Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
Understanding Your Relationship with Money: 03/01/2015

Changing your lifestyle



Sometimes, people wake up and realize they can no longer financially support their current lifestyles. Either they find themselves struggling to meet their monthly expenses, or panic sets in thinking about their future. They seem to suddenly wake up and discover how small their savings and investment balances are to support retirement. Either way, all they see in front of them is doomsday, a hopeless and helpless ending without a solution. Different scenarios that contribute to this worrisome perception might be a recent divorce later in life, the death of a spouse with no life insurance, inconsistent savings, unexpected and costly health issues, or job loss.

If one of these scenarios feels close to home, remember that feelings of anxiousness, hopelessness, and helplessness are old familiar mindsets at their worst, knocking at your door. Before you surrender to fear, ask yourself four questions about your financial situation:

  • What are you most afraid might happen? 
  • What is more probable? 
  • What other possibilities are there? 
  • What do you hope will happen? 
If you address fear proactively, you’ll automatically slow down the fear response. You can manage fear better when you consciously assess that there’s no immediate danger. And with the proper attention, you will feel safer and have a sense of trust, knowing that the situation can be remedied over time. That’s why we’re willing to ride roller coasters and watch scary movies! We know it will end.

You can choose to “end” your fear, or to look at the situation from the other side; you can visualize new beginnings by reprioritizing your lifestyle. Begin, as always, by looking at your numbers. How much are you spending each month and on what?

Calculate your average monthly income total, then subtract your average monthly expenses from that total. Finding your “average” means looking at three months’ worth of spending in any one category (three months of bank statements and three months of credit card statements), then calculate the grand total and divide by three. Do this for all categories. If after subtracting total expenses from total income you have a positive number, you’ll have more choices about what to do with the extra money; i.e., save it, invest it, or pay down debt. If you’re left with a negative number, then look at your expenses, category by category, and reprioritize between what you really need and what you desire. Desires usually fall into “things” you buy to help you feel better. Desires that you can control and monitor include groceries (this is a big one), meals out, Starbucks, entertainment, clothing, gifts, and travel.

Other expense categories to revisit to see if you’re receiving the best value are cell and landline phone plans, cable, and insurance deductibles. And don’t forget that supporting adult children and home remodeling are two categories that can drain your bank account faster than anything.

It’s no small task to discover how much you’re actually spending. It’s not difficult. It’s time consuming, but worth every minute. Without this information you won’t be able to answer crucial questions such as whether you’ll be able to stay in your home, or whether you’ll need to downsize. Can you afford to live in this county or should you relocate? Can you afford to keep supporting other family members or is it time to ask them to contribute more? When you remodel, can you add a room that may provide rental income? Do you need a roommate to share expenses?

When you consciously make an effort to look closely at your financial situation, no matter how dire you think it may be, I guarantee you will find other solutions you never previously considered. Opportunities naturally begin to present themselves. Doors begin to open. You see things differently. As you change, so does your situation and what you’re attracting. You’ll end up happier than you ever thought you could be.

Changing your lifestyle doesn’t have to be depressing, or complex, or out of the question. All it takes is your willingness to look at the truth of the details, and some time and patience. Ask for help or feedback so you don’t feel so alone and afraid, and then let go of the outcome. So often we close our minds to change and possibilities without even knowing it. There are so many opportunities waiting for you…all you have to do is say “yes.” Trust that there’s a bigger plan for you even if you can’t always see it in the moment.

To learn more about your relationship with money, visit www.BuildingWealthFromWithin.com and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you will see the results. Or contact me at donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com.

Donna Colfer has worked in financial management since 1987. As a Financial Counselor and a Certified Money Coach, she blends her financial expertise with spiritual counseling in her private practice in Sonoma. A Valley resident since 1981, Donna and her husband, Randy, reside in Kenwood.

© 2018 Donna Colfer

Email: donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com

Recently Published:

09/15/2018 - Packrat or hoarder?
08/15/2018 - Feeling successful in any circumstance
06/15/2018 - Your attitude makes a difference
04/01/2018 - Building wealth from within
02/15/2018 - Keeping secrets creates anxiety
12/15/2017 - The silence of the season
11/15/2017 - Crossing a threshold
10/01/2017 - A win-win divorce
08/01/2017 - Communication tips & money management steps for couples
07/01/2017 - Common money traps for couples and ways to avoid them
06/01/2017 - Common money issues with couples
05/01/2017 - Ending a co-dependent lifestyle
04/01/2017 - Artificial intelligence and disappearing jobs
03/01/2017 - Three ways to save money
02/01/2017 - Conscious bill paying

Community Calendar

Quarryhill Fall Plant Sale
09/22/2018
more...
Learn about oaks, redwoods and climate
09/22/2018
more...
Forest therapy hike
09/22/2018
more...
Redwood Empire Food Bank’s Station 3990 food giveaway
09/22/2018
more...
Oakmont Farmers Market
09/22/2018
more...
Oakmont Sunday Symposium
09/23/2018
more...
Medicinal plant walk at Quarryhill
09/23/2018
more...
Harvest Moon hike
09/23/2018
more...
Emmaus Inclusive Community service and potluck supper
09/23/2018
more...
Oakmont Caregivers Group meeting
09/24/2018
more...
Sugarloaf Trail Crew volunteer day
09/27/2018
more...


Weather Underground PWS KCAKENWO2