The Kenwood Press
: 12/01/2015

A Girl Scout attitude

Donna Colfer

“Should I save like I’m going to live to 90 or enjoy what I have like I might not make it to 65?” A friend asked me. She continued, “I’m sure I’m not the only one who has both managed and saved wisely. I’m so used to squirreling money away that I can’t comfortably wrap my mind around doing anything else. I have a ‘girl scout’ attitude of preparedness.”

Whether to spend your money now or save it in case you live to 90 would depend on many factors: the state of your health, emergency funds available, your actual retirement date, how much you’ve accumulated so far in your retirement accounts, your total monthly expenses versus your income, and much more. The best way to calculate your individual needs and desires for the future would be to sit down and talk with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He or she will take you through a process to analyze your best options. When choosing a CFP, pick three in the area and interview each one to see which one feels most comfortable.

Here are some other facts to consider. Half of today’s 65-year-old women will still be alive in their late 80s. And plenty of them will still depend on their retirement savings into their 90s. Are you sure your savings could support you for 30 years?

When you take a more informed, rational, and logical approach to organizing financial information in preparation for your retirement years, you’ll make more sound decisions that will have less emotional weight when trying to choose between desires and needs. For example, whether to travel – now that you have the time – or whether to purchase a large-ticket item, such as replacing an old car or making some home improvements.

In this case, the Girl Scout attitude of preparedness is a good thing. And when you know the truth of your financial situation by having it all laid out for you, you may find more comfort than you expected regarding when and what to spend your money on. What you fear most is the unknown; that’s why financial knowledge is so important. Ask for help. You weren’t meant to do this alone.

My friend is a good manager of her money and I know that along with her Girl Scout attitude she also holds gratitude in her heart. This is a powerful combo when it comes to relating to money and attracting prosperity. To find out why she is uncomfortable spending some of it, I would ask if she was aware of any experiences from the past that posed alarming insecurities or risks. She may have had serious bouts of “not-enoughness,” or she may have dealt with financial challenges on her own.

If you don’t have a good relationship with money, start by identifying your money patterns and behaviors. This can be difficult to do on your own. Be willing to take the necessary action steps to change those behaviors: this will shift your unwanted outcomes. Add gratitude for what is working consistently in your life, and you’ll have the recipe for improving your relationship with money.

As we move closer into the Holi-Days of light this season offers, it’s one of the best times of the year to take a “gratitude inventory” of all you have.

• Take a moment and contemplate these questions:

• What have I accomplished this year personally or professionally? Celebrate!

• What was I able to complete and put to rest? Projects? Relationships?

• Was I able to let go of any grudges and resentments, and to forgive?

• Where have I softened the hardened places within me so that I can love myself more?

Sharing your answers with another deepens not only the process but also your awareness of how your precious life has served you and others. Being grateful shifts your attitude to the present moment and empowers you to think more positively and raise your consciousness. Stay curious, exercise this attitude adjustment during the holidays, and see how your experiences move toward a different outcome. Many blessings to you.

Learn more about your relationship with money: visit and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you see the results. Or contact me at

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

© 2015 Donna Colfer