lack thereof, and to just coast along with it, blaming my “bad luck” for the lack of momentum.

What I had unwittingly done, was go from overspender to underearner..the flip side of the same coin!

The end result is the same. I end up in debt and never have any money…initially from spending it all and more, and more recently, from not earning it!

What have been the effects of all this?

My relationship ended. I may have stopped overspending but now I didn’t have any money at all and that still put the relationship in precarious territory and F left. We remain great friends still.

I moved into an apartment but for the first time in my life couldn’t pay the rent, moved out and went housesitting. I actually love doing this. I stay in some fabulous homes and look after some amazing animals and have wonderful experiences. I hate moving though and living out of a suitcase can get pretty tedious!

When I moved into an inner city apartment I sold my car and walked everywhere. I haven’t been able to replace it.

I have had to borrow money from friends and family. This has strained some treasured relationships.

For some months I was on a WINZ accommodation supplement.

My pride has taken some massive hits.

But, I now know and believe that I truly have something to offer so many people.The lessons I have learned about our relationships with money are too valuable not to be shared. The work I do is important and who could be more qualified to do it! I am taking responsibility for that. There are people out there who need me.

Now that I have spilled all that ( whew!!) I intend that this blog will be a way to chronicle my journey and adventures along the way, whilst also giving some personal finance tips and information. You will also meet some of the funny and sweet animals I look after, and see some of the wonderful views I enjoy.

I hope that it will sometimes be funny, it may be irreverent, could well be opinionated on other subjects other than the one at hand but I hope it will be enjoyable. Please interact with me. I love hearing from you and love suggestions and comments….positive or negative. Until later….

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!

One of the most common reasons couples come to see me is disagreements over money. This is not surprising as it is one of the leading causes of divorce.

So the statistics are against you to start with….imagine how they escalate if the issue is something you have hidden from your significant other, especially if it was an issue before you committed to one another!! This is particularly if your problem is with debt. Discovering unknown debt, particularly if it is a large amount, can be a real honeymoon stopper! It can even be a marriage stopper.

I know that when I got together with my partner, my overspending  very quickly became an issue between us. In fact, it was really why I finally found help to deal with it. Now, whilst we still have very different attitudes to money, they’re out in the open and we can discuss money with that knowledge. Now, I’m not saying it makes it easy!! It is however, less fraught than it would be, if it had come to light once we had committed to one another.

So, if you are just developing a relationship with someone who, you think, might be “the one”, find a time when it is just the two of you, maybe over a quiet drink, meal or coffee  and begin to talk.  You can start by simply asking ” Do you think of yourself as a spender or a saver?” Ask them about their money goals, do they have any? Inquire about their debts – do they have a student loan, how big is it? Do they have credit card debt, again how big is it?  Do they save for something or just put it straight on a credit card. Obviously it is better if this is a two way conversation and not an interrogation!! Share with them your goals and attitudes towards money and if you have any debt. It is better to be out in the open.

If you’re reading this and thinking ” Great, but it’s too late for me, we’re married and he/she doesn’t know that I have $15K of credit card debt” Tell them NOW! The sooner the better. It is always better if you tell them than they somehow find out on their own. The deceit then somehow just seems worse and is more damaging to trust in the relationship. Your partner could then be thinking “What else have they hidden from me?”

So, be proactive and discuss your attitudes to money before your move in together or get married….trust me it can save a lot of heartache!

If you have been in either situation, please share your experiences in the comments section below.

‘Til debt do us part | StarTribune.com.

I’ve written about this before but here’s an article I’ve just read on finances and relationships. It discusses not only hiding purchases, but also hiding debt from partners.

Our upbringing has a huge impact on how we view and manage money. Our partners may well have been raised very differently; consequently they also have different views on what’s OK to spend money on or not.

Communicate, communicate and communicate and if you still can’t sort it out – get professional help.

Part of my story….

September 30, 2010

Diana Clement, a freelance journalist, wrote an article for the NZ Herald on how, no matter how much we earn, we often spend more…or at least don’t save it!

She interviewed me because, as I said, if it was an Olympic sport I would have won the gold medal!

You can read more here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=10675874

Love and Money

February 17, 2010

I recently read this  great article, by Kathy M. Kristof, a columnist from the L.A. Times.http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cover-love-money14-2010feb14,0,6454842.column

Her opening paragraph says it all:- (I know Valentine’s Day is now over but what she says counts any day!)

“It’s Valentine’s Day, when even reasonable people wander around, engagement rings at the ready, blathering about how “love is the answer.”

Passion often blinds sweethearts to the fact that matrimony is, at bottom, a contract. Figuring out how that partnership can prosper is critical for a successful union. Yet financial differences rank among the greatest sources of marital misery, in part because talking about money before you tie the knot makes many couples uncomfortable……….”

Snap out of it! Love, in fact, may be the problem.

Kathy Kristof goes on to say that it’s not too late; but that the earlier our partners are aware, and understand, our financial history and what shapes our money views, the better.

In my practice, I use a tool developed by Karen McCall of the Financial RecoverySM Institute: the MoneyMinder® Personal Autobiography. This does an excellent job of guiding you through a self discovery process, on the influences which have determined the way you manage money.

When both partners have completed their own autobiography, sharing them often leads to lots of “uh-huh” moments. This opens many avenues for exploring how those differences can be better handled, without always causing rows. The options are considerable.

I’d love it if you would take this poll and allow me to discover how you have dealt with the money discussion before you committed to a relationship.

The Costs of the Season

December 4, 2009

It’s that time of year again! There are only 22 21 days until Christmas.

It used to be that we would then hear how many shopping days that meant. Now, however, when the shops are mostly open 7 days a week and until all hours, it makes little difference, you can shop any day and I’m not even going into internet shopping!!

Here in New Zealand, for many it is also the countdown to the summer holidays, although, having been in Christchurch for 4 days and wearing winter clothes, one could be excused for wondering!! So, even without the winter weather, this is notoriously a stressful time of year.

There are parties to plan, organise and attend. There are meals out and in, to plan, organise and attend. There are holidays to plan and organise, and then there is Christmas day to plan, organise and attend (unless of course you don’t celebrate Christmas) If you have children, there are all of their end of year functions to plan, organise and attend! One word for it – BUSY!  Tired already?! Stressed?! It’s not over yet!

You are now expected to shop – for meals, for holidays and of course, for Christmas presents. Even if money is not an issue for you this is stressful. What to buy for Dad, Grandma, Auntie Collette etc?

It is a really good idea if you can, to make a Christmas present list, together with a budget before you even enter the shops. If you can’t get as far as knowing what you are going to buy for Dad, at least know the limit of what you want to spend on him and don’t go over. On my website, I have some other tips (My top 10 Tips) for reducing the amount you spend at Christmas. Go here to download for free http://www.financialclarity.co.nz

There I advocate just taking the budgeted amount, in cash, and no credit cards, when you go Christmas shopping, then you can’t go over! This is particularly if you are inclined to overspend, compulsive shop or, have any kind of shopping addiction. Of course, the same trick works when shopping at any time, not just at the holiday season.

This season, as I said in the beginning, is stressful by it’s very busyness, try not to make it more stressful by incurring debt as well. Most of all enjoy and have fun!