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Financial Reality

My Freedom

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We all want freedom. The United Kingdom last month showed the world they would rather have their freedom than give into the establishment despite the fear of the unknown of what this will truly mean to them. But why is it, in so many cases, we don’t choose our own personal freedom? Intellectually we do, but in our hearts, we don’t. Why? Because we haven’t forgiven ourselves for our past choices and we’re trapped on the hamster wheel of life.

Financially speaking, our past choices usually reside in our levels of debt. Whether that be our mortgage debt, car debt, student loans, credit cards, loans to family members, etc. It weighs us down like a lead balloon, whether we convince ourselves that it is good debt or bad debt, debt is still debt. Debt doesn’t allow you to live in the present moment and makes it tough to live in the present moment and even tougher to plan for your desired future. Debt doesn’t allow you the space to be nimble.  When we look at the debt we have created in our lives, we always have good reasoning for it, again, our head telling us why it’s good, but are hearts are SCREAMING for something different. Are you listening?

A dear friend of mine said to me, “Julie, I sold my house and I bought my freedom.” Many of us feel buying a house is the American Dream. It may very well be, but at least question it. The homes we buy should be more of our sanctuaries, our safe places, as opposed to our burden. Why do we make these choices? Because, we have Emotion Behind Money. We emotionally work things out or we act them out. In reality, we can’t change the past. It’s like in the movie The Lion King when Rafiki hits Simba over the head with the stick. Simba says, “Ouch, why did you do that?” Rafiki replies, “It’s in the past, it does not matter.” And it really doesn’t matter, it is what is, the past. You need to forgive yourself for where you’re at, whether it is financially, personally, or otherwise. When you forgive yourself, you will create space for the new to come in. And honestly, when the new comes in, it will in many cases surprise the heck out of you. Are you ready for that next adventure? I am…

My friend is spending her life in her 60s with 25% of her time in Seattle where her home was, 25% in Chicago where the majority of her family is, 25% in London with a dear lifelong friend, and 25% she changes annually for three months per year. What I love about how she is living is that she is not doing what she is “supposed” to do and now she is doing what she wants to do, today at age 64. She threw out all the rules we are “supposed” to live by to be successful which she did for many years. Who says we have to live this way. Why are we all following this trap? We are chasing life while life passes us by. She changed her job to be an independent contractor. Risky? Perhaps, but define risk. Risk can be that you get laid off in the next recession that is looming right now, not by your choice. Someone else decides your on the chopping block, as opposed to going out and finding your own clients. I’ve had some many people tell me through the years, aren’t you afraid running your own business when the economy gets bad. I laugh because they think they are safe with a guarantee paycheck working for someone else. Is it really guaranteed? I think not. I tell them, I could let go of everyone working at my company and I still get a paycheck if I had to. Susan, having the courage in abilities and skills she developed through the years and with technology today, she just plugs in from wherever she is at to get the job done. I never met anyone that is so happy while so many millions are stressed out to the gills.

In the process she had to forgive herself for buying the $900,000 house in Seattle. On some level she felt it was such a big mistake. She thought about all the money she spent remodeling and making her own imprint on the place, only to realize she didn’t find the happiness she expected to get. To her credit, she put 50% down payment, some cash came from the sale of her prior home in Chicago, plus some additional cash she had on hand in savings. This gave her only a $450,000 mortgage, but it was her lead balloon. She made every decision in her life based on this lead balloon. She put up with a boss that was awful to her because she needed the paycheck to pay for it. For many years she felt she was trapped in her job, in Seattle, and to this huge mortgage payment.

What was confusing to her was that she had always dreamed of living in Seattle. She loved being outdoors and really being a part of a community that really fed her soul. She didn’t realize how much the looming debt would affect her, especially for what we call a “good debt” in our society. She had a successful job that she had worked her whole career to build up to making a very healthy six figure income, but she found, it didn’t create the happiness she really desired on the inside. Why? The lead balloon, the mortgage, kept her planted and stuck in all areas of life. She didn’t travel as much as she would like because she no longer had the extra cash flow to do it, not only for vacation, but also to come see her aging mom in Chicago. I watched her struggle with that for years.

It was amazing to see her the day she decided to not beat herself up anymore for making the choice to spend all that money on the house and take on that mortgage. She had decided to sell her home, quit her job and find her freedom, but it all started with her forgiving herself for making the past choices she had made. Kudos to her, she found the courage and now is happier than ever.

Are you ready to get off the hamster wheel? It really is your choice. Make that decision for yourself. Choose you. Choose to forgive yourself for your current reality. Choose to forgive yourself for what debts you have, the financial patterns you’ve imprinted on your kids, for the crappy boss or company you put up with for years that sucked the life out of you, forgive your spouse and the patterns you put up with, and most importantly, forgive yourself for being human.

This fall my new book is coming out, Awaken Your Wealth. I have found once you come to a place that you are ready to forgive yourself, it’s time to build you back up to create the life you’ve want today, no matter what age you are and where you’re at in life today. Awaken Your Wealth will give you a roadmap to follow and the support you need. Coming up, I will be giving out sample chapters to get you going on creating your life, your way!! I’m honored to walk this journey with you my friends.

It’s one thing to forgive others; it’s on a whole other different plane to forgive yourself. It seems in many cases a bit more esoteric. It’s hard to look in the mirror. It takes courage to confront and grieve through the process of what you have chosen to create in your life. In the end, your freedom comes from finding that courage from deep within. Give yourself a great big hug, grieve the pile of poop you feel you’ve created and step forward. Not so easy sometimes to do this by yourself. Before my book comes out, let us support you. Create your support team around you through not only Soul Spring, but also share it with others to start to create your tribe that you can talk about it in your daily life and be on the same page. Come join me and like-minded others regularly for some of that support you need on my Facebook Page. I always say it takes a village. We are human beings not human doings. We’ve become so good at the doing part, we’ve forgot that we need the collaboration of other people to truly feed our souls.

