Ok so here is Part 2!

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

https://jillporter.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/changing-up-the-back-story/

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?

Wrong!

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….

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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!

Lululemon

Happy Monday and most of all, Happy New Year!!

I hope that you have had a relaxing break or, if you’ve worked through, that it hasn’t been too busy. I am assuming that many of you, like me, will start their new working year today. I’ll have to admit that getting up this morning, I did have a rather wistful thought about my friends who are teachers and still have some time to enjoy our summer weather!

I am excited about the New Year though and really looking forward to meeting and working with more wonderful women this year, to say nothing of the occasional wonderful man!

The New Year is often when we resolve to make improvements in some area(s) of our life. According to http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ the most common resolutions for this year are:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Getting organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Staying fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

Any of those resonate with you? Apart from number 7, because I did that nearly 20 years ago, I could live with most of these!

I also think that the Lululemon manifesto (picture above) gives pretty good guidance for life in general and contains good tenets to live by.
This time of year is a great time to review your 2013 achievements, pat yourself on the back and celebrate your successes. Then look at what didn’t work so well and what you can do to improve in those areas this year. Were your goals, or resolutions, too optimistic or did you, like so many others, make them and then forget them?
There is a great deal of literature about successful setting; just Google it and see!

General points of agreement seem to be:-

  • They must motivate you
  • They must be SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound)
  • Write them down
  • Make an action plan
  • Stick with it!

I also think that sharing them with someone else, who is supportive of you, really helps too. This can be a friend, partner or spouse, or a coach or mentor. Someone that you can turn to when the going gets tough, who can motivate you and remind you of why you wanted to do this in the first place! Even highly successful athletes have coaches; watch the Heineken Open starting today here in Auckland or the Australian Open starting soon (both tennis tournaments), if you want proof of that!

Part of the success of having a coach is that we often feel more committed to something if we have to be accountable to someone else! It shouldn’t be; but human nature being what it is, it seems to be so. We very easily let ourselves off the hook, but when we have to “report” to someone else we are more likely to stay motivated and on track. Some good examples are not only the sporting examples but also programmes such as Weight Watchers, where the thought of the weekly weigh in, in front of others, can be highly motivating when tempted with some edible delight!! The same applies to having a personal trainer at the gym. For me it always seemed easier to go to the gym than face my trainer and admit I didn’t go!!

So it can be if “spending less, saving more” or “paying off my credit cards” is amongst your resolutions or goals this year. Working with a Money Coach or accountability partner can keep you motivated, on track and educate you about the pitfalls and tips and tricks to be successful. They can also be your cheerleader or advocate, when times are tough. You are not on the path alone. If you or someone you know has these or something similar as your resolutions or goals, hit the button below and we can organize a time to have coffee (I pay!) and a strategy discussion on how you might go about being successful. ( if you are out of Auckland we can do this virtually)
Have a wonderful week everyone and I hope that 2014 will be a happy, healthy and successful year for you and yours.

5158257_mLast week I entitled my MMM (Monday Money Motivator) – It’s not too late!

In it I gave you some tips on Christmas and holiday spending. I had some very favourable comments so it did seem to strike a chord with you.

 

In some ways “it’s not too late” could be the title for this week’s MMM too!

 

Two recent pieces of news attracted my attention.

  1. That credit card spending was going up … “Actual retail sales on electronic cards were up 7 percent to $6 billion in October from the same month a year earlier.” http://bit.ly/1iXID9F
  2.  There is a prediction that interest rates will rise http://bit.ly/1cgzkzg. Many commentators predict that this could be as high as 2%.

I must state again that I am not a financial advisor, but am talking about this because these two factors together could make huge a huge impact on people’s spending plans.

 

In the second article …“Mortgage broker Geoff Bawden calculates for every $100,000 borrowed, a 1% rise will add $64 to a weekly mortgage payment. “ It also said that the average mortgage in Auckland was $400,00, so for that “average” mortgage that would mean an additional $256 a WEEK that you would have to find. Monthly that would be $1109! That is for an increase of 1% … double that for 2%!! $2218. That is a lot of money to find in most of the spending plans ( budgets) I see.

 

I don’t bring these to your attention to scare you, but rather to persuade you to act now, especially if you are affected by both pieces ie you are using credit cards more than you did last year (especially if you are not able to pay them off every month) and your mortgage repayments may significantly increase next year.

 

Take these steps:-

  1. Stop using your credit cards now!! Revert to cash or debit/eftpos cards. Research shows that your spending on credit cards is likely to be about 20% more than it would on debit cards and that number is even higher when compared to cash! Then work very hard to get them paid off ASAP. If mortgage rates rise you can guarantee that so will the interest rates on credit cards!
  2. Relook at your spending plan for Christmas and the holidays and reduce the spending where possible.
  3. Get help now. Don’t leave it until you are in trouble; do what you can to prevent it happening. Remember that I offer a free chat over coffee. If time and or location make that impossible we can always have a virtual chat by phone of Skype!

Whatever you do, take action now and get yourself better prepared for what could come in the New Year! If the interest rates don’t rise think how much you could pay off your principal instead!!

 

I hope I haven’t put too much of a dampener on your Monday, but just know I am doing it with your best interests in mind! Please don’t bury your head in the sand; it will be that much easier if you act now!! You will feel much better if you are proactive.

If you have  a mortgage are you making any plans on how you might manage the increased interests rates? Is your mortgage on a fixed interest rate? Please share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you spend a lot of time worrying about money? Does it interfere with your work life?
 
A recent arti12637931_scle in US News cited a study by McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union, which showed that in a survey of more than 1000 people, 36% of them said that they spent at least two hours a day either worrying about their finances or handling them. “…another study, “Stressed at Work,” from Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, an employee-assistance program provider, that suggests almost half of workers are so stressed out that it interferes with their ability to get their jobs done. About 44 percent of male respondents and 49 percent of female respondents said they had “difficulty concentrating” as a result of “personal problems and stress.” Meanwhile, Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report finds that 7 in 10 workers are not engaged with their work.”
 
If you are an employer this must make scary reading!
 
I was interested in the article, because I have been approached recently by an employer seeking assistance for one of their staff, who had a significant amount of debt and was very worried about it. It was agreed that they would pay for their employee to see me. We have met several times and have made some plans for dealing with their situation, which has eased her anxiety considerably. Even if she wasn’t worrying about her money situation at work ( and I’m certain she was!) she was losing sleep over it. This alone would have reduced her effectiveness at work.
 
So her company paying for her work with me will, I’m sure, be very cost effective. As well as improving her productivity it will also increase her company loyalty, because she appreciates how they have supported her personally.
 
Many companies now subsidise gym memberships; a good case can be made for also providing access to financial education and support. I have done several talks for companies to provide this. I am very happy to do it for your company as well; just give me a call.
 
As promised a couple of weeks ago now, here is the link to request my article “How to get through Christmas and the Holidays without blowing out the credit cards!” Simply click on the Christmas tree. You will also be sent a Holiday planner from Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute along with the spreadsheet to go with it.

Have a great week.
 

I read two excellent articles in the NZ Herald on Saturday.

The first by Diana Clement, their “Real Money” columnist, “Plastic Surgery: Clever Ways to Use a Card”,  demonstrates how “…Credit cards can be rewarding if you know how to use them wisely and receive more in rewards points than you spend on the fee”. As usual Diana gives excellent advice and I recommend you read the article.

However today, I am going to focus on the other one, by Nicky Pellegrino, an Auckland novelist and journalist. “Change your attitude and keep the weight off”, is, as you might have guessed, about dieting or not!! In it Ms Pellegrino, explains how she lost more than 10kg and kept it off by changing her attitude to food and how she ate.
Firstly, she identified what was wrong with the way she ate, which for her was “…. a ruinous love of the starchy carbohydrate. Great bowls of silky risotto, comforting pasta dishes, mashed potatoes and bread on the side were what stood between me and a healthy weight.” So she changed her way of eating and ate more vegetables etc and limited her carbohydrates. She didn’t give them up completely.

Now I am not giving advice on nutrition and dieting here, but I was amazed at how the advice she was giving could also be adapted and be equally effective for spending and getting out of debt.

I often tell my clients that there are many similarities between food and “dieting” and money and “budgeting”. Firstly, whilst if you have a problem with alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, you can give them up and never have to deal with them again. This is not so with money and food…we will always have to use them, so we need to change how we do that. The other one I use often and it is the language we use. Just as “food plan” sounds better than diet, I use the term “spending plan” rather than budget. I always heard deprivation when anyone suggested I needed to be on a budget; spending plan denotes more choice somehow!

One of the things Ms Pellegrino said, was that as she wasn’t feeling deprived or hungry she could stay with it and gradually lose the weight. This is something I stress with my clients; it is important that we don’t feel deprived when we are trying to change our spending habits or eliminate our debt, as that will almost always lead to a blowout, ruining all the good work you have done. It is far better to allow for treats and the things that nurture us, and make slower progress, than to face the blowout and give up all together!

So, if you are trying to save money, make sure that you make a realistic spending plan which allows for the occasional treat and some fun, so that it can be sustained over time, rather than putting yourself on a starvation diet and blowing it after a week or two!

As always I would love to hear your comments. Have you been successful at sustained weightloss or saving?

Have a wonderful week and remember “All things in moderation”!!!

Big hugs,

Jill

 

You know the one… You’ve been invited to a wedding, birthday party, company dinner, or in fact just about anything… and the first words out of your mouth are…”But, I’ve got nothing to wear!”

Now, that is patently not true, because:

a) you have not spent the whole of your life in bed, naked, and hiding under the covers nor

b) walking around in public naked. This is not acceptable behaviour in most modern societies and you would probably have been arrested or taken to see a doctor!

What you really mean is: I don’t know what to wear, or, I don’t want to wear what I have, and this seems like a justifiable excuse to buy something new!

 

It is not a disaster for the following reasons:-

 

  1.  Firstly, the definition of disaster from Dictionary.com is: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure. No mention of not having anything to wear!
  2. At most functions you attend, you are not the centre of attention…( unless of course, it’s your wedding)…and very few people will notice what you are wearing. (NB If it is your wedding, that is a justifiable excuse to buy something new. I am assuming that you will have been planning it for some time and have the savings to go out and buy it!)
  3. The occasion is not a fashion show …well not usually anyway…and almost always, it is about people celebrating the occasion. That means that you have been invited for your company not your clothes! Therefore, “that old thing” is probably going to be perfectly suitable.
  4. Unless you are the Queen, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, chances are that nobody will realise that you have worn the outfits in your wardrobe before! People are just not that observant. More importantly they are pleased to see you, not your clothes.

 

Of course, if you have planned to buy a new outfit, because you truly need it ,and not just want it, it is lovely to be able to wear something new to a special occasion. We all love that.

However, if it is not in your plan, especially if you are trying to stop overspending or reduce your debt, an invitation to an occasion does not justify buying something new to wear.  Remember it is about the people and the celebration, so “that old thing” will be just perfect.

Tell us about any creative ideas you have, that gets around this common situation.