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Understanding Your Relationship with Money: 03/01/2016

Clean up your financial house

Attached to our home on two sides are large decks lined with planter boxes and large pots of orchids, star jasmine, fuchsias, cyclamen, roses, and herbs. I noticed the warm weather teasing out new growth on the roses, which inspired me to clean up all of the mounded fir needles, cones, and leaves that were between planters and in corners. It mounds up because the water supply tube nailed around the perimeter of the decks prevents the leaves from blowing away on their own. So the decks look great from the front, but when you walk to the back you can see where the organic debris gathers around the tubing and railing posts. I decided to put on my gloves and remove the piles of wet decomposed material by hand before it starts to rain again.

I’m painting this picture because it reminds me that many of my clients need help cleaning out the organic financial debris hidden in the corners of their lives, going into the areas left untended for a long time. These are aspects of your financial house that you ignore, pretending that everything is just fine on the surface and working around piles of unorganized papers and unopened mail. And don’t forget about the “plan” you were supposed to choose for your health insurance, or retirement investments, or long-term care decisions. The list can feel overwhelming.

Similar to cleaning decks, there’s a tendency to “blow and go” financially to keep matters looking good on the surface. But what results when you neglect details that need attention is a buildup of procrastination and denial, haunting you until you feel anxious and wonder why you don’t have clarity or direction. With this mindset, it’s difficult to make decisions.

The two money archetypes that fit this description are the Innocent and the Fool. They both have tendencies to procrastinate and look good on the outside. The Innocent feels more powerless because he or she either doesn’t know how to change circumstance or is too afraid to ask for help. Instead of fear, the Fool is impulsive and appears to know what he or she is doing. The Fool’s tendency is to overlook the details and not follow through because it’s no fun. Both the Innocent and the Fool end up financially stressed at month’s end.

About 25 years ago, I remember a friend telling me, “our gardens are a reflection of ourselves.” She wasn’t criticizing my garden, but passing on her philosophical point of view. Shortly after, feeling concerned, I started noticing all of the weeds and the plants limping along, and decided to clean out my garden and fertilize. I have to say, my garden never looked so good. As for my financial concerns at that time, I honestly can’t remember. But my life took a profound turn toward a spiritual quest, which brought another kind of abundance to me – a consciousness that still supports me mentally, emotionally, and financially to this day. This consciousness describes the Magician archetype; knowing that all my needs are always met no matter how much I have or don’t have. This consciousness is easier to maintain when it includes faith, love, patience, and gratitude.

When you decide to clean up your financial house – balancing checking accounts, attending to unresolved money issues, beautifying spaces you occupy daily – you’ll begin to experience how good it feels to release yourself from the constraints of overwhelm, worry, and anxiety. Financially speaking, these emotions are most often caused by what you think might happen because of the things you don’t know or haven’t addressed.

Don’t be afraid to put your gloves on and get to work. Here are tips to start your process:

  • Create a list of important tasks you need to complete. 
  • Open your calendar and commit to a start date. 
  • Pick one thing on your list to work on and let the rest go for now. 
  • Give the list all your positive attention to resolve it. 
  • If you find yourself stuck, ask “Who can I call for support?” Then call! If they don’t answer, leave a message and move on to the next task. 
Continue this process until you’ve taken care of your list.

At the end of the day, you’ll know you’ve done your best. Now celebrate taking that first step. You might feel it wasn’t so hard after all.

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

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.

© 2020 Donna Colfer


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