Remember, it’s time to create our Financial Fun Time!!

Financial forgiveness

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The finance industry has been inundated with talk of forgiveness lately. Student loans are being forgiven. Big banks are being bailed out. And Wall Street has seen a good amount government support these past few years. All around us, people – from the little guy to the biggest business – are experiencing financial forgiveness.

But what about you? Sure, you’re probably not going to get a bail out any time soon. And your relationship with Sallie Mae has serious mileage left before your student loan is forgiven. Long-term financial forgiveness is one thing, but the type of forgiveness I’m referring to is much more dyer in your day-to-day life.

Picture this.

Monday morning. You’re zipping through the house making sure the kids are up and moving, clothes are clean, the dog is walked and food is ready for breakfast. Then, it’s off to drop the kids off at their respective schools before you make the trek to start your work day.

In the midst of the chaos you eschew breakfast, grab coffee on the way to the office and choose to go out to lunch instead of making one at home. After a long day of work (with a few breaks for some online shopping), you’re too tired to cook so you pick up the kids and order take-out for dinner.

Sound familiar?

We’re a busy bunch, and it’s very difficult to find the time to make it all work and stay sane. So when we check our bank balances after the bills are paid, the kids are squared away and we’ve done our daily spending, we’re a little embarrassed that the account is so low. We know that it was our actions that led us to this point, but we’re still upset with ourselves. We’re smarter than this, right? But month-after-month, we find ourselves in this same situation.

I talk a lot about being conscious of what you’re doing with your money each day. After all, going after your ideal life is a lot tougher when you don’t know exactly where your current one resides. So when you go through your current financial situation and uncover what your real financial habits are, don’t bury those negative emotions; bring them to the surface and let them heal naturally.

Don’t judge your choices; remember, you are human and you make mistakes. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed; we’ve all had moments of excess. Instead of making changes from a place of shame, blame, judgment or guilt, come from a place of forgiveness.

Action step

As we’re inundated with messages of big bank bailouts and student loan forgiveness, it’s time to start forgiving ourselves for our financial mishaps – those out of our control and those within our own grasps. Start practicing financial forgiveness in your own life. Stop looking at your big picture as one financial failure after another and choose instead to view it as lessons learned.

This week, focus on financial forgiveness. Don’t beat yourself up over that spending spree. Instead, forgive yourself and come up with a better financial plan for your fun money. Financial healing and financial forgiveness go hand-in-hand; forgive yourself for your mistakes and the healing will soon follow.

Four things you can do right now to save more money

By | Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog, Financial Intentions, Financial Reality | No Comments

Gas prices are again on the rise, and that can cause some financial stress. Instead of letting the rising cost worry you, create the space in pocket book to make it work. I always say that it’s either your time or your money. When money gets crunched, you may just need to spend a few extra minutes each day to stay on your financial plan. Here are a few things you can do right now to save money. Read More

Five good things that came out of the recession

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December 2010 marks the three-year anniversary of the Great Recession. We’ve spent the past three years hearing so many stories about what went wrong. People got laid off unexpectedly, couldn’t find another job, and ended up losing their homes. And others had to go from a typical middle-class income to unemployment literally overnight.

What we overlooked, however, are the positives that came out of this rough economic time. Here are five good things that came out of the Great Recession.

People learned how (and why) to save

With the threat of being laid off at any time looming, people stopped spending freely and started tracking where their money was going. Families started cooking more instead of eating out, and some even started growing food in their backyard to cut grocery costs. Another change brought on by the recession? People cut up their credit cards and worked on a cash-only policy. They also added more to their retirement savings and started itemizing their deductable tax expenses (http://goo.gl/6xH3D).

Creativity flourished…

While consumers were forced to make cuts, companies had to think of more creative ways to market their products and services. Since sales are harder to get and budgets are slashed sometimes by 50% or more, workers had to get to their bottom-line more creatively than ever before. (http://goo.gl/ft9z5) And this went beyond the workplace. Slashed personal budgets meant keeping refurbishing older clothes, doing home renovations by hand and getting creative in the kitchen.

…As well as small businesses

Did you know that college students can rent textbooks now instead of buying them? Where was that when I was in school! Websites offering this are everywhere, and a lot of students are taking advantage of it. Other businesses are profiting from the recession as well. Pawn shops and thrift stores are “reporting higher volumes of business and even a broadening of their customer bases.” (http://goo.gl/TuaWb).

People began to pursue their true passions

A while back, I read an article about a man who got laid off from a management job. Instead of searching for another similar position, temping or getting part-time work, he decided to intern for a politician. At 42, he was the oldest intern in the building. I found this so inspiring. He turned his recession layoff into an exciting opportunity for himself. And there are thousands of others who took the same path that he did.

We started to value what’s truly important

And it’s not money or a bunch of stuff, either. Your health, your family, and your children – they’re all priceless. And the recession reminded us of that. Sure, less money meant more stress. But it also meant more time with your kids, and pursing that career you always wanted to but never got around to. This recession forced us to re-evaluate our relationship with money, and that newfound stability has set a great foundation for the future.

Tags: recession, great recession, the great recession, recession anniversary, Julie Murphy Casserly, unemployment, saving money, emotion behind the money, emotion and